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Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #850 on: September 17, 2018, 06:07:50 PM »


Megan Leavey (2017), directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite

I promised KOAB that I would review Megan Leavey at some point, and here it is. I do keep my promises, no matter how delayed they may be. After watching this, I am stunned that Megan Leavey didn't make more money. Perhaps this is a sign of our society becoming more and more cynical, where people don't see good hearted stories like this one. Fortunately, this is a film that didn't dive head-first into schmaltz, there was a more realistic approach to the events here. My expectations, such as they were, were quite low. I haven't seen a great Kate Mara performance yet, and it's arguable whether or not this could be classified as one of those. Her career's crowning moment is probably getting thrown in front of a train by Frank Underwood. That's probably not so good. However, in that case, her role was completely essential to the story. While I could see other actresses in Mara's role here, that doesn't mean there was anything wrong with her performance, and the film actually served to make me realize one problem with our military that I didn't know existed. I would argue this film is quite good, even considering what it is.

Megan Leavey begins with a quick presentation of Leavey's (Kate Mara) life at the time of her enlistment in the Marines. She is fired from a job at the beginning of the film, specifically because she is not a people person. Her home life really sucks, and so does her hometown. Her mom (Edie Falco) left her dad (Bradley Whitford), and has shacked up with Jim (Will Patton), Leavey's new stepfather. She absolutely hates Jim and thinks he's a massive loser, with good reason too. Anyway, Megan is so tired of this life that she does the same thing a lot of people do, she joins the military. Specifically, she enlists in the Marines in 2003. We zoom through her boot camp and are given absolutely no indications of how well that went, but she passes and is sent to Camp Pendleton. One night, she goes out and gets drunk with some friends, but she also really has to use the restroom. Upon doing so, she is busted by patrol, and it's time for her Marine life to turn into hell.

Initially, Megan is sent to work shit duty in the kennels. The description is just as it sounds. Clean up some shit. While there, she likes the dogs, even though the Gunnery Sgt. (Common) makes it very clear he has no belief whatsoever that she's cut out for the job of leading around bomb sniffing dogs. He lists what Megan needs to do to get said job, and over the course of time, she's able to do exactly that prior to being deployed. After doing so, she is accepted into his unit, and given a battery can to carry around as a form of hazing. Plus, they don't have a dog and she needs to learn how to lead around something. In this unit, there is an extremely aggressive dog named Rex. Rex freaks out one day and bites his handler, and Megan is seemingly terrified of Rex to begin with. Guess who gets Rex duty? She does. She doesn't have long to get him ready for their deployment either, but he does alright, and it's time for them to head off to Iraq. The job? Megan is not allowed to go on missions, she and Rex will work at checkpoints and ensure nobody is driving suicide bombs into the middle of town, or much of anywhere else.

Other things take place as well, I just don't want to spoil them. The overall story is about the bond that a dog and their military handler have, but there's even more to this. If you don't already know Leavey's story, and I didn't, there are a hell of a lot of tense scenes. The action is portrayed well, and there's more to Megan's job than merely the dog, it's a hell of a tough job and it's tough for soldiers to figure out what to do during downtime. There is a sequence of scenes between Megan and a Marine named Matt (Ramon Rodriguez), but these serve to further shine a light on Megan's bond with Rex. These scenes actually do leave the viewer with a feeling of pointlessness if that fact is lost upon them. You can tell that this is a small budget film as well as there are very little major action scenes, and not a lot of shots fired in those scenes. But, that's not really the point, this isn't supposed to be an action movie. I certainly appreciated that the director decided to completely blow through early family scenes and the basic training ones. Why? Sometimes I don't need to see them, and the characters in Megan's home life are more like caricatures.

Even though Edie Falco and Bradley Whitford have roles in this film, they are very small and quite unimportant. Whitford serves as a motivator, while Falco serves as everything a person would not want their life to turn out to be like. These scenes are still super short, I don't see any point in not spoiling them. The thing about this film that will really stick with me, is that it's about dogs and I love dogs. I understand exactly why and how the relationship between dogs and humans is so strong, but the end of the film unfortunately made me think about my own animal's mortality. I just couldn't help but think about it. The story has natural limitations due to its subject matter and can really only be so good or so entertaining. I would like to believe that I would do the same thing for my dog that Megan Leavey did, and I don't think I could go on if I knew my dog was out there in a foreign country doing work like that without my help. To this end, the conclusion of the movie is as sad as it gets and I was having to hold back some emotion.

The screenplay for the film, as well as the presentation of these scenes, is a bonus in comparison to the movie I watched yesterday, The Angel. I'm going to leave the rating I gave it, but this is a huge reminder of how much one mere rating point can truly mean. That is a film where its story is often told through text and where new characters are not organically introduced. The movie is still very solid and tense, but it is also quite detached from what I would consider to be good filmmaking. The opposite is the case here. The movie flows very well from one scene to the next, even though some characters aren't very well used after Megan returns to the United States. I said I was glad to see us blow through the setup, but that isn't the case with the return and it strikes me as a small problem. What really matters here is that the director is able to make the viewer feel as if Mara and her dog could be a real partnership. With additional thanks to Mara's good performance, and a good choice in dog actor, I was left to feel like this was real. So, we can put this down as a very good performance from Mara, whose sister is considered by most to be the superior actress.

7/10


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

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #851 on: September 20, 2018, 05:11:16 AM »


Rocky III (1982), directed by Sylvester Stallone

Creed II is coming out quite soon, and before it does, I think I need to watch the three of these movies that pertain to Apollo Creed. That seems like the most rational thing to do, anyway. I'm trying to bust my way through them in a way of doing one a month rather than stuffing them into too short a period of time. As already was told to me, one needs to treat these sequels differently from the original, because they were about making money and not telling the story of a hard guy fighting his way to the top. Rocky III is a far greater case of that than the second film, it goes into a level of fantasy booking that was hard for me to even imagine prior to the point where I turned this on. Is that cool? Hell yes. Does it make for a conventionally good film? Not really. I can explain how. The thing is, I still like watching these anyway. They're 80s movies, that's all I really need. The way these are made is more reflective of the era than any other era of filmmaking. I could write an entire article about this, but that's not what I'm here for. One thing I was left to think was that the main thing missing from The Predator, the thing that really precludes it from being considered an actual homage to an 80s movie, is the lack of a montage. Fortunately, that is not an actual problem in a real movie made in the 1980s.

Three years after beating Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) has had a long string of title defenses against tomato cans. We are shown an eight minute montage of Rocky's success, his life, and all the things that have come to him so greatly. He now has a son, his relationship with Adrian (Talia Shire) is great, and he's living the high life. Things could not be better for Rocky. Except, there's a strong contender through the ranks, Clubber Lang (Mr. T). Clubber is knocking dudes out, period. In the middle of an eight minute montage, we are shown all of these things. That's not an exaggeration either, eight minutes of this stuff. After that's over, we are met with what I really wanted to watch, a series of scenes with Hulk Hogan and Rocky at a charity event. Clearly Rocky learned how to fall as he takes some good bumps, he gives some punches back to Hogan, and everyone's happy. This stuff was a lot of fun and was probably my favorite part of the movie. Seeing Hogan rip off some Dusty Rhodes lines was just excellent.

Anyway, with that charity event between Rocky and Thunderlips over with, we must move on. Rocky is in Philadelphia, receiving a statue of himself like a real athlete deserves. Unbeknownst to everyone else, or at least that's how it seems, Rocky is also there to announce his retirement. The problem is that Clubber Lang is there too. Clubber intends to challenge Rocky, cause he pities the fools Rocky has been fighting, because they're bums, and the challenge is on. Rocky wants some of this, but we come to find out that Rocky's trainer Mick (Burgess Meredith), has been navigating Rocky's career in a way to make Rocky the most money with the least amount of challenges. Rocky is extremely upset by this, and he doesn't care that Clubber is tough and ready to fight. Mick also thinks that Rocky is too civilized to face a real challenge. So, Rocky can't retire, and he's motivated, so he'll get Mickey to train him for...ONE LAST HURRAH.

There are a few great scenes in this film, but there are also major problems with the construction of it that I'm sure everyone who has seen this already knows about. The opening montage is simultaneously great and a huge problem. I have discussed before that I have a problem with movies that do not organically know how to illustrate the events, and the long montage is a big case of that. I still love montages. I think my biggest problem with the movie is that the conversations in it don't feel real. It took about 75 minutes to finally get to one, where Adrian and Rocky were having it out on the beach. That was the first time I felt like this was a conversation that real people would actually have. The movie is kind of surreal in this way. Mr. T was great in his role, though. I can't figure out why he was nominated for a Razzie, nothing about his performance was wrong in any way. Still, his character is just a greater case of the problem, that nothing in this movie feels grounded in the same realism that was present in Rocky. It isn't that I hate movies like these, I did enjoy watching it, but similar to The Meg, I see them for what they are.

I decided to make this a short review for the reason that I have already discussed these things in my Rocky II review, plus this movie was quite short to begin with. I can't believe I haven't seen this before, but now that I have, I am left with strange feelings. The premise that Rocky had to learn black fighting skills to beat Clubber is good for a lot of laughs, and some of the lines said about this training camp are both racist in one line and hilarious in the next line. That's Hollywood in the 1980s for you. "HE CAN'T LISTEN TO THOSE JUNGLE JAMS" is a quote I will not soon forget. All that being said, it does feel sometimes that Rocky III is both a parody of a great boxing movie, and a great example of what an 80s film is supposed to embody. This is cheese to the maximum, cheese everyone should like, but it isn't a great film with a great story and great construction. It's just not, so I'm going to slam Rocky with a score I often give out to cheese movies like this one. I liked when they were more serious, and I know that Creed is, so I'm looking forward to watching that in November.

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

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #852 on: September 24, 2018, 04:56:33 AM »


Man on Fire (2004), directed by Tony Scott

Man on Fire is another critically divisive film, and it seemed that I saved a few of those for the end of the month. Nice going on my part. This was the first of many similar Denzel Washington films of this style, where his characters would consistently go full vigilante as a result of one event that would change his mindset on life. At this stage, I have watched tons of these vigilante, Death Wish style movies. Man on Fire is certainly one of them. I'm not saying anything bad about it yet, or anything good about it yet, I'm just telling you how these things go. This is a movie that perhaps I am watching at a bad time, because I've seen so many similar films recently. Peppermint, Skyscraper, both Equalizer movies, and Edge of Darkness tell these kinds of vigilante tales. None of them are particularly great, either. Why? I can't pinpoint it, but they're all extremely similar. The only different one is Skyscraper, which features an enormous CGI building. So, in order to make something different, to revitalize this genre at the time, Tony Scott and others decided they needed a movie like this with Denzel Washington. A movie set in Mexico. Just because we've seen this so many times, doesn't mean we should judge the first one on that level. So, what's up with this?

It's 2003, and our former assassin John Creasy (Denzel Washington) is on the look for a job. His old friend Paul (Christopher Walken) runs a security firm in Mexico and is creepy as fuck. He has just the job for Creasy. Samuel (Marc Anthony) and Lisa (Radha Mitchell) are parents to Pita (Dakota Fanning), and they live in Mexico City. Samuel is having major financial problems and has insurance on his daughter, and he needs to hire Creasy as that's a requirement of his insurance. At least that's how he is informed by his lawyer Jordan (Mickey Rourke). The problem is, Creasy is suicidal, completely unreliable, and he loves to drink. As you may suspect, this is not something that continues throughout the film. But, for about 40 minutes, we are subjected to a Creasy redemption story. He puts down the booze after trying to kill himself, being thwarted by a bullet that misfires. In a long conversation with Paul, he is told that a bullet always tells the truth. You know, whatever that means. After that, Creasy begins to form a bond with Pita, now having a purpose in life. As already said, this build is extremely long. It's actually crazy that nobody decided to cut some of these scenes from the movie.

After the redemption story is complete, we are then shown a scene where Samuel refuses to let Pita do what he actually wants, which is to become a competitive swimmer. Instead, Pita must become a piano player, and Creasy's job one day is to take her to her lesson. One day, as he's waiting outside to bring her home, a group of police officers and mercenaries goes to kidnap her. In the process of that, Creasy opens fire and kills some of the kidnappers. He's also hit by a few gunshots, and goes down as the kidnappers escape with Pita. Here's the deal. One federal agency thinks Creasy will be killed by corrupt police officers, so they move him out of the hospital. While that's going on, the more corrupt federal agency has embarked on another plan. The Voice (Roberto Sosa) is a guy who organizes these kidnappings, he has contacted Samuel with instructions for a ransom. The police gathers the ransom, under the guise of being clean, and tries to deliver it to the kidnappers. Instead, corrupt officers steal the money, and kill the Voice's nephew. Pita disappears and is assumed dead. What will Creasy do?

I would be remiss if I did not open with the most obvious fact, that Man on Fire is simply too long. There are so many scenes early in the movie that I thought could have been easily cut or condensed into each other, but instead we are hit with a very long redemption story. I don't mind the redemption story aspect of this whole thing, I do mind the length of it. One can argue the entire movie doesn't exist without it being that long, I disagree completely as there are too many scenes to explain something that should be simple. Man on Fire feels like an over-directed film as a result of this and other things, namely the usage of funny directing tricks instead of telling the story in front of the viewer. Do I need slowed down shootouts and goofy editing in the middle of scenes that should be important? No, I do not. It's one of those Michael Bay things that drives me nuts. I also think that either one of Bay or Scott was ripping the other off. I am inclined to believe it's the former who was ripping off the other, but there are so many tricks in this movie that it reminded me of Michael Bay. It's definitely a problem, the same one I had with The Taking of Pelham 123.

On the other hand, there are some really good moments here. First, it's the way that Mr. Creasy decides to take out all these people in his path. There's a particularly surreal scene in a night club, it was messing with my brain. I don't know what the hell was going on with that, but it was a highlight. I also know that at the time, this was a unique performance for Denzel Washington. That isn't the case now, but it's something I believe I should take into mind when writing out a review. Other than the butt bomb, he also didn't seem to be taking great enjoyment in these scenes the same way one of Steven Seagal's characters would do. Said butt bomb was another highlight. In the take they used, Washington could hardly contain his laughter and it felt like something that they eventually decided to pick the best take of. According to IMDB's trivia page, Mickey Rourke and Denzel Washington did not get along, and that does present a problem when Rourke's character seems like he's supposed to be in the movie, but is subsequently chopped out of a boatload of scenes. The use of our Mexico City setting is also quite nice.

Even though this movie does have a good story, the aforementioned weaknesses serve to drive my opinion of the movie down a little bit. The movie is simply too long, it takes nearly the whole length of other movies for us to finally get to the parts where Creasy is seeking revenge for what has been done to Pita. The over-direction is also a problem that has to be seen to be believed, there is simply too much going on here. Man on Fire is hardly able to stand on its own as a result of it. I also laughed at the story about the alternate ending. They had filmed one where Creasy killed all the kidnappers with a butt bomb, which is just totally ridiculous. The ending here makes much more sense, and the film overall has heart instead of ending with someone's ass exploding and killing everyone. This was worth viewing, it is no real surprise that Dakota Fanning continued acting beyond her childhood years, but I can only barely call this a good 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

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #853 on: September 25, 2018, 02:17:16 PM »


Logan (2017), directed by James Mangold

Finally, I have gotten to a point where it became inevitable that I must watch this. I've drawn watching Logan out for a very long time as I was too busy doing other things. Admittedly, I also did not want to say goodbye to this character. Wolverine is one of everyone's favorites, one who already departed in the comic books, which led to an extreme lack of interest from me. Old Man Logan does not quite do it for me. That comment is probably going to be considered sacrilege by one of our members, but it is how it is. Anyway, Logan is a movie that tosses a lot of superhero tropes to the side, which is great. These films have been massively in need of depth and character study for years. This is, as it were, everything that a fan could hope for. It is as better than any comic film since the Nolan Batman movies, and on merit, it is deserving of immense recognition. Unlike others, I didn't tear up during this film, and I don't remember watching the trailer at all. As usual, I watch them before writing a review, and I cracked up at the use of Johnny Cash. The trailer strongly leads someone to believe this is a neo-Western. I don't think that's the case. Instead, it feels a lot more like a road trip movie, a movie with depth, something completely different from what I'm used to from a superhero film.

After X-Men: Days of Future Past, it turns out that no mutants have been born. I genuinely cannot remember why. Anyway, Logan (Hugh Jackman) is nearly 200 years old, and the coating from his adamantium skeleton is poisoning him to death. So, with that going on, Logan works as a limo driver in El Paso. During his days, he lives in northern Mexico, where Caliban (Stephen Merchant) takes care of Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart). We all know who Xavier is, but Caliban's abilities are related to tracking. Xavier has some problems of his own, because this movie is set in 2029. He is in his 90's, and he has dementia. Considering his mutant abilities (mind control), this creates a huge problem. His dementia leads to him having seizures, which causes problems with his telepathy that lead to other people dying. Something happened back in New York, we are never told exactly what. It's what led to this current situation, with everyone hiding out. Logan wants to take him and Xavier out to live on a boat, away from everyone else, where they can die in peace. Caliban can't go out in the day, so he's going to be screwed over. He doesn't seem to mind too much.

Due to Xavier's condition, Logan is forced to make illicit drug deals for pills, and he's not able to take care of himself either. One day, he encounters Gabriela (Elizabeth Rodriguez), a nurse from a bio tech corporation in Mexico. She wants Logan to escort her and a girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) out to North Dakota, where there is a supposed mutant refuge. There is no cure for Logan's condition, and he doesn't really want to spend his time doing that as he isn't ready for a fight. The thing is, he's missing some sweet boat money and Gabriela is willing to provide it. After Logan goes home for the day to discuss this, he finds Gabriela dead at her motel. On the way back there, Laura seems to have gotten in Logan's trunk, and Xavier does have some mental acuity still. He knows a new mutant is near, and apparently so does Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook), head of security for the aforementioned bio technology firm. Donald is a dangerous dude who has one mechanical arm. He brings his whole army to Mexico, Logan is extremely weak. Xavier has dementia and as before, can't move without the wheelchair. It's time to run.

The first, and probably most important thing to bring up as it relates to Logan, is the R rating. The R rating allows for more mature themes, it also allows for violence that feels more realistic. There is an initial shock value of some of the things that are in this. Mangold wastes absolutely zero time presenting a scene that lets the viewer know exactly what they're in for here. But, beyond simply the violence and curse words that teenagers would thirst for, this allows for the film to present the mortality of these characters in a much more genuine way. There's absolutely no cheese or stupid quips in this movie, something that's a gigantic breath of fresh air. Our characters are trying to stay alive and can't make jokes while cities are falling apart. Another massive benefit to the R rating is that it leads to a film with a budget that isn't as great, which leads to less CGI. Less CGI leads to more positive spots. I mean, duh. I didn't react to any of the more emotional parts that are intended to make the audience sad, but I did already know what was going to happen. There's a different feeling from watching it on opening day to well over a year and a half later.

Logan showcases that there are other ways to tell these stories, beyond the simple goofy way of doing it that seems to make everyone happy despite who cliched and normal those movies have become. The villains in this movie are forgettable at best, but that's good in a way, this needs to be a movie about our Wolverine. People who say this movie is too sad are missing the point, it's supposed to be sad, you are supposed to feel the loss of this character. Basically everything in this movie makes sense to me, including the seemingly nonsensical stops at a person's house. Once you consider that it was insisted upon by someone with dementia who was tired, it isn't so nonsensical or ridiculous at all. There are also things, such as how Xavier had to be stashed away in Mexico in the first place, that go unexplained. This is also something for the best, something people should be able to assume from the things that he does. It is easy to figure out that his dementia led to people getting killed during one of his seizures. As I did already mention, I don't see the Western connections that everyone else sees. I don't know if this is a case of group-think or if they're genuinely there. I did talk with someone who pointed it out, but I think this is a lot more like First Blood and Terminator 2.

Seeing as the only weaknesses I found were with our two villains, obviously I have a high opinion of Logan. The thing that the other Wolverine movies weren't good at illustrating, is how protective Logan becomes of those who he holds near and dear. I do not recall the other two being able to exhibit that on any level whatsoever. That's an aspect of Logan's character more prevalent in the comic books, at least until right here. Because this film does exhibit that, and because of all the other things on display, that's what makes this a great piece of cinema. It's not one of the absolute best movies ever, but other than Nolan's Batman, you won't find anything better than this. Flashy set design and CGI doesn't do it for me, character studies do. With all the Wolverine material out there, not only does it feel like the entire character has been fleshed out, but it also feels like we've gotten an entire ranges of performances. Credit to Hugh Jackman for that, because making your character yours is extremely difficult. I like what Robert Downey Jr. has done with Iron Man, but nothing comes close to this kind of range in a superhero franchise.

9/10

I'm making a Barron List for 2017 too.

1. Get Out
2. Logan
3. Wonder Woman
4. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
5. The Lost City of Z
6. I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
7. Kong: Skull Island
8. Split
9. Megan Leavey
10. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
11. Win It All
12. War Machine
13. Fist Fight


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

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #854 on: September 25, 2018, 06:30:23 PM »


The Imitation Game (2014), directed by Morten Tyldum

The Imitation Game is a film that can be solidly classified as fitting into one specific category, that of Oscar-bait. I have said before that I hate the term, but it's a term that certainly applies here. That being said, the story of Alan Turing certainly merits a telling, and I'm not trying to say otherwise. In contrast to similar bait movies as The Man Who Knew Infinity, the subject matter contained within is made interesting by the film's director, Mr. Tyldum. I am admittedly struggling for ways that Ramanujan's story could be this entertaining, but I didn't think it was a fantastic approach to the material. By contrast, The Imitation Game is a film that ensures the viewer knows exactly how important Alan Turing's work was, and how crucial his efforts were to the Allied war effort. Well, I shouldn't say it was all Turing. Although his ideas powered his team forward, this was a team effort. The Imitation Game is finally expiring on Netflix, very soon in fact, so I needed to watch this as quickly as I could. I don't know what it would be like to see a movie like this in theaters, but there are some coming out later this year that I will be seeing. Informative nearly to a fault, The Imitation Game is powered nearly entirely by Benedict Cumberbatch's performance.

The film begins in 1951, and concurrently tells three stories of varying importance. The least focused upon is the 1951 investigation into Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), which took place after a home invasion. During his interrogation, Turing decides to tell the officer about his time working at Bletchley Park. Let's go to that. In 1939, Turing travels there to work under Alastair Denniston (Charles Dance). Denniston is the commander of a team of cryptologists, code breakers is a more common term for such individuals. Denniston is a tough guy, hence the casting, and he's driven to crack the German Enigma machine. Enigma was used by Nazi Germany to send encrypted messages, it was to this point impossible for the British to crack it. Finding a way to crack the code could lead to Britain winning the war. Turing is initially tasked with joining a team led by Hugh Alexander (Matthew Goode). Hugh, as the other team members were, was extremely intelligent. John Cairncross (Allen Leech) and Peter Hilton (Matthew Beard) were two other prominent members of this team, and they had an impossible task ahead. During their initiation, they meet Stewart Menzies (Mark Strong), Chief of MI6. He had control of breaking these codes, and obviously tons of other things. This was a man with incredible power.

Alan Turing was an extremely complicated man, as such geniuses usually were, and as said in this movie (I don't know if it's true), his team found it impossible to get along with him. Turing doesn't care much for them either, and gets to work on his own to design a machine that can decipher Enigma. He correctly believes it is impossible to do this by hand. Denniston does not want to fund this machine, which leads to Winston Churchill receiving a letter from Turing, which also leads to Turing becoming the leader of this team. Turing immediately fires two team members who I didn't mention, and decides that in order to hire people, he's going to put a crossword puzzle in newspapers. If anyone can do this in ten minutes, they should report to a meeting. As this film tells it, Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley) makes it through this process, then finishes the crossword puzzle even more quickly than Turing. Even though Clarke is extremely educated, her parents don't want her to work with men, so Turing has to set things up in a way that will allow her to join the team. I should also mention our third story, back when he's a child. He's bullied in a boarding school, and develops romantic feelings for a friend who has similar interest in cryptography. Yes, Turing was gay. Also, there's a Soviet spy in their team at Bletchley.

The veracity of some things in this film are apparently in question, but the overall premise is not. That Turing's work helped win the war is undeniable. Of course, there is creative license with how many things in the film are credited to him. However, I do understand this, as there was a gross injustice committed towards Turing. Just in case you don't know, it's time to post it.

Quote
In January 1952, Turing, then 39, started a relationship with Arnold Murray, a 19-year-old unemployed man. Turing had met Murray just before Christmas outside the Regal Cinema when walking down Manchester's Oxford Road and invited him to lunch. On 23 January Turing's house was burgled. Murray told Turing that the burglar was an acquaintance of his, and Turing reported the crime to the police. During the investigation he acknowledged a sexual relationship with Murray. Homosexual acts were criminal offences in the United Kingdom at that time, and both men were charged with "gross indecency" under Section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885. Initial committal proceedings for the trial were held on 27 February during which Turing's solicitor "reserved his defence", i.e., did not argue or provide evidence against the allegations.

Later, convinced by the advice of his brother and his own solicitor, Turing entered a plea of guilty. The case, Regina v. Turing and Murray, was brought to trial on 31 March 1952. Turing was convicted and given a choice between imprisonment and probation, which would be conditional on his agreement to undergo hormonal treatment designed to reduce libido. He accepted the option of treatment via injections of what was then called stilboestrol (now known as diethylstilbestrol or DES), a synthetic oestrogen; this treatment was continued for the course of one year. The treatment rendered Turing impotent and caused gynaecomastia, fulfilling in the literal sense Turing's prediction that "no doubt I shall emerge from it all a different man, but quite who I've not found out". Murray was given a conditional discharge.

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

That's pretty much as bad as it gets in terms of what a government will do to a war hero, short of executing him. Turing died of cyanide poisoning a few years later, and surprisingly foul play was not suspected. Apparently Turing had an incredible obsession with Snow White and the poisoned apple. It is possible that he killed himself this way, and it is also possible there was some kind of accident. Turing had an apparatus in his house that used potassium cyanide. The overall point I'm trying to make was, criminalizing homosexuality is disgusting and abhorrent. He never hurt anyone. Cumberbatch's performance isn't some kind of romp around town screwing every guy possible, it's measured, and it's really compelling too. It's hard to find someone who is actually capable of sounding intelligent while stuttering, as the role commands. Obviously, Turing was not normal by the standards of society, but here I'm referring more to his love of the mathematical machine than everything else. Or, perhaps, his lack of sociability. Whether or not this is true is something I don't know, but Cumberbatch was excellent at portraying these things.

The roles played by Dance, Strong, and Knightley were all well cast and well acted, but the rest of the cast does seem to lack importance in the wake of Alan Turing. That's perfectly fine, but it's quite noticeable. The Imitation Game is so reliant on Cumberbatch's performance to carry the material, which it does about as far as such material can possibly be carried. We could have had a war scene or two, but considering the budget, I'm quite happy with what we got. I was also capable of understanding Turing's machine, which was something I did not expect. Oftentimes, I am incapable of understanding the concepts in this sort of film. I believe it's because directors often do not do a good enough job of bothering to explain them. Instead, those stories are couched in characters who effectively tell the audience that we'll never understand. The problem is, I do think audiences are capable of understanding. In the end, this is a good, bordering on great film because of that, not just because of Cumberbatch's performance. I want to learn things, I want to be shown, I want it to be explained to me. I don't want to hear from our main characters that I couldn't possibly understand. Save that shit for someone else.

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 cobainwasmurdered

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #855 on: September 25, 2018, 08:50:47 PM »
I mean, you haven't read the original "Old Man Logan" so of course you don't have any attachment to the character man, that's totally understandable. But the "Logan" movie is very loosely based on it. Re-watching this right now and I'd forgotten how great (I don';t know how I had) Patrick Stewart was in this.

Offline HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #856 on: September 26, 2018, 06:26:16 AM »
I thought both Stewart and Jackman were definitely Oscar nominee worthy in Logan. Patrick Stewart puts on a clinic during the dinner scene at the family's house.

Offline Kahran Ramsus

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #857 on: September 26, 2018, 11:59:27 AM »
In general I'm glad that Marvel is getting the X-Men film rights back, but I really will miss the occasional film like Logan.  Because you know damn well it would never get made under Disney.

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #858 on: September 28, 2018, 11:56:02 AM »


Inherent Vice (2014), directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

A film that makes me wonder about my entire ratings scale as a whole, Inherent Vice is a feature that manages to cloud the mind, leading one to think too much about the events contained in them. I know a lot of people feel completely differently, but it is a film that I loved, one that captivates even though it is extremely long. I know full well this is based on one of Thomas Pynchon's novels, I also know full well that I do not read and therefore I will not know what is in those novels. I can only assume that said novels are not adaptable, which is the reason that Inherent Vice is the only adaptation of Pynchon's work. I don't have any attachment to the work, but I do have one to PTA, and that's something that will heavily influence my opinion of his work. There is nobody more fit to adapt material than Paul Thomas Anderson. His involvement is a sign that something interesting is going to be made, whether people wind up liking it or if they don't. When they don't, admittedly I do not understand, but I can assume that length is a factor. Most people are entitled to their opinions, so long as they can defend them. When they can't, they aren't entitled to them. This is another tale where Los Angeles is on full display, an often told story, but very few are of this measure. The telling of this tale is unlike any other I've seen. Nothing is explicitly played for laughs, the film is, as it were, deadly faithful to the style of the director.

Inherent Vice is one of those films that is nearly possible to explain on a base level, which is what I do in this section of these reviews. It's 1970, and the film begins with a surreal scene where Shasta (Katherine Waterston) visits her ex-boyfriend, Doc Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix). Doc is a private investigator and a stoner, who lives in a fictional place that pretty much stands in for Hermosa Beach or any similar location near Santa Monica. Shasta tells Doc about her new boyfriend, Mickey Wolfmann (Eric Roberts), and asks Doc if he can keep Mickey's wife and lover from abducting Mickey. Doc is fine with that. Everything in this movie ties together, no matter how unrelated it may seem. Even still, there are loose ends. After Doc's meeting with Shasta, he takes one with Tariq Khalil (Michael K. Williams), a black militant. Khalil wants Doc to find Glen Charlock, a man who Khalil met in jail. Glen is a Nazi who works for Mickey, an eccentric jew who hangs around Nazis. Presumably the Nazis neither know nor care. Glen owes Khalil money, and Doc goes on the look for him. Doc visits one of Mickey's real estate projects, gets knocked out, and wakes up outside next to Glen's dead body. It's obviously going great for Doc.

After Doc wakes up, he's surrounded by police officers, and is interrogated by a famous detective, "Bigfoot" Bjornsen (Josh Brolin). Bigfoot is a typical hard ass who gets off on abusing his power, he isn't a good guy. In the course of their conversation, Doc learns that Mickey has disappeared, and he also believes that Shasta may have disappeared too. Near the tail end of this conversation, he is helped out by his attorney, Sauncho Smilax (Benicio del Toro). These names and this cast, I tell you. After Doc is released he takes on yet another private investigation, this one on behalf of the Harlingen family. Hope (Jena Malone) is a former herion addict, and she's looking for her missing husband, Coy (Owen Wilson). I don't want to give away the details of these conversations as they're pretty funny, but even though Coy is assumed dead, he certainly is not. Hope has received large deposits into her bank account and is lead to believe he's on some kind of job. Through intermittent narration from Sortilege (Joanna Newsom), some of the details of our story are filled in, and there are also lots of things that I just don't want to say. It's impossible to know where the story is going, and even though Doc smokes a lot of bud and has a strange attitude, this is a guy who knows how to do his job.

I am having an incredibly hard time summarizing my thoughts about Inherent Vice, so I don't know how I'm going to do that, but I think this is a film that perfectly portrays the counter-culture of Los Angeles. Other potential thematic elements are eschewed, and although hints of exploring them are thrown out there, I felt like I was remaining on the same path throughout the film. This is not a bad thing, because this is not a film to be taken super seriously. Inherent Vice is a film that brings to mind the past, one that may be better viewed multiple times, but I don't have any intention of rewatching anything. There are obvious influences from Up in Smoke, but the one that sticks with me the hardest is The Big Sleep. There is no way to describe that unless you've watched it, but it's a great investigation film from way back when. It is a movie with an extremely complicated plot, something you have to pay attention to constantly, and in fact it holds up quite well in modern times. Like Inherent Vice, it was a film that was divisive at the time. Inherent Vice's criticisms come more from the general viewer than the critic, though. I can see why, because after all, this is very long, the comedy is not so obvious even though it is quite prevalent, and a lot of people don't like films that play as stoner comedies.

Inherent Vice has been compared to The Big Lebowski for one specific reason, that Joaquin Phoenix's performance reminds people of the Dude. The problem with that is, the Dude is a bumbling dope and a burnout. Our guy Doc is not quite burned out yet, he's also not stupid like the Dude. Even though his gives off the feeling of being an idiot, nothing he does is dumb at all, and much of it is quite calculated. The movie is excellently cast, with Bigfoot serving as a major contrast in all but action, where both men hold similar principles. It is really odd. I didn't mention good performances from Martin Short and Reese Witherspoon, but they had their own roles to play in our sprawling tale. Again, I don't know how faithful to the novel this is, but the characters all have their own motivations and are complex individuals. This also, in typical Anderson fashion, looks awfully similar to some of his other films. Perhaps even too similar I must admit, it freaked me out. I felt like I was watching a continuation of There Will Be Blood, which you know, is something that has really similar thematic properties. Daniel Plainview is to Eli Sunday as Doc is to Bigfoot, the latter two are symbols of an era which was rightfully passing on to something else, but there's the unforseen turn that a lot of people in our country want to bring back Bigfoot's era.

Ultimately, the things that matter most in this movie are the feeling, the characters, and the characterizations of those individuals. They are spot on, true to themselves, with the exception of one thing Doc does that I cannot understand. The rest seems to make sense, and I should also mention that Keith Jardine has a great part in this. If anyone's on the fence, not that they should be, the film maintains a level of surreality that strongly works for me, everyone knows I love that stuff. This isn't a completely unique film, but it's so much different than most of what gets made these days, and there are really only a few movies like this around. It's great, it really is. I have no idea where the IMDB score is coming from when a movie makes me laugh this much. The performances from Phoenix and Brolin are fantastic, and Katherine Waterston is like a perfect representation of the independent female mindset prevalent in that era. This is a great movie, an underappreciated classic of our times. It feels like it was made in the 70's, but it wasn't, and I think the initial feeling of the 1970's that Inherent Vice carries with it is the most important thing in the entire film.

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

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #859 on: September 28, 2018, 05:41:43 PM »


Alien 3 (1992), directed by David Fincher

Nominating itself for worst franchise movie I have ever seen, here we have Alien 3, a film that never manages to actually make sense. I will probably be brief as I cannot think of too many positives, and lots of the things in this simply don't square with the first two entries in this series. Sure, the amount of sheer gore is quite nice. I have no complaints there! That is perhaps the only way in which Alien 3 really delivers as someone could hope for. It is no surprise that David Fincher has sworn this film off, his work here wasn't great, nor were any decisions a producer could possibly have made. I considered watching the extended edition, but Fincher had nothing to do with it being created in the first place, and I really thought that I'd fall asleep if I spent 155 minutes watching a movie on Friday night. I was correct to assume so as I fell asleep immediately after finishing the film, but I also started this review prior to finishing the movie. The initial decision to kill off everyone from Aliens other than Ripley was the first of these numerous mistakes, and also an unforgivable one. This decision alone lets the viewer know they're in for something that isn't good, which is precisely what this was.

Alien 3 starts off with opening credits, interspersed with an impossible to understand scene in which the Sulaco catches on fire. Subsequently, an escape pod is launched with Ripley, Newt, Hicks, and Bishop all aboard. They happen to crash on a prison planet, I will not bother to find or post the name because it is genuinely irrelevant. In the course of the crash, we see that there's a facehugger aboard, which is great. The inmates on this planet reach the crash site and recover the bodies, only one of which is still alive. Of course, it's Ripley. In a short scene following that, we see the facehugger approaching the dog of one of the inmates. If I knew exactly what was going to happen after this, I would have given the film the treatment it deserved and written a review where I live blogged everything, without any thought given to any of my statements.

After these things, Ripley comes to and is greeted by Clemens (Charles Dance), the colony doctor. Clemens is the only truly interesting side character, no doubt in part due to who played this role, but he has his own problems at the colony. Ripley is told by the warden (Brian Glover), that she needs to do some things to fit in. Apparently, the inmates are highly religious and may not take kindly to women. They are also extremely violent, at least in terms of the past, everyone there is a murderer, rapist, or child molester. So, there's that. It sounds like a fantastic place. Ripley demands that Clemens give Newt an autopsy, because she is intelligent enough to believe the alien has followed them to this prison planet. Nothing is found. Of course, the alien bursts out of the dog and we now have an alien that appears to walk on all fours. How bizarre. Now, the inmates. We have Dillon (Charles S. Dutton), the cult leader. The assistant to the warden is Aaron (Ralph Brown), and he's an idiot. The other inmates tease him constantly. Golic (Paul McGann) is out first to encounter the alien, and he's terrified. He isn't murdered, but he sees quite a few go down the hard way. The only other important inmate is David (Pete Postlethwaite), who is used as fodder later during a chase sequence. That's it.

The thing I have to mention first, it's going to be the ending. Dillon killing himself so someone who is already dead will die makes genuinely no sense at all, it's something that probably scrapped any heightened enthusiasm I had for a third half that was decent in comparison to the rest of the film. This is a huge pile of trash. I don't like how much time is spent inside for a film that takes place on another planet, I really don't. To use such a huge budget for a film set that is covered in filth is quite astounding to me. The prisoners are also unexplored as characters, and are far too easily exchanged with each other from scene to scene to fit the needs of the production. None of them have anything resembling a character. The few that do exist are disposed of so rapidly that it just served to piss me off, and the one that lasts is probably the worst of the bunch. It's too bad. I don't know why it was decided that the alien could now outrun everyone instead of having to use guile in a tiny space. The film is just a joke as a whole, it discards far too much of what made the series good. Of course, that is just my opinion. A lot of people seem to disagree with this take.

The ending is probably the biggest joke, it made me so angry that I cannot even talk about it. Any positive feelings are related to the fact that there's good gore, and simply put, I like alien movies. Unfortunately, this just isn't good. Perhaps the alternate version is, but it took about 11 years for that to come down the line and for people to watch it. You know, there's a lot of stuff that could have been good if edited and re-spliced for easier public consumption. Taken 3? Battlefield Earth? What about Suicide Squad? Anyway, what's done is done, it's impossible for me to devote any more brain cells to such a failed exercise. Someone should have paid James Cameron to revisit this series, I don't care what it would have cost. Of course, I am not a budget guy and such things are not up to me, but if they were, I would have never filmed a single scene that was in this movie. That David Fincher had a career after this could only be based on talent, but when a studio is telling you that they want an Alien movie with this kind of crap in it, it's impossible for a director to every straighten things out. The very last scene also reminded me far too much of Terminator 2.

3.5/10


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

Offline Avid Warehouse Enthusiast

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #860 on: September 29, 2018, 01:29:50 AM »
Buckle up, dude, because Resurrection, the AVP movies, and Ridley Scott's festering trash heaps are even worse!
Maybe the real deep state was the friends we made along the way.

Offline Harley Quinn

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #861 on: September 29, 2018, 03:02:05 AM »
Buckle up, dude, because Resurrection, the AVP movies, and Ridley Scott's festering trash heaps are even worse!

I thought he already did review Resurrection unless I'm wrong.

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #862 on: September 29, 2018, 03:23:22 AM »
I did not


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

Offline Avid Warehouse Enthusiast

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #863 on: September 29, 2018, 05:31:24 AM »
You may actually like Resurrection when you first see it. It has a lot of great things going for it, mostly the cast, and there's a few elements in both plot and setting that are genuinely good. However, it's a sequel regularly derided by the hardcore fanbase for it's reliance on humor (Whedon penned it) and some really dumb sci-fi stuff that ignores previously established facts about the Xeno. It's not even retconned like what Prometheus and Covenant did, just up and comic book'd.
Maybe the real deep state was the friends we made along the way.

Offline HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #864 on: September 29, 2018, 07:00:23 AM »
I remember being okay with Alien 3 the last time I saw it but it was like ten years ago and I can't remember why I liked it more that viewing. It wasn't the version that was over 150 minutes though, so maybe that was it.

Offline Byron The Bulp

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #865 on: September 29, 2018, 11:51:48 PM »
Inherent Vice is so f'n good

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #866 on: October 01, 2018, 06:19:09 PM »
Tamil and French, subtitles



Dheepan (2015), directed by Jacques Audiard

The kind of film that I don't often watch, Dheepan was a Palme d'Or winner at Cannes in 2015. Those are not just given out to any old trash film. The only other winners I have seen before are Pulp Fiction and The Pianist. That's literally it, I know full well exactly how goofy that is, I don't really care either. That being said, it shows how far my head is buried in the sand.  There are so many films on this list of winners that sound as if they're worth seeing, I've just never gotten around to it. Many of them are American and British films, so there's not much of an excuse. As long as there are subtitles I don't give much of a fuck about whether or not it's a foreign movie, this being a good example. Obviously, if I am to review a foreign movie, the odds that it is very good are extremely high. I have heard of Dheepan before even though I knew very few details, other than that it was a movie that was pertinent to the refugee crisis of our time. I usually have some kind of shitty, really lame comment to follow such a line, but in this case I don't. I can simply say that this was a film that could be considered a bit overboard, however it's a nice way for us to think about the way refugees integrate into our country.

Sivadhasan (Antonythasan Jesuthasan) is a Tamil Tiger, and this film is set near the end of the Sri Lankan Civil War. As is common knowledge, the Tamil Tigers lost this war, which was waged off and on for about 25 years. Sivadhasan is on the losing side, and he decides to burn his gear before heading to a refugee camp. Upon arriving at the refugee camp, there are things that need to be done. He has the ability to leave the country, but his wife and children have died. As we learn later, he says that the government burned their village and killed them. This happens in one of the few scenes where he lets his guard down, so I guess it's true. Due to his connections, he is able to assume the identity of someone and get their passport, in this case, it is a dead man named Dheepan. Dheepan had a wife and child, so he grabs two people in the camp who look moderately similar, and off they go. Yalini (Kalieaswari Srinivasan) is a young woman who claims to be 26 as that's what the passport says, she is obviously not. Illayaal (Claudine Vinasithamby) is a girl, she says she's 9. Yalini and Illayaal do not know each other at all, Yalini grabbed the kid because she looked similar to the passport. Illayaal's mother and family are dead. Once that's all done, it's off to Paris, even though Yalini has family in England.

After they get to Paris, Dheepan has a job selling toys on the street, but it really sucks and he has to run from the police constantly. If he's caught, he will be deported, because he's not supposed to work while seeking political asylum. Some time later, he receives an interview that can lead to him getting an actual job. In the course of the interview, his lie is absolutely busted by the translator and social worker. The thing is, the translator is also Tamil. They speak Tamil in order so that the social worker can't understand, and once the translator hears Dheepan's real name, he seems to know who he is. Dheepan/Sivadhasan is obviously someone known in Tamil circles, and once can only wonder what exactly that he's done. He wants to move on from that, so with the help of the translator, they cook up a nice little lie to tell the man in French, and subsequently Dheepan gets a job at Le Pre. Le Pre is a housing project somewhere in the suburbs of Paris, there are lots of criminals around. This is basically a drug den, similar to the towers in The Wire, where product is moved in and out. Dheepan is supposed to be the caretaker, but he needs help from Yalini in order to do this right. There are areas of the projects where he isn't allowed to go, and the crowd there is quite shady. The main man is some guy named Brahim (Vincent Rottiers), and he doesn't look dangerous, but clearly he is. We also have a little subplot where Illayaal is going to school in France, with Yalini having to pretend to be her mom even though she doesn't care about her.

One of the best things about this film is that nearly everything I described in the two above paragraphs happens in about twenty minutes of time. This is a film that initially shoves a ton of information into your space, you need to pay attention quite quickly. Of course, with an ambitious film such as this one, there are a lot of things that come off nicely and others that don't. The main problem I have with the film is that inevitably Illayaal becomes an ignored character despite having one of the best stories the film can offer. I have no idea what it would be like for a kid to wind up in a strange country, but all we really get to see of that is one big encounter with another student. This creative decision is what keeps Dheepan from being a real classic. There are some other scenes that really work, though. Through the translator, Dheepan encounters someone who was his superior in the Tigers. This does not go well for him, but eventually, he steers clear of his former problems that he presumably left back in Sri Lanka. The thing is, this encounter leads to one particularly harrowing scene where he sings a nationalist song and nearly breaks down in tears. This is probably the film's heaviest moment, one that is very difficult to handle. Dheepan obviously has some longing for his homeland, but what's done is done and he will not change his mind.

The finishing scenes are presented in surreal fashion, with everything happening very slowly in a haze of smoke. I have no intention of revealing exactly what happened, but I would like to talk about the man who played Dheepan. Mr. Jesuthasan is apparently an actual former Tamil Tiger, he left and wrote a few novels about his experiences. He says that 50% of the film is based on his own experiences as well, and said experiences do present some problems for him these days. It is very difficult for him to travel around the world as an actor, and apparently he does not want to go back to Sri Lanka. I have no idea what exactly he did, but I know he's written about it, and at some point I would like to find out. I know he also has a role in A Private War, an American movie about Marie Colvin which is coming out soon. It would be interesting if someone with his experiences made it big, and I am genuinely curious as to whether or not other people believe it is possible for a former soldier such as him to be rehabilitated. It is likely that he did things that would be considered atrocities.

I do think this is a very good film, but I think it suffers from the third act where it is decided that Dheepan turns on himself and sabotages his own growth as a human being. While obviously entirely realistic, emotional introspection does not always make for great scenes. There were a few too many here, I think the scene with the nationalist song sufficed just fine. There is nothing wrong with saying a film such as this is very good, but I am a bit surprised that such a feature won awards at Cannes. I suppose that it's very much a picture of the times, during a massive refugee crisis it is natural for a film such as this one to be extremely well received. While we do still have a mass refugee problem, it simply isn't the same, and most of the hysteria about things has died down as it turned out that refugees weren't setting out to rape every white woman in the Western Hemisphere. Who would have thought? Back to Dheepan, I think the film's greatest strength is that it saved its huge scenes for the absolute end of the film. That kind of narrative patience isn't something often seen, and a lot of people simply can't handle it. Dheepan is a film that I believe a lot of people would consider boring and uneventful. I am not one of those people. Things remain interesting throughout, even with a few repetitive scenes and a lack of overall focus on one of our three main characters. I set out to review at least one foreign film a month, and this was certainly worth the time.

8/10


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

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #867 on: October 03, 2018, 06:17:04 PM »


Into the Abyss (2011), directed by Werner Herzog

I have a few Werner Herzog documentaries lined up over the course of the next few months, but I believe this is the first work of Herzog's that I have ever seen. Of course, to pick a random documentary such as this is a bit odd, but that is what it is. Some of the stories of Herzog's shoots are well known and maniacal sounding, but the shooting of Into the Abyss is not going to be one of those. Into the Abyss is a documentary about something very specific, but it also doubles as a look into the way that white trash works, the way that our prison system and country creates criminals in future generations, and it's a good look into the way sociopathy works. One of Herzog's subjects was clearly a sociopath, he has since been executed by the state of Texas. This is, after all, a look into capital punishment. The thing is, over the course of the interviews in this documentary, this turns into something far more than that, where Herzog clearly becomes interested in his subjects to a point that it becomes clear he needs to tell their story. It is debatable whether or not this is a good thing, but it seems that Netflix has decided to go all in on a genre where murderers tell their stories. While this seems like blatant exploitation of families who have suffered from horrible crimes, this is America after all, therefore the free market will decide such things.

The facts of this case are quite straightforward, they are also public knowledge. This documentary is about murders committed by Michael Perry and Jason Burkett, both of whom were convicted of capital murder. It was decided that Perry would be executed, but after a plea from Burkett's father, he was given a life sentence with the possibility of parole about 23 years from now. This film presented some interesting moral questions to myself. The main one hanging over me, seeing as I don't really believe in capital punishment, is the question of whether or not a person can be reformed after killing two people in cold blood. A better way to phrase this is, should they be released out into society, or is it too much of a risk to public safety? I am in the camp of believing the latter, particularly after watching this documentary. Burkett's father in particular is a great case of this, a career criminal who seemingly can't help but hurt other people, one is left to wonder why he was ever let out of prison in the first place. Such an observation probably makes me a very bad liberal, but I am left with these feelings.

The criminal justice system is broken nearly beyond repair, but its greatest failing is an inability to fund programs that allow professionals to be able to judge whether or not inmates have truly reformed. These series of interviews do anything but justify capital punishment, but they are presented from a place with a lack of bias. Herzog clearly believes that capital punishment is immoral, but these feelings do not affect his making of the film. With the questions he gives Perry, he gives him enough rope for the viewer to decide whether or not Perry is deserving to breathe air. To better illustrate this, I should describe he and Burkett's crimes. One day, they were out and stopped at the house of two guys they knew. They intended to spend the night at the house and steal the car belonging to mother of one guy in the middle of the night, but those guys weren't home. Perry walked back outside, at which point it was decided that he would go back in, kill the woman, and take the car anyway. Afterwards, they dumped the body and set up a meeting with the other two guys. In the course of that meeting, they killed both those guys, and had two brand new cars, just like they wanted. Criminal masterminds these two were not. As stated by a detective on this case, Perry and Burkett left a lot of forensic evidence in their wake, and the case was proven beyond the beyond. There is no doubt whatsoever they did it.

Burkett and Perry both deny their involvement in these murders, which is what leads me to my initial statement, that I don't know if such people can ever be reformed if they can't even be truthful about what they did. I have concerns about public safety, even though I don't believe in capital punishment, I don't think there's any reason to release people like this out into the world. They were convicted of killing people because they wanted to have new cars. There are really no words to describe my disgust of this situation. This is, again, a film about capital punishment. Towards the end of this feature, we meet a man, Fred Allen, who was in charge of guard detail on Death Row. It was his job to oversee all of these executions. Strap in, kill, strap out. There was one particular case that was too much for him, and he couldn't do it anymore. In the course of his job, he killed about 100 people. Mr. Allen is now vehemently against capital punishment, not just because people shouldn't have the right to take lives, but because clearly a task should not be assigned to someone. Allthough Allen doesn't outright say this, he gives off such strong vibes of feeling this way that I was led to such a conclusion. There's another common theme here, the way everyone cites these events as being part of God's plan. Herzog serves as a journalist here and asks questions of these people, but never comments or questions the faith of these people in a sense to make them wonder why it is that they have/had these jobs or did these things. It is bizarro world thinking on the part of some of these individuals that it would be God's plan for their mothers, brothers, and sisters to be killed.

In matters unrelated to the case, we are shown insight into the Texas city in which this happened, Conroe. There's something beyond that as well, but the final picture painted is one of lower class white America. Two of our most interesting interview subjects are from different ends of this spectrum. First, there's a man who chews tobacco and continues to spit throughout the interview. This is a man who could not read until he went to prison. He gives insights about the area, and about our murderers in a sense that only a real local can. Their crime could never have worked, because as pointed out by our tobacco chewing lower class icon, the cars looked driven in. Perry and Burkett had claimed they won a scratcher, cashed it in at a gas station for an amount gas stations don't cash those for, and gotten loans for those two cars even though they were felons. Like, huh? That's America for you. The thing is, it wasn't the stuff about the murderers that was most interesting, it was our interview subject. Over the course of his interview, the viewer is easily able to see exactly how young men fall into this trap of violent crime for things they cannot afford. It is not something exclusive to any race in our country, it is a severe problem. The gap between those who have and those who don't is too large, but more than that, we have a problem with young people who don't have any guidance. This is something which is apparent throughout the film. Perry was a young man with parents who tried to be supportive, but with bad influences in life, he never wanted to follow rules. So, they kicked him out. Burkett's father was in jail for almost all of Burkett's life. Lack of guidance coupled with poverty is a horrendous mix.

Lastly, I should talk about the second of these two subjects, a woman who worked as a paralegal on one of Burkett's appeals who wound up marrying him. This is a phenomenon I have absolutely never understood on any level at all. Herzog is careful when questioning Burkett's wife, he allows her to tell the whole story in her words. It is a damning story against herself. Burkett is not supposed to be allowed to have children, but his semen was smuggled out of prison. Another young man with no fatherly guidance will enter the world. This is something that speaks ofr itself, something I just can't understand, but it's questions like these that drive the film. This isn't a perfect film, and as I said, I am unsure whether or not movies are good for the public sphere. They are exploitation, but they are also informative for people so that they know what to do when raising their children so that they don't wind up like these murderers. I will continue to watch these things, but I don't know what to make of their influence on public culture. Odds are that I won't ever wrap my head around it. This isn't a profile of the facts of Burkett and Perry's case, because it's obvious they did it. Instead, it's about people and life. Simple as that. Into the Abyss is also extremely depressing, so you've been warned.

7/10


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

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #868 on: October 05, 2018, 01:39:59 PM »


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016), directed by David Yates

I was inevitably going to be forced into watching Fantastic Beasts, so my idea was that I should watch it on my own terms, when I had nothing to do. That was the other day. I'm just now getting around to writing this because I didn't know exactly how I was going to phrase anything in this review. Simply put, I'm not a huge fan of this series and I don't have much of an "inner child" beyond sometimes laughing at fart and piss jokes. Because I'm not a fan of this series, I am naturally going to have very high standards for what I require from these movies. My initial impression of the film was that it was less child oriented than the Harry Potter films, which is both a positive and negative for numerous reasons. Obviously, the huge negative of that is that a film with such a massive change could lead to an alienated audience, which judging from box offices, it sort of was. That isn't to say this film was unsuccessful or anything of the sort. The positive of Fantastic Beasts being more adult oriented is that I don't feel so bad about watching it. Still, all those things considered, I don't think this was a particularly great film. More like barely good, but films that introduce this many characters tend to have such problems.

It's the 1920's, some distance after the war, and British wizard Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) is headed to Arizona by way of New York. The guy is plain out goofy, and there's some good reasons for that, like the whole thing about doing magic. On the way to the train station to get to Arizona, he encounters Mary Lou (Samantha Morton), a woman who strongly believes in having a second Salem witch trials and killing all magic users. Not everyone believes in magic and all that stuff, but she sure does. She's giving a speech about killing these wizards, during which Newt and a non-magic user named Jacob run into each other. The two accidentally swap briefcases, and of course, a magical creature escapes from Newt's briefcase. This creature seems to have an affinity for shiny objects, and it takes them to stash in a pouch it has on its body. While that's all going on, they're also being watched by Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston), a former investigator employed by the magical leadership in our country, known here as MACUSA. Tina sees the rampage going on here, and decides that she's going to arrest Newt in an attempt to get her old job back. Unbeknownst to everyone, it turns out that Newt and Jacob still don't have their own briefcases, so when Newt opens his case, there's nothing there and he's free to go.

On the other side of town, it isn't going quite so well. Jacob opens the briefcase, which we later learn contains a gigantic magically hidden room full of mystical creatures, or as the title says, fantastic beasts. In the process of doing so, he releases quite a few of them out into the world, where nobody knows how to react to them and with magic users trying to remain hidden. I should follow up by introducing the rest of the world rather than detailing the events of the movie. Queenie (Alison Sudol) is Tina's sister, she has the ability to read minds and is really hot. This works out to her benefit as the movie goes on. The aforementioned Mary Lou has children, all of whom she mistreats, but none moreso than Credence (Ezra Miller). Credence gets beaten frequently, his state of mind isn't great. There's also Percival Graves (Colin Farrell), a very high ranking investigator for MACUSA. We also have a very forced in plot where Jon Voight is the father of a US senator, but this isn't entirely expanded upon. The senator is killed over the course of the events here. Also, there's Grindelwald (Johnny Depp), a powerful sorcerer who is unseen throughout the film, but there are headlines early on saying that he's causing havoc in the world. Lastly, I should mention that Percival sees something in Credence, and had a vision in which he saw Credence next to a dangerous magic user, he just doesn't know who it is.

As a result of all these little plot trails and character introductions, Fantastic Beasts is extremely long, and unfortunately it felt like every bit of that length. There were lots of things I did like about this, to be fair. The effects of the creatures were excellent, and so were the scenes they were in when outside of the briefcase. I thought they were very, very entertaining. Redmayne's performance here is also good if extremely odd, but that befits one of these magical characters better than it would in some other situation. The restraint required to act this weird in a film, I am wondering how many takes are required to do it, but I haven't seen any stories aobut shooting being too difficult. Of course, as you'd expect, this film does exist in order to create another franchise, so that's why there are so many characters here. This film, to me, is mostly entirely about the CGI, period setting, and set design. All of these things work out very well, better than expected.

As I already said, due to the film being slightly more adult themed (beasts excepted), I am uncertain about the potential audience for this franchise. The second movie is coming out in a stacked November season, there's tons of competition although perhaps not for the same audience. I don't know. All of the little side lore things don't really do anything for me, in all honesty. I also don't care for all of the characters. The casting for Jacob is genuinely bizarre and I'm stunned by who they chose for this spot. It didn't make sense to me when I started watching Fantastic Beasts and it really doesn't now. The initial scene where our characters come together for the first time is also ridiculously convoluted, and I think this is a film that suffers from there being too much going on in an attempt to set up sequels. This is also a movie that it feels as if there's some sort of an entry barrier for, that it is more heavily geared towards those who read JK Rowling's books. As someone who isn't one of those people, it's a bit weird and overwhelming at times. Newt also has very little backstory and it is difficult to care about him, but I am very sure that they will address that in sequels.

I guess I will continue to watch these movies, because of course I will as I watch just about anything. The problem is, in the second entry, this franchise needs to go down a road a bit more narrow than this one. The lack of closure in our story here also feels a bit odd. Of course, to compare this film to anything, it would be to compare it to the first Harry Potter movie. The latter of the two was the better film. It was much more careful in ensuring that the massive amount of characters in that film had their own motivations, it was also better cast and more grounded in reality, as unrealistic as this kind of magic stuff actually is. Spells were not cast to wipe the memory of an entire city in the aftermath of a bad event, the characters were instead shunted off to their own corner of the world, where everything is relatively able to stand up to reason. I think I would have liked things more had the character of Jacob not even existed, there was too much he did that annoyed me and distracted from my immersion into the film and universe. I don't think I would have been a super fan or anything, but the film's chances of success in my eyes would have been far greater without Jacob in it. I still enjoyed most of what I saw and am here for more.

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

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #869 on: October 05, 2018, 06:49:02 PM »


Logan Lucky (2017), directed by Steven Soderbergh

Once again, it's time for another Soderbergh movie. I simply can't help myself. To be fair, I had every intention of finally watching Logan Lucky before the end of this year, so this was planned all along. The initial premise of this being a NASCAR heist movie doesn't exactly do justice to what the film actually is. I feel like Soderbergh was able to get the amount of cameos in this movie by dropping hints of that basic premise, but this is so much more. Directed from a surprisingly brilliant script, Logan Lucky is much more about the ways in which working class people are constantly fucked over. The film's ending is completely representative of this, but I will refrain from saying what the ending actually is as it's just better that way. It's also possible that the ending serves as a red herring and that the person involved was in on it too. After all, there are a lot of things that seemingly wouldn't be able to be executed otherwise. Or it could just be the curse. I haven't entirely explored 2017 yet, I have a long way to go after all, but I am starting to get the feeling that 2017 was a year in which lots of these crazy ideas finally hit the point of being made, creating an incredible amount of diversity in genres at the cinema. This wasn't a perfect movie or anything, but it was certainly different.

The film starts off in West Virginia, where it is made clear that our characters are anything but well off. Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) is laid off from his job at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the reason being that he failed to divulge a pre-existing knee injury. It doesn't matter that his job is driving related, he's a liability and he has to be laid off. The rest of his life is alright, I guess. His daughter Sadie is into beauty pageants, but his ex-wife Bobbie Jo (Katie Holmes) is not so great. Bobbie Jo intends to move the family down to Lynchburg, because her new husband Moody (David Denman) is opening a new car dealership. Jimmy can't afford this shit and he's pissed, but his sister Mellie (Riley Keough) seems to not even react for some reason. Jimmy heads to a bar, which we learn is run by his brother Clyde (Adam Driver), an Iraq war vet who lost his hand. While they're there, Max Chilblain (Seth MacFarlane) pulls in with his entourage. He owns a NASCAR team, one which is bringing a driver out of retirement to run the Coca Cola 600, but anyway, Chilblain is a British guy with no class. Eventually he gets in a fight with the brothers, and Clyde throws a Molotov cocktail into his car. On the way out, Jimmy shouts out a code, 'cauliflower.'

The next day, we are made aware of what cauliflower actually entails. Jimmy has a great plan, but Clyde is reticent because they once tried a robbery and Clyde wound up having to do time after the plans didn't go so well. This time, Jimmy is prepared. He tells Clyde of his plan to rob Charlotte Motor Speedway, and tells him he knows all the details, knows how to do everything. He just needs some help. First, they go visit Joe Bang (Daniel Craig) in prison. The plan is to break Joe out and return him before anyone notices. The first step is for Clyde and Jimmy to go recruit Joe's brothers Fish (Jack Quaid) and Sam (Brian Gleeson), as he won't participate without them. I should mention that I am floored the same guy could be Sam and also be Brendan Gleeson's son. It is unbelievable. Clyde and Jimmy are quick to tell each other that Sam and Fish will only know what they need to. They are idiots. Second, Clyde needs to get himself into prison so they can spring Joe Bang. He decides to drive through a convenience store. The initial plan is to rob a lottery event, but instead, things change and they must rob...the Coca Cola 600. Over the course of the events, we have appearances from Hilary Swank, Macon Blair, the NASCAR on Fox crew, Sebastian Stan, Dwight Yoakam, Katherine Wasterston, and numerous NASCAR drivers who I recognized. That is all I would like to reveal about the story in this section, but there will be more.

Perhaps my favorite thing about the movie, was when I realized insurance people were the ones truly robbed by our crew. This is an absolutely hilarious movie overall, but most of the humor is dropped into the first half. It is impossible not to laugh at Daniel Craig and Adam Driver. Their accents are amazing, this movie is a hell of a lot of fun. It is also the kind of movie where things happen so quickly that you don't have time to think about them, which is great considering that a lot of things in Logan Lucky probably don't hold up under real scrutiny. Another thing I realized is that I don't want to see Daniel Craig play James Bond anymore. I think I am now fully in the camp of people who want to see actors leave franchises before they become too entrenched in their roles. I do not want to see the same guy put on the same suit 10-15 times in their career. When they're good enough to do other things, to show range and diversity in their roles, I want them to do that. This movie accurately captures a lot of what being a redneck in America really feels like. I lived in Arkansas for a while as some of you know, this is how people in these areas are. The bear is another great joke that comes out of nowhere.

The negatives in this movie are actually few and far between, but in checking to see what other people thought of the ending, I saw a lot of complaints about Hilary Swank. To be fair, I can see why people would be mixed on her role here. The deadpan things she was say were almost too far overboard. I also don't understand the point of Katherine Waterston's character other than her being a simple way to show some kind of Robin Hood allegory. After all, insurance paid for the money the Speedway lost, those were the people really robbed from, and the insurance industry is constantly fucking people over. I also don't like Seth MacFarlane and I don't think any role will ever change that, so his character was a weakness. I understand that his character was supposed to serve as a rich guy who picked on the less fortunate, but I would have preferred it more if Sebastian Stan's character had been on screen more. I am being deliberately vague here, Stan's character is a massive strength in the film. That's about it as far as negatives go, but the usual heist movie tropes exist here as well. It just so happens that I usually love said tropes.

The jokes in this film come out of nowhere, and this certainly isn't a perfect movie as it is quite convoluted, but I thought this was too much fun. I hate to phrase things this way, but this movie serves as an homage to the parts of Trump's America that people actually like. There isn't any hatred here, hence the last few words in that previous sentence. It's about the good things, the friendships that people have, the laughable way in which some rednecks act. The pageant scene is something that would feel like cheese in almost any other movie, but it doesn't feel like that here. It has heart. The roles these actors were asked to play could not have been further from their usual role. That almost all of these actors were able to pull it off speaks quite well for them. My high score is related to the fact that Logan Lucky blends some of my favorite things. Cameos from sports people always rate with me, but it's a heist movie. I love them, haven't seen many I didn't like. What I really needed to do a year ago was figure out my scoring system the way I have it figured out now. I gave Star Wars: The Last Jedi a higher score than this, but with the benefit of hindsight, I liked this quite a bit more and they should have been given the same score. I do think I have things figured out now, as if you'll look at my 2018 list, I have given hardly anything a massively favorable score. Everything is where it deserves to be.

8/10

2017 Films Ranked


1. Get Out
2. Logan
3. Wonder Woman
4. Logan Lucky
5. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
6. The Lost City of Z
7. I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
8. Kong: Skull Island
9. Split
10. Megan Leavey
11. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
12. Win It All
13. War Machine
14. Fist Fight


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

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #870 on: October 07, 2018, 06:29:26 PM »


Valkyrie (2008), directed by Bryan Singer

A movie I once bought on DVD and never watched, Valkyrie is a very deep dive into history, and some would call it historical fiction in the first place. I would say that the film gets the heart of the conspiracy accurate even though some details are missed. Even though I had this DVD, I could never bring myself to watch this because I knew that this was an attempt at making an award winning film that didn't come off. Also,  I was refusing to watch Cruise's movies once I actually got around to watching the DVD about a year or so later. Such ideals are no longer commonplace in my heart and his stuff isn't really my problem. If nothing else, like Anthropoid, I appreciate this movie because it delves into parts of Nazi Germany that aren't covered so much by film. That doesn't mean I'm saying it's good, what I would say is that it's almost good. It's hard to get past seeing Tom Cruise in this role. Without his involvement, Valkyrie never would have been made. With his involvement, I can only see an American in this role, someone who does not even attempt to do an accent, and admittedly this is quite difficult for me. This is also different for Hollywood in the sense that it doesn't have a good ending, everyone knows that Hitler lived, but the suspense is in how and whether or not any of the coup's participants survived. They did not.

The film begins in Tunisia, with Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise) being maimed during an RAF air raid. In the process, he loses his right hand, some fingers on his left hand, and his left eye. Of course, this leads to von Stauffenberg being moved off the front and sent home to Nazi Germany. It is made clear in his brief scene that he is of the rebellious sort and will question authority. While that's going on, Major General Henning von Tresckow (Kenneth Branagh) is attempting to kill Hitler by putting a bomb onboard his airplane. It does not go off, but he is able to retrieve the bomb in Berlin without anyone finding out. Even though nobody knows, he is still sent off to the front and doesn't appear until the end of the film. Regardless, he appears to be heavily involved with the German Resistance, and he orders General Olbricht (Bill Nighy) to find a replacement for a general the Gestapo has arrested. Enter von Stauffenberg, who has been recruited into the group. He appears at a meeting, which includes General Ludwig Beck (Terence Stamp), Dr. Carl Goerdeler (Kevin McNally), and Field Marshal Erwin von Witzleben (David Schofield). There is a plan for these three to share power if they are able to pull off their plans and kill Hitler, it's as simple as that. Beck would serve as head of state, Goerdeler as Chancellor, and von Witzleben in command of the military.

von Stauffenberg has been placed into the Reserve Army, under the command of General Friedrich Fromm (Tom Wilkinson). von Stauffenberg is his Chief of Staff, which leads to him being able to recruit others into the resistance and potentially pull off their plan. During a bombing raid where he's sheltered, he gets an idea to use Operation Valkyrie. The operation needs to be altered and would require Hitler's signature in order to do so, but it could be done. It would be required to take the SS and Gestapo out of the plans entirely so they do not need anything. In addition, von Stauffenberg needs the cooperation or active support of Fromm, who decides not to be directly involved. He says that regardless of what is offered to him, he will steer clear of the operation as long as Hitler is alive. As such, he simply becomes a witness and doesn't do anything. von Stauffenberg's job becomes extremely difficult, however. Due to the plans, his job becomes both to assassinate Hitler and carry out the actual operation, requiring an impossible balancing act. It would clearly be easier for someone else to do the assassination, but nobody can get close enough. So, with that in mind, his job is to coordinate the taking of Berlin, kill Hitler at the Wolf's Lair, and to do all those things within a few hours of each other even though both locations are nowhere near each other.

As we know, this didn't work out. I was left to think that it was never going to work out, but the way in which von Stauffenberg had to rush across the country didn't exactly help matters. Things would have gone more smoothly if someone was there to watch Hitler be killed and subsequently relay the information. Even if that had happened, it's difficult to know whether or not the coup could have been pulled off. There would have been an immense power vacuum for certain, but there's no way to know if von Stauffenberg's group would have been able to adequately fill it. The idea to arrest SS and Gestapo members was a great one, though. This just didn't come off. I know there's some historical inaccuracy though, but I think that's inevitable in this kind of film. There were some creative decisions made with the first assassination attempt that was called off, which did not happen at the Wolf's Lair. It was argued by writers that this was done in order to show the inside of the concrete command bunker, and that the assassination would have worked if it had taken place inside of the bunker. The film also doesn't talk about what von Stauffenberg wanted for a post-Nazi Germany. In fact he didn't want a post-Nazi Germany. He wanted to retain National Socialism, he also wanted to end corruption and to establish a firm military dictatorship. I do not know if he was aware of the camps, that isn't stated anywhere I could find. Tom Cruise portraying this guy just feels off, in large part because of the accent. This isn't a typical Tom Cruise, over the top performance, it's just really strange.

Overall, Valkyrie is an entertainment movie and not a historical lesson, so very much of the film works to that end. There is very little characterization of anyone except von Stauffenberg, who had a wife and children who didn't even speak through the movie. This was apparently deemed to be irrelevant and I'm fine with that, but again, it's a bit strange. The motivations of other characters are entirely unclear. Almost nothing is stated about the Holocaust, which is either a creative decision or a simple fact that none of these specific conspirators really knew. I doubt the latter, but these conspirators were as far from in contact with the SS as one could possibly be. The way in which the plot is executed works out really well in terms of being understandable, which can be difficult with a film that boasts this many historical representations of real human beings. The ending is particularly well executed in the context of everyone wishing that things turned out differently, but the facts are the facts. It sugarcoated nothing and because the plot failed, there is no true moral lesson to be learned from this movie. In that way it's actually quite strange, the lack of insight as to the character's mindsets allows for very little sympathy for anyone involved. Only in researching after the fact does one find that the tenets of Nazi Germany were intended to be maintained under a more stable hand, as the conspirators saw it.

I am careful not to judge movies before watching them, and Valkyrie as a whole is one huge reason why. I felt that the movie was much better once the bomb goes off. The first half is laden with heavy exposition, it is heavy in basically every scene. The history here is solid although presented in an entertaining way rather than being extremely accurate, and I thought the performances from everyone except Cruise were really fitting for this film. It isn't that Cruise is bad, he just doesn't belong here. That the film doesn't allow the viewer to know who any of these people were, I think that works against this and keeps it from being really forceful as a film. It doesn't feel as if anyone other than von Stauffenberg had courage in their convictions, and instead plodded through a coup that was quite interesting in spite of that. There are a few other films related to similar things that I need to check out, like Downfall, but much like Downfall I believe they are not in English. Still, there's nothing wrong with that. I just need to get around to it is all. If anyone else has recommendations I would appreciate them, as even though I do watch things when they're expiring, that would at least make me aware of them in the first place. I would gladly give this film a higher rating if the characters in it were given more humanity, but that didn't happen.

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

Offline cobainwasmurdered

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #871 on: October 07, 2018, 11:12:54 PM »
It was impossible for someone of his rank not to know of the existence of the camps and some vague details of what was happening. Information on the camps was widely known even by civilians in Germany at that point. The Russians also had liberated the first death camps in either may or the start of July and shared the info with everyone, and prior to that prisoners had gotten photos and other evidence out.

Offline The Mole

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #872 on: October 07, 2018, 11:49:50 PM »
Not that it makes it any better, but I would wager that much of the civilian populace and many of the military had knowledge of the camps as labor or internment camps as opposed to extermination camps.  Eastern Front military servicemen almost certainly had knowledge of SS atrocities (hangings, mass shootings, deportations, looting/pillaging/burning) as there is ample evidence that they assisted the SS in carrying them out, either directly or indirectly.  Stauffenberg's front line service was primarily in France and North Africa, where atrocities were less frequent.  He was certainly aware of Jewish mistreatment and may have partly engaged in the resistance with this in mind, but his true motivations are something which are still being debated.

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #873 on: October 08, 2018, 06:13:39 PM »


Sand Castle (2017), directed by Fernando Coimbra

Is it bad when a glut of Iraq War movies leads to a point where many of them have the potential to become cliched? I think it is. Cliched isn't automatically bad, and fortunately this doesn't head down the road where soldiers cannot tell friend from foe, but this is a Netflix exclusive that perfectly illustrates why it wound up on Netflix in the first place. There is nothing inherently wrong with pictures that show us the futility of war, but when that's all something brings to the table, the unremarkable characters in such a film will really fail to shine through. The only remarkable character I found died halfway through the film, so that wasn't so nice. Sand Castle is a film that follows the futile tasks of soldiers, specifically focusing on a mission that doesn't go positively. I appreciate that there are films which now specialize in showing viewers specific things, particularly those that decide to place the random tasks and events that soldiers go through in order to construct a story. The problem is, there is no real message here, or at least not a good one. I was left with the idea that our lead character toughened up and wanted to become a real soldier, which after the things this film contains is an extremely dangerous message to be putting out there. If that wasn't the message, someone goofed up.

Pvt. Matt Ocre (Nicholas Hoult) is a young infantryman who signed up for the Army Reserves in 2001, before 9/11. This is set at the beginning of the Iraq War, and Ocre slams his hand in the door of a Humvee to get home. Subsequently, there's a narration scene where he tells us that the reason he registered as a reserve was to get money for college, but it didn't quite go down just like that after the attacks. His attempt to smash his hand didn't work, he had a cast on his arm, and it was due to be cut off. After the cast is removed, against his protestations, it's time for him to head off to Baghdad. In our first skirmish of the film, he and Sgt. Chutsky (Glen Powell) encounter a sniper while clearing a building. After the building is cleared, they head to the roof and Ocre is scared shitless. Chutsky calls in a helicopter strike, Ocre thinks they're too close and bad shit will happen. Instead, the strike blows apart the building, killing the sniper and most likely anyone else near the corner of the building that was taken out. Sounds like a great time. It will amaze me for the rest of my life that nobody has been prosecuted for doing this to Iraqis and to our soldiers.

After Baghdad has been taken, we skip forward a little bit. Ocre is the low man on the totem pole in his squad, which consists of the aforementioned Sgt. Chutsky, Sgt. Burton (Beau Knapp), Cpl. Enzo (Neil Brown Jr.), and Staff Sgt. Harper (Logan Marshall Green), their leader. As you might expect, Pvt. Ocre gets all the shit duties. They receive a new mission from on high, it's a tough one too. They are tasked with repairing a broken water system in Baqubah, a large city which was a huge flashpoint during the war. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was stationed there, so naturally there were a lot of rebels. Since the war, a lot of people bailed the hell out of there. It's about 30 miles from Baghdad as well. Upon arriving in Baqubah, they are supposed to link up with Cpt. Syverson (Henry Cavill), the leader of a special forces unit running operations there. For odd reasons we are only shown him running one single operation. Anyway, their mission consists of delivering water to Iraqis, which sucks as it seems nobody knows how to orderly line up to receive said water. In addition, they are supposed to repair the pump station and pipes, but Army engineers say that this job will take weeks. These guys do not have weeks.

The film's purpose is to show the futility of these tasks, which leads to Sand Castle culminating in a suicide attack that resets the events to where they were before the squad showed up in Baqubah to begin with. The road to this point is actually not so great in the sense that if you've seen one of these kinds of movies, you know what's going to happen. It is the job of the director and screenwriter to elevate things about the matter of formality, this was not done here. Sand Castle can only be described as generic, which is not great for the viewer or for anyone. In a cinematic sense, the problem with the Iraq War is that these are the kinds of films that you'd get. It is also incredibly hard for filmmakers to sugarcoat matters. The Hurt Locker and Jarhead are probably as good as it's going to get, and Jarhead was only good and not great in the first place. The war was fucked. Both of those are character stories, this really isn't, it's a statement on the futility of dealing with people who didn't want us there, but we already knew that. I should watch Generation Kill.

I think there were a few good scenes and interactions between soldiers in Sand Castle, but admittedly as soon as the most realistic character in this movie ate shit, my expectations for what was to come drastically lowered. Sand Castle just does not really hit any major marks, it is the definition of average. I am stunned that Henry Cavill was in this playing such an unimportant seeming role, and it's probably no surprise that he's going to do a Netflix series now. Whatever was there in Mission: Impossible - Fallout, it has just been decided by Hollywood that he doesn't seem to have that. There is no other rational explanation for his career route. I don't really mind, it just is what it is. Our lead character played by Hoult is only interesting when he's slamming his hand into a Humvee door. He should have been given a few other scenes where he showed excitement like that, but we didn't get any. Such is life. There are also scenes with characters who do not adhere to regulations with their appearance, which is something that I find incredibly distracting and offputting. It almost felt like nobody cared at all to make sure they did what was supposed to be done.

The futility of war is something that has been made into film so many times that a movie really needs to bring something else to the table. Haven't we all seen shit like this before? You can swap the jungles of Vietnam for the sands of Iraq, but ultimately, this movie is a dime a dozen effort that brings nothing new to the war movie genre. The battle scene that leads our film to the conclusion is either poorly edited or shot that way because of a lack of budget. I find both to be faulty to the point of being unforgivable. I get no joy or terror from watching soldiers shoot at objects/people that are never shown on screen. I thought these scenes were absolutely brutal, and after those, I checked out until the end. I could still not help but notice that the film concludes with our soldier begging to be allowed to stay to finish his fight. That is...weird? I don't know what to make of this creative decision. While I appreciate that Sand Castle deals with a simple mission, for these kinds of films, when they're good anyway, the devil is in the details. A film entirely lacking in details is an unusual kind of problem I am unaccustomed to. In looking at IMDB, this is the lowest ranking I've given to a war movie since Pearl Harbor. Granted, I haven't watched too many of them, but I'm surprised.

4.5/10

2017 Films Ranked


1. Get Out
2. Logan
3. Wonder Woman
4. Logan Lucky
5. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
6. The Lost City of Z
7. I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
8. Kong: Skull Island
9. Split
10. Megan Leavey
11. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
12. Win It All
13. War Machine
14. Sand Castle
15. Fist Fight


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

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #874 on: October 09, 2018, 06:40:20 PM »
This movie more than any other shows the chasm between an 8 and 9.5 in my rating system.



Moonlight (2016), directed by Barry Jenkins

With movie #900 being tonight I wanted to make sure I watched something real, something good. I had intended to slot Moonlight into either this spot or the one for #1000, but it just so happens that it was time on my schedule to finally get around to this. Moonlight is simultaneously a moving film, but it's one that may make someone think about their own actions and how wrong they were. I won't explore that because I just can't bring myself to get into that aspect of the film, but I will give this the love that it deserves regardless of that. Moonlight plays a neat little trick at the beginning, making me think the story will go down a different road than it actually does, but in the context of the rest of the film, everything made sense. Moonlight is a movie that could absolutely not have been made ten years ago, not only for the simple fact that nobody would watch it, but because the importance of the story would simply fall by the wayside and miss those who the story is intended to impact in the first place. That such a film would be made on such a tiny budget is a heroic achievement on its own, and because of advancements in modern cameras, you genuinely can't tell the difference between this and any other movie in terms of the way it looks. Of course, I'm just getting that out of the way now so I don't have to mention it later. There's a whole lot to mention later.

Moonlight is told in three distinct chapters, with three versions of two people. Our story entirely follows Chiron, a man who is on his journey through life as a gay black male, unknowing how to feel about it as such things are left unsaid by people of his upbringing. The first chapter is about the youngest version, played by Alex Hibbert, no more than eight years old. The second is about the teenager, nearly an adult, played by Ashton Sanders. Lastly, there's the adult Chiron, nicknamed Black, played by Trevante Rhodes. I guess I will summarize parts of each chapter. The first one starts with Juan (Mahershala Ali), who finds Chiron in a vacant home, hiding from bullies who are calling him a faggot and all kinds of other bad things. Chiron won't speak, won't tell Juan where he lives, so Chiron has to stay the night with Juan and his girlfriend Teresa (Janelle Monae) before going home to his mom, Paula (Naomie Harris). Juan wants to teach Chiron how to make his way in life, and in the course of these events, we find out that Paula is a crack smoker who is pretty close to wandering the streets of Miami. The scene that concludes this chapter is actually quite painful viewing. Little did I know that this moment would set up quite a bit of the rest of the film.

The second chapter, with Chiron as a teenager, has his closest friend Kevin (also present in the first chapter, played by Jaden Piner, Jharrel Jerome, and Andre Holland) still present in his school life. I didn't want to say what happened with him in the first chapter in case anyone hasn't seen this. Chiron's teenage life is a bit more difficult, with Terrel (Patrick Decile) bullying him constantly. Paula is bugged out and that leads Chiron to have to spend time at Teresa's house. Kevin, on the other hand, they're still close. One night, they both wind up at the beach. While smoking weed, they talk to each other about their life as kids. The scene ends with Kevin jerking Chiron off. I don't want to say what happens in the rest of the chapter either.

The third chapter begins with Chiron once again, who now goes by the nickname of Black. Chiron, much like Juan, is a drug dealer now. He lives in Atlanta and his mom is finally in a drug treatment center, where she's not only clean but now works as a volunteer. One day, Chiron receives a call from Kevin, who tells him that he went to jail and is now working as a cook back in Miami. After a conversation between Chiron and Paula, Chiron heads back to Miami to see Kevin.

The way in which Chiron's life works makes for extremely tough viewing, and I thought the scenes with Juan attempting to be his mentor were by some distance the most engaging parts of the film. That is my opinion anyway. Due to Juan and Chiron's characters, I was left to think about the way in which drugs simultaneously destroy black communities while also providing a way for those in them to have financial success. This is in no way an attempt to rationalize drug dealing, but this observation is something that easily came to mind when watching this film. The third act, in my opinion, contains a small mistake in this sense. Black is slightly underdeveloped as a character and while it is easy to rationalize his decisions as a front to hide his true self, his true self also clouded the picture for myself.

The dick measuring scene is one that I thought was accurate in terms of being something that kids participate in, although I did not do so myself as I didn't often go to other people's houses as a child, I heard that this happened. That such exhibits are a displace of masculinity is entirely hypocritical, particularly in a culture where masculinity is of the utmost importance. I do not know if such importance on masculinity going away in any of our communities, but I would be interested to know. I thought a lot of Chiron's problems stemmed from an inability to talk to someone, but this story is told over a very long scale of time. How does a kid tell someone they're gay? This is something which is unanswerable for those who have no experience doing such things. Professionals are able to tell others how they should respond, but there isn't a handbook on how to deal with telling the truth about something which provokes bigoted responses from such a large, diverse group of people.

Loneliness is something a lot of people can understand, but gay loneliness is something unique to those who experience it, something which is particularly brutally sad. Moonlight's greatest achievement is in showing people what it is like to be a black gay man in our country, and what's sad is that I'm not sure it's really getting any better for people. The layers of this story are all highly successful, although again, I feel the need to say that I didn't like the way the third act started off. The third act was redeemed by its conclusion, when Chiron finally decides to tell someone how he feels, the first and only time that he has done so. Barry Jenkins appropriately summarized how this situation should be perceived, and it was also the way I perceived it. I think I should quote this, and it leads me to wish that this story wasn't really concluded. Mr. Jenkins has created something that is immensely engaging, something that leaves the viewer wanting more, which in and of itself is a heroic achievement.

Barry Jenkins (writer/director):

Quote
I don’t believe in tidy resolutions. I do think he’s more himself than he ever is in the film we see - that, I’m absolutely, 1,000 percent sure of. Whether that’s married to Kevin, I can’t say. He’s a person who had a very difficult childhood and doesn’t have a lot of experience in relationships, so imagine trying to come home to that person seven days a week. What a fucking mess. But I do think, at heart, he’s a good dude, and I think this reconciliation with (Paula, his mother) and Kevin and their story is going to set him on the path toward being the good dude that he is.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/moonlight-chiron-end_us_5810f815e4b0990edc2ec6fa

I'm going to conclude things as I don't believe I'm educated enough to properly summarize a lot of the other things I wanted to say. However, I did want to say that every actor was fantastic in this film. From the bully, to Mahershala Ali, to Ashton Sanders, to Andre Holland, to Naomie Harris, and I have to stop there before I start writing a gigantic list. Moonlight is a film that feels satisfying immediately after finishing it, but much more so after taking some time to really consider what has been watched. I don't think this is a perfect film and I have explained why, but I think this is a movie that speaks to its viewers like few others. The marks were hit, and very rarely does a film both accomplish bringing viewers along for the journey and carefully ensuring that people are able to learn something about themselves and try to become better people as a result of the experience. The realities of poor black America are also extremely harsh, something which has been shown numerous times in cinema or on television, but never ceases to bring new things to light in the process.

9.5/10


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

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #875 on: October 12, 2018, 06:28:33 PM »


Sleepless (2017), directed by Baran bo Odar

My first reaction upon completing Sleepless was to instantly hit Google and see who directed the movie. Upon doing so, I see that this catastrophe may not have been the director's fault. This is a remake of a French film called Sleepless Night, it was quite critically acclaimed. Baran bo Odor created and directed a German Netflix series called Dark, it is very critically acclaimed. The movie moves far too quickly, but the writer played a part in writing Straight Outta Compton. The cinematographer filmed The Master. The cast is good. I have no idea who to blame here! I think the main problem with Sleepless is that its been done far too many times before, and seemingly the cast knows this and does not care. I can come to no other conclusion at all. The film has good scenes, I won't dispute that, but this is one of the most poorly, corny acted films I've seen in a long time. This is a movie that I may have enjoyed some years ago, but these days, it's just too cheesy for me to even care that much. I'm not sure Jamie Foxx even gives a shit anymore. I was wondering where he went for years, but now I know. I need to finish this as quickly as I possibly can.

It's Las Vegas, with Vincent Downs (Jamie Foxx) and Sean Cass (T.I.) starting the movie off robbing some drug dealers. Come to find out the two are policemen, as the movie's poster would indicate, and the shipment belonged to a casino magnate, Stanley Rubino (Dermot Mulroney). Rubino intends to sell the shipment to Rob Novak (Scoot McNairy), who apparently is the son of a very powerful mob guy. Vincent and Sean volunteer to investigate the robbery so that they don't get busted for what they've done, but in the process of doing so, they encounter Jennifer Bryant (Michelle Monaghan) and Doug Dennison (David Harbour), two Internal Affairs officers who don't buy Vincent and Sean's reasoning for being on the case. When Vincent and Sean volunteered, they took the case from two other guys, and subsequently we get an extremely disjoined scene about Vincent's family life. His ex-wife Dena (Gabrielle Union) is getting remarried after years of neglect, and Thomas (Octavius Johnson) suffers from the same treatment from his father. Thomas is nearly a grown man, I should note.

While Vincent is taking Thomas to a game his son is playing in, Vincent is ambushed by Rubino's security guards. He shouldn't have stolen! The security guards stab him and take Thomas out of the car, and they demand the stolen cocaine back in exchange for Thomas. Now Vincent has a job on his hands, he needs to get the cocaine, hide his involvement in all this, and somehow keep his job. Alright. There's a few other things, though. Jennifer is following him, knows everything he's doing. Not only that, but Novak is extremely violent and is shown cutting off the tongue of one of Rubino's family members. Let's also add into the whole thing that Jennifer got blown up at one of Novak's meth labs. Let's ALSO add in that Dena wants her son back and Vincent hasn't returned the kid on time. Let's ALSO add in the fact that Rubino has effectively been forced into giving Novak the cocaine in the first place. LET'S ALSO add in that Vincent has a secret he's keeping from everyone. DO YOU GET THE PICTURE? DO YOU?

All these things I added in are good for one thing, they let the viewer know that this movie is a piece of shit. The secrets are revealed in the most haphazard ways possible, the acting for these scenes is in some ways unbelievable too. I don't enjoy saying anything bad about actors, but T.I. was so bad. An Oscar winning performance I wasn't expecting, but I also expected that there would be a take for one of his scenes where his lines were delivered effectively. Maybe they used the best take, maybe they didn't have any other takes. I honestly don't know. Not only is the movie too complicated, but apparently it deviates from the source material very much. The characters here are all bad with the exception of Officer Bryant, who seems to serve as the lone moral individual here. Of course, with that being the case, that means the moral center in Sleepless is about as far off from reality as it could possibly be. On the subject of being far off from reality, we have blatant sequel baiting at the end of the film, perhaps the worst case of sequel bait that I have EVER seen. How could anyone think this kind of movie would make enough money to have a sequel?

All the things above aren't to say Sleepless doesn't have good parts, but they're very few and far between. The hand to hand combat scenes are amusing if nothing else, although apparently the kitchen scene in the original movie is much better. I still liked this one. I also laughed very hard at Gabrielle Union showing up in the casino garage come the end of the movie. Unfortunately, the script here is so poor, so beyond saving that there's nothing anyone can do to help things along. In order to fill time, the editor randomly splices in helicopter shots of Vegas like we're watching a boxing event. I mean, dude. This movie is also about 88 minutes, so those helicopter shots are padding something that shouldn't have to be padded. Plus, there are extremely poorly executed scenes here, where we're supposed to know Vincent is an undercover officer based on a bulletin board in his house, but I genuinely did not realize this until when he actually said so much later. Bulletin board dot connecting is for video games, not for movies, and this is going to be judged appropriately for those sins. Sleepless is awful, which is what I was going for after seeing so many classics this week.

3/10

2017 Films Ranked


1. Get Out
2. Logan
3. Wonder Woman
4. Logan Lucky
5. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
6. The Lost City of Z
7. I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
8. Kong: Skull Island
9. Split
10. Megan Leavey
11. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
12. Win It All
13. War Machine
14. Sand Castle
15. Fist Fight
16. Sleepless


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

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #876 on: October 13, 2018, 06:41:41 PM »


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011), directed by David Fincher

Something which should have started a franchise, except for the little part about Sony deciding that finances matter more than quality filmmaking, as pretty much any studio would. I'm a little surprised that the budget for this film was $90 million in the first place, but after all, it's David Fincher. Everything he makes has to look and feel exactly as intended, with no compromise. As I have just said, these things have positives and negatives. It was entirely intended for this to become a series, but now we are jumping forward to The Girl in the Spider's Web. I intend not to watch too many excellent movies one after the other, but the problem here is that I need to watch The Girl in the Spider's Web once it comes out in theaters, which is just one month from now. While that isn't a direct sequel, it comes out in less than a month and therefore I needed to space out these portrayals too. My expectations for that, naturally, are much lower. Claire Foy was strong in First Man, but does she really have the ability to pull this off? We shall see. I also intend to watch the Swedish versions of the following two movies in this series at some point in the future. If unable to get the full story in English, considering I don't want to read, why not get it in another language?

Having not seen the original, I have a different feeling on this than many who have. In Stockholm, divorced journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) has been sued for libel and lost to a very powerful businessman. Simultaneously, Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) is investigating Blomkvist at the behest of a business magnate, Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer). She doesn't know anything about why, just that this is something she needs to do. Lisbeth has a hard life, with a state appointed guardian because apparently she is too mentally incompetent to handle her own affairs, whatever that means. I suppose I will continue to tell her story in the rest of this paragraph. Her appointed guardian has a fall, which leads to her being appointed a new one, Nils (Yorick van Wageningen). Nils is very obviously not going to be a good guy. He uses his authority to extract sexual favors from Lisbeth, which eventually turns into a rape that Lisbeth recorded. What could someone in her mental state possibly do in response?  She'll take care of the problem. We also learn over the course of her story that she's a computer hacker, one who knows how to access everything that the hardly technologically literate cannot possibly figure out. Whether she has to do it legally or illegally is nobody else's concern.

Of course, let's get back to Mikael. Mikael was convinced that he had great journalistic information on his target, but he didn't. He and his lover Erika (Robin Wright) share ownership of Millennium, a magazine which will certainly be destroyed as a result of the losses Mikael took in the lawsuit. The thing is, as we know, someone's interested in him. He's given an offer to travel to Hedestad, a very distant (fictional) town in Sweden. Henrik wants Mikael to investigate the disappearance and murder of a relative, Harriet. This happened 40 years ago. In return, Henrik will double Mikael's salary and give him information on the man he lost the lawsuit to, Hans-Erik Wennerstrom. Mikael is subsequently asked to move onto the Vagner estate, where Henrik makes clear the situation. Barely anyone in the family speaks to each other. Martin (Stellan Skarsgard) is Henrik's grandnephew (if I got this right), and he lives on a hill overlooking the island. He and Henrik speak to each other. Henrik does not speak to his brother Harald (Per Myrberg), a Nazi who keeps all that stuff out in the open inside his house. He loved being a Nazi. Cecilia (Geraldine James) is his daughter and they do not speak. The caretaker would seem to be the only one who speaks to everyone, but besides that, there are lots of frayed relationships. Mikael is at a complete loss about a book he's given with some random numbers and initials. The question anyone unfamiliar with the material would wonder is how Mikael and Lisbeth would come together in the first place.

This is an enormous investigation, which is cool, but I have major misgivings about the epilogue. Fifteen minutes of what turned out to be unnecessary material being shoved into the movie is not cool. The point was seemingly to set up a sequel, which as we now know, did not happen. That's too bad and it would have made more sense in the context of a series, but I'm sure for a viewer in theaters, they felt as I felt that this film became too bloated as a result of the ending. That aside, I thought this was a pretty good movie. The immense amount of characters leads to the investigation being incredibly sprawling, which I found was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo's greatest strength. I didn't think the film was bloated until after the main investigation completed, I should note. Fincher's capability of handling movies such as these is well noted at this point. Zodiac, however, is much better than this due to the amount of time given to the pieces of the investigation. Here, things moved far quicker, which considering the inclusion of the epilogue is for the best. The material here is cold and vengeful, which is an interesting contrast to a large amount of these sorts of stories. The much discussed revenge scene worked out very well. There is an overindulgent mistake in terms of revisiting it later on, I thought.

What I seem to remember everyone wanting to see at the time of this production was for Lisbeth Salander's portrayal to be true to source material. As I don't know the material, I can only phrase the portrayal as very different. Obviously, we know that very bad things happened to her, but none of them are mentioned in the film. The vulnerability of this character disappears as rapidly as one things she may be a victim throughout the entire film. It's quite nice. A perfect film this is not, but her inclusion into the investigation leads to things progressing in a different fashion than they otherwise would have. I am left to recall The Ghost Writer, a movie I reviewed where Ewan McGregor played a nameless character and had to complete one of these investigations on his own. He was sent to Martha's Vineyard under the guise of writing a biography, and so was Mikael. Eventually, they both were found out. Those two films are both quite similar and quite good in my opinion. So similar in fact that I'm going to give them the same rating. Both benefit from their directors, both needing heavy guidance from Fincher and Polanski in order to bring everything home. In the case of these movies, I think Polanski got the absolute maximum from his script whereas the script may have hurt Fincher's effort. The epilogue is unforgivable.

Even with these problems, ultimately The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo benefits from its huge cast, and true, tireless lead portrayals. If casting Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig, a movie should be good. I can't see how it wouldn't be. That the movie is also in one of my favorite genres is just another big benefit. Some credit should also be given to Fincher for condensing the book. While I didn't read the book, I read some summarizations and comments about the book. It appears that the subplot with Millennium was far too large, and the epilogue was even larger than shown on screen here. It also appears that Mikael would fuck anything that walks. This is not something I think lends itself well to an American film. The resolution of the crime, by the way, is excellent. I have tried not to be specific, but I liked things played out in a fashion that was more bumbling than calculated. Stories with all the answers tend to present more problems than their worth. Ones where someone comes out of nowhere and foolishly commits down a road when nobody's even sure of what they did wrong, that's a hell of a lot better. Impulsiveness is a hell of a thing. While things don't work out as awesomely as I would have liked, as they did in Zodiac, I think this is a great movie on a far lesser level than Zodiac. The chase scene, and particularly the framing of the aftermath, was a huge winner. I've never explored 2011 on any real level, and I really need to see Tree of Life, but I thought the cinematography in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was superb on a level that would be hard to match.

8/10


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

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #877 on: October 14, 2018, 06:24:46 PM »


Miracle at St. Anna (2008), directed by Spike Lee

A movie best known for Spike Lee attempting to start a public feud with Clint Eastwood, Miracle at St. Anna should probably only be known for that and not anything else. A film as disjointed as anything Spike Lee has ever made, lacking oomph and being far too long, unfortunately this is a film that in attempting to tell a story about Buffalo Soldiers winds up stereotyping a slew of other groups in the process. I will say that it appears as if Spike Lee didn't have much of a choice in his characterizations, the film is ultimately adapted from a book I haven't read. With that in mind, I shouldn't be too harsh, and this is a work of fiction that I should treat as such. Miracle at St. Anna has a lot of pieces that should lead to a good film. It's about World War II, in the Italian theater, something which isn't covered very much by English language movies of late. Spike Lee directed it and I usually enjoy his work. There are two battle scenes as well. Why wasn't this good? I have numerous complaints, but I will save almost all of them. The main problem with the story in Miracle at St. Anna is, the movie slows down to glacial pace. This also runs for about two hours and thirty minutes. That's bad. Real bad.

Our film begins in 1983, something entirely jarring in a sense that I found to be entirely unnecessary for the purposes of the story. There are also needless cameos in this story before we move forward. Hector Negron is an older World War II veteran who works in a post office. He recognizes a customer and shoots him dead with a Luger he brought to work. Some hours later, it's time for an investigation. At his apartment, a reporter and two detectives discovered a statue head that's worth tons of money, a Purple Heart, and a picture showing some of Negron's other awards during the war. Negron has been placed in a mental hospital because none of this makes any sense (go figure), but eventually, after some prodding, he's willing to tell his story. There are major problems with this sequence. The existence of Negron post-WWII lets the viewer know that he survives, which kills some intrigue. We also know that the statue head went home with him, and that he got injured in the course of the fighting. Again, this is adapted from a novel, but it leads me to wonder whether this is a novel about Buffalo Soldiers that merited adaptation. I will continue.

Finally, after that laborious introduction, we move back in time to the 92nd Infantry Division. There are cameos from known actors in this and the opening sequence, but our film centers on four specific GI's. Staff Sgt. Aubrey Stamps (Derek Luke) is their leader, Sgt. Bishop Cummings (Michael Ealy) is an arrogant sort who hates authority, Cpl. Hector Negron (Laz Alonso) is a man we have already met, and Pfc. Sam Train (Omar Benson Miller) is the most ridiculous and ludicrous character I have ever seen in one of these movies. The 92nd is sent to attack German positions across the Serchio River in Tuscany, and it goes extremely poorly. These four guys are the only ones to make it across, and we get a scene where artillery is called down on their position as the commanding officer doesn't believe they could have possibly crossed the river. This leads to even worse scenes, as it is revealed Sam is carrying the statue head from earlier in the film. He believes the head has magical powers, and seeing as that's the case, he wouldn't just give it to Negron, so we know what happened to him. Sorry to be so blunt. Sam and Bishop rescue an Italian boy named Angelo from a collapsing building, and subsequently the group heads to a small Tuscan village. The movie slows down so badly from this point, but there's two things worth mentioning. The group winds up staying in a house owned by a fascist with a hot daughter, Renata (Valentina Cervi). Secondly, Italian Partisans are roaming the hills, and the group's radio does not work.

I want to stop there because the middle of the movie is so devoid of plot development that I could easily write about things two hours into the film without spoiling anything. The film lacks intrigue once the statue head is shown and when it is explained why it's being kept, but the intrigue dissipates even more once the Partisans show up in the village and we see the guy Negron killed 40 years later. In that sense, the opening sequence seems like an even more gigantic blunder. I don't like the story, but I can tell you how the film should have started. It should have started with Negron in the mental hospital. It should have featured Joseph Gordon Levitt's character asking him why he would randomly kill some Italian guy. I have just chopped off 15 minutes of the film very easily. I don't think this would have made things very much better as I really detested one of these characters, but the film could move at a more brisk pace. Of course, Spike Lee is an indulgent director, sometimes to great benefit and sometimes in bad ways, this being the latter. I often appreciate his thorough approach, but the opening sequence is horrible.

There are some positives with the story, same as any World War II film. I find that his approach to dealing with scenes about race relations always work for me. There are a few major stereotypes in terms of how the command structure is presented, but there are also some really good flashbacks. The scene as the ice cream shop in Louisiana is a major winner. Some of the imagery qualifies as such too. We know Spike Lee, so once he gets to showing montages of posters, those are the scenes that really hit hardest. The social commentary about how black soldiers would feel outside of our country in comparison to our own is largely corroborated by those who fought in various wars. The presentation of Axis Sally isn't supposed to be exact, but I thought the scene was quite poignant in terms of showing the kinds of propaganda that Nazis would use. I also thought Negron's character himself was quite good, and so were the two Partisan characters in the movie. These are all positives, and to some extent the only things keeping this from being an all-time stinker. The scene at the Serchio is shot in Mel Gibson fashion, not for the faint hearted.

While Miracle at St. Anna was shot on a smaller budget than many other war epics, the budget for Hacksaw Ridge ten years later was even less, so I have no positive comments for the way that Miracle at St. Anna slowed down in the middle. The film was an absolute boring drain for far too much of it, and the parts that weren't boring in this span were dominated by Sam. If there's one thing I really hate about war movies, it's when the trope of 'soldier too stupid to be there' is used. Sam Train is the absolute worst case of this trope I have ever seen. The stuff that he says and does, I just can't handle it. It's such an enormous pile of bullshit. There are too many things in the plot that are disjointed, too much that doesn't make sense, too much of the movie that simply lacks real impact. Other than Sam and his childish mentality, these characters lack real development. Far too much time is spent on Angelo as well, I never  got to talking about that, but the thing is, I really don't want to. I have done a sizable review as fast as I possibly could. I don't mind historical inaccuracies in these movies, after all Saving Private Ryan has an absolutely massive amount of them. It's that the fictional story here just isn't good, that there's a good story about Buffalo Soldiers left on the table, one that will probably never be made now. It's too bad. I think studios learn the wrong lessons from movies like these. It isn't that the subject isn't worthy of recognition, it's that the manner of telling the story was entirely backwards and too focused on other things.

3.5/10


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

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #878 on: October 15, 2018, 06:12:02 PM »


Rocky IV (1985), directed by Sylvester Stallone

Perhaps the most ridiculous of them all, Rocky IV simultaneously brings the best and worst of jingoism to the table. This will be short. The Creed movies are doing a great deal to redeem this franchise, but these are movies that simply shouldn't have been made in the first place. To Stallone's credit, he decided to make this full of amazing montages that nearly saved the movie entirely. I cannot pad this review as I do with many others, because I don't have a lot of things to say in the opening section. Everyone knows the lines that Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) has, but I've never watched this before. The lack of realism is what really gets to me, the plot is also not developed enough as a result of those montages, and overall the movie serves as a homage to Reaganism. You can make of that what you want, but that isn't a great legacy to leave. Sorry I am absolutely crapping on this film, but it is actually difficult for me to motivate myself to write about it. It's like Seinfeld, everything's the same and you either like it or you don't.

Ivan Drago is a Soviet amateur boxing champion, and he's headed to the United States with his wife, Ludmilla (Brigitte Nielsen). Ivan is managed by Nicolai Koloff (Michael Pataki), who tells the world about how great the Soviet Union really is. After Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) gets tired of it, he's motivated by the chance to show Ivan Drago about the goddamn USA. Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) thinks that Apollo has nothing to prove, that he might get hurt. Apollo feels the need to prove that he can still fight, even though that completely defies logic. Rocky asks Apollo who the fight is really against, and he doesn't answer. After a testy press conference, Creed and Drago have their exhibition fight. Why an exhibition? I don't get it. Anyway, Creed's entrance is amazing and he's played to the ring by James Brown. The fight doesn't go well for Apollo. He lands some stuff, it does nothing, and Duke (Tony Burton) begs Apollo to give up. He doesn't, so Drago literally kills him. Rocky's journey the rest of the movie is to exact revenge, although this is very literally never stated as his reasoning for taking the fight.

I usually do five paragraphs when I'm struggling with things to say, but in this case with no real introduction, it will only be four. The way that Rocky never verbalizes his feelings to anyone about Drago heavily detracts from the film. His character doesn't need further motivation, but the audience needs to hear his motivation. This is never given. The montages are great considering that the film doesn't have any of those other things, but if the montages weren't there, perhaps it would. The screenplay suffers from an extreme lack of ideas, showing that there were no real ideas left for how to display the story, merely for villains that Rocky could go up against. That's quite sad, something better than the Rocky character from the first film deserved. Gone is that guy, replaced with something else, a caricature that simply couldn't tell anyone why he does the things he does. The movie doesn't make sense.

With all that in mind, I'm going to skip forward to Creed rather than watch Rocky V. I mean, I will come back to it, but I'm not going to prioritize that right now. The way that Rocky beats Drago at the end of the movie defies all logic, and the damage both guys sustained is entirely illogical. There's no reason that Rocky could handle the punches that Creed couldn't, and with that in mind, this is a bad movie. The stories about production are the best thing about this, but there's no way to be sure they're true. I would like to believe Stallone was hospitalized after getting punched in the chest, but I don't know! I also thought the way the last fight ended in a montage could have been related to that, but the montage was not my favorite thing. Could we at least get a realistic boxing match at the end? I guess not. If not for the memes and montages, this would be totally awful, but it's also one of the reasons that this is so bad. Talk about a conundrum. I wanted to like this more, but I was at a complete loss. I have never reviewed a movie that was over 50% montage, some of those montages being clips from the other movies. There was around 75-80 minutes of original footage here, maybe even less. That's incredible.

4/10


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

Offline HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #879 on: October 16, 2018, 02:19:59 AM »
Spoiler for Rocky V that might make you want to watch it to see how bad Stallone's acting choices are

Spoiler: show
They give him brain damage from the damage he sustained during the Drago fight, but Stallone just goes to far with it and makes it an uncomfortable performance. Rocky Balboa and the Creed movies pretty much pretend Rocky V doesn't exist, so they drop the brain damage stuff.


Rocky IV is one of my favorite bad movies, so I'm gonna pretend that 4/10 is an 8/10.

Offline cobainwasmurdered

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #880 on: October 16, 2018, 02:21:29 AM »
Rocky IV is such a perfect embodiment of it's time and place there's no way I could ever give it such a low rating. It IS the 80's.

Offline Avid Warehouse Enthusiast

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #881 on: October 16, 2018, 06:04:11 AM »
Do NOT skip Rocky Balboa, the final entry before the series focuses on Creed Jr. It's easily the second best (after the original), and features one of the greatest "get back up and fight" speeches you'll ever hear.
Maybe the real deep state was the friends we made along the way.

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #882 on: October 16, 2018, 06:07:52 AM »
Do NOT skip Rocky Balboa, the final entry before the series focuses on Creed Jr. It's easily the second best (after the original), and features one of the greatest "get back up and fight" speeches you'll ever hear.

Unfortunately I'm going to have to because I don't want to have boxing movie burnout. I do intend to go back to it.


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 #883 on: October 16, 2018, 07:58:21 AM »
I've never actually seen Rocky V.  I've seen the others though.  Rocky IV is silly, but it isn't boring.

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #884 on: October 19, 2018, 06:19:00 PM »


13th (2016), directed by Ava Duvernay

13th is a documentary best viewed rather than explained, because nothing I could possibly do will suffice as a fair explanation of what the documentary attempts to get people to learn. 13th simultaneously serves as a history lesson, a guide for the present, and the roadmap for our future. The things showcased in this documentary must be overturned. 13th is also a documentary that is profoundly saddening and disheartening, it is very difficult for me to properly summarize the way that I felt about it. Some of the things in 13th, I already knew. Others were enlightening and frightening. The saddest thing is that we're two years on from the release of this documentary and nothing has changed. Granted, considering who runs the country, we should not have expected things to change. This is our fault, the fault of the people who decide elections in this country, ultimately the fault of voters. Such films should serve as a nuclear weapon to our system, the kind of thing that leads to it exploding, but yet it doesn't. The average American is being hammered from all sides and unfortunately only has the capacity to care about so much. Will our situation change?

Featuring Van Jones, Michelle Alexander, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Bryan Stevenson, Angela Davis, and countless other activists whose names I am sadly incapable of remembering, 13th opens with a history lesson, one which is unfortunately necessary for much of the American population. In order to further shed light on that history lesson, people such as Newt Gingrich, Grover Norquist, Charles Rangel, and Cory Booker participate as well in explaining some of the laws and statutes put in place that ultimately targeted and disproportionally harmed black people. Gingrich provides some surprising comments whereas Norquist is a hack as you'd expect. The inclusions of Gingrich and Rangel serve as a reminder that both white and black politicians were highly incorrect in realizing what our problems were and how to address them, Rangel's inclusion in particular being a reminder that lots of black folks bought into the rhetoric pushed upon society by a largely white, overreactive media. With those contributors in mind, we head back to immediately when the Civil War ended, and how the circumstances of the time led to a situation where our prison system works as modern slavery for the state or for large corporations, most of whom are frequented by most Americans.

There's so much in this documentary that I can't really talk about anything other than the guests and what I thought of the documentary. It would be foolish to do otherwise. There are a lot of extremely upsetting moments over the course of this hour and a half. There are, however, just a few errors that I found to be a problem. There's news footage of the 1924 Democratic National Convention, one which was very frequented by Klan members and devoid of any color whatsoever. It should have been mentioned that Theodore Roosevelt had appointed black people to federal government jobs only for Woodrow Wilson to immediately overturn that, which led to said convention in the first place. The convention also attempted to add an anti-KKK portion to the platform and was declined. I also think that the film skirts around the question of reparations more than it should. Obviously reparations are an extreme position, I do not know how such things would be implemented, but there's clearly a problem with our society that necessitates a form of reparations in the future. Multiple times I heard contributors talk about things that should be done in the future to make up for the problem, but such solutions are left unstated. At some point in the future, if these problems are ever fixed, they are going to need to be stated. That isn't so much a complaint as a comment of my own.

As far as documentaries go, it's hard to imagine anything that would serve as being more powerful as this. I should note that any liberals who seem to be wavering on their own beliefs would do well to watch this. The racism from the left in the Twittersphere is not present in this film, and I think that it needs to be kept in mind that people on Twitter are hardly real people. The ones in this documentary are real people and they are important. I have seen a lot of "liberals" push back on inclusion, on diversity, and really on all sorts of things that seem to be bothering them because of how bad some of the people demanding these things are at making their points. Random Twitter users who Tweet 200 times a day are not the ones to be listened to. The footage in this film, as well as the contributions from various sources, serves as a reminder that real people are out there and are struggling. There is one specific thing that I think sums up my feelings on the current state of politics and our need for change. Somewhere in the middle of the film there's Bill Clinton, talking about how sorry Hillary Clinton was for her comments on the crime bill, and almost instantly says that she was right because of some fictional kid murdering someone. This, like most of the film, simply cannot be described and has to be viewed for yourself, because it defies explanation. It is no surprise that people were not excited to vote for a Clinton after that happened.

I think where 13th is most effective is in illustrating that the contributors are real people just like everyone else, some of whom were incarcerated or prosecuted without good reason. Considering the personal wrongs that have been done to these people, whether in terms of being hounded out of their job (Van Jones), or stitched up for a murder that they had nothing to do with (Angela Davis), or those with sons stuffed in solitary confinement, all of them are able to explain to the viewer what the problems are without screaming at them. Again, this is something not present on Twitter, and it's something that needs to be kept in mind when getting mad at internet people who may or may not be real. Real people out there are suffering, and there is no reason to compromise in ones beliefs because of an extremely vocal, massive minority. I hate that I focused on that aspect so much, but I was incapable of properly reviewing 13th. It's something that should be watched as it is appropriately paced, laid out to perfection, and most of the points made here are beyond refute.

9.5/10


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

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #885 on: October 23, 2018, 07:27:40 PM »


Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (2016), directed by Ang Lee

I have been waiting for a while to watch Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, but it's about to expire in a day or two and I finally had to make my move. The reason why I waited is because I know this was seen as a major misfire. Ang Lee is not known for such misfires. Due to that, there was some amount of intrigue and reticence in watching the movie in the first place. See, I assume that when a critically acclaimed director has a misfire such as this, that reviewers will soften the blow a little bit due to their amount of respect for the talent behind the camera. I wanted to find that out for myself, but at the same time, I knew that if people were willing to say it was even average meant it was definitely not good. That's where I stand anyway. Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk was touted for having major technological advances, because for some reason Ang Lee thought that his ability to use a higher frame rate would let his film shine through and speak for itself. I have major problems with the way in which this was executed. A film with one Iraq War battle scene really needs this? Obviously not. Only a few theaters could even screen this film in its intended format, so it goes without saying that this was a pretty bad idea all around. The low box office take is related to something I've already brought up once before, that people do not want to watch movies about Iraq.

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk is about a guy, Billy Lynn (Joe Alwyn). No shit. He's an Army specialist from Texas who is seen on camera dragging his wounded sergeant, Virgil Breem (Vin Diesel) to safety during a firefight in Iraq. Perhaps unknown to the general public is that Breen died. I assume it is unknown because the turnout for Breem's funeral was marginal at best. As you might expect, the Army takes full advantage of this situation and uses it for public relations, as they did many times during the Bush Administration. This is set in 2004. During the squad's publicity tour, they go to a few small locations, and eventually they wind up in the halftime show of the Dallas Thanksgiving game. Dime (Garrett Hedlund) is the leader of the unit, which finds themselves fortunate to be back at home. Albert (Chris Tucker) fervently attempts to find a movie deal for them throughout the movie. There are other squad members in this movie, but truthfully, they have basically no character.

Over the course of the movie, we are sent back to previous events in Billy's recent life. There's Iraq, of course, including the battle that explains what happened to Breem. There's also Billy's home life, which features some bad stereotype caricatures. His liberal sister Kathryn (Kristen Stewart) doesn't believe in the war and doesn't want him to go back to Iraq. His other sister is a major cheerleader for the war, his dad is in a wheelchair, and his mom is one of those stupid idiots who thinks that everything is so great about what her son is doing. Same old shit. Back on the subject of the game, there are a lot of PR things that the squad is scheduled to do. They meet with Norm Oglesby (Steve Martin), who effectively serves as our film's version of Jerry Jones. Some of these things are funny and others are not. The one that really isn't funny, but simultaneously I don't know how to describe this because of how corny it feels, is the one day romance with Faison (Makenzie Leigh). These probably more than anything else are the scenes that needed the most work. I will explain below why it wasn't possible to do so. The ultimate goal of this trip is to do the halftime show, where Destiny's Child is performing (unseen therefore bad). The squad will participate in some way.

The film very obviously suffers from bad acting, which can be directly attributed to the technology not allowing for retakes of scenes that really needed them. There are genuinely countless scenes that seemed to have these kinds of problems. The only ones that didn't were those with Kristen Stewart, Vin Diesel, and Chris Tucker. Some of the rest have huge problems. I understand that Hollywood likes Joe Alwyn and is putting him in a lot of big projects, and I haven't seen him in much else, but this was a tough one for a debut actor. It's almost unfair to expect anything from him here. I also don't think the movie's greatest weakness is the acting problems. I think it's that this is a poorly executed concept. I don't think it's automatically bad to do a movie about a soldier from this perspective, one of a soldier who knows the war is bad and is constantly patronized by other people as a result of their indoctrination of needing to support the troops. The plot is so ridiculously poorly executed, though. There are scenes in the film that make absolutely no sense to me, and the narrative just doesn't work as a result of this. Squad member starts fight with someone who comes back later in the game to beat them up, like, what? Are we supposed to feel sorry for someone or take this as a thing that PTSD can create?

The satirical aspects that the novel supposedly features hardly exist in the film. There is also not enough contribution from Vin Diesel or Kristen Stewart. Because of that, this just isn't very good. It's a character study about someone who did bad shit who can't cope with it, but it's simply not a good one. The idea of weaving a plot through a PR exercise at a football game and a war zone is, again, not the worst idea that I've ever seen. The problem is that everything rings so ridiculously hollow. There's supposed to be a poignant scene where a few characters smoke weed, but the bad acting in the scene renders the entire thing quite surreal. I think the actors knew this too as I saw some funny looks on faces. The squad is simply not compelling enough for the movie to work as a whole, and some of the southern accents are really, really bad. The best way I can phrase things is, the surreal marijuana scene carries over to the rest of the film, with one exception (pictured above) where Billy is listening to the national anthem and cries. If a director is more focused on their new technology than fleshing out the plot and making the characters feel real, then this is the result. The attempts at deepness later on are so bad I cannot even describe them. I should give some credit to Steve Martin and to some of these ideas, though. The idea to make a movie about how soldiers are used for PR is quite sound even if it didn't quite come off. Martin also makes for an amusing version of Jerry Jones, Chris Tucker is also a convincing Hollywood agent who helps liven up some of the bad moments here. I should write more but I'm at a loss.

4/10


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

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #886 on: October 26, 2018, 04:34:13 AM »


The Beguiled (2017), directed by Sofia Coppola

The Beguiled is a movie that was getting a ton of positive reviews at Cannes prior to its release to the public, so naturally I was looking forward to eventually watching this. It was time tonight. The Beguiled is a second adaptation of a novel written in 1966, the first adaptation featuring Clint Eastwood. People didn't like this Eastwood movie because it was a role heavily against type for him, so it bombed. This version of The Beguiled didn't quite bomb, but it wasn't an enormous success. Rated R movies are often one or the other, so it's good that this wasn't a bomb. This was a very nice movie to watch for multiple reasons. First, Coppola's movie's are very nice to look at in general. They're filmed in a way that really works for me. The focus on the scenery the actors are doing their work in takes up large portions of the movie and that's nice. Of course, that's not the real big deal here. The big deal is that Sofia Coppola is able to blend numerous themes throughout her film, almost all of them work out quite well. The repression of the era comes through very strongly here. What's best is that the film isn't too long, it ends exactly when it should, without any drawing out of the events and needless padding. Mystery is good here, and there's plenty of it.

The Beguiled begins with a young girl, Amy (Oona Lawrence) out picking mushrooms in the woods during the Civil War. It's 1864 in Virginia, quite a contentious time. It is, however, just a war, and it is perceived that she's not in any real danger, so she just goes out there when asked to do so. While out there, she encounters a Union soldier, Corporal John McBurney (Colin Farrell). He's behind the Confederate lines, so he's in some danger. He's also hurt, very badly. There's a giant wound on his leg, which is near mangled. Amy attends a girl's school which only has a few people there, so her idea is to bring McBurney back there for treatment. Upon his arrival at the school, he passes out on the front lawn and has to be dragged inside. Just to set things up, before introducing the characters, all that's at the school are women and girls. Colin Farrell is a handsome dude. Just saying it for what it is and that's what kind of movie this is going to be. I don't trip out over stuff like that when I turn on a movie, nor should anyone. The people are concerned about McBurney because Confederates make sweeps for Union soldiers, kill them on the way to prison or don't treat them medically, and nobody at the school believes things should be like that.

Now, as for the school itself, it is run by Martha Farnsworth (Nicole Kidman). Martha had her husband go off to the war and now he's dead. Her entire life is about making these girls into good homemakers, the kind who are cultured and speak French, who know how to host parties and all those things privileged girls in that era were expected to do. Her only other help is the teacher, Edwina (Kirsten Dunst). Everyone has abandoned the school, slaves included. It's close to battle lines, so there are only five students left as well. In addition to Amy, there's Jane (Angourie Rice), a girl who has a father who is a major part of the Confederate Army. She's still there just because she wants to be. Emily (Emma Howard) and Marie (Addison Riecke) are not really important to the story. Alicia (Elle Fanning) is, on the other hand. As the oldest of the girls and of adult age, she's the closest to leaving the school entirely. She's also the most likely one to get into trouble as a result of that. The simple facts are, McBurney is eventually going to wake up, heal, and Martha is going to decide when the Confederate soldiers can pick him up. In addition, all the girls at the school are extremely interested in him. That includes Martha and Edwina too.

The repression of the school is probably what shines through the most, we have a group of women and teenagers who simply don't know what to do with themselves. There's also the problem of how their kindness is going to be repaid. Martha strongly believes in giving him to the Confederacy, but McBurney's going to heal up and is able to make his own decisions. After all, three grown women and four girls are not going to stop him. He's in pretty good shape. It seemed very unlikely to me that he would go easily into handcuffs. McBurney is also not loyal to the Union and arrived in this country with no real plans, eventually becoming a mercenary for the grand total of $300. The moral questions of such a decision permeated through my mind for quite a bit of the film. The script also flips from the usual Hollywood case of being presented as a male fantasy, to you know, it really isn't. I think that this film is woven together so nicely, with characters that are interesting without the viewer knowing entirely too much about them. Their actions and some of their words speak for themselves.

What we also have here is a case of a great script. There are aspects of The Beguiled that serve as dark comedy or double entendre, with Farrell delivering a load of them that cracked me up quite a few times. The conclusion of the events works out similarly. I know that my laughter could be perceived as sickening considering what happens, but if you've seen the movie, you can be the judge of that. The movie admittedly does start off very slowly if you aren't engaged in the sense of finding these comments funny, but I thought they were. Farrell's list of great performances is becoming absolutely ridiculous at this stage. We are lucky to have good actors these days who participate in the kind of variety that Farrell participates in. Very little of what he does is straight forward or cliched. Even though The Beguiled is a second try at a book adaptation, it's also not cliched and there aren't too many films that play out the way this one does. The way the movie changes after one specific event turns this into something more than I thought it was going to become. It was entirely unexpected and I thought that the girls would inevitably turn on each other in order to get McBurney to lead one of them from the school. I was incorrect.

In the end, because I liked the twists and turns of this movie and haven't seen the first adaptation of the book, I was consistently surprised by the things that happened. This is a film with plenty of intrigue, a great set, a small cast, and characters that are developed just enough to remain interesting. A lot of people have called this a boring movie, but I think it's the opposite. It's slow enough to feel like the events that take place are really important. McBurney's character serves as the only outlet to the outside world that the school has, and everyone in the school decides that it's really important to them. I am being very careful not to spoil the movie's big change in tone, and am going to keep it that way. It's funny the way films work, because I would have this in my top ten of 2018, but I've seen enough good films already from 2017 and know there are so many more critically acclaimed ones that I'm not entirely certain this would be in my top twenty once I finish catching up on 2017. Of course, as with everything, time will tell.

8/10

2017 Films Ranked


1. Get Out
2. Logan
3. Wonder Woman
4. Logan Lucky
5. The Beguiled
6. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
7. The Lost City of Z
8. I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
9. Kong: Skull Island
10. Split
11. Megan Leavey
12. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
13. Win It All
14. War Machine
15. Sand Castle
16. Fist Fight
17. Sleepless


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

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #887 on: October 29, 2018, 06:31:28 PM »


Manchester by the Sea (2016), directed by Kenneth Lonergan

Manchester by the Sea is a film that I was never in the mood to watch, at least until I was already depressed about the Dodgers losing the World Series. As such I thought it was now the perfect time. I was told that this would be one of the saddest movies I've watched, but you know, I really don't think that it is. Due to an extreme lack of Hollywood sentimentality, Manchester by the Sea is more than something that fits into a simple category, it's a movie that allows the characters do things that normal humans do, things that aren't often seen in movies because nobody wants to have those feelings when they go to the theater. Reality is a bitch. As it relates to that reality, it brought up some memories of loss from earlier this year. I didn't react to any of those things in my life the way that I thought I would, so the way the things in this film play out is something I'm a bit familiar with. The catalyst to bring us our story is also one of the most shocking things I've seen in a movie for a while. Assumptions I had made about the story were clearly not true. That one can make such assumptions and not expect what's coming, I think that's fantastic. There is one thing in this film I didn't like and I will bring that up much later on, but I thought this was fantastic. One of the best films of 2016 for certain. Did I think it was the best, though?

Manchester by the Sea is a film with flashbacks, one where the viewer is supposed to decipher when our lead character, Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) is fading in and out of his memories. Lee is a janitor who lives in the Boston suburbs, doing basically nothing with his life and living in a basement. He's the janitor for four different buildings and has to deal with four buildings worth of problems on a daily basis. Eventually he tells one of them to fuck off because they insinuate that he's a pervert, and that leads to him being reprimanded by his boss. The correction from his boss leads to a fight with two random guys at a bar. Clearly this is someone with mental problems, and instead of thinking he isn't all there, maybe he's there quite too much. That's a problem I think a lot of people have. The next day, Lee is told that his brother Joe (Kyle Chandler) has had cardiac arrest, and Joe dies before Lee gets there. Lee says "fuck this," apologizes for it, but it's another insight into his state of mind. There's a flashback during this where the viewer is informed of Joe's home life many years before, with a young son in Patrick, and his wife Elise (Gretchen Mol). After Joe gets heart disease, Elise turns into a drunk and psycho, leaving Joe to manage with Patrick (Lucas Hedges).

Lee is in the unfortunate position of having to inform Patrick, who knows full well what was going on with his dad for all these years, but Patrick is in a fog over the thing. It turns out that Joe has written a will with some last wishes. The most important one of these wishes is that Lee, an extremely anti-social loner, needs to be Patrick's guardian. Throwing other wrenches into the mix is that Joe owned a boat which has a motor that needs to be replaced. George (C.J. Wilson) appears to work on the boat, but this is slightly unclear and not that important to me. He's a family friend who steps up to do some of the things that Lee can't do, and George seems to know the deal. Patrick also has two girlfriends and Lee will need to navigate this situation as best as he can. Now, as to Lee's situation, I don't think there's much harm in saying that something really bad happened to him and he can no longer cope with life. He had a wife, Randi (Michelle Williams), who George informed of Joe's passing. In flashbacks, they had three children and things were going great as Lee would go fishing with Joe and Patrick. Everything was fine. Things, as we now know, are not fine. I don't want to say what happens, but it's pretty bad.

The reveal of what happens is genuinely stunning and I don't know how I didn't see it coming, but I just didn't. The movie is comedic at times and extremely serious at others, it's a borderline perfect mixture of these things. As it is that kind of mixture it also feels like something more than what is usually gotten from sitting down to watch a movie. It is a complete story, with no longing for more and no hoping for less. Repetition is thrown entirely out the window here. Due to Manchester by the Sea's independent beginnings, the story is allowed to breathe and occur as naturally as these events really play out. The movie is like a puzzle that slowly begins to be put together. Once down to the last pieces to complete the middle of it, things take place extremely quickly just as one does when they've finally figured things out. There is no need to hold hands here. Obviously, the event that does happen is bad enough that it is the entire being of two of our characters, both of whom decided to deal with it in different ways. The way Lee dealt with it is one of isolation, that's just what he did. I do think that Affleck and Hedges performances have been well acclaimed and talked about so much that I don't really have anything to add here. This is very much a case of Affleck playing type extremely well. He was entirely deserving of his awards. I would be remiss if I didn't mention him being cancelled by Hollywood after a performance like this, which is a bit surprising as they usually don't do that to talented people. He'll be back.

I also have some problems with the film, some more minor than others. I think that Michelle Williams should have had a slightly larger role in the story, although the screenplay is so good I'm not sure how to figure that out. Her scene with Affleck near the end is really great, it is ultimately one scene and doesn't change my mind in believing that she belonged in more of the film. I also think that Matthew Broderick's cameo as a mega-Christian was really bad if entirely in place. I have never liked Broderick and I can't explain why. I don't think it's his causing of a fatal accident either. I just don't like him and never have. As far as negatives go, that's genuinely about it. Any problems I had with the opening of the film were removed the more I learned about the characters, and I really need to learn to not be so quick to rush to judgment when watching a movie. So many of these scenes feel like they're going nowhere, and suddenly they just don't. When you think Lee is going to be a bro for Patrick, he isn't. When you think Lee is going to abandon Patrick, he won't. When they have similar breakdowns, Lee is by Patrick's side. The layers of the characters really shine through here and they do not behave in standard fashion, you can't assume anything that they're going to do.

I'm getting close to completion with 2016, I probably have just a few more good movies to watch from that year and some franchise stuff. I was going to watch American Honey, but I read that it's quite similar to Kids, which is similar to Mid90s, which I just watched on Friday. So, for now I'm going to bench that one. I do only have three more films left that were nominated for Best Picture, some others that were nominated for awards, and I'll leave a few small lists pertaining to 2016 once I've watched the last of those movies that was nominated for an award I deem important. I'll do the same for 2017 and 2018 as well. But for now, I think that Manchester by the Sea wasn't the best film of 2016 and that the Academy was correct in giving the Best Picture award to Moonlight. In fact I think Hell or High Water was the second best film, and even though I haven't seen all of them, I have a hard time believing it will be displaced. Hell or High Water has stuck with me for months. I think a lot of people aren't able to say "these are all great films, but this one is the best" and instead decide to come up with reasons to say why one film wasn't as great as the next. With the exception of Loving and I suppose Jackie, I think all the films that were expected to be nominated for these awards were great films on one level or another. My problem with Loving was also related to the restrictions of the characters and their ability to show emotions as the real people did not. Anyway, that's how I feel. Manchester by the Sea is a movie with a simple plot, quite realistic, and deals with an aspect of grief not seen often in cinema. The reality that not everyone gets over bad things is something a lot of people simply aren't equipped to handle.

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

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #888 on: October 30, 2018, 06:36:17 PM »


Margin Call (2011), directed by J.C. Chandor

Margin Call is, for lack of a better word, quite educational in showing the viewer what the people who work in the financial industry think of their customers and how they operate based upon those thoughts. I hadn't watched this because I'd made an assumption that Margin Call would be a film that explained what certain kinds of investment products do, how they package them together to fuck people over, but now that we know that's a ton of bullshit there's no reason for the film to do that. I don't know if all the characters in this film are based on real ones as I don't read financial news, but I assume that to some extent they are. The movie doesn't explain exactly how the financial crisis happened, because the point isn't to do that. The point is to explain the psychology of the people who let it happen. I don't believe in saying that people aren't quite human, but moral values in that industry beyond maximizing assets on a sheet of paper do not quite exist. I'm sure it's the same now as it was in 2008. People who make decisions on Wall Street do not exist on the same plane as regular folks and do not ever have to understand the ramifications of their choices. Some of the characters in Margin Call are better than others, but I think that the picture the film paints of the financial industry is quite accurate.

Margin Call begins with a scene I've seen quite a few times both in television and film, a mass layoff. The layoff, while unexplained throughout the film, makes a ton of sense in the context of the rest of the story. 80% of an entire floor is to be let go. One of those guys let go is Eric Dale (Stanley Tucci), the manager for the risk management division. All that remains of his division once the day is over are Pete (Zachary Quinto) and Seth (Penn Badgley). The others are terminated. Their bosses subsequently become Will (Paul Bettany), and Will reports to Sam (Kevin Spacey). I'm leaving out last names because I just don't see the point of all that. While Eric Dale is leaving the building, he attempts to tell the people above him that there's a problem with the bank, but nobody wants to listen. Eventually, he gives a USB stick to Pete and tells him he needs to be careful with it. Over the course of the night, Pete continues to work on the USB stick, and has discovered a major problem with the firm's mortgage-backed securities. You know, those things that helped to cause our financial crisis back in 2008, which is what year this film is set in.

I don't know much of shit about finance to begin with, which is something I should have gotten out of the way. The simple way to put things is that these assets are toxic and entirely too risky to have on the books. If the firm's assets decrease enough, the loss will be greater than the firm and they'll go bankrupt. Leverage as shown here is one of the reasons for the 2008 crisis. The consumer had too many things they wanted that they couldn't pay for. Banks didn't have enough capital to cover losses for assets that depreciated. I think I have this right. Fraud is another reason for the crisis, but anyway, this film is about the psychology of those who managed to navigate the crisis. Even though it's past midnight, it is decided that everyone important with the firm has to be called in to work. Jared Cohen (Simon Baker) is the division head who thinks he knows everything. Sarah Robertson (Demi Moore) is the chief risk management officer, and along with Jared, they seemed to know this was coming. Lastly and most importantly, we have the CEO, John Tuld (Jeremy Irons). Tuld isn't in this position because he knows all the aspects of these securities and he needs everything laid out in plain English. What Tuld is there for is, he's there to make a decision. His decision will have vast ramifications on his firm and the entire market, and much like Goldman Sachs, he's going to get through this thing no matter what the ramifications are on everyone else.

For those who don't know, even though GS made it through the financial crisis, it wasn't entirely due to the bailout. They were the first to sell all their trash assets to other firms, brokers, and what have you. They navigated the crisis at the cost of their reputation, made money after the fact, and didn't care what people thought of them for doing it. Lehman Brothers was second and they went broke. I think the finance history as a whole is completely fucked and immoral, but there are good points made about the fact that regular people can't afford what they want without said industry. The film specializes in presenting the mindsets of those who navigated this crisis to maximum benefit. As such, the film is quite good. There is a problem with who is in the movie at this point, though. Kevin Spacey is an elephant in the room now, and eventually the film grows to center around his character, which makes for viewing that feels a bit strange. There's also an issue with the events not being all that dramatic because we know that the consumer gets fucked as a result of decisions that people such as these make. For them, it is and only ever has been about what they can get from the consumer for themselves. As a result the film is not as dramatic as it otherwise could have been.

The film is still quite informative into the mindset of the individuals who partake in this system, and due to how focused the film is there isn't very much to say. There is rarely subject matter with a narrow focus like this, and I'm trying to make reviews for merely "good" movies shorter to begin with. All of the performances are very strong, with Jeremy Irons doing the best work of the group here. The movie feels like Glengarry Glen Ross in no small part due to Spacey's participation, but it just can't hit that level of psychopathy and callousness. Margin Call is so methodical in showing the way these things work that it is actually quite strange. The way in which trades of millions of dollars are made is genuinely astounding, and I really need to watch a documentary about this so that I can understand how this actually came into being. I think and hope I am intelligent enough to figure it out for myself. I thought some of the scenes with more soulless characters were incredibly poignant, some people just don't give a fuck. It is funny that there are people on the side of these huge banks, and it is genuinely astounding that they have been allowed to become too big to fail, but they really are and they just don't give a fuck. I am a believer that these institutions should be broken up, but they're not going to be, and in that event they really are too big to fail. The ramifications on the economy if the financial system truly collapsed would destroy society as we know it. That we have not regulated these huge banks into many smaller banks is quite astounding, and regulations are being stripped away as we know it, so this will definitely happen again soon. This time I don't know if the country is even slightly prepared to deal with it without one of Thomas Jefferson's famous quotes about the tree of liberty being applied to the situation.

7.5/10


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

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #889 on: November 01, 2018, 06:41:48 PM »


Live by Night (2016), directed by Ben Affleck

I must provide fair warning here. I do not like when actors direct their own movies. Clint Eastwood is the only exception to this, and that's because he's the only guy who seems to properly be able to separate his performance from the things going on behind the camera. Ben Affleck on the other hand is not able to do so. He shows an extreme lack of charisma in Live by Night, a face that shows some level of distraction that should be readily apparent to almost all viewers. Affleck has had performances like this in other films, but he's also had very good ones. These sorts of performances are becoming more frequent the older he gets, so I suppose it's a good thing he's been booted from the Bruce Wayne role. Instead he can play an unemoting autistic guy as this seems to be better suited to his current career trajectory. I must also point out that this film was released right after The Accountant, so perhaps the performances are linked in some way and he was not able to shake things. I also looked this up and found that he filmed The Accountant and Live by Night right after each other. So, I'll stand by my comments here. Live by Night is the kind of title that gives absolutely nothing away, and perhaps that's for the best. Due to nothing being given away, one is left to run wild with their imagination until they watch the film. Once they watch it, they can see what Ben Affleck's imagination is like. It's an interesting one.

Live by Night is a movie about lots of different things, it seems Ben Affleck could not quite decide. However, there's still something here worth a look at the very least. This is a movie that takes place over many, many years. Our first story and introduction to the latter part concerns Joe Coughlin (Ben Affleck), our lead character and World War I veteran. He's the son of a Boston police captain, Thomas (Brendan Gleeson). Thomas knows what Joe does for a living and seems to care, but not quite enough to completely ignore him. Joe is a bank robber and general stick-up artist, he's killed people and stuff, but he's not affiliated with any particular gang. Joe has fallen in love with Emma (Sienna Miller), and Emma is the mistress of one of the two main gang leaders in Boston, Albert White (Robert Glenister). Albert is at war with Maso Pescatore (Remo Girone), and as you may guess, this is an Irish vs. Italian thing. Maso finds out what Joe is doing and makes him an offer, either kill Albert or be outed to Albert and he will kill Joe. Joe decides to call Maso's bluff and flee to California, but he has been busted. Meanwhile, he's also been busted robbing a bank. After he goes down for three years, and after Albert kills Emma, it's time for the story to head over to Florida, where business slows down a bit.

The story in Boston is the most cohesive part of this sprawler, because once things head to Florida the story gets awfully convoluted and difficult to explain. Maso, I should have mentioned, enlists Joe once Joe gets out of prison. His job? It's to take out White and run Ybor City for the Italians, and to do so, Joe needs to enlist former buddy and partner in bank robbing, Dion Bartolo (Chris Messina). The situation in Tampa is not all that great. Joe is tasked with creating new relationships with the people around. In order to produce rum, he needs molasses. Enter the Cubans. Graciela Corrales (Zoe Saldana) is part of a gang, and the story is woefully unclear as to her role in it, but Joe needs to form relationships with Cubans in order to get what he needs. At the same time, there's Irving Figgis (Chris Cooper). His daughter Loretta (Elle Fanning) is headed to Hollywood to become a movie star, so Irving is a bit alone at home. Irving is also the police chief of Tampa. He makes clear where Joe is able to do business. Doesn't want to know what he does and doesn't want any money from him, this is the way by which he can proclaim that he isn't corrupt. The problem is, he has a brother-in-law who is part of the KKK. R.D. Pruitt (Matthew Maher) is the name, and he's a memorable character if I've ever seen one. His goal, as you might expect, is to cleanse the area of what he deems to be filth. Or, if there's a chance, take all the money from it for himself.

The movie sprawls way beyond any of the things I've already mentioned, but I can't and won't list more beyond any of that stuff. I don't think this is a terrible movie by any stretch, but it's one with too many moving parts, and as a result of that the most interesting facets of the film are given short shrift. There are too many characters involved and none of them are given the time on screen that they need. Joe and Dino are the only two who are ever present, and Dino obviously to a lesser extent. Brendan Gleeson is in this film nowhere near enough as he should be, and I was disappointed that we were presented this picture of a vibrant Boston only for the setting to change so drastically. The film is also so incredibly stuffed that we can't understand the other characters on any level. All we are able to understand is the uncharismatic Joe, who is lacking charisma for reasons that are beyond my comprehension. Ben Affleck is really poor and uncredible here. It was initially suggested that his time in Europe during World War I did something to him, but there's nothing in the film to back that up. His performance is so bad, it's the events in his script and the other performers that go a long way towards saving this. His homage to the 1930's is full of too many things, but it's fun and entertaining in that way.

Affleck's movie being derivative of other material is not automatically bad, but it's bad when the stuff that he's using isn't very good to begin with. The story with Graciela is bad. The stuff with Pruitt is good, and so is our story with Figgis. I think as a whole that the stories he decided to take are good, but there's still the looming problem of there being too much of this. Nothing in the film is surprising either, and the conclusion of Live by Night is drawn out so much longer than it really needed to be. I like things like this as a rule, with Boardwalk Empire being one of my favorite period dramas for this era, but the film is simply plain average. Huge crime stories are simply better told on television than in movie fashion, and this is no exception to that. Tension is substituted for entertainment, and that's acceptable, but I'd never go overboard with my rating for a movie such as this. I also saw that Live by Night was one of the biggest box office bombs in quite some time. I can't imagine why anyone would think they could roll with a $90 million budget after promotion for a rated R period movie in 2016. What would make anyone think there's a market for stuff like that? According to Variety, this bombed to the tune of a $75,000,000 loss. That's pretty bad! I think I've said just about all there is to say. Live by Night is a film that's overly long, fun if you turn your brain off, but not anywhere near what this kind of movie should really be due to a lead character who is devoid of charisma. There you have it.

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

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #890 on: November 04, 2018, 06:14:32 PM »


Into the Inferno (2016), directed by Werner Herzog

I wasn't necessarily trying to watch one Herzog documentary a month, but that's how things turned out this month. I don't know if this will happen again, we shall see. Herzog strikes me as being absolutely obsessed with volcanoes, he simply cannot help himself. For the second time, I have encountered a documentary in which Herzog becomes interested in the bizarre aspects of his subjects, which ultimately leads to the documentary revolving around them. At the very least I'd say those are the moments that shine through more than the others. I think that to some extent, if you're going to enjoy this feature, you must also have a morbid curiosity with volcanoes and what they can to do other people or the terrain around them. I have always been in this category. The person writing this is someone who has seen Dante's Peak between 30 and 40 times. I certainly need to watch more documentaries and there is no shortage of them, but I have a major film backlog and I have to pound my way through it. Over the course of time, as with the backlog, I will figure things out. In the meantime, I should probably talk about Into the Inferno. I will probably be brief because this is a documentary that is also quite brief.

Into the Inferno is a film obviously shot with no intention of crafting a cohesive narrative, but ultimately over the course of some of the conversations in the film, Herzog decides to circle back to mysticism and the things that people believe about volcanoes. Initially, it seems as if the film will be about how these giant explosive mountains will kill us all, but that is not quite the truth. Instead, Herzog decides to entertain with the ridiculousness of human beings. The way some people believe these things is entirely incomprehensible. He collaborates with Clive Oppenheimer, a volcanologist who surprisingly doesn't have too many things to offer in front of the camera here, but certainly offered quite a lot behind the scenes. Oppenheimer has apparently written a book about the impact that volcanoes have on society and the world as a whole, and ultimately the film decides to take us to numerous locations. Some, like Iceland, do not have much to offer the project and are only briefly shown on camera. Others like Ethiopia are more scientific in nature, with Oppenheimer talking to other scientists about the things that have been placed on the ground over all these years we have existed. Admittedly, this sequence is a drag on the film. Indonesia is also here because it's a volcanic hotspot, and featured here we have some rituals and a building dedicated to a volcano in some kind of way. Most importantly, we have Vanuatu and North Korea. I think you may be able to guess why these are most important.

As is propaganda in North Korea, we have Mount Paektu, the most important piece of the revolution. There are so many reasons why this is and it is probably best to listen to North Koreans telling Werner Herzog this for themselves, but it is propaganda that Kim Il-sung learned how to stop the Japanese there, and North Korea claims that Kim Jong-il was born there as well. Therefore, this mountain is practically worshipped and featured in all sorts of propaganda. The North Korean Constitution says that it is the sacred mountain of the revolution. Again, this is Herzog showing the world that people believe these things about giant explosive mountains that can end human life. Over in Vanuatu, we examine a primitive tribe that believes in John Frum. I have no idea how many people even know about John Frum, but nothing about it is logical. Some people believed in this stuff, we landed on Vanuatu during World War II, and the cult got a hell of a lot more strong. It pertains to this documentary because some tribesmen believe that John Frum lives in the lake of a local volcano, and apparently this cult is stronger than it should be. These folks believe that John Frum will bring them modern goods from the sky, he's their god, and that is that.

Eventually due to the content matter, this becomes an absurdity that centers around the things people are willing to believe because they aren't capable of handling the reality of what they live next to. I guess I would say it is what it is. Humans are not going to change anytime soon. It is also jarring to see people living in such a primitive state at this point of human history. I think there are those who believe in interfering for the good of their society, but hardly anything we've ever done in that regard was good for anyone's society. They would also still believe in John Frum. Into the Inferno is so completely bizarre in this way, it lets us know about aspects of humanity we may not otherwise know. The videos of these volcanoes are also spectacular without exception. Herzog's narration does everything to enhance these pictures, the way he presents the film is so utterly strange. Volcanoes are clearly an obsession for the man, he believes that they are something beyond humanity, something about our Earth that is much more than the human spirit. He's not incorrect. I think Herzog does fail a bit in making the point that volcano eruptions can come at any time and wipe us out, at least until the end when he delivers a stirring monologue. Nothing about these things actually makes sense, but volcanoes are what they are and we are not even in the way of them. We could be destroyed at any point. To create a strong documentary such as this, to get into North Korea under the guise of studying the volcano and deliver something different, that's what a strong documentarian does. Herzog, as many people say, is the best of them. I will need to watch more documentaries to find that out for myself. His view of the world is fascinating.

7.5/10


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

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #891 on: November 05, 2018, 06:24:56 PM »


Passengers (2016), directed by Morten Tyldum

Passengers is a film that received immediate backlash for very good reasons, because the concept of the film made things sound extremely creepy. Not only does it turn out that things actually were creepy, but I am willing to admit that the film actually started off in really interesting fashion. The way things became in our third act is something I am unable to separate from the rest. The thing is, I think this was a decent concept and I'm always up for watching another space movie. However, I can only laugh about this being nominated for two Academy Awards. At least it didn't win one. I think there's no way to beat around the bush here, but I made a strange observation. Apparently Passengers was the fourth largest live-action original film release in this country during 2016. Isn't that insane? That would also be the case now, and in fact I believe it's worse because this would be third. So, we definitely have a lack of creativity in the box office these days. Can someone else please create something that people turn out in droves to see? At least the leader last year was Get Out. Get Out, unfortunately, this is not. It's sci-fi and not even great sci-fi. Any of the work it does is blown apart by the end, but the things at the early part of the film really stand out. Does the good outweigh the bad?

The Avalon is a transport ship, sending 5,000 colonists and 258 crew members to Homestead II, a planet that the Homestead Company intends to colonize. I can only laugh at how many times these crew members must make the journey to this place. Who knows, maybe they don't leave Homestead II? This is never expanded upon. The journey takes 120 years, and the people traveling must hibernate nearly the whole way there. 30 years into the trip, the Avalon collides with an asteroid field, which causes a huge malfunction. Although the ship has meteor shields, that is irrelevant. The first ramification is that one of our hibernation pods malfunctions, which leads to Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) waking up 90 years too early. Jim, of course, is shocked to be alone. He's an engineer, but that's of no consequence at this stage as he doesn't know what to do. He can't access the crew deck so that he can wake someone up, and it takes years for the ship to send messages. He's completely screwed. His lone bit of company is an android barman, Arthur (Michael Sheen), and Arthur doesn't make for the best conversation in the world. This is what it is. Unsurprisingly, the hologram instructors are no help at all and Jim is left with the reality that he will probably die alone.

After Jim makes it a whole year, and I don't understand how he was able to do that in the first place, he considers going to an airlock and killing himself. Instead, he goes to the bottle, until one day he notices Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence). Jim immediately decides that he's going to read everything she's ever written, he really likes her stuff, and look how she looks. He can't really decide whether or not he's going to wake her up, he knows that it's wrong, but he's going to do it anyway. After doing so, Jim decides to claim that Aurora's pod malfunctioned. She can't handle the idea that she's going to die on the ship, that she won't be able to get to Homestead II, and decides that she's going to write a book about the situation. As you might suspect, two people alone get to doing what they're going to do. Stockholm Syndrome? Maybe. The thing is, Arthur knows all about Aurora from Jim's conversations, he knows that Jim struggled with the idea of waking her up, and he knows that Jim woke her up. He's also a robot, there's no forgetting any of that stuff, it's simply there. What do you think happens when Aurora finds out about this? If your answer is that the script has nowhere to go from that point and sputters to a boring and corny conclusion, you've guessed correctly!

The problem with good concepts is that they are simply concepts, that the story without a natural conclusion to said concept is junk. Passengers is a movie that doesn't have a conclusion and decides to introduce a third failed hibernation, a character played by Laurence Fishburne. There are no words for how bad I think this actually was. To the benefit of the film it took about an hour and twenty minutes for us to get to this point. I say that this is a feature of the movie because playing it out any longer would have left the film far too predictable, which isn't to say that it wasn't predictable. Having it happen shorter would have left our conclusion much longer than it needed to be. That this is a love story is also goofy due to how creepy this is, but it's a movie that lacks heart because nobody else is in it. All the hallways and concourses are vacant and lacking life. This is something I would not consider to be a good thing, it's actually horrible. The visuals of the film are also poorer than you'd expect with the exception of a gravity free sequence, and there's a few scenes with an almost nude Jennifer Lawrence that are nice too. Just being honest here.

Unfortunately, the idea of being trapped on a spaceship for the rest of your life falls flat when things aren't played as a horror film. I would really like to see this sort of story played for horror. Instead, nothing here really is, and the creepy appearances from Jim only feel creepy instead of it being downright scary that he's stalking Aurora around the ship or talking to her over the intercom, forcing her to hear his every word. I'm awfully tempted to take the most monstrous shit on this movie, but I can't bring myself to do it because I thought the events were genuinely interesting until Fishburne showed up. Some of the shots are framed in the most bizarre fashions, but ultimately the film is too clean and lacking character. Passengers just doesn't go as far as it really should. Leaning into creep factor is simply unacceptable, my hopes and expectations are that this material goes much further than that and is played for scares. Instead, the conclusion of the film is absolute trash, literally the worst thing that could possibly have been chosen as an ending. I can't imagine anything I would have wanted less than what happened. At least the actors got paid a lot! The product placement of Chivas Regal ensured that I buy whiskey tomorrow before Election Night, but I don't think it's going to be that one. I'd rather have Bulleit or Maker's Mark.

This review may not have been what some people wanted in terms of me fully lampooning the concept, but I didn't have it in me due to the way the conclusion played out. That just about sucked the life out of me. The last cameo cracked me up a lot though, it was unexpected. I guess you could say that this film is a positive in the sense that it carries some novelty factor, but there's a reason that critics said Passengers was bad. That's because it was bad. Not offensively bad, not enough for me to dive head first into scores that I give to truly terrible films, but bad.

4.5/10


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

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #892 on: November 08, 2018, 06:35:07 PM »


To the Bone (2017), directed by Marti Noxon

To the Bone is about one person's battle with anorexia, and it is also a film that simply does not resonate with me. The events are played out in the fashion of a TV movie, because that's what it seems like Netflix used to do instead of taking on ambitious projects. In fairness, Netflix acquired distribution rights and didn't produce this project, that would feel a lot worse, but this had to land somewhere I suppose. I was looking at the Metascore for the movie and a lot of people praised it, but I disagree with those takes for the most part. The movie is obviously tough viewing as one should expect, that's not what my problem here really is. I'm not sure this is the best way to tell such a story, that's what my problem is. I feel like a large part of what was needed in order to balance the film out was simply never part of the film in the first place, it leaves the viewer lacking any sort of conclusion. Now I've gone and spoiled the whole thing. That's good, because whatever you may be hoping for here doesn't really exist. That isn't to say To the Bone is a terrible film, but it's certainly lacking in real characteristics that would lead viewers to have real sympathy beyond perfunctory things.

Ellen (Lily Collins) has dropped out of college because she has anorexia, brought on by a slew of things. The film begins with Ellen in an in-patient program, not making progress, and getting sent back home as a result of that. Her dad will straight out not deal with her because she's like this and as such we don't see him in the entirety of the film. Instead, the duties of the father fall onto Ellen's obnoxious stepmother, Susan (Carrie Preston). I think you could easily guess that my opinions of her obnoxiousness are born from a lack of sensitivty to her stepdaughter's condition. Some of the scenes introducing this character are absolutely bizarre. Ellen's half-sister Kelly (Liana Liberato) doesn't understand why her sister is this way, but that doesn't stop her from being a loving sister. As we later find out, it's a problem in the sense that Kelly now has all these memories of her highpoints clouded by what Ellen was doing at the same time, such as being in the hospital, or in in-patient therapy. Things like that. The thing is, now Ellen doesn't even seem to want treatment. It seems that she's pretty cool with dying and just doesn't care about anything.

Susan, on the other hand, is not remotely okay with this and will not stop trying. She sets Ellen up with a specialist, Dr. Beckham (Keanu Reeves), who wants Ellen to join his program and live at a house with other people who share her condition. In addition to that, Dr. Beckham has some strange methods which could prove quite useful for a rebellious young woman who doesn't know her place in the world. Over the course of the story, we learn that someone killed themselves after being inspired by Ellen's art, which seems to have sent things into a horrible downward spiral. At the house, there's five young women as well as Luke (Alex Sharp), a ballet dancer who was down below 100 pounds. He also has a horrible knee injury and can no longer dance, but he's gained about 40 pounds and seems to be on his way out. As you might suspect, Luke takes an interest in Ellen and it is revealed that he knows about her art. Well, alright then. After a few days at the house, we are given the full picture into Ellen's life once her mother Judy (Lili Taylor) and other stepmother Olive (Brooke Smith) arrive at a family therapy session. As already said, Ellen's father does not show up. I don't really want to say what happens at this, but the short version is that the session doesn't exactly put a stop to Ellen's slide.

I think I already said that Ellen did hit rock bottom, but that the film didn't conclude her story. It really didn't. The film ends after she hits rock bottom and heads back to the house, but there were people in the house who were there more than her and there was no true indication that her anorexia was going to become a thing of the past. We live in a really strange society as well, this is a film that focuses on those who have the ability to treat their problems, but there's so much more ground in learning more about those who do not. If this film was about a less fortunate anorexia victim, someone who couldn't go to in-patient therapy, well, that's really what I would have liked to have seen. Instead, this is a guide to eating disorders and some of the things that are done to treat them, unfortunately leaving any chance for a great character study off the script entirely. It's too bad. It's not that I don't have sympathy for those with eating disorders, because obviously I do, but the things covered in this film are things that everyone knows. In that way, To the Bone doesn't bring much new to the table. You could argue and would be correct to argue that if the film leads to one person deciding to treat their eating disorder, that the film was worth being made just for that reason. You'd be right. I think, all things considered, that was the point of the movie in general.

To not talk about the performance of Lily Collins would be completely idiotic, because the amount of weight she lost was extraordinary and also disturbing. I am left to wonder about double standards though. How many people said Christian Bale's weight loss for films was disturbing? People said he was a badass for being that committed, and such a comment should extend to an actress as well. Commitment to a role is something that should almost always be commended. Jared Leto's commitment to playing the Joker, on the other hand, should not be. I think hers is a very strong performance and for me, someone who does not have an eating disorder and has never struggled with something like that, the real valuable thing that can be taken away from the film. To the Bone isn't enjoyable, that would be a foolish expectation, but it tells a decent story in a very superficial way. The great performance of one person doesn't really change the fact that there are stories to be told about eating disorders, but I don't know if this is one of the best that could have been made. I'm pretty sure I've just said a lot of things that most people wouldn't dare say, so I'm a monster now. A movie just has to do more for me.

5/10

2017 Films Ranked


1. Get Out
2. Logan
3. Wonder Woman
4. Logan Lucky
5. The Beguiled
6. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
7. The Lost City of Z
8. I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
9. Kong: Skull Island
10. Split
11. Megan Leavey
12. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
13. Imperial Dreams
14. Win It All
15. War Machine
16. To the Bone
17. Sand Castle
18. Fist Fight
19. Sleepless


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

Offline Harley Quinn

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #893 on: November 09, 2018, 02:33:03 AM »
Glad you finally tackled that movie as I saw it ages ago and liked it a lot more than you apparently. Looking back, I may've been too lenient on it but considering the Lifetime schlock I've seen that touched on the same subject, I felt this had a little more going for it from direction to Lily Collin's acting & the guy who played Luke.

"If this film was about a less fortunate anorexia victim, someone who couldn't go to in-patient therapy, well, that's really what I would have liked to have seen."

I think the issue with this take, while it would've made for a better character study, also takes off the table the aspect of persevering with the disease and trying to overcome it with help. People that don't go to in-patient therapy inevitably die or are forced to such places anyway so I feel like that script would've been encumbered by the lack of a real way to end that would've worked. Dealing with things like anorexia is more akin to treating depression with therapy/medicinal aid than say quitting alcohol cold turkey.

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #894 on: November 09, 2018, 06:22:54 PM »


Breathe (2017), directed by Andy Serkis

I thought I would continue where I left off last night by watching another film about someone's health problems. I believe that Breathe is the only one on my list, although I have not examined it to make sure of that statement. Breathe is a film that was produced by the son of its subject, which presents issues in terms of delivering the story and potentially allowing the audience to see the full scope of what actually happened. When dealing with films about those with health problems, one has to take them for what they are and keep their expectations minimal. I think we have gone beyond the point where people will automatically consider a movie good just because it's about someone's hardships. Breathe is also a film that I consider to be a relic of the past in that way. People simply want more from their films these days and being inspired by someone fighting to live doesn't exactly do it for most anymore. So, with that in mind, let's think about why this was made. When you're a producer and have enough money to do that, you can make pretty much whatever you want. When your father is a hero of yours because of his fight, you make his movie. You also don't examine your parents as human beings because that's not often what their family does. So, with that in mind, I think the most memorable aspect of the film is an unstated one, that someone's fight with polio shows how important it is for us to continue with vaccination.

We blow straight through the start of this movie so fast that I could hardly believe it, so I'll try to do my best in that regard too. Robin Cavendish (Andrew Garfield) is a young, seemingly privileged man who has a great life. He's met and married his wife Diana (Claire Foy) and has been sent to Kenya in order to start a tea broking business. It's a tough job, one that makes absolutely no sense to me, but the film presents it as being a grand old time. It simply isn't. It's also 1958, tough times, different times. After playing tennis, Robin seems to have contracted polio. Diana is pregnant, but polio is a killer disease with no regard for that. Robin has been paralyzed and will need a respirator to breathe for what is expected to be a very short life. After Robin is sent back to England, he falls into a very deep depression and wishes to be taken off life support. In addition, he wants Diana to stop seeing him, and he doesn't want his newborn Jonathan to see him either. Diana believes Robin can improve, Robin doesn't want to hear it, and we have a standoff between the two.

As time goes on, eventually Diana prevails upon Robin that he needs push on. Robin has a condition though, he wants to be out of the hospital. There's nothing else he can even hope for really. While observing what the nurses do for Robin, Diana realizes that she can do the same things as them, and she decides that they need to move out. There are steep obstacles in her way, though. The hospital administrator, Dr. Entwistle (Jonathan Hyde), absolutely refuses to consider the possibility of Robin leaving. First of all, it isn't safe, if the ventilator powers out while nobody's around, Robin is toast. Robin is also confined to a bed, unable to move around. Something will certainly have to change in that regard. Most importantly there's the matter of Diana not having help, and her twin brothers Bloggs and David (Tom Hollander plays both) are around, but they have their own lives I suppose. Robin simply needs to get out of the hospital, and he'd rather die than be stuck there. That's the most important thing, not being stuck somewhere. He can't be confined to a bed, to a room, to anything. Even though it is assumed he only had three months to live, he must push on.

As I said, the thing that sticks with me most is how much vaccinations are necessary, but I also keep thinking about how much this would suck if it happened to me. That is pretty much the driving force of the film from my perspective. It is obviously admirable that a wife would care for someone in this condition, but I recently watched Gleason, a documentary that tackled this subject with the most heavy doses of reality. Gleason did not sugarcoat a single thing whatsoever. ALS and polio aren't the same, but they're both pretty awful and leave the sufferer in similar condition. My point is that Breathe does not have any arguments between the two, other than when Robin says that he wants to die. This is a movie that has major problems as a result of that, the film feels sterile and lacking in authentic emotions. The film is also shot in an extremely clean fashion, evidenced by its PG-13 rating. The hardships of the care required for someone with polio are simply not shown. The film also plays on sentimentality far too much for my liking. It's schmaltz, there's no other way to put it. I don't hate the film but that is what it is.

Andrew Garfield's performance really stands out, and it appears that he was extremely committed to remaining immobile. Not once did I ever think about how he could realistically get up and walk straight out of that bed, instead he embodied his subject as best as an actor possibly could. I am aware that there is a massive pile of these kinds of movies and these kinds of performances, I will watch more of them even though I don't particularly care for this genre, but I thought Garfield's performance was a standout. Claire Foy's was strong as well, but naturally she doesn't have the herculean task of portraying someone with polio, her role is necessary to the story but not as much to making the film good. I think Breathe is just slightly above average, though. The film's best impacts are felt when we see the cast of absolute weirdos who hang around Robin and Diana, when Robin sees the conditions in a German hospital facility, and when their van breaks down in Spain and Jonathan is forced to hand pump Robin's breathing tube. These moments are much stronger than a beginning which is far too rapid, the lack of character introspection, lack of conflict, and how easy it was for Mr. Serkis to fall into the trap of spending a large chunk of the film making Robin Cavendish's life look easier than it actually was. That's just my opinion, of course. The film is available on Amazon Prime if anyone would like to dispute my findings. In order for me to feel sentimental and to feel real sympathy, I need to see the hardships. To the Bone was better at portraying this, but I think the reason Breathe is a better film is because it actually had a conclusion whereas the film I watched the other night did not.

6/10

2017 Films Ranked


1. Get Out
2. Logan
3. Wonder Woman
4. Logan Lucky
5. The Beguiled
6. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
7. The Lost City of Z
8. I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
9. Kong: Skull Island
10. Split
11. Megan Leavey
12. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
13. Imperial Dreams
14. Win It All
15. Breathe
16. War Machine
17. To the Bone
18. Sand Castle
19. Fist Fight
20. Sleepless


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

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #895 on: November 11, 2018, 06:48:27 PM »


20th Century Women (2016), directed by Mike Mills

20th Century Women is a film that was nominated for an Oscar, therefore I felt the incessant need to check this out even though I didn't really know what it was, or even if I'd like it. I'm trying to set that standard going forward, and I don't intend to watch every single award nominee ever, but when I'm clearing out a year going forward, I have to watch them if it's possible. The concept of the film is that Mike Mills wanted to show something that was like his childhood, when he was raised by women. The movie, as a result of that kind of inspiration, has very little plot. That's just how life works, isn't it? With that in mind, I take issue with the description of this as being a comedy. I wouldn't say that it was. It's certainly not self-serious or anything like that, and there are some funny parts, but this is a movie that I took seriously for the vast majority of the events. That's my feeling, anyway. This is a movie that feels like a lot of other coming of age movies, but it isn't entirely similar to any of them and brings something unique to the table. It's a film about the way in which life goes by, the things that we learn, and the characters in 20th Century Women feel authentic. I wasn't raised by a bunch of women, so I don't have any real experience to draw on in terms of making a comparison here, but I thought this was a great time. I will say that I know the experience of one of these characters, the typical matron, and found it to be quite an accurate picture of how lots of 50 and 60 year old women think about life.

20th Century Women is a film set in 1979, which is jarring at times because the filmmaker makes mistakes in showing modern packaging on items. I will certainly take this into consideration later. Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann) is our high school student in this film, and his mother Dorothea (Annette Bening) is an older woman who had Jamie at a surprisingly late age. Dorothea has what she intends to be a boarding house, it's very big and she has two tenants when there could potentially be more. Abbie (Greta Gerwig) is a photographer and has cervical cancer. William (Billy Crudup) is a carpenter and mechanic who has experience with the hippie lifestyle, so this atmosphere is quite familiar to him. Jamie has a best friend, Julie (Elle Fanning). Julie sleeps in Jamie's room, but doesn't want to destroy their friendship. Nothing ever goes on between the two. This house is a pretty cool place if you ask me. The thing with Jamie is, his father left some time in the past and he has very little contact with his son, and as such is unseen in the film. No surprise there. Dorothea smokes a lot of cigarettes, and we are given a view into what the characters will become after the film's events conclude. This is a story that certainly doesn't lack conclusion. Jamie consistently complains about Dorothea's heavy cigarette smoking, and he's right. Dorothea will die of cancer 20 years after the story takes place.

Now, even though I've dropped that bomb, it's irrelevant to the story. I wanted to make the point that the film tells you how these characters wind up, and I thought that was great. It takes a very good film in order for me to actually care about stuff like that. Dorothea is concerned that she doesn't connect with her son as a result of his dad leaving, and well, a lot of other things. Look at the situation. She's a bit disconnected from what the world is in 1979 due to her age as well as her marital problems delivering a huge blow to her self-confidence. She's so concerned that she decides to ask Julie and Abbie to help raise him. After Jamie runs off to a punk show in Los Angeles, that's exactly what's going to happen. Abbie and Julie have their own characters as well and are not entirely dedicated to this one job, the people in this film are presented as three-dimensional beings. Julie is a person who has pregnancy concerns and advice to give to Dorothea as well. The fact Julie is just 17 doesn't change that. Everyone in life has advice for those who are willing to listen. Similarly, Abbie has a story of her own. She's a hardcore feminist, the kind of woman I would like to have as my own, the kind I will also never have. She has the most prescient advice for Jamie, and through this, we get a picture of what it's like to learn things and move through life.

The lack of plot works as a service to this film because we are given no manufactured events, everything here feels quite realistic and like the things young teenagers go through. I could have used some guidance, I never got it, but I lived in different times. People were different in 2004 than they were in 1979. Life goes on. There are some great lines in this too. "Wondering if you're happy is a great shortcut to just being depressed" is advice I can get behind. I don't think about that shit and that's better way to explain how than I could possibly think up. A wordsmith like that I am not. This is also a film that addresses the need people have to ensure their kids aren't raised by just one person, but of course, everyone's different. The nostalgia here also hits about as heavy as it comes, with the exception of the aforementioned packaging. It's a big oversight, but the talk about communes, cervical cancer as a result of extremely poorly researched fertility pills, a movie that in some ways feels like a continuation of great shows from the past. It is as married to its nostalgia as Mad Men is. Kids smoking cigarettes? Yeah, that's here too. No soft pedaling any of the material. The placing of the film in a post-Nixon and pre-Reagan era also leads to an interesting scene with people huddling around a television looking for leadership from Jimmy Carter. Carter was so horribly caught between what I'd consider to be right and what I'd consider to be wrong. Nothing about his speech made sense to me.

What makes 20th Century Women so good, what makes it really work, is how obviously personal these experiences and characters are. The lack of plot makes this a difficult film to discuss, but this is a very strong film. Every event in the story leads to scenes addressing that event, but the story continues to move along its path. William is a pretty good character as well and I've made a mistake not addressing his character. He's just as lost as Jamie, with no real clue what to do in life. There's a reason he's a tenant of a boarding house who tries to help Dorothea fix it up. He tried to fit in at a commune and it didn't work, he just doesn't know what to make of himself. We have a generation of people suffering from similar problems now, but their voices are as of yet unheard. We are told that we're complaining but men such as William are a product of their era, it makes people feel nostalgic and good. Someday, perhaps there will be parts of society that feel the same about the existential struggles of our generation. When I was looking for a cast list I read a comparison of this to Mad Men, and I obviously wouldn't go remotely that far, but there's definitely a parallel between some of the characters in each presentation. The lack of plot should be taken for what it is, but it doesn't do great harm to what I consider to be a great character study. Some of the scenes in 20th Century Women, on the other hand, whiff very badly. When they don't work, they really don't work. I also think this is the kind of sorry that is unsuited to making the viewer feel uncomfortable, which this did two or three times.

Ultimately, this is a very good film and it's easy to see why 20th Century Women was nominated for Best Original Screenplay. This is a nice film that makes one feel good, it also came in a hell of a year for original films. In a lot of other years this would strike me as a very poignant, perhaps the most poignant and realistic original story out there. Instead there were just many more of them. Annette Bening and Greta Gerwig's performances here were similarly strong, and as I begin to close out 2016 there are some performances that simply stood out more than the rest that year. Those are two of them. I would have liked this more had there not been blatant errors in terms of presenting a 1979 setting, but those were there, and I felt ripped out of the ending of the film as a result of that. Yes, I am butthurt about it and not going to let it go. 2016 ANGEL SOFT AND SKITTLES PACKAGING IN A STORE IS A MASSIVE MISTAKE.

7.5/10


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

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #896 on: November 12, 2018, 06:03:45 PM »


The Hitman's Bodyguard (2017), directed by Patrick Hughes

I have read that The Hitman's Bodyguard is going to have a sequel, and after seeing this I'm not remotely sure how that's necessary. I took a look at the box office and saw that this made $176 million worldwide, so I suppose that explains it. The sole rationale for this even existing as a movie is that Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson would be on screen together and allowed to bounce jokes off each other while cursing a lot. This and a few other things are the only things brought to the table at all. The action genre has had some acclaimed movies to help revive it, but this seems to be an attempt to make a formulaic movie and spice it up just because of who is on the screen. You know, that's okay in a single dose. As a sequel, I don't know if that's going to work out. I also think this is a film that's much better when the focus is on the action rather than the comedy. There are very few films I've seen with less authentic feeling comedy than we have here. It's hard to buy into one of these characters as possibly being a real person, and that's probably far too high a standard, but it's one that I have for movies like these. I should have known this would be a film with problems when I saw that the director had very little experience, and the only film on his list that I knew was The Expendables 3. That sounds like a major problem to me. Another major problem to me is how Gary Oldman keeps winding up in stuff like The Hitman's Bodyguard or Hunter Killer.

Our film opens with a scene at an airport, with Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) tasked with protecting Takashi Kurosawa, an arms dealer. Bryce has a company and some bullshit about being AAA rated as a protection agent, and I don't know, I thought that was pretty stupid. Anyway, his company has a hell of a lot of employees. Things are going great until he gets on a plane, and once Kurosawa sits down someone shoots him in the head from a rooftop. Sounds great. Bryce never finds him, which leads to his current situation as a guy who protects drug addicts in London. Bryce blames his ex-girlfriend Amelia (Elodie Yung) for his problems, and she's an Interpol agent. So, he thinks that she did something that would lead to Kurosawa getting killed. Anyway, I don't really give much of a shit about that, so let's move on. Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman) is a dictator and leader of Belarus, put on trial for war crimes and currently going through a trial at The Hague. Dukhovich, as you might expect, is very guilty of these crimes, but the prosecution cannot get anything to stick as they have no hard evidence. Of course, the prosecution has one last hope, Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson), a hitman who has been incarcerated for some years. He wants his wife Sonia (Salma Hayek) to be released as part of a deal through which he'll give them whatever they want.

Of course, there are others such as Dukhovich who have their own ideas. He has his own man inside Interpol, an Assistant Director named Jean (Joaquim de Almeida) who keeps feeding him information. As a result of that information, he sets up a trap for when Amelia is to transport Darius from Manchester to the Netherlands. Jean and Dukhovich's trap works, although not as well as they'd like, because of course Amelia and Darius escape. There are no real stakes here. They both believe someone in Interpol betrayed them, they're right, and we're shown who's doing it all movie. As you might expect, Amelia decides to call Bryce. Also, as you might expect, Bryce and Darius have a history. No shit right? This leads to a formulaic trip to the Netherlands, attempting to dodge danger along the way and running into a hell of a lot of it. While that's going on, we're given a few scenes that let us know a bit about Sonia and Darius, and it turns out that Sonia curses a lot just like her husband. Darius plans to get out at some point after Sonia does, hence his reasoning for going to court and testifying. He actually wants to be there, but they only have 24 hours or something like that.

I think that a gimmick movie such as this really needs to commit to one thing or another. Go all in on comedy or action or action comedy. The scenes feel disjointed as a result of a lack of commitment, we go from one extreme to another with some being serious action and others being genuinely funny. As already stated, there are no real stakes, if you've seen one of these movies you've seen a hell of a lot of them. Due to our two leads not dragging a third person along with them, we know that there's no chance of anyone important dying along the way, and everyone's going to go home or to jail happier than before things started out. I think one's enjoyment of The Hitman's Bodyguard is directly tied to whether or not a person likes one or both of the leads. There's genuinely nothing else to this. The script is all over the place, and I should note that I don't like Ryan Reynolds, so this is where I'm at. I like Samuel L. Jackson, and while this is material that's written for him, we've seen some of these things so many times. Speaking for myself here, I thought that when Reynolds was being chased and having to deal with a bad guy on comedic ways, the film felt like it was really doing something worthwhile. This only happened once or twice. While written for both lead actors, there's simultaneously the feeling that this film could be much more.

I also found a few technical gremlins in this film, much of which seemed to be intended. The seemingly random blurring of objects in the background or foreground is absolutely intolerable, I can't handle having my eyes put through the ringer like that. I don't know what the deal is with that. Also, it seems that Gary Oldman gave no fucks whatsoever and was dropping his accent whenever it pleased him, and for whatever reason the director just let him do it. I enjoy when actors treat trash scripts as they deserve, but it was something bothering me in a film already full of things that were bothering me. Another sweet one was the way Darius would randomly stop and start limping after he'd been shot in the knee. Let's be clear, this is a film with a few inspired scenes, but taken as a whole, one wouldn't be wrong if they called the whole thing trash. I wouldn't go quite that far, but there are so many things here that lack common sense, and the director seemed to not have the courage to correct any of them. There's another where a man is testifying about what happened in front of him to his family, it is dismissed as hearsay. What? That's not how any of that shit works at all. The point is, this movie is junk and has some really good action scenes. It has some that aren't so good, so just take this rating for what it is. I wouldn't be surprised if people here couldn't get through it at all.

4.5/10

2017 Films Ranked


1. Get Out
2. Logan
3. Wonder Woman
4. Logan Lucky
5. The Beguiled
6. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
7. The Lost City of Z
8. I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
9. Kong: Skull Island
10. Split
11. Megan Leavey
12. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
13. Imperial Dreams
14. Win It All
15. Breathe
16. War Machine
17. To the Bone
18. The Hitman's Bodyguard
19. Sand Castle
20. Fist Fight
21. Sleepless


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

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #897 on: November 13, 2018, 06:37:40 PM »
Farsi, subtitles



The Salesman (2016), directed by Asghar Farhadi

Once The Salesman won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, it was inevitable that I would watch this. As you guys know, I am interested in watching more foreign films after I clear some the 2016 and 2017 backlog out of my way. The Salesman is probably most notable in this country because Farhadi did not attend the Academy Awards after Trump enacted his awful "Muslim ban." As we know, it wasn't a "Muslim ban" and the whole thing was fucking stupid, but anyway, we push on. Due to this film winning an award, and in part because it just got a lot of strong reviews, my expectations for The Salesman were quite high. I tried to keep my expectations down, but that just wasn't going to happen. I didn't quite expect the things that happened here, but this is what I'd consider to be a welcome surprise. The film simultaneously makes a strong political statement while weaving together an excellent plot, the political statement apparently being far enough for some Iranian critics to say this was a film that disparaged Iran. I wouldn't go quite that far, I think that's a bit crazy. One thing I noticed while watching this is that my opinion of foreign films as a whole eventually may become skewed because I only watch those that are thought to be quite good. Is that a wrong thing to do? I'm not so into film that I feel the need to watch a bunch of subtitled movies that I won't enjoy. That's how I feel, I guess.

Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti) are a married couple who live in Tehran, and the film opens with their building very near to collapsing. in a neat bit of political commentary, it is later said that the whole city is falling apart just like this. Anyway, the two need to move out of their building, there's no way they can live somewhere like that. Subsequently, the building is condemned. Emad has two jobs, one where he's a teacher at a local school and his second is with Rana, at the theatre. What do they do at the theater? As the title indicates, there's a tie-in to Death of a Salesman, and they co-star in the play as Willy and Linda. Good for them. Babak (Babak Karimi) is a fellow actor who knows about their plight with housing, and he owns an apartment that he's able to rent to them. The apartment isn't anything great, but it's a house. His last tenant was a woman who moved out and left all her stuff, and Babak can simply not figure out any way to get the stuff out of there. Anyway, in one of their first nights home, Rana is by herself and believes that Emad is coming home. Emad does come home and finds that his wife is missing, with the bathroom covered in blood.

Emad rushes to the hospital and is told by his neighbors about what's happened, which leads to lots of inferences and finger pointing that nobody would care for. The neighbors tell Emad that the former neighbor was a prostitute with many clients, some of whom she had major problems with, and presumably that's why she left her house. Rana didn't have an accident, it turns out that she was assaulted by one of these former clients. The rest of the film plays out in ways that I cannot quite decipher because I'm not familiar with Iranian culture, but I can tell you what I do know. Rana doesn't want to go to the police for obvious reasons, this is a society that isn't exactly favorable towards women. She also does not remember what her attacker looks like, and the idiot left car keys that fit into a covered pickup truck. The attacker also left his phone and some money, and Babak knew all about who he was renting to the house to. Although Emad and Rana will not involve the police, this is something that's going to eat away at Emad, and he must investigate this himself while trying to manage both his jobs.

This is a slow building film, with the incident leading to our conclusion not happening until very late into the film. Doing this allows the viewer to become attached to the characters and learn lots of things about them prior to the events that shape one's opinion of the film as a whole. The lead actor, Mr. Hosseini, was excellent here. I don't know if we'll ever see him in any English language films, but this feels like someone who deserves worldwide recognition. I believe he won some awards for this and they were very well deserved. The originality of the story is something I very much appreciated, and I was left to think about what I would do in a similar situation. I genuinely don't know. The first thing that came to mind was that I would have went to the police, but I don't live in Iran and Rana was unwilling to do so. I guess I would have dropped it, but that's just me. That Emad didn't drop it figures into a theme of the movie that I'll cover in the next paragraph. I have read that this is commentary on the failings of Iranian society, but that wasn't quite what I was thinking. It's good to read in that case, isn't it? The mystery of the film is consistently engaging, and there's a great payoff in terms of who did wrong here.

What I was thinking as a main theme of the film beyond the failings of Iranian society, because after all I didn't know that, was the way that people in Iran and other countries in that area of the world act like they own their wives bodies. The insatiable need for revenge once their wife has been sullied is not unique to the Middle East, but this is a film that addresses that and centers around the social constructs of the region. When trying to live up to cultural codes of honor such as this, bad things could happen and in The Salesman they do happen. What's done here is an attempt to bring revenge down to the most basic level. Instead of someone shaving their head and going around killing all kinds of people until they finally exact their revenge, Emad is on the search, with no real plans to do anything once he finds out what he needs to know. For me, this puts the film in a unique position and one I haven't often seen as I didn't watch very many films in general until the last year or so. Everything here is as realistic as it gets and is executed in a way that everything is comprehensible and powerful.

One thing I will say is that I'm not intelligent enough to know what the Death of a Salesman scenes were really supposed to mean. I'm able to admit that without fishing around for an answer and passing it off as my own. I found that the truth of some of the characters played out on the stage rather than in private amongst one another, and again, I'm really missing the point here. There was also a good laugh when the person playing Miss Francis was completely covered up, and they also talked about the censors coming over to make sure the play was proper. You know, that line led me to wonder about the state of Iranian censorship and if it's normal for lines such as that one to evade censorship in the first place. Obviously this one did. Again, I need to note that the conclusion of this film comes quite far out of nowhere, and I kept waiting for a cliched American-style conclusion to the film, but it never came. I also thought this was a film that showed the lives of normal Iranians, showed Tehran really feels and looks on ground level, and that aspect of the project was quite educational for someone (myself) who doesn't know much about Iran other than what's on the news. I do know better than to take that information as the absolute truth, but not knowing anything about the country beyond Muslim cultural norms and their politics, it was interesting to see these things. It's easy to see why this is a film that was given awards, and I may have liked it even more had I not been bothered by not knowing what happened to Emad and Rana's relationship.

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

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #898 on: November 16, 2018, 06:58:16 PM »


The Monster (2016), directed by Bryan Bertino

I feel slightly guilty writing about films such as this at times, but The Monster is one that completely whiffed for me. It wasn't so much that I thought the film was boring, or that I hated it, but that this is a movie I felt to be lacking in the details. There is a scene late at the end that entirely disrupted my immersion as well due to how ridiculous it was. With that in mind, this is also a film that clocked in at about 84 minutes, so it's quite short and difficult to talk about a large amount of things. The Monster is not a movie that lends itself to that. I was also talking with people as I was watching this, and found Brocklock's critique to be spot on. This is a film that feels like a Lifetime movie for around half of it, some people feel differently about that than others, but I'm one that finds it to be a problem. Admittedly, I did watch this because it was such a short feature film, but I probably should have checked out something else. I need to learn from things like this, but I probably never will.

Our drama sets up horror in The Monster, but neither are particularly spectacular. Kathy (Zoe Kazan) is an alcoholic shitpile of a mother, driving her 10 year old daughter Lizzy (Ella Ballentine) to her father's house for the weekend. Lizzy makes it quite clear that she doesn't want to come back home, so with that in mind, we push on through the rest of the film. The story is told with intermittent flashbacks that detail why Lizzy doesn't want to live at home anymore. Some of those are more effective than others, but the point I'm trying to make is, this attempt to turn a mother-daughter drama into a horror story that finally bonds the two together just does not work for me. All of the scenes with the two together in the past make me wonder how this ever could have lasted without the authorities getting involved in the first place. I will say that the scenes with Kathy getting drunk and raging out are effective in framing the characters, but there's a lack of follow-up that leads to the events being rendered ineffective in pleasing the viewer (me).

The two were supposed to leave early because nobody likes traveling at night, especially on a rainy one. Problem is, Kathy is a loser, fell back asleep, and they had to leave quite late. So, with Kathy struggling to drive at night, and with the two not exactly getting along, inevitably something happens and Kathy hits a wolf with her car. The wolf, for what it's worth, looks awfully fucked up for being hit by a car. Kathy gets hurt in the accident and the car is immobilized, so Lizzy has to call a tow truck and ambulance for her. Both will take a long time to get there as they're quite far out in the boondocks, but the tow truck arrives first. Jesse (Aaron Douglas) starts working on the car, and eventually Lizzy doesn't see the wolf's body out in front of the road anymore. Kathy can't stand talking to her daughter about this, so she gets out of the car to look for Jesse and she can't find him. As you might suspect from the title, there's a monster out there, one whose costume is quite neat, at least until the end of the film when you notice the actor's legs and boots in the monster's ultimate end and for some reason nobody thought they should do a take without those things.

That last sentence made me not want to write anything at all, but truthfully I've said a lot of what I already wanted to. While Zoe Kazan and Ella Ballentine do great work with the script, it is a script that is lacking depth and the ability for the audience to form attachments to the characters. That's how I feel about the whole thing. A lot of people disagree, that's cool with me, but I thought this was absolutely average on every level. Average is unfortunately no longer exciting for me, when it isn't good enough, it just isn't good. The two stories do make sense on their lonesome, but the blend of them isn't good and the director isn't talented enough to make a good horror movie with the parts he was presented. I probably wouldn't have the same problems with this if not for the extremely incredible gaffe with the actor and his monster suit. I just...can't handle it. The film was going decently until this moment, then the monster had to move too much in order for the scene to be credible, and the whole thing falls apart like a house of cards. It is very likely that the last scene was filmed near the end of the shoot as well. My logic is that if someone knew that was going to be a problem, it wouldn't have been in the film at all. Once a crew gets to the end of the shoot, it's way too late. This scene is going to rank as one of my worst of 2016. The film isn't outright bad, it's average, and that last scene was ridiculous. I won't hold it against the film too much though.

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