Watched any good movies recently?

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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Zyzyfer » Mon Mar 06, 2017 1:39 am

The Wolf of Wall Street

Watched on a whim because Wall Street Never Sleeps was on and I suddenly recalled Wolf. Good grief this movie was long. It started sinking in at about the 2:10 mark, I checked and realized there was still half of a normal movie left and was glad we were relaxing and watching at home.

Ensemble cast which includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie as the principal stars. DiCaprio plays Jordan Belfort, in this film which depicts Belfort's rise and fall as he pushes to make a name for himself on Wall Street.

It's a Scorsese so at no point is it terrible. It possibly could have benefited from a bit of cutting here and there, the long run time leads to the final act where "the birds come home to roost" losing a bit of its steam. It's also definitely a rated R film, you would think you're watching some Ozzy Osbourne biopic with all the sex, drugs, and foul language. It's not an easy film to watch at times and there are some uncomfortable bits here and there.

DiCaprio is great, I really think it's impossible for him to put on a stinker, or even mediocre, performance at this point - as long as the script itself isn't doo-doo. Jonah Hill also gives an interesting performance. I wasn't impressed by his serious turn in Moneyball but he really becomes his character here. And maybe it's just because I haven't seen enough of his work yet, but Jon Bernthal is a damn chameleon.

Two scenes really struck me in particular. The first was Belfort's meeting with FBI agent Denham on his yacht, I found myself getting lost (in a good way) in this scene as they took jabs at one another. And the other was the drugged out scene with Belfort, actually it was so over the top that we couldn't help but laugh at it, but it ended up being a nice, brief escape from the somber rest of the movie.

Verdict: Overall, catchy film that I appreciated, but gritty and long run time detract from it being even better.
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Mar 16, 2017 1:56 pm

Watched the 1979 The Muppet Movie which is about how they came together. As the first movie, a lot of what makes the Muppets the Muppets is still there like personalities (though some of the band has been sidelined since), it's 4th wall and word play, songs (opening with Rainbow connection, that and "I'm Going Back There Someday" had emotional punch and some catchy ones), cameo's (though only Steve Martin and Big Bird's worked for me). Yet with a underwhelming baddie and a lot of humour that didn't work, it was a solid film that lacked spark for the majority of it.

Both: 6.0

=====

Watched Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. Before the somewhat negative reviews had been... reasonably looking forward to it. Batman vs Superman could be two well established superhero titans with great play on the idealogical divide and should have small cast. Fine with casting, I was content with Zack Snyder directing as long as he had someone to oversee him, to block glaringly bad moves and to curb his love of action, trailers seemed alright. On the negative seemed like Snyder was going to get a free hand which left me worried, also what left me very worried is it clearly wasn't going to be a small Superman team (say Lois, Jimmy, Perry White) vs Batman's team (Alfred, maybe a Robin/Nightwing or a Catwoman, Jim Gordon) but seemed like it was going to flood with as many DC big names as they could which sounded a horrible idea and reeked of panic.

Disclaimer: I know there is a belief that Marvel pay reviewers to diss DC films and I know many here have got giant luxury mansions as a result of Marvel payments but alas Zy stole my cut. Git. :cry: Also is Supergirl under Marvel's pay becuase that show has taken a pointed, unfriendly shot at Snyder's work in both of it's seasons? Or is the conspiracy just stupid nonsense?

It was nowhere near as bad as I feared and I quite liked it, opening was "oh god" but as first half was mostly character stuff, I enjoyed that, I liked getting to know the characters. Became erratic in build up to the big fight and then of course it went actiony without being exciting. The big ending fight was entertaining and fun for me but the epilogue dragged with a constant sense of "about to be over... oh no" and played into some of the worst aspects of the film. In terms of the stuff I had worried about, it did manage to balance its roster somewhat but I can't help but feel one character's removal
Doomsday
to be saved up for a later film would have given more room for everything else. Snyder being Snyder, there was a lot of action but only the last big battle had any oomph, the film managed to make Batman's gadgets seem boring it's action was that flat. Snyder's judgement of what he changes from comics remains questionable, some I could see why but others near the end just seem really bad moves and even contradicts the film's characters.
Lex Luthor opposes aliens due to damage it does for humanity so he is working with them. Also creates Doomsday. Oh and Jimmy is killed in a random manner


In terms of technical merit, looks good but did feel like CGI could be a bit heavy at times, dialogue could suddenly go quiet in first hour but otherwise fine sound, I felt there was a scene badly missing (whether never created or cut in the edit) at one point
Batman stealing from Lex
. I did wonder if the action was somewhat hampered by moments where objects seem small but that it made Batman's gadgets seem boring is a negative miracle. Only the last big fight had oomph about it. Pacing is glacial, even when I was enjoying the film I was aware of it going slowly.

Of course a good looking film would never be enough, there has to be story and character. DoJ does better then civil war at the wider feeling of people turning against superheroes (till it drops the subject) but though it tries, that feeling only really seems to land for Lex Luthor at an individual level. The story has too much going on and would have been helped by someone imposing a limit on how much DC stuff they could use in one film, there is stuff where character logic seems questionable including in key points
Batman really doesn't have enough reason to try to murder Superman. Really really doesn't. Lois throws spear that can kill her boyfriend into really shallow water. Also glowing green so that is not going to harm the water supply/the sea.
, some things tantalize but never get fleshed out. Cast do a good job but dialogue when characters are having a fight or about to and when characters are being mopy/serious doesn't click. The characters are intresting enough that I would be eager to watch their next movie and I enjoyed what development there was but by the end, it feels like there hasn't been enough depth built as there should have been at this point. It might have been better to try to balance out two grim, dark superheroes with a bit more human lightness be it humour, romance or something else.

Team Batman: I liked the efforts early on to sell the idea Batman had been at this awhile
Robin's death, surprised a film even hinted at it
but it doesn't quite pull off, I like that Batman is a different older figure to what we are used to, Affleck manages the playboy ease and the brooder. Pity they forget to bring his intelligence and when Batman doesn't have his sarcasm, he does need figures around him to provide a lighter side. Thankfully Iron's Alfred has the butlery sarcasm, the fatherly instinct, the close adviser
the cooler then Batman fighter :wink:
. I wish they had dumped the dream sequences into after-credits or something to free up the movie.

Team Superman: I'm guessing Snyder hates Superman fans but once he got a piece of sacrilege out early
why make Jimmy Olson a guy whose name you don't know and kill him off within five minutes rather then just a random photographer?
... Team Superman is hit by Cavill not doing well in the sadder aspects of Superman. He does the good man and superhero and the mild mannered Clark Kent well but when the script, understandably,
the public turning against Superman was going to have it's impact on him as was the bomb
goes for a Superman in a less then happy mood, he goes flat. Amy Adams provides a lot of chemistry and a fair bit of charisma with Lois Lane, their scenes hit well becuase of it and I wish they had time for more proper romance scenes as their one time was sweet, she was the more impressive journalist as well. Perry White made a good "temperamental but not all bad" boss and a bit of humour, Martha might have been intresting if she had more then one scene which hinted at a strand that could have been very intresting.

Team evil: Lex Luthor is one of the highlights of the film though one wonders if a saner Lex might have been better. Jesse Eisenberg gives a highly intresting and charismatic performance, There was a mix of light and dark, there was a sense of intelligence that made him a decent threat despite the film's logic errors, he was one of the better supervillians we have had so far. His underlings like Anatoli and assistant Mercy aren't given big roles, indeed Tao Okamoto does well to make us remember her character given the role.
Doomsday to be fair had impact. The sheer power he had, the struggles to try and defeat him, that nuke moment with cost to Superman, that the action actually worked. I enjoyed him but he was yet another figure in the movie, he should have been saved up for, say, Man of Steel 2 where his actual background could be done rather then "Lex Luthor did it."


Team Wonderwoman: Well I say team... It just enough of Diana Price to help further interest me in the upcoming film, she had a bit of humour, showed brains, looks like she could be fun and Gadot gave a good performance. Costume works well and anyone who objected to Gadot as Wonder Woman becuase of her looks embarrassed themselves. Her action worked, there was oomph behind her hits and also helped by the sense this Wonder Woman enjoys the thrill of the fight.
Of those we got glimmers for future, Aquaman was effective in it seemed cool and will help give a good first impression, Cyborg will give people a little idea for future, I didn't warm to Flash though


Overall: We enjoyed it but could be patchy and it was "I enjoyed it but had potential to be so much more". Also need Snyder banned from making changes to comic books without supervision.
Both: 6.5

======

Phase 1 preview: Marvel certainly has the headstart starting phase 3 as DC kicked off phase 1 but there is room for both and there is stuff Marvel has struggled with in their films. Only one great villain (Loki) and more misses then hits among the rest of their baddies, no superb romance that really stands out, two phases without a hero that isn't male and white in the lead (and again, I can't believe "we are doing civil war" was not followed with "and this suits Black Widow perfectly, do her film"). Marvel also has a tone, DC can go a different route and DC has some of the bigger names among superheroes.

Of the films I was excited about when I heard it, this one due to Batman, Suicide Squad (Harley Quinn!) which plays right into a Marvel weakness by showing off it's baddies, Wonder Woman. Wasn't so much about Aquaman (that one has a reputation to overcome) till I heard the casting, Shazam only becuase it has Dwayne Johnson in as Black Adam, I'm more used to Cyborg in a comic role but the man/machine thing could be intresting. Concerned with Flash given it already has TV show, how that will impact things.

Where I have concerns, bar the bad reviews, is they ignored lessons from Marvel films, DC TV and Marvel Netflix. All three started with one thing to test the waters (ok they can skip that bit, Man of Steel works for that), hired directors and an overseer they can trust and have faith in, work together closely as a group, then used sequel to gently hint at wider world and build up each superhero, in their own franchise, before combining them so when the team ups happen, the characters are well established. Not everything is perfect, like Ant Man changing director, but there is usually a sense of cohesion, of a careful plan overall which gradually introduces people while ensuring the main characters get their time to shine. There are rarely too many characters or a sense of "oooh ohhh, lets slot this film/show in".

Yet even two films in and before I had watched any of them, there is that sense of panic shadowing it all. Snyder should not have been the guy overseeing the launch, whatever merits he has a film maker, he went into this having committed an act of sacrilege with Superman in Man of Steel, the head needs to be someone who can tell the line between updating/evolving the characters and a redline. Whedon knew the line but also had trust from Marvel, as I understand it Snyder has already been sidelined. There have been reshoots, suggestions of altering tone due to reacting to events, they seem to be adding films based on random whim or popularity and damn the overall plan. Also character overload, Batman vs Superman was announced then quickly turned into plus Wonder Woman and big baddies and Batman's cousin 500 times removed. Suicide Squad should have Amanda Waller, a target and 4-5 members in the team, it has way more then that in the team and brings in other major DC figures thrown in too as if they don't have belief in the film standing on it's own feet.
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Zyzyfer » Wed Mar 22, 2017 4:43 am

Dong Zhou wrote:Disclaimer: I know there is a belief that Marvel pay reviewers to diss DC films and I know many here have got giant luxury mansions as a result of Marvel payments but alas Zy stole my cut. Git. :cry:


Haha. Ta for the top-off mate.

I've been trying to sit down and watch Batman Vs Superman but haven't managed to get through it yet. I've watched the beginning a couple of times by now, it seems like it takes a while to pick up while they knock out all of the exposition. I'm sure I'll sit through it at some point in the near future, I'm not allergic to DC or Snyder it's just bad timing.

-----

Haven't seen much lately, but pulled up Zoolander 2 on VoD. Mainly because I had seen Benedict Cumberbatch do a cameo of sorts in previews. The original came out such a long time ago that I really didn't remember anything about it. Aside from a few decent punchlines, this was also turned out to be very forgettable. I think Tropic Thunder is right about at my threshold for "stupid for the sake of being stupid" films, this dipped far below that threshold.

Verdict: Pass.
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Mar 22, 2017 7:16 pm

Watched Australian rom-com A Funny Kind of Love/The Little Death. Premise: In a Sydney Street, five couples have someone with a newly discovered kink, each taking different routes as to how they handle this new part of their lives.

Writer/director Josh Lawson (also plays Paul) is clever how he introduces people to the film, starting with the very sweet couple Paul and Maeve (Bojana Novakovic) and hiding it's darker side beneath a lot of humour, it gently eases you into the dark consequences of people's poor handling of their new kinks at first. Cast does well, gets balance between humour, romance and darker side of things, was a funny film with some nice romantic moments, cast do a good job, some good sad moments as people make mistakes and misjudgements. The mistakes and the things characters do right feel human, their relationships feel real and we were rooting for most of them. However with so many strands, it does end up with some being well built characters/couples and other potentially intresting stories get rushed through. It reaches the final part with some well done endings but others a little unsatisfying.... then it goes for what feels like an unconnected storyline. That storyline
Monica (Erin James) translating a phonecall for a deaf man
is by itself, very funny and worth having as part of the film, though it meanders near the end, but it means the other endings lose power and it's attempts to connect to them all together feels contrived.

Personally: Got the romance, got the comedy and a well revealed dark side
Me: 7.0, Sis: 6.5

=====

Watched 2016 horror film The Boy. Premise: Greta (Lauren Cohan) goes from USA to England to take up a nanny job. Arriving at the Heelshire household, she is surprised too discover her charge Brahms is a china doll that the parents (Jim Norton and Diana Hardcastle) feel is a real boy. This is a horror film so this isn't about how Greta gets them to seek therapy and everything is solved :wink:

As a horror, it goes for trying to build an unsettling atmosphere rather then jump out scares, it manages an atmosphere to a degree and the doll can be quite creepy but I never felt the atmosphere was quite strong enough whereas my sister did. What we liked was that it went a different route to what we were expecting
once Greta discovers the doll is real, she is freaked out at first but then she becomes intrigued and a devoted nanny to the doll
, it felt like reactions were human, it went down intresting paths, I enjoyed seeing how characters reacted to the doll. Characters aren't done in depth but cast do a good job and they are likeable enough figures though Greta's backstory is a bit hit and miss. Near the end, it drops everything that makes it intresting for common horror tropes when it really didn't need to and could have gone a very different path, instead it turns flat and uninteresting, lacking a sense of threat and only coming alive in the one moment it reverts to it's old self
Greta turning firm nanny to get Brahms under control for a minute


Personally: Interesting film, enjoyed the dynamics and the ideas till the end

Both: 6.5
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Zyzyfer » Thu Mar 23, 2017 1:48 am

OK I powered through Supes vs The Bat at last. In summary...

Me, first half of movie: "Man, that's so out of character for Batman, what is this, this movie is a hot steaming pile of crap."
Me, second half of movie: *gleeful cheering and marking out*

I'm not even a comic book nerd, although I've seen all the past Superman and Batman films going back to the 80s. So that's saying something.

The movie has its fair share of problems, to be sure. It's not going to be a smooth ride like with Civil War. But I still enjoyed the entire end sequence.

Verdict: For a superhero flick, it's good, you just have to be patient and not constantly compare it to past renditions of these heroes, obsess over Synder directing, and so on.
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby SunXia » Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:51 pm

For a superhero flick it's good? Considering the standards being released over at Marvel Man of Steel and BvS are not good flicks in the slightest. The story is boring, the motives are silly across the board and the action last like a couple of minutes before "Martha" yeah sure ok this all makes complete sense.

When the MCU found success with Iron Man they saw dollar signs but they also made sure to take their time and build up to a movie with Avengers in the title. They didn't rush the story and they didn't make awful emo versions of their characters in order to pretend they are so much darker than Marvel. Compared to the standards being released in other superhero movies, no this movie is not good, it has no chemistry. Hell compared to the Animated DC movies, the DCEU has me scratching my head. And even compared to the DC shows on The CW as well, its just committing the cardinal sin, action is only good if it is done by likeable, charismatic characters.
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Zyzyfer » Fri Mar 24, 2017 1:29 am

SunXia wrote:For a superhero flick it's good?


Well...perhaps I should add the caveat to that statement that I have a pretty low opinion of contemporary superhero movies in general. General audiences may have a fascination with these characters and I respect how Marvel has managed to elevate the genre in certain ways. But when I say "good" about a movie in this genre, my threshold is quite low.

My assessment pretty much falls in line with Dong Zhou's and I think DZ covered all the bases there. It's a terribly flawed film, a cinematic - and superhero movie - smorgasbord of stink. It commits numerous and very grievous sins, borderline character assassination even, against the titular characters.

But I still marked out about the ending sequence. Haha. One of my favorite aspects about viewing these films is the match-ups, seeing X fight Y, irrespective of motives. And, just for me personally, it delivered.

I think, as a very casual fan of the genre, that says something. It wasn't a total, irrevocable flop. (But it was on the whole, terrible.)

I also think they burned the candle at both ends with this (using such a major villain so soon, the new spin on Lex) and any future DC films are going to be intense duds. Like Ben Affleck Daredevil stinkers.

=====

Tried to watch Hail, Caesar, noted the ensemble cast but just wasn't in the mood for it. Curious if anyone else enjoyed it, I find things featuring George Clooney are often either very very good, or fall totally and unwatchably flat with me.

-----

Before that, the wife and I watched Victor Frankenstein, which stars Harry Potter and James McAvoy. It's a retelling of the classic tale, from the perspective of Igor (Potter) as Frankenstein's (McAvoy) assistant.

Although I don't think I've ever watched the old Frankenstein movies in their entirety, I had a feeling that this was going to stray a bit in places and deviate from tradition, and that it did. The meat and bones are there, Potter gets to play around with physicality as an actor a bit early on in the film, McAvoy seemed committed to his role and rode that "mad genius" line well for the most part. The romance tangent with Lorelei (Jessica Brown Findlay) fell pretty flat overall I felt, and the villain was a caricature, but Potter and McAvoy together worked well enough to keep things afloat. Andrew Scott of Sherlock fame pulls off a nice turn as obsessed detective named Turpin who is hounding the duo, and I just adored the cameo by Charles Dance as Father of Frankenstein.

Was a bit disappointed as they dropped a few clues that the film would veer in a certain dark direction, but eventually heads for a more formulaic, no-brainer, action-oriented conclusion that treats Frankenstein's monster as an afterthought.

The villain attempts to murder Igor, and we get a brief dream sequence where Igor sees himself (I think?) as Frankenstein's monster, together with the Lorelei romance I thought this would be the catalyst for a monster with emotions to bring that necessary conflict to the ending.

Verdict: Put your pitchforks away, it's still a popcorn muncher.
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Mar 24, 2017 6:49 pm

Missed your post Zy :oops: I plan to see Hail Ceaser at some point, keep meaning to do it

Glad you got through it. Marvel has raised the superhero bar and while I think BvS is a lot better then some stinkers down the years, including some of the X-Men films or the Hulk films, compared to the new standard? Even the worst of the MCU now has a coherent feel and while some didn't have the highs of BvS at it's best, overall each film feels better constructed. I wouldn't call it awful, I had fun with it (I also loved that final fight, pity rest of action stunk) but it is also frustrating becuase with more self discipline and some better writing (there are some amazingly stupid character decisions), this could have been a lot more then it was

you just have to be patient and not constantly compare it to past renditions of these heroes, obsess over Synder directing


Don't worry, when I watched the film it wasn't with analysing every judgement Snyder made (though one or two WTH moments).

I think with characters, there is a fine line between respecting the traditions and keeping it up to date and it is difficult. Fanbases do not help themselves by some of the outrage whenever a change is announced, or casting. I have played a game called Injustice (which also has a popular comic I haven't read) where Superman is a psychopath so Superman being a bit glum isn't the issue (understandable he would be in this film), I just think it wasn't written well. However I do think Snyder gets his judgements wrong, sometimes his rewriting closes off a lot of potential to fit his story in the short term
Doomsday
, sometimes he just doesn't see the line
Superman kills. Which works in Injustice becuase they really set out why he crosses line, the whole point of Superman is changed completely. In the Man of Steel, it felt like Snyder was trying to go dark and edgy with a man who should inspire hope
and nowadays I'm convinced some of his judgement is a great and deliberate insult to fans
Killing Jimmy Ollseen is highly questionable, doing it the way he did


In terms of Synder, I look at Watchman and wonder what happened to him. I admit my review did play into the whole Synder situation becuase that sort of thing interests me and I was aware in the build up to the film (again, DCU's own TV shows don't seem to like his work) so that plays into my thoughts in the review. Not about the film quality in itself but when I also see a pattern, I reflected on it. Probably too much though
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby SunXia » Sat Mar 25, 2017 10:51 pm

i have so many issues with the movies.

Enemy Motivations:
Man of Steel:
show
Why was Zod terra-forming the planet?? Why on earth would he want to change the planet when the unique combination of the yellow sun and less gravitational potential energy serves to give him super powers. I understood his motivations on Krypton but on Earth they were just silly and served to be all "look at the massive amount of global destruction these aliens do so plot device for Superman" Like fine the codex to restart his people but what on earth my terra-form??


BvS:
Show
Why did anyone believe that a man who can shoot lasers from his eyes, need to shoot people. Do they not have forensics in this movie? Sure Lex still had the "he will destroy humanity" mindset but he was a psychopath not the sociopath that Lex is in all other variations. The he releases Doomsday ANYWAY?? So what the hell?? Lex wouldn't DO that!! At least Hackman and Spacey had consistent motivations, money and power in their movies.


The Main Heroes:
Show
Ugh I HATE this portrayal of Superman, I originally thought it was Cavill but he's innocent (save for the lack of chemistry with Lois) like what on earth is with the writing here. The paradox of Superman is what he could do IF he wanted but that you never have to worry that he will because he's so heroic. That is his character. Fine have he struggle growing up but this emo Angst ridden piece of horse manure just because people reading comics feel like outcasts?? Ugh horse manure thats Batmans role hes the one with a dark past not Superman. Heroes like Superman were a shining hope during the era of their creation so this angst is just silly. There's no humor in the contrast between Supes and Bat and thats where the main humor comes from. and the stupidity of Batman in this movie. Yes he is always suspicious and has contingency plans in case his allies go out of control but its not for being distrustful and murderous "just in case" its because he likes to be prepared for any event. Batman appears in DETECTIVE COMICS the very thought he could be manipulated into this by such a silly method is ridiculous. He's a detective and in this film he is spoon fed. Ugh ridiculous. Should have had ideological differences properly not "MARTHAAA" suddenly making the chance that he will attack in the future not matter anymore.


Ugh these movies were made to capitalise on the misconception "nerds" have about being social outcasts because they're different. so its all angst and dark and in reality nerds are no more social outcasts than they make themselves due to worrying over what other people think. When you stop doing that you notice everyone is a little crazy in some way and diversity is cool.
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sun Mar 26, 2017 5:03 pm

Yeah, Lex Luthor creating an alien and apparently working with an alien with comment at end made no sense. I have no issue with Superman having doubts, the world has turned on him and that is going to take it's toll but it is not well done and he doesn't provide the optimistic/hope to counter it (TV's Supergirl is better at that)

Also yes, Batman is a idiot and the Martha thing is just ridiculous


It is true it seems profitable in geek culture to play the outcasts card but I suspect it is less that, more just general poor writing in this case. Or Snyder's misreading of modern fads.
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