Watched any good movies recently?

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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby ky9ersfan » Tue Jun 16, 2020 8:46 pm

Watched Jason Bourne(2016), it is a solid spy, action movie. It was very enjoyable, and was well done. I give a good 8/10.

I also watched Blair Witch(2016), which skips Blair Witch 2, and is a true sequel to Blair Witch 1. The plot is that Heather's brother assembles a group to go back to the woods, to search for Heather after she mysteriously vanishes, and the only thing found from that investigation, is the creepy documentary tape that was found in the woods afterwards by locals. I give a average rating of 5.5.
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Jun 19, 2020 4:15 pm

Watched Captain Fantastic and for about two thirds of it, really enjoyed it till it took a massive nosedive. Looks good with Courtney Hoffman choosing the right costumes to suit the film and Stéphane Fontaine finding some good visual shots either on the road or in the forests where we start, cast very good.

It takes its time to set itself up but it is intresting watching Ben Cash (Viggo Mortensen) and his brood in the wild, the tasks they go about, the way they live, the well done family bond. Even from fairly early on there is a "yes the children are very well educated but..." as gaps emerge like the eldest son (George MacKay) social skills or "they need to hear another outlet" as they repeat word perfect the father's rants about American society. Ben Cash feels like a loving father but one with blind spots and major flaws that are unwittingly damaging the children like second son (Nicholas Hamilton), but it feels balanced in its treatment of him.

The second phase as they have to enter society manages to keep that balance and uses meeting with the in-laws (Kathryn Hahn and Steve Zahn) or the eldest meeting a girl (Erin Moriarty) to further explore damage being done and issues with Mr Cash's fundamental attitudes, even when highlighting the quality of education the six children are getting (one feels like there is a shot about American education in there more then once and in one scene leans towards a shot at the youth of today). These scenes are intresting, using the meetings with all sorts to show the attitudes underlying what Cash has done, there is humour to prevent it being too serious and it builds nicely.

There are issues, when Mr Cash sees his wife for moments during the night, it falls flat, his father-in-law (Frank Langella) has good points but comes across as such a jerk that it doesn't help provide a balance counter-act. One does notice that there are the two eldest boys who get emotional issues to deal with, two very young children to be used for humour, but the two eldest girls are nice enough figures with cast doing well but given nothing to really flesh them out. It touched upon but perhaps could have done more on the kids getting a chance to try or do things they can't normally and what temptations that might bring, as the film gets deeper in it had a habit of bring up a big issue then shoving it aside and done after one scene.

The big problem is the ending
major spoilers
the children go back with their father, hiding in the bus. Ignoring one of them is in a tiny space with a broken neck and no police seem to have get called when the grandfather discovers kids are missing.
, it doesn't feel remotely real or that it deals with the stuff that came before, logic seems to get thrown out of the window. Once we hit a certain moment, the film had lost us completely and never pulled us back in due to how bad a move it was, let alone that it committed to it

Me: 7.0, Sis: 6.5

Watched the 2012 animated remake Frankenweenie based on Tim Burton's short, had been one of those things I had kept hearing about. Certainly recognize that distinctive animated style that works so well (particularly for "Weird Girl's" eyes), had some nice nods to Frankenstein as one would expect and to early horror films in general. For most part it went along well, there was plenty of humour, the moment Sparky was lost had punch, the family dynamics were good. Loved the science teacher (Martin Landau) and his storyline had such a strong end phase that was pointed, sweet and hilarious. The end phase wasn't to my taste, some nods, some humour but very much focused on action involving the creatures which didn't engage me and began to drag but overall had a fun time.

Both: 6.5
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:46 pm

Watched the recent animated movie The Addams Family. Leaving aside the Addams Family part, there some fun nods and jokes about horror films, the idea behind the town around them is a decent idea that they have moments with but is under-explored (not helped by building up the family), nice use of music (till end credits), adventure is fine if a little underpowered. Animation style works well after a bit of adjustment, good voice work mostly.

It takes time to move away from the memories of the Addams Family classics and those performances. There are some nice additions like the house personality, they give more of a character to Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard) and I like this film's version of Lurch (Conrad Vernon) but it took me awhile to feel "this isn't the so and so I know." What didn't help was that early on the film seemed to be trying a bit too hard to go "look how spooky, look how strange the Addams are" rather then really building the bonds that make them strong.

There are things that never work, Gomez (Oscar Isaac) feels a bit of a joke rather then a charismatic figure, there is no romantic spark with Morticia (Charlize Theron) who feels... too much of a parental role rather then the three dimensional commanding figure. Fester (Nick Kroll) is a joke figure and not a funny one at that, Kroll's delivery was flat. Wednesday (Chloë Grace Moretz) grows into the film, delivery initially a little flat but once Wednesday gets beyond the house, the dry delivery works well and she grows as a character with her sharp one-liners and sense of threat.

Both: 6.0

Watched zombie comedy Little Monsters. Premise: Dave Anderson (Alexander England)'s life has not gone to plan and is staying with with his sister Tess (Kat Stewart) and his young nephew Felix. Falling for the kindergarten teacher Miss Caroline (Lupita Nyong'o), he decides to help with a school trip to a local farm.... meanwhile next to it zombies break out of a US army testing facility.

This wasn't quite what I had expected, I had expected a zombie comedy and from trailers that children entertainer Teddy McGiggle (Josh Gad) was going to swear. In terms of a zombie movie, the zombies are more used for comedy, they are slow and carry very little threat, they are more there for the situation of this class of youngsters and three main adults (the teacher, the washout and the entertainer) being trapped and comedy from there.

The comedy is certainly 18, the "bad word" song gets used a few times let us put it that way. It hits you early so you know the style of comedy your going to get and it could easily go wrong but the writer Abe Forsythe (also directed) knows how to balance the swearing, the jokes of inappropriateness and anything where it may risk pushing the boundaries with other things. Some of that is not overdoing it, there are more gentle jokes like the things the pupils say or how Miss Caroline deals with McGiggle, building a story and bonds with a sweet heart. In the scenes where they go big on the adult jokes, usually something serious is also going on and the pupils innocent reactions (like the bad word song) or sheer obliviousness helps counter-act in a humorous way.

It never neglects the story beneath the humour, showing Dave bond with those around him and develop, looking at the sadness behind the three adults that come out over time, bar one Asian family nothing seems to get forgotten and not dealt with, there are sad and sweet moments becuase time has been taken to develop things and a sense of past. Songs are nice enough for their purpose with Nyong'o having quite a nice voice, Nyong'o the best in the cast with the cheerfulness of her role as teacher but allowing other feelings and concerns to slip through as she braves it out (really lands the confrontation with Gad's character). England does a fine job, the petulance and wastefulness of his life in the early scenes but building deeper things over time, builds good dynamics with others. Kat Stewart does well with her small role giving a strong sense of Tess feelings towards her brother both short term and long term, Gad is fine with some good comedy but I have seen him be a lot funnier.

Overall this was a funny movie in ways I didn't expect and with a sweetness at its core, never neglecting its characters so when the big moments came, it did have emotional power
spoiler example
David phones Tess not sure if he is going to live, makes a heartfelt apology and then loses phone, her scared and worried use of his nickname was moving


Me: 7.5, Sis: 7.0
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Jul 04, 2020 8:55 am

Watched Downton Abbey, a film sequel to the hit ITV period drama. There are many ways this could have wrong, this one perhaps didn't have a "this is needed" feel but it felt like a more expensive TV special rather then something that ruins the franchise and it avoided the badness of the show at its worse. It showed us the characters with time moved on and got all the cast back together, was sufficiently stand alone, did nothing to wreck the characters, gave a pleasant time (though if you dislike the monarchy, might be an issue).

The props department used the film money very well, it looked great and appropriate for the time (not an expert) with a certain pride in the opening stages. Did regret a lack of recap slightly particularly regards some of the latter season additions, generally it managed to balance its cast (though not completely) while adding some cameos (like Mark Addy) and the royal servants made good impacts, cast did their job well. The usual humour figures were perhaps not quite at their best but they did deliver some good lines, was a good theme running around about Downton's future with some good moments for likes of Mary, the story was well paced, romances were generally poor and didn't care for any of the attempted romantic set ups.

On the Royals, they were used well to give a one-off story, to have an impact on the staff and set things in motion. If you have seen any of Downton Abbey, you know this is going to be very pro-Royalist and it is, tries to sell the importance of the institution (even in moments where it makes little sense), it goes very much for charm of the Royals. Which is fine but there is one thing that felt really bad form by Julian Fellows
turning Queen Mary's "acquiring" into "this was all a wicked servant" to clear the Queen of stuff she actually did


Me: 6 Sis: 6.5
=====

Watched animated comedy Charming. Premise: Prince Charming (Wilmer Valderrama) has been cursed and he must complete a gauntlet and find true love before his upcoming birthday. He is engaged to Snow White (Avril Lavigne), Cinderella (Ashley Tisdale) and Sleeping Beauty (G.E.M), who will be his true love? Will they find out about each other? Will he be murdered by a jealous boyfriend?

The animation quality is not impressive and Charming lacks the charm that, well, comes with the name. The set up goes fairly well, Charming's curse leads to some amusement with the poor guards, there are plenty of fairy tales nods including one set that has a sad edge
the Little Mermaid
, it has the best song with Trophy Boy which has energy and fun, it sticks in the head after the film. The comedy isn't quite sharp enough, perhaps not helped that voice cast include a lot of singers but there are good ideas when they touch upon the impact on the three princess of the route their life has taken.

The main adventure is bad. There are moments (glimpsing back at the princesses) and one fight that has its moments but it relies a lot on caring about Charming and his guide (Demi Lovato) who do not click and aren't intresting enough characters as individuals to cover for that. The songs don't always fit in with what is going on and fell flat, the humour also flat, the story didn't feel fresh. There were attempts like having the characters swap traditional roles but it still feel like something one had seen before and not anywhere near as imaginative as the set up. Even worse, there is a segment that is not only dated but offensive
the all female cannibal tribe. Have a guess at their costumes...
and so deducted half a point

The end phase does pick up despite fundamental weaknesses and a not particularly baddie for two reasons, 1) John Cleese second character shows up
executioner
and lifts his scenes with charm and humour, 2) Charming has an intresting and thoughtful strand at this point that they run well with
major spoilers
He decides to be executed to prevent others from suffering the curse, acting maturely and thoughtfully
. Those things give it just enough kick for an enjoyable end.

Me: 5.0 Sis 5.5

=======

Watched Cube 2: Hypercube, doesn't give itself a good start with blurry footage and constant looking at an eye in the opening but it picks up. Handles the "how to make it different" by changing the colour of the cube, the way the cube works, the traps as well as having a new group and it feels sufficiently fresh. Cast do a decent job, characters not fleshed out but it does enough for the cast to run with and make it so we liked him, some decent dynamics, the elderly lady (Barbara Gordon) provides a bit of uncertainty within the group. The twists do enough to keep things interesting and are carefully timed without really livening things up, enough of a sense of mystery and "can they get out? Who will get out". End phase had a twist that didn't feel right within the film
Geraint Wyn Davies's character going insane, makes sense for one of them but not built in well for that character
but was a passable film.

Both: 6.0
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:42 pm

Watched rom-com You've Got Mail which I hadn't seen before, brought back a flood of memories of ye olden times. A start that didn't initially draw me in but enjoyed the email exchanges, they had charm and interest while Tom Hank's strand grew quickly, the characters weren't deep but his family and his friend made quick impacts in scenes to keep entertained. Meg Ryan's perky book shop owner on other hand, her strands took time to get going, the figures around her took a long time (quite deep into second half) to make a positive impression
first do so
when her waiting for her unknown friend at restaurant didn't work out
with the exception of the wise and humorous Birdy (Jean Stapleton), her cause was doomed so struggled to get behind it.

The film did got stronger, the emails remained a strong point, there were good scenes between the two leads (though their chemistry was better in the emails), the Ryan strand got stronger, I liked how it wasn't "big business will murder your family, little stores are purity and holiness" but showed a good side to each. If you have seen a rom-com, you knew where this was going but it was fun to watch in the middle part. The end phase however could be erratic, there would be good well written scenes and some clumsy (like the break ups with existing partners, Ryan's was excellent and human, Hanks was very clumsy to point of excuse making), some clumsy dialogue, the chemistry between the leads wasn't quite strong enough so I wasn't quite rooting for them as I should be at an end phase of a rom-com.

Did have a nice time

Both: 6.5

==========

Watched Booksmart which I had heard good things about but was still pleasantly surprised. The bond between the two close friends (Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever were very good) is there from the start, the film establishes the comic tone early and sets itself up well while the concept felt new. It was a funny film with plenty of laughs, an eye for really awkward moments between characters, a nice serious theme bubbling underneath it
how rumours start and scar
, moves quickly, Jason McCormick shot the film well.

A talented young cast like Billie Lourd (her Gigi is similar to her character in Scream Queens, still funny) and Skyler Gisondo (as Gigi's friend) Jared with some good support from likes of Jessica Williams and Jason Sudeikis with Olivia Wilde getting good performances out of everybody. There was a sense of atmosphere that allowed the film to do enjoyably strange scenes and try something a little different every now and again but without it feeling weird. What also stood out was the atmosphere, bar one mean scene in setting up the motivations of the two leads, this was sweet. When the two leads come across others, they are accepted, characters generally mean well even when they hurt, characters that seem weird or mean early on have a reason why and they come across well as things go on. That sweetness at the heart, among the class, lifted some of the scenes to greater heights and meant we were really warmed into it.

My one complaint is the quick pace and how side character most of the side characters are means some scenes are hampered slightly by a feeling "I don't know so and so well enough for this", it means some scenes lack a bit of the impact they are going for. There is plenty of a feeling that there things beneath hidden the surface with the characters, they are likeable but romance scenes and others lack a bit of oomph in the second half due to how little we know of anyone outside the two leads.

Both: 7.5
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Jul 17, 2020 4:46 pm

Saw comedy Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga which was fairly pleasant, the songs were likeable and felt Eurovisiony, some lovely nods, has heart. I found it a film that did just enough when it wasn't at its best to keep me engaged and then would sometimes do something sweet or really funny or a bit of music. Some lovely Icelandic scenery during the opening stages!

If your not a Eurovision fan, I'm not sure this will convert you or even makes the attempt, there doesn't seem to be any attempt to explain Eurovision. If your a fan? Plenty of nods and cameos from past Eurovision winners, the costumes feel right and neither of the leads wear anything that doesn't feel Eurovision. Yet it also have you tearing your hair out at errors that are strange, they don't serve a narrative purpose to justify a change while the EBU helping produce and Will Ferrell (who wrote and produced) being a known fan... not sure why such mistakes were made. Things like the hosting situation is full of bizarre and basics of Eurovision inaccuracies that make no sense to make, they get Graham Norton's commentary style all wrong. There is a key point where it also relies on... well it didn't feel Eurovision
the semi final song goes wrong but they battle through and the crowd takes way too long before applauding. Eurovision crowds don't always behave well but from what I have seen, they would have rallied behind the performers who were so unlucky


Leaving aside Eurovision and the film on its merits, as a comedy it does just enough over the two hours not to flag, there are some very funny moments, did feel the "ok people are going to comment on an American doing this so get in front of it" strand didn't land. Musically, none of the songs feel like a Eurovision winner and they are mostly pop (which is good for me) but none that would made me wish the song was over, they showed a variety of performance styles with an edge towards the flamboyance, used singers for the songs with good lipsynching work by the cast. There is a pleasant song-off ala Pitch Perfect which was fun to see.

For the "underdog goes to big sporting competition with dreams in their heart", it builds well the dream for Lars in the opening stages and keeps that dream. The beats it walks during the journey are very familiar but done well enough to keep engaged, it does well with Sigrit having a good voice people notice and the underdog errors but one thing that hampers is "this act/song chosen is bad and everyone mocks it" when the song is perfectly fun and fine. It doesn't feel bad enough for the mockery it gets.

In terms of the dynamics, the friendship is well established from the start and the two leads have a good friendship chemistry and gel on stage. Ferell has the more fleshed out role in Lars and he plays it well, charm, a sense of trapped in his dream, a bit of flamboyance, earnest, ability to deliver comedy and the obliviousness when required. McAdams role feels less fleshed out as a character and would have liked some reflection outside of the start of why she is drawn to Lars and more away from Lars. McAdams shows a good comic touch, bounces well off others, she also has that sense of earnestness and pulls off well the scenes where things go wrong and a more serious touch is needed. As a romance, they do just enough and there is enough chemistry plus sense of history for one to root for her but there is an issue due to how the romance is handled Hollywood age gaps came to mind.

In terms of supporting characters, Pierce Brosnan as Lars father doesn't sing but a decent comic touch, carries the sense of his character well but it is underwritten so doesn't have the full impact some of the scenes where hoping for. Dan Stevens provides charm, a degree of flamboyance and a force of personality as Russia singer Alexander, his song is good and he bounces well off the other cast members. Melissanthi Mahut makes the most of a small role as Greek singer Mita, has comic touch, bounces well off Stevens and Ferell, good performance during her song.

Me: 6.0, Sis: 6.5


Watched animated Irish fantasy Song of the Sea. Premise: One night, Ben (David Rawle) loses his mother who gives birth to Saoirse, leaves him behind only a broken father Conor (Brendan Gleeson), an unwanted sister and old Irish tales. Six years later as things go wrong, those tales may yet come into play....

Animation quality is not the best, there are moments where movement can be jerky but the animals do sometimes look really adorable and can look pretty. Uses Irish language during credits and a few other moments, touches on many Irish legends and creatures and ensures it is accessible for those who have not heard these tales. Voice cast do a decent but not great job, it is generally a competent production.

Has a good opening, it establishes a loving house and the pain Ben and Conor go through is well done, Ben feels his age in a way young characters often don't as he reacts to what he has lost, there is sadness with adorable dog (and seals), some pretty drawings of the tales. When it comes to adventure, then it becomes a bit erratic, the moment within seeing creatures of legends go along nicely but bits outside of that could drag and overall, there was more the moments of boredom then there was "oh this is nice"

Me: 5.5, Sis: 6.0
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Kongde » Mon Oct 12, 2020 10:05 pm

Recently saw The Warring States movie (you can watch free on Vudu with ads) - might I say how excellent of a movie this was? Not only was this covered in the time period for Spring and Autumn which is not depicted much, but it further depicts an entire side of history barely even talked about - disabilities in ancient times. This is one of the few inside looks you have at somebody in ancient times living their life as a cripple (for at least part of the movie). I shouldn't say much more than this as this may already be somewhat of a spoiler, but just know that this is one of the best watches I have seen for a movie.
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