Author Topic: In Which I Review Movies 2015 - 2018  (Read 48474 times)

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Online Firmino of the 909

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


Tomb Raider (2018), directed by Roar Uthaug

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

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

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

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

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

4.5/10

2018 Films Ranked


Spoiler: show

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


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

Offline Kahran Ramsus

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

Online Firmino of the 909

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


The Mule (2018), directed by Clint Eastwood

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

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

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

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

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

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

7/10

2018 Films Ranked


Spoiler: show

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


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

Online Firmino of the 909

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


Mary Poppins Returns (2018), directed by Rob Marshall

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

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

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

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

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

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

7.5/10

2018 Films Ranked


Spoiler: show

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


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

Online Firmino of the 909

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


Roma (2018), directed by Alfonso Cuaron

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10/10

2018 Films Ranked


Spoiler: show

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


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

Online Firmino of the 909

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

6/10

2017 Films Ranked


Spoiler: show

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


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

Online Firmino of the 909

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


Aquaman (2018), directed by James Wan

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

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

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

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

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

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

7/10

2018 Films Ranked


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


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

Online Firmino of the 909

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

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


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

Offline The Art of Rasslin'

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


will you review this in 2019


I can't believe a guy can be that big, and jump around like he does what a great athlete!

Online Firmino of the 909

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


Personal Shopper (2017), directed by Olivier Assayas

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

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

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

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

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

7/10

2017 Films Ranked


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


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

Online Firmino of the 909

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



Bird Box (2018), directed by Susanne Bier

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

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

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

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

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

5.5/10

2018 Films Ranked


Spoiler: show

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


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

Online Firmino of the 909

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


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

Online Firmino of the 909

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7/10

2018 Films Ranked


Spoiler: show

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


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

Online Firmino of the 909

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


Bumblebee (2018), directed by Travis Knight

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

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

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

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

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

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

7.5/10

2018 Films Ranked


Spoiler: show

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


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

Online Firmino of the 909

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

7.5/10

2017 Films Ranked


Spoiler: show

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


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