Watched any good movies recently?

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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:15 am

My father didn't play the games and seemed to follow it well enough, well as much as the bad logic allowed

Tried adaptation to snow white Sydney White set at college with the prince (Matt Long) being a fraternity head, the villain (Sara Paxton) being the evil fraternity head full of privilege and blond (you get the image it is going for), Amanda Bynes plays the construction girl Sydney. We gave it about 15 minutes and one sees flashes, one great joke with Bynes, some fun with the evil lady but jokes seem forced and dialogue stilted. Tried Georgian film My Happy Family, seems well constructed and performed but wasn't quite my thing.

Watched high-school comedy Charlie Bartlett. Premise: Charlie Bartlett (the late Anton Yelchin) is expelled again from private school, this time for forging driving licenses. His rich mother (Hope Davies) decides to send him to the local school where Bartlett seeks popularity and spots Susan (Kat Dennings), daughter of principle Nathan Gardner (Robert Downey Jr.).

This is a film that can be quite enjoyable one moment then flop the next. What worked was the initial relationship between Charlie and his caring if incompetent mother, Charlie's dreams of popularity leading to his clever and good natured schemes to get that. Charlie has charm and good manners to go with his brain to make a likeable lead, there is a bit of humour in what he tries, none of his schemes seek to shaft others and he treats people well. Some figures are one scene only but make an impact but there are others who become figures in his life like bully Murphy Bivens (Tyler Hilton). However even this stronger part of the film, there is a feeling of "if only better writing, could be even better" (Gustin Nash is the writer here), film trying to be a bit too quirky, going for big emotional scenes that have not had the build up required and, most annoyingly, support characters getting dropped completely. We really wish they had replaced some scenes with a strand they just completely dropped
Murphy's date with Whitney (Megan Park) had such a build up, we see him with flowers... then it gets ignored


Then there is the... less good strand. It isn't awful but it lacks spark, the romance lacks chemistry and neither the head teacher or the daughter are particularly engaging. When you see Charlie charm and help someone then swap to the romance or the headteacher's struggles, you can feel the enjoyment dip. Unfortunately guess which of the two strands makes up the end phase? Rather then ending with ommph, every worst aspect of the film comes into play and it drags.

Me: 6.0, Sis: 5.5
“You, are a rebellious son who abandoned his father. You are a cruel brigand who murdered his lord. How can Heaven and Earth put up with you for long? And unless you die soon, how can you face the sight of men?”
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:54 pm

Tried What Dreams May Come which was very erratic, would have a good scene that felt natural then others were dialogue was trying too hard and it was trying to bludgeon home the emotions. Tried Monster Truck which I thought might be mindless fun and stuck with it way longer then I should have. The monster is cute and there are some half decnt humour moments with it but nothing else really clicks, the lead Lucas Till fails to offer a charismatic presence to hold attention, attempted humour romance with Jane Levy's sees humour not quite hit,

Watched thinking piece The Man From Earth. Premise: After ten years John Oldman (David Lee Smith) is leaving to the confusion of his fellow professors who gather to say goodbye. Sensing something is wrong, they press for an explanation and he tells them he has been alive since the caveman era....

A cheap production with the sort of cast you vaguely recognise (Tony Todd, John Billingsley, Ellen Crawford, William Katt and Richard Riehle for example), the visual quality is fairly grainy, Afshin Shahidi makes some odd choices with the camera, David Lee Smith's lips seem to go brown/green at times and not in a deliberate way. Most of the characters aren't particularly fleshed out (it is more a group dynamic that interests), some of the humour (particularly from Billingsley's character) is annoying and the film is inadvertently sexist. All the thinkers and questions come from the men, the three woman are restricted to love interest, old religious lady and perky young student.

Having got the flaws out of the way, we found the film intresting. In his last work, the late Jerome Bixby really seems to have thought the concept through of a caveman who stops ageing in his 30's and so is still alive in 2007 (when the film came out) as much as possible. How did it happen, what positive and negative things that meant for John, how does growing up through changing times impact a person, what common perceptions about an immortal might be true or not. A lot of questions are asked by his friends and answers given by John while Bixby also worked on how the group would react both as a group and as individuals to his story with a wide variety of reactions as it unfolds.

Naturally it also covers religion and for most part, it is intresting as it discusses things like his views down the centuries, how it changed society around him. However there is one sizeable segment in second half where it bases discussion around a controversial choice
Major Spoiler
he was Jesus
which felt unnecessary (there were a ton of less controversial choices it could have picked). It is the one segment where the logic frays a bit, where the explanation just doesn't seem as convincing when it really needed to land the logic. The religious expert Edith (Ellen Crawford) hadn't come across as likeable at this point and she is not served well by this section, she gets religion mansplained by the men in the room and it is clear the writers feelings on religion. It isn't that the arguments aren't intresting and thoughtful but three men dismissively explaining to a religious lady (strangely the only religious person in room, not even casual believers) about religion and how she is irrational/wrong is... off.

Me: 7.5, Sis: 7.0
“You, are a rebellious son who abandoned his father. You are a cruel brigand who murdered his lord. How can Heaven and Earth put up with you for long? And unless you die soon, how can you face the sight of men?”
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:42 am

Watched animated family film The Boss Baby. Premise: Tim Templeton (Miles Bakshi) is a happy seven year old with two loving parents but when his baby brother (Alec Baldwin) arrives in taxi and in a suit, his life changes. Tim suspects something is up with his new brother....

One of those nice enough, bit patchy films rather than Storks. Two things that shone was the set up in Baby factory (there is a nice nod to "where do babies come from") and the wizard alarm clock (James McGrath) had the best humour. During first half, I appreciated what they tried to do with Tim's imagination but didn't quite click while I liked some of the Boss Baby stuff like his authority and sense of power, my sister preferred the imagination. Second half felt was hampered by need to do an adventure, some good moments but others were I wasn't engaged.

Both: 6.0
“You, are a rebellious son who abandoned his father. You are a cruel brigand who murdered his lord. How can Heaven and Earth put up with you for long? And unless you die soon, how can you face the sight of men?”
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:42 pm

Watched a fair bit of the Hitman's Bodyguard but after about 20 lengthy actions scenes too many, we stopped. There is stuff that almost carries it, Ryan Reynolds has charm and generally liked his character, Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman) is a good baddie that just lacks a little something to be great, Sonia (Salma Hayek) is a bit erratic but some highly entertaining moments. For a film that relies on the main two blokes, it s a problem we didn't like Darius (Samuel L.Jackson) whose character was annoying most of time, didn't feel the main romance sparked and too many lengthy, not good action scenes. Tried Free Fire, found some of the characters annoying with one or two showing potential but when the big action scenes started, they didn't click for me at all. Frank and Lola, the dialogue never felt real or anything humans might say

Tried comedy in Christian high-school Saved! which has a lot of potential to be a really good film and starts strongly, Mary Cummings (Jena Malone) is sweet and the problem she gets herself into is done in a way that makes sense, a good cast, nice touch showing how someone can grow to believe in gay-conversion without being an unkind monster. However it does dip and it has a tendency for being on the nose when subtle would work, the rebel Cassandra (Eva Amurri) for example could be an intresting look at the one Jew in the school who due to atmosphere feels on defensive and so strikes out. Instead it comes across as rebelling for rebelling's sake, concentrating on the constant acts rather then motive and it gets tiring. Macaulay Culkin's character Roland gets rather creepy in a way I don't think they intended.

======

Watched Stephen King horrorChristine. Premise: An evil car kills two workers on the production line, 21 years later the car is a rust bucket but catches the eye of geeky Arnold Cunningham (Keith Gordon) despite his friend Dennis Guilder (John Stockwell) warning him against it. As Arnold fixes up the car, he becomes more and more obsessed while the car's killing ways may not be over...

As a car based horror, it works nicely enough. They generate tension, good use of lighting to add to the car being a threat, kills fairly effective, the special effects have aged well. They do well to give the car a sense of personality like the timing of when it turns on, music to send a message (good music as well), how it responds to others and they respond to it. This works best when they balance it out with the humans like Dennis in first half, when the human stuff starts to struggle the car horror can't carry the film.

Where it starts strongly and later fades is the human characters side. Arnold and Dennis make a strong friendship pairing, one gets a sense of their school, they hint at the love interests but over time, it loses that aspect. Arnold's change when he gets the car has moments of real interest but other times he is just annoying and perhaps the change could have been slower, characters including Dennis can vanish for a fair while. Love interest Leigh Cabot (Alexandra Paul) jumps into a romance without a proper build up, doesn't build a sense of personality or real chemistry while Alexandra Paul is the weakest member of the cast. By the time we get to the big end phase, it does feel the film has just gone on a bit too long

Both: 6.0

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Watched Psychological thriller Stoker. Premise: Richard Stoker (Dermot Mulroney) has died, leaving a grieving wife Evelyn (Nicole Kidman) and her strange daughter India (Mia Wasikowska). When Richard's brother Charlie (Matthew Goode) returns from his travels, it changes the dynamics of the Stoker household....

Bit off an odd movie but I liked it. At times Park Chan-wook seemed to be trying to generate horror like tension but those scenes never worked, what he managed was to generate a sense of the odd/surreal and a bit of the erotic. The film happy to have passages where little is spoken but fills it with strong performances and when they do speak, the dialogue is strong. The twists are predictable but for most part well done, a few moments in the end phase where one or two twists didn't quite land. Good performances, particularly enjoyed the odd India with Wasikowska's wide eyes suiting role and the charming Charlie.

Both: 6.5
“You, are a rebellious son who abandoned his father. You are a cruel brigand who murdered his lord. How can Heaven and Earth put up with you for long? And unless you die soon, how can you face the sight of men?”
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:03 pm

Tried Slovak/Czech drama The Teacher (2016), set in 1986 when new teacher and influential communist Mária Drazdechová (Zuzana Mauréry) starts using her teaching job to gain favours. Well constructed film (though having the whole class stand up one by one and say their parents job, maybe another way could have been found), a cast that actually looks like ordinary parents and do a good job, one can see the manipulations unfold. It just wasn't quite us, it is better made then a fair few films we have watched and did nothing wrong but just wasn't feeling it.

Watched Baywatch which attempted to reboot the lifeguard show as films, hadn't particularly watched the original show but away of the old jokes about slow-mo running and so on. The attitude of this film towards the old show is... confused, on one hand they have cameo's, on the other they parody stuff that went on like the opening joke of how popular and revered Buchanan (Dwyane Johnson) is which was a nice one. They also try to have their cake and eat it on one front with leering at females: They make a few decent jokes about the slow running and there is a feeling they are trying to spoof things when they concentrate on Alexandra Daddario's chest or Kelly Rohrbach's bottom but it really feels like in attempting to joke about it, they are committing the original problem all over again.

This is a patchy film, at times it goes along nicely enough and it has a decent end phase, other times I was on the verge of quitting. The things it does right is it has a good villianess thanks to Priyanka Chopra's performance, who is closest to landing the humour, the "this is somewhat ridiculous" tone and has some decent threat about her. There are nice scenes between Buchana and Matt Brody (Zac Efron) whe it concentrates on developing them and a bond, Brody had a decent storyline while decent enough chemistry with Daddario's Sumner Quinn. As long as not on water (which is a bit of a problem for Baywatch), nice enough action scenes and it feels like some things just didn't quite click rather then bad. Like some humour that feels like it should work and with good comic actors but the jokes rarely land.

There are also times when the film is just bad. The water action scenes are boring, plenty of humour is excruciating dick jokes, the Ronnie (Jon Bass) strand is awful. Ronnie whole idea seems to be either one of the writers or producers fantasy, the fat Jewish nerd who joins the cool kids and gets the girl (which can work), some awful jokes, a romance that doesn't feel real and doesn't quite fit with the rest of it. The girls are underwritten, even side characters get way more time then Buchan's deputy Stephanie (Ilfenesh Hadera) and they all seem to be there for romance or possible future romance.

The film has trouble with lifeguards doing police work. The writers Mark Swift and Damian Shannon seem aware there is something silly about lifeguards investigating a major crime but don't know how to handle it. They have Buchanan make one decent speech about lifeguards dealing with beach crime but only time they do that. Vs 3 or four good speeches pointing out the issue with what the Baywatch team are doing, they make rather more convincing cases which the show tries to counter act by either "well so and so isn't as awesome as our lifeguards" or have them recant. However it doesn't make their point any less valid.

5.5

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Watched horror/thriller Identity. Premise: It is a dark and stormy night that is leading to floods, forcing various people to stay at Larry's (John Hawkes) Motel. Alas a convict (Jake Busey) is also staying and when people start to be murdered....

If your thinking Agatha Christie's "then there were none", others have made that comparison but this is less a delve into the minds, more a horror. BBC's recentish adaptation is well worth checking out if you like the "people trapped and isolated in a place with a killer"

This was one of those better then the individual parts, I enjoyed myself but I can't point to anything remarkable about the film. The killings themselves lack impact, we guessed the big mysteries and easy to guess who will die early but it was still exciting watching it unfold, flashbacks were irritating at start but calms down. Only one or two characters like Ginny (Clea DuVall) and the nervous George (John C. McGinley) felt like developed figures but even they faded out, most are either not developed at all or easy but likeable clichés like Paris being a prostitute with a good heart but Amanda Peet's performance warmed us to the character. While ending didn't quite land, we had an enjoyable time with the "I vaguely recognise" cast doing a good job.

Me: 6.0, Sis: 6.5
“You, are a rebellious son who abandoned his father. You are a cruel brigand who murdered his lord. How can Heaven and Earth put up with you for long? And unless you die soon, how can you face the sight of men?”
User avatar
Dong Zhou
A-Dou
A-Dou
 
Posts: 15511
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2005 12:32 pm
Location: "Now we must die. May Your Majesty maintain yourself"

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