Watched any good movies recently?

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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Zyzyfer » Wed Feb 01, 2017 2:42 am

Watched the positively ancient at this point movie The Wedding Planner (2001) with leads Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McCoughaknee. Lopez plays Mary, a somewhat neurotic woman who is very good at her job as wedding planner, while McCoughaknee plays Steve the doctor and potential love interest. It seems like love at first sight when they meet, until Mary discovers that Steve is actually one of her clients she hadn't met yet.

It's a bad movie. A touch on the cute side and unabrasive, doesn't dare to go anywhere risque but keeps a steady pace as a standard rom-com. If I am not mistaken this is when Lopez was first catching fire in Hollywood and this was possibly the rom-com that was supposed to land her to more serious roles going forward (but instead she ended up patenting her butt). She isn't bad in it, she's cute and pouty in a mildly annoying way without being irksome. She was one of my young adult crushes so maybe that's just my soft spot for her talking. McCoughaknee is really terrible in this bar a few key scenes, he just seems so distant and aloof toward everything, puts in just enough work by exuding his natural soft charms to satisfy the director without fully committing.

The ending is pretty obvious and I don't like what they did with the character of Massimo but it's easily forgotten.

Verdict: Borders on unwatchable but OK if you like either of the leads for some reason.
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Feb 01, 2017 9:27 pm

Watched The Divergent Series: Allegiant the third film of the series. It certainly benefited from going at things from a different angle
the world outside being the main focus
and gave it a fresher feeling, also shorter then the others. Perhaps the shorter time is also partly why potentially intresting ideas are never properly explored, lack of character depth (not to say they are uninteresting, just not build upon) and a lot of things rely on character stupidity plus one deus ex machina. Also still focuses on the bland Triss rather then more intresting figures like everyone else such as Four or Peter (his wit not landing this time) or Caleb.

It's easier to focus on what was wrong but yet I did have a nice time, alright action, David (Jeff Daniels provided a decent leading figure) and cast did well, the ideas that were there along with the freshness gave enough for the film to tick along though I did get slightly bored during the end phase.

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

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Feb 15, 2017 7:27 pm

Tried Tear Me Apart which started well, the siblings (Alfie Stewart and Frazer Alexander) dynamic and the post-apocalyptic world+how that has played on them was intresting but it didn't have enough beyond it, it could drift and when other figures came in, it doesn't match up.

Watched Captain America: Civil War. I had heard good reviews and from what I had heard of the comic book storyline, it was right down my street. However Avenger films aren't my fav type (too large a cast), I had loved the Russo's Captain America Winter Soldier which was possibly the best film of phase 2 but Avengers film (which this, in essence, is) is a big task and overseeing all the franchise. Would they be up to it?

I thought the Russo's did well overall. I enjoy superhero movies but the action scenes tend to bore me, this time I enjoyed every single bit of action or at least wasn't bored so very well done. They also took the even larger cast then Avengers 2 and gave every character a moment in the sun, developed some and those that weren't developed at least got something, it felt cohesive. They seemed to take a slightly darker less humour tone then Whedon, there were times the otherwise good dialogue lacked a bit of Whedon's sparkle (Black Widow particularly suffered from "compare and contrast" to the previous films) and till a great late moment
the airport fight which rapidly became hilarious
, the humour is miss then hit. Once it hits that late scene, the humour is back to it's old fun self with fun dialogue and a lot of laughs.

After a well done action start
I had forgotten Rumlow (Frank Grillo) from wintersoldier which didn't help but his group provided a threat
, the film for the first hour or so could drag whenever the main baddie was on screen bar one or two tiny bits
Zemo (Daniel Brühl), works when with maid or listening on the phone, otherwise scenes drag
. In the end the main baddie finishes strongly but urgh the impact in first hour. When the film focused on the team, though lacking the Whedon snap in dialogue at times, the film went along nicely with the addition of humour after the hour, the film was pleasure to watch. Some nice emotional punches and twists. One romance was... it had chemistry but I feel it would have been better in another movie as due to lack of time, it moves too quickly
Every Vision, Wanda scene had to be romance given shortage of time and it just felt like it was going too fast. Would have been better to tease the start of something and build it in a film that has time to bring it out.
, other one
CapxCarter, no way alarming or creepy to romance the niece
had chemistry but felt like it was there becuase it was there rather then a well written, engaging romance.

We enjoyed the "Civil War" aspect. The events that led to the reason for the split were very well done and from then on, felt those scenes were the ones that came alive good and fundamental disagreements, both sides meaning well but making misjudgements though by the end. The bias for which side the film is on becomes clear
Demanding oversight is a perfectly reasonable demand. So the film has that side lock up the others and all the cool side join team captain America :wink:
, not helped by us picking "the wrong side" perhaps, though they do show why team wrong go for the route they go down.

-Peppa Potts vanishing is a tad disturbing. Would be the second highly skilled actress playing love interest to be shoved aside

-Team Ironman: Iron Man is a bad choice to lead such a group! It makes sense he would go down this path and the mistakes he makes, he was well done. Black Widow should have shone in this with the character's history but she ended up with good action scenes then not quite firing as Iron Man's assistant, her departure scene was clumsily done and not really explored. Vision has nice scenes with Wanda and that was his main focus, I imagine his not knowing human rules and the uncertainty about the thing in his head can also be built on in a future film. War Machine has struggled to define himself as anything more then a mini less intresting Iron Man but once shot, that gave him a new angle and he became intresting and got a chance at humour (which he took).

-Team Captain America: The Captain like Ironman doesn't disappoint as an intresting leading figure, would have liked a little more on why he turns against oversight. I get Bucky is an important plot thing for Captain America but he bores me, Falcon is really coming into his own of late as the second in command with Redbird a good addition to his arsenal. Hawkeye feels somewhat underwhelming as a fighter but his humour help as did Ant-man and I enjoyed the way they revealed his giant powers. Felt Elizabeth Olsen was a little erratic as Wanda and her powers don't excite, Vision and then Hawkeye did give her something to bounce her personality off but still needs more building up. Sharon Carter seems nice enough...

-New figures: I enjoyed Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman giving a quiet charisma, the bald bodyguard looked fun, the dynamic with the father was good, decent costume and clearly a skilled warrior. The vengeance bit not so much fun but I really want to see them develop him, the land of Wakanda, I had known next to nothing of him going into this and left eager for his film.

Spiderman has a trickier task then when they bring in new figures like Black Panther: we have seen Peter Parker Spiderman twice, do we want a third one? Answer: Not convinced yet. Starts badly but that is due to how forced Ironman's dialogue is when they meet, felt like trying really hard to be cool. When the fight comes then he works really well, giving a sense of eager inexperienced recruit, very chatty, providing humour and something for others to bounce off. Costume works well. I do like young Aunt May.


Overall: After an alright if sometimes slow start, came to life for a good movie that has left me interested in how this plays out in future films and some of the new characters.

Both: 6.5 and Team Ironman
why we picked that team
we believe that given the role the Avengers have taken, they need some sort of oversight and to be within some sort of law. Group of people going around across borders deciding the law with no oversight or restrictions is not going to end well. Disagree with aspects of the accords and way it was implemented though
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Feb 20, 2017 5:01 pm

We tried The Other Guy and there are moments where one sees the potential, there is a great salmon joke by Will Ferell's character and one can see the potential for other jokes but it feels like they rarely land, that the way the film is constructed throttled the humour.
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Zyzyfer » Wed Feb 22, 2017 2:50 am

Series of reviews, had a plane ride so snuck in some stuff.

=====

Watched first half of 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. Stopped because I felt like we were getting near the end of this plodding film, only to find there was still over an hour to go. Not much to comment on, it's a Michael Bay film so the explosions were nice and big, not much else stood out.

Verdict: Not my sort of movie.

-----

Next up was Suicide Squad. I recall hearing from friends more into comic book stuff that it wasn't terrible, but the pieces didn't quite fall into place. Stars Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Jai Courtney, not quite an ensemble cast in my opinion. Premise is that the DC universe comes to the same conclusion as Nick Fury over in the MCU, but the twist is that DC is going to use their bad guys instead to try to save the world.

Kind of hard to take the premise seriously when one of the baddies you attempt to put on the team proceeds to then do bad things, though. Feel it would have worked with some build-up, like a lesser baddie to first contend with.

Courtney finally gets to inject a bit of much-needed humor into his role as Captain Boomerang and does OK, Jay Hernandez as Diablo also OK, no real stand-out performances though. To be frank I did not really enjoy Jared Leto as The Joker, part of that may just be how hard it is to be in Ledger's shadow, but I just thought this Joker was just evil, not really complicated.

Ending also soured me,
after saving the world all they get is a measly 10-year reduction on their sentences. Could have gone with a much more clever ending in my opinion.


Verdict: Worth seeing for plot developments in the DC universe.

-----

Followed up with Independence Day: Resurgence. Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Brent Spiner and possibly a few more faces return, Liam Hemsworth and Jesse Usher take on the new hero roles. Technology on Earth went in an alternate direction after the alien technology went public and new and improved defenses have been built up in anticipation of potential future alien invasions. So of course something bigger and badder invades on the 20th anniversary.

They expand on the mythos surrounding the aliens a bit and explore a couple of interesting concepts regarding the aliens. That said, this felt so much like a bigger, "better" remake with cameos. Returning characters help keep things together but it's just very formulaic and there are too many cases of unnecessary tangents. I always felt the original film was enjoyable despite itself, it was sloppy and plain but had an innate charm from the actors that kept it together, this only salvages a portion of that charm.

Verdict: Pass.

-----

And last up was Skiptrace starring Jackie Chan and Johnny Knoxville. Years after his partner is killed, Bennie (Chan) is still obsessed with bringing his killer to justice. Somehow, Knoxville (con artist Connor Watts) finds himself tied up in the middle of everything and Bennie has to escort him from Russia back to Hong Kong to save his god-daughter. So, the plot is pretty typical HK fare.

I only was able to see the first half, but the movie is a dud. I had hopes that Knoxville would find inventive ways to get beat up as Chan's sidekick, and once the film finally gets rolling in the second act, it seemed that would be the case, but then they make a pit stop in Mongolia that ends up deflating all the goodwill I had for a Chan flick. It's just a poor, nonsensical script, and Chan is too old at this point to save it with legendary stuntwork.

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

Unread postby Sun Fin » Wed Feb 22, 2017 10:14 am

Zyzyfer wrote:Next up was Suicide Squad. I recall hearing from friends more into comic book stuff that it wasn't terrible, but the pieces didn't quite fall into place. Stars Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Jai Courtney, not quite an ensemble cast in my opinion. Premise is that the DC universe comes to the same conclusion as Nick Fury over in the MCU, but the twist is that DC is going to use their bad guys instead to try to save the world.

Kind of hard to take the premise seriously when one of the baddies you attempt to put on the team proceeds to then do bad things, though. Feel it would have worked with some build-up, like a lesser baddie to first contend with.

Courtney finally gets to inject a bit of much-needed humor into his role as Captain Boomerang and does OK, Jay Hernandez as Diablo also OK, no real stand-out performances though. To be frank I did not really enjoy Jared Leto as The Joker, part of that may just be how hard it is to be in Ledger's shadow, but I just thought this Joker was just evil, not really complicated.


I enjoyed it but like you I didn't like Leto's joker at all. In my opinion Margot Robbie carried the movie with some help from Will Smith.
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Zyzyfer » Mon Feb 27, 2017 4:58 am

Saw Zootopia twice after holding off a bit. Film about animals as people. Stars Jason Bateman as fox Nick Wilde and Ginnifer Goodwin as rabbit Judy Hopps. Hopps dreams of being a police officer in Zootopia and works hard to achieve that goal, only to find out that upholding the law is far more challenging than just locking up bad guys.

It's fun and cute and everything you'd expect from a Disney film with no musical numbers. We found that the plot wasn't entirely predictable, but for a whodunnit caper it's pretty straightforward and doesn't try anything too daring. (And yes that includes the sub-plot of discrimination.) Most jokes elicited a chuckle and that's about it, although the sloth desk jockey gag was brilliantly done.

I can't put my finger on it but I liked Jason Bateman here, he just seemed so at ease and natural in this role.

It's hard for me to say much in detail. It's a movie I can happily sit through dozens of times, but it failed to leave a deep impression on me when the credits rolled.

Verdict: Expected a bit more but still a good watch.
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Mar 01, 2017 9:29 am

Watched Pride and Prejudice and Zombies based on Seth Grahame-Smith's zombie parody of Jane Austen. Premise: Georgian England has been beset by zomies so Mr Bennett (Charles Dance) trains his five daughters in the martial arts: Elizabeth (Lily James), Jane (Bella Heathcote), Kitty (Suki Waterhouse), Lydia (Ellie Bamber), and Mary (Millie Brady). Mrs. Bennet (Sally Phillips) however is aware they need to find sutiors for their girls and there is a dance nearby....

There was a fashion for such parodies but that was awhile back and this feels like it came out too late and I suspect it was also hindered by people expecting it be more of a comedy then it was. When it lifts word by word from Austen, it falls very flat and it doesn't have Austen's strength of relationships, the sisters find a nice little niche with each other and romances (Douglas Booth is Bingly, Sam Riley is Darcy) work but there aren't strong bonds formed between characters. Where it works is when it decides to do something different or tweak the story, those moments tend to deliver quite a bit of humour, a few nice twists and the sisters create a good "crowd" reaction to events. Action is alright, I found the ending phase was flat and while my sister enjoyed the ending, we both agreed that though it was nice and fun, overall the film lacks enough about it to fill all it's running time.

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

Unread postby Zyzyfer » Thu Mar 02, 2017 1:24 am

Watched Anomalisa, starring David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Tom Noonan. Michael (Thewlis) hears the same voice and sees the same face wherever he goes, so when he finally hears the unique voice of Lisa (Leigh) in his hotel the night before a conference, it ends up being a pretty big deal for him.

This movie is weird. It's filmed (well, to be fair) using stop motion...and puppets. There is puppet love-making. The entire cast consists of three people. And there's a really weird Japanese sex toy featured in a few scenes for some unknown reason. I'm also not sure how I feel about the overall story arc. It's a bit Twilight-Zone-esque...but maybe not in a good way? Along with that I found myself getting just a bit of an Eyes Wide Shut vibe at a few points.

I thought the dialogue was terrible as opposed to edgy or compelling, whoever wrote it has a pretty myopic view of interactions between men and women.

Verdict: It's one of those films that I think stays with you after watching it, although I think that's more due to the puppet banging more than anything else. I can't understand why it gets such good reviews, but nevertheless, it's definitely a spectacle worth beholding.
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Zyzyfer » Fri Mar 03, 2017 2:18 am

I forgot one other film that we watched, Seoul Station. It's a Korean animated film that serves as a prelude to the film Train to Busan. Unlike Train to Busan, which spends a while alluding to the zombie attack before it gets going, this more or less jumps right in and thrusts us into the action.

In terms of story, although I just winged it and watched it in Korean so maybe missed some nuanced bits, it's pretty typical anime fare that runs with many familiar tropes that one would expect for this sort of thing. One nitpick is that many of the characters are unsavory types and it is therefore hard to care whether many of them survive or not. This finally gets cleared up with a twist ending, but I thought it fell flat and was not a fan.

Basically, the boyfriend spends the entire movie latched on to this seemingly good guy who claims to be his girlfriend's father. When they are finally reunited, the "father" is suddenly like "Haha, I tricked you, now I will kill you!" and kills the boyfriend before chasing after the girlfriend. The entire movie builds up to these three reuniting and building up sympathy for the father guy, just to throw that twist at us and pretty much throw all that out the window with apparently zero foreshadowing.

The animation itself was neither here nor there for me; I kept getting bothered by how overly animated the characters were when talking casually, as their heads would bob about like crazy. But otherwise it was fine, a little old-fashioned but I was OK with that.

Verdict: Probably a pass, Train to Busan was better in every way.

-----

And we watched A Good Marriage as well. Based on a Stephen King novella. Bob (Anthony LaPlagia) and Darcy (Joan Allen) have been married for 25 years, raised a family together, and it seems like they know everything about one another. But when Darcy stumbles upon Bob's dark secret and he finds out about it, she has second thoughts about what to do.

I skimmed some critic reviews after watching this, one stated that the book allowed us to get inside of Darcy's head much better and understand what was going through her mind. I agree with that. The audience is kind of left guessing what she is really thinking at points, but generally the film just keeps dragging along toward the inevitable conclusion. There are a few good King-style poignant or creepy moments buried in there, but for the most part it doesn't really resonate in that sense. The ending further serves to muddy the waters - I think there was a good intention here but it did not come across in a meaningful way and just left me confused.

I thought Allen and LaPlagia were decent in this - in a subtle way.

Verdict: Pass unless you love King movies.
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