Watched any good movies recently?

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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:28 am

Thanks

It is a well made movie and I can see why it got high reviews, just perhaps something on the day meant it didn't quite click as much as it should for me. I would recommend horror fans give it a go
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:39 am

Watched Sing. Premise: Theatre owner and koala Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) is struggling, his plays aren't selling and the bank is calling. In a bid to save his theatre he decides to host a singing competition and gets a lot of entrants... and trouble

We went into this expecting a sort of animated with animals pitch perfect which it isn't, it also isn't a musical despite the song contest idea. One hears something like a minute worth of their cover of songs at most for most of the movie, only allowing proper songs at the end. They have some good singers, Mike the mouse (Seth MacFarlane) and Johnny (Taron Egerton) with the stand out voices, only Rostia (Reese Witherspoon) feels an average singer so it is a little bit of a pity.

It starts off well, a sweet opening, the song contest snippets are a lot of fun but the first half of the film is flat. There are some nice ideas, including in its world though it is unfortunate that Zootopia excelled in that sphere, some nice repeating jokes through likes of Gunter (Nick Kroll) and Miss Crawly (Garth Jennings). I couldn't get behind Buster, characters feel like tropes early on with only Ash (Scarlett Johansson) breaking out from that. It's willingness to try to build up about six characters does mean a struggle to build momentum.

Second half, stories began to merge together to allow momentum to be built, characters moved away from being tropes, there was still humour and snatches of songs. I still didn't warm to Buster but I was having a nice time, more engaged with the film, some of it's ideas were pulled off well. Finale went well, good music, energy and fun about it.

Both: 6.5 (due to end phase)

=====

Watched Star Trek Beyond which I recall people saying was the most Star Trek of the three reboot films but I fear is as forgettable as all but the first one is. It does feel like a Star Trek film and starts promisingly with fun humour and looking set to explore intresting themes... then falls flat. A lot of humour is based around Scotty (which works) and Bones (which doesn't other then when with Spock), action scene are erratic with some good ones and rather more very flat ones, the pace just feels a bit too slow in first half. It does get better in second half as pace lifts up, Scotty becomes more the figure for humour, grew to like Jaylah (Sofia Boutella), action scenes improved, has a good end phase despite issues with the baddie.

I liked that they tried to bring in all the main crew as an ensemble piece rather then the big names, one or two slightly edged out but I appreciate the attempt. Issues when it tried to be inspiring of being heavy handed, clunking and even patronising so hard to rally round behind them. I feel they had a really really good idea for baddie but they brought the idea in too late and handled it with broad brush strokes rather then fully explored it. Themes were an issue, they floated a few potential ones with Kirk, Spock and the baddie at start and near end but never fully ran with any of them, they would get dropped till a convenient plot point rather then explored.

Both: 6.5
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Equinox » Tue Jul 25, 2017 5:15 pm

For anyone who enjoys Kate Winslet, or brutal revenge tales, or Australian period pieces, I've got to recommend The Dressmaker. Don't let the premise of the movie put you off to it - the setting is the 1920s, and is about a dressmaker returning to her hometown after years abroad trying to establish herself and leave the godforsaken environment she grew up in. I read a review recently that called it Unforgiven with a sewing machine. That is accurate. It's pretty irreverent, clever, and satisfying, and was a real surprise for me, who went into it without any expectations.
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Jul 28, 2017 7:07 am

Watched spy bromance comedy Central Intelligence. Premise: In school Calvin "Golden Jet" Joyner (Kevin Hart) was star athlete, popular, star pupil had got the girl Maggie (Danielle Nicolet) and expected to go onto great things. 20 years later life has not gone as planned when he is contacted by former classmate Robbie Weirdicht (Dwayne Johnson)....

Nice opener to see things up but this seems to be another "first half off, second half quite good" films I seem to be getting. Action fine but not memorable, side characters really not build up and rely on good performances (which they get), the main story twists you can see coming more or less but are executed well enough. Cast like Amy Ryan, Jason Bateman, Aaron Paul do a good job.

In first half there would a strong, entertaining scene that keeps your interest then a meandering slow few sections that leave you slightly bored. Pacing could drift somewhat, humour worked well with side characters but was very miss with some hits from the main duo. Robbie's manchild persona is annoying which seems somewhat deliberate but I'm not sure he was meant to irritate the audience so much, but the scenes come alive when it glimpses into Robbie's pain or when the other side of Robbie suddenly clicks on at which point his humour works. Calvin is intresting when "my life is not what I thought would be" comes into play though one or two of the scenes could have been better, there are moments of the "civilian cuaght up in spy stuff" with a few hits but I have seen a lot better, a lot of the humour doesn't quite work.

Second half, the sense of drift is rather less as plot seems to tighten up, while the twists still remain predictable they have humour with it, there are a fair few very funny setplays
my fav
marriage counselling or what really happened to Phil
. The manchild element is toned down and used better by characters around Robbie, the duo chemistry and humour clicks far more often and they share some very amusing scenes together. It is warm, amusing and a fun film at last and the bloopers in the after credits were a lot of fun.

Me: 6.0, Sis: 6.5
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Jul 31, 2017 6:40 pm

Watched Gods of Egypt which was infamous for Egyptian Gods being white people. Premise: The Gods of Egypt live amongst their people and rule them with the popular Osiris (Bryan Brown) about to give up his crown for his son Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) when Set (Gerard Butler) intervenes. Caught up in this is mortal thief Bek (Brenton Thwaites) and his beloved Horus worshipping Zaya (Courtney Eaton)

This got bad reviews, I can see why but I had a nice-ish time. Visually has a few nice moments but can see the green-screen moments way too often, the attempt to make Gods bigger then mortals just looks weird in practice, action scenes (not helped by visuals) are poor. Some nice ideas particularly around world building but film is too long at over two hours for its (lack of) quality, its ending phase goes heavy on action and then I think might have been better with a different choice
Bek dying and joining Zaya going into afterlife, not being resurrected
and film runs out of momentum.

It has a good baddie till they it up near the end, touching on some intresting ideas as they build him up while Butler gives an enjoyable performance, his main follower is barely built up but there are flickers of something and Rufus Sewell makes the most of what he is given. The film goes for a few jokes and romances but the problem with that and the adventure is they get chemistry wrong. The main romance? Nice enough people, gently sweet romance but not one to follow or pull you in. The main adventuring duo? They have some chemistry but not enough to carry a film, to provide a real spark between them. What is frustration is in brief scenes, it shows figures that have the right chemistry
Seth's tragic romance with Nephthys (Emma Booth) scene was brilliant, when the sparky Hathor (Élodie Yung) is with Horus and when Thoth (Chadwick Boseman) is with the group
but only for small passages.

Me: 6.0, Sis: 6.5

=====

Watched horror film The Curse of Sleeping Beauty. Premise: Artist Thomas (Ethan Peck) is haunted by dreams of a sleeping lady (India Eisley) and is struggling. He suddenly discovers that, from an uncle he has never heard of, he has inherited a family house and a letter apologizing for a family curse....

It has a bad start, Peck struggles to give a charismatic lead, horror elements feel heavy handed particularly thanks to the poor choice of music by Scott Glasgow, the set up lacks interest. The only element I liked at the start was the brief therapist (Cyd Strittmatter) scene though my sister found amusement in Thomas best friend Nathan (Zack Ward) but I felt his comic relief fell flat. However while on verge of leaving, the mystery of the sleeping lady and the house began to pull me in.

There is a lot wrong with the movie, only a few moments of horror work as it struggles to build atmosphere and some of the logic is... hazy, clumsy dialogue, uninteresting lead. What kept me interested is the general mystery of the curse which I wish had been built up more as it tantalises, felt Eisley did a good job and Natalie Hall managed to give some spark in second half. Ending had some neat ideas but it's execution was clumsy.

Both: 6.0
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Xiahou Ren » Mon Aug 07, 2017 6:02 am

Let's try this again.
The last time I post a (angry) review... it didn't work too well.

Little Big Soldier (2010)

This movie caught me off guard.
I was expecting a dumb movie like Rush Hour or Shanghai Noon. But this movie is actually pretty deep. Supposedly, this is Jackie Chan's pet project two decades, and I believe it. I could feel the passion in the script and acting. I would even say this one of his best drama movie, only topped by New Police story.

The Good
Jackie Chan's character is sooo loveable. I don't think he's a character; I firmly believe he is Jackie Chan playing Jackie Chan. The movie tried hard to depict him as a scum. He is a coward, he is an opportunist, he has no care about honor, he's bad at fighting, he complains a lot.

But what the movie wants you to figure out by yourself, that he is a normal human. He's forced to fight a war that he doesn't understand. He doesn't care about who rule which land, he is just a guy who wants a peaceful life. He doesn't even want to get rich. He just want a small patch of land to plant beans on one side and paddy on the other; along with two water buffalo to tend the land. He wants an honest wife, preferfeably who could teach him to read and write. He understand the value of family and how greed leads to war.

In the end I feel Jackie Chan's character is not an actual coward. He's wise and cunning. When it comes to things that matter for him, he goes all the way risking his life to save it. And at the end of the movie, it's finally revealed what matter most for him. Friends and family always worth much more for him. The way he scream "I found it!" just before the last scene, might be the nicest gesture I've ever seen in a movie. He's too much of a nice guy.

The Bad
This movie has a lot of bad points. The action scene is bad for Jackie Chan standard. The jokes is almost non-existant. The plot is kind of disjointed; as if the plot is made of multiple small stories rather than a cohessive naration. But the worst part of all, is the cinematography. The environment looks rugged and decaying. Every set is lifeless and boring. A far cry from Jackie Chan's usual creative and colorful environment.

To be honest, this movie has only one strong point. Its script. Jackie Chan has such a nice and lovable character; I want him to succeed. In a way, the main character very much resemble who I am.

I hate alpha male. I hate competitive nature. I hate braggers. I hate hyperbolic dreams for excessive money (go away MLM). I don't need a car. I don't need a penthouse. I don't need a vacation to Europe. Sure, I need money to survive; but I don't need it for feel alive. All I want is, someone who smiles when I need him (where are you nice men?!). And that's the only reason I like this movie.

For that very subjective reason, I'd give this movie a 2.5/5
This is a movie you really need to attention while watching, or you'll miss it.
Not as digestible as other Jackie Chan's movie, who I think average on 3/5
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Aug 07, 2017 6:49 pm

That's a perfectly good review. No idea what MLM is but you explained why you liked it, why it touched you despite it's flaws.
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:58 am

Watched Doctor Strange aka Marvel's attempt to open the superhero world to magic so was curious at that, got unusually big name cast behind it though had accusations of whitewashing (see below) to deal with. It wasn't a film that I really got behind in the hype train (bar my sister remarks Strange's goatee/outfit/everything made him look like a villain). Reviews that it is good and trippy made me curious though the hype died early (possibly always going to be case now with superhero films they will get a month's worth after release if they are good). Didn't have particular feelings bar curiosity going into this

Disclaimer: Around 45 minutes in, we had massive interruption that meant we had to wait a few hours to watch the rest. I don't believe it impacted enjoyment

On the issue of Whitewashing, I'm with the critics on this one. In and of itself, replacing an Asian Ancient One with Tilda Swinton isn't a bad idea, it avoided Scott Derrickson's concerns about playing into a stereotype, it perhaps allowed them to do other things with the role and Swinton was the best member of the cast with a superb performance. However when you replace the main Asian figure and then keep all the other figures white, there is a problem. By this film Marvel hadn't had a major Asian character (Tv shows have Agent May, Madam Gao and Colleen "can we make Iron Fist about her please" Wing at least) and instead they had white ancient one, white lead, white romance, white villain with the main non-white being the supportive role of Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and the main Asian being a comic librarian Wong (Benedict Wong).

Rather like Marvel's new superhero logo, had a niceish start as it showed Strange the arrogant surgeon but it came alive once he found the mystics. As a stand alone film, it is a fun, enjoyable movie, quick pace, a lot of humour including aimed at Strange, the characters are enjoyable, one moment with emotional power
the ancient one's death
, they have a lot of fun subverting expectations from both Strange and audience about the mystics. Cast do a very good job (bar some moments with Cumberbatch's accent) an excellent Swinton and a good ending. By Marvel standards Kaecilius is a good villain with Mads Mikkelsen doing a good job and the villain touching on themes but he does feel underwritten.

That sense of underwritten is my main criticism of the film, all the characters bar possibly one or two
the Ancient One and the cloak of Levitation which is awesome
feel underwritten, highly enjoyable fun figures that I want to see again but none the less, slightly underdone. Not massively so but just at the end, I felt we could have done with a little more depth. Strange's time as a surgeon is gone through quickly for example, it does enough to give sense of arrogance, brilliance and history with Christine (Rachel McAdams) but it goes by quickly. I do understand that, with a shorter runtime then a normal superhero movie and needing to build world, why it happened. Romance is underpowered though I like the characters involved.

In terms of magic and building that world, there are some questions and they will need to explain why the answer to every future question won't be "get Strange to use..." at some point but overall thought they sold magic well, setting out the reasoning for why there would be magic and how it works. The magic was visually impressive, good magic based action scenes, they exploited the freedom it gave them and they did well with how the likes of Strange would react to this and how the audience would react
Christine also made a good neutral party for it
. They made magic a natural fit for the Marvel world and showed flashes of what it could bring to the wider universe. I got a little bored with one or two magical scenes in second half but I also loved one of the mystical items that turned up
the cloak!


Overall: Fun, had humour, magic was visually lovely and left me looking forward to the next time we see team Strange.
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 Xiahou Ren » Thu Aug 10, 2017 3:38 am

Honestly, I never notice the whitewashing.
What bother me about the movie is, the fact that Doctor Strange uses magic.
Which by movie definition is, "the power of do whatever the hell the plot needs".

Seriously, what exactly is Doctor Strange's power? In one of E3 interview, one of Capcom representative says, jokingly; that they don't understand what the hell Doctor Strange supposed to do, they made him into a Super Saiyan (flight + fireballs + energy beams). The sad thing is, I don't think he was joking.

Seriously...
He got the Time Gem, and it rewind time when he DIES?!
How the hell is that supposed to work? Infinity gem is still a tool, it's not sentient.
If the user dies, then it only becomes just a gem. It cannot active itself, it needs someone to activate it.
Movie, are you confusing yourself with Edge of Tommorow/All You Need is Kill, or something?

But the movie is worth to watch alone for Bennedict Cumberbatch, who're extremely charming.
He carries Doctor Strange like Robert Downey Jr carries Iron Man.
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:36 am

Doctor Strange is a magic user and they wanted to open up the world to magic so was unavoidable but there is always the danger it becomes (as in Doctor Who, the sonic screwdriver) as a get out clause. They do need to define why the answer to nearly every threat Marvel superhero face won't be "call Doctor Strange, job done" now.

He sets it up to rewind time before he steps out to face the big face in the sky, each time setting those instructions before stepping out.
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