Watched any good movies recently?

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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Zyzyfer » Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:08 am

Watched Florence Foster Jenkins and Neon Demon on VoD.

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Florence stars Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, and Simon Helberg. Based on the true story of Florence Foster Jenkins who was a socialite with a passion for the musical arts, but not the voice to match.

They do take a few liberties with the story for narrative purposes but overall it stays fairly true to the source. Helberg as the pianist McMoon was sneakily good, Streep is dependable as can be expected and somehow managed to keep a straight face while singing and wearing those garish outfits - I suspect there are quite a few outtakes of her cracking up somewhere. And Grant also does an all right turn here as St. Clair Bayfield.

The film isn't exactly paced in a way that kept us glued to our seats, it's a good story, a fun story, but not a great and compelling one. I did my obligatory read-up after watching the movie and didn't really find Ms. Jenkins' story all that intriguing, more just...weird.

Verdict: Fine performances, kind of weak source material, still worth a casual watch.

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And then there's The Neon Demon...where do I begin? Stars Elle Fanning, Jena Malone, Abbey Lee Kershaw, with Keanu Reeves making a relatively brief appearance. Directed by Nicolas Winding Rfen, who I had been unaware has a reputation for making some bizarre films. This was no exception.

On the one hand, there are some interesting attempts at using cinematography to give off particular effects and visuals, and although it can be somewhat heavy-handed at times, I always enjoy seeing a new spin when it comes to this. Most of it was lost on me but the film supposedly is rife with symbolism.

And then on the other hand, it doesn't matter because the story is just awful. Dreadfully paced to the point you want to strangle the movie, with a main character that is impossible to care about, and themes that get beat over the viewers' heads. By the time the story begins its inevitable descent into morbidity, all of the characters have been revealed as flimsy caricatures which leaves what could have been powerful, shocking scenes as nothing more than mindless schlock.

There is also one quite disturbing scene where
Jena Malone's character has a long and uncomfortable necrophilia scene
which may not sit well with some.

But in the end, schlock and unique cinematography can't save the weak, weak script.

Verdict: It's a classic exercise in beautiful disaster, watch at your own risk.
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby dymlos timbre » Thu Apr 27, 2017 2:56 am

recently went to see "Your Name" beautifully done and hit me in the feels id give it a 9/10
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Tue May 09, 2017 10:36 am

Watched western horror Bone Tomahawk . Premise: Deputy Sheriff Nick (Evan Jonigkeit) and doctor's assistant Samantha O'Dwyer (Lili Simmons) are kidnapped from small western town of Bright Hope. Sheriff Franklin Hunt (Kurt Russell), his elderly assistant Chicory (Richard Jenkins), injured husband Arthur O'Dwyer (Patrick Wilson) and hunter John Brooder (Matthew Fox) go to their rescue.

I can see why people like it, there is some good parts to the film. A sense of humour with some great insults, good performances and partnerships, some enjoyable dialogue, violence and brutality is very well done, the baddies aren' great but do their job and some neat twists. However my sister left it early and if not for someone else wanting to continue, would have left as well becuase it's pace is achingly achingly slow. One will enjoy a passage of the film then suffer through 15 minutes where everything is dragged out, then a good bit then a long slow patch, so on and so forth.

5.5
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sun May 21, 2017 1:37 pm

Tried Steven Spielberg's attempt at Roland Dahl The BFG, I remember enjoying but not loving the other film. Visually impressive and Mark Rylance's gets a good accent, managing to pull off strange words with a natural ease yet it all felt so empty, it never came alive. We then tried Hollywood Shuffle about black typecasting but the long long long intro fell flat
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Jun 07, 2017 6:27 pm

Watched the 1961 Roger Corman adaption of Edger Allen Poe's The Pit and the Pendulum with Vincent Price as Nicholas Medina. For most of the film, it is alright but not much more, costumes and location don't seem very 16th century Spain, Price performance as the grieving widower several levels above everyone else particularly Luana Anders as his sister, it lacks tension and the nice little mystery takes awhile to get going. Yet as time goes on, it does get better with the mystery, tension starts to mount in the end phase and it has a good ending.

Both: 5.5

Rewatched Robin Hood: Men in Tights which isn't as funny as I recall Prince of Thieves being. Slow start with a lot of the comedy not working, does pick up when figures like blind servant Blinkin (Mark Blankfield), Marian (Amy Yasbeck having fun with the role) and Sheriff of Rottingham (Roger Rees) who provide a lot of the good comedy, one or two nice songs. Nice bit of fun at times but nothing remarkable and sometimes dragged

Both: 5.5
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Tue Jun 13, 2017 5:02 pm

Watched X-Men: Apocalypse which started really well, has a great opening scene but though it is a bit hit and miss afterwards, for the first third it goes along nicely. The school segment has a fair bit of humour, new characters like Scott Summers, Jean Gray gets a bit of build up I liked the new figures like those two and Caliban. Also enjoy returners like Moira, Hank and Magneto while Apocalypse gathering his tribe worked well with some good scenes. Yet there were so many strands it was hampering the film till it began to knit together, the smaller action scenes were good but the big ones lurched into silly, an accomplished cast were not at their best.

At a certain point
around the attack on the school
, it forgets that X-Men is best when it concentrates on characters and goes action heavy. There is good stuff, Quicksilver remains a lot of fun and Nightcrawler (after initial "I prefer the old trilogy version") comes along nicely thanks to his gentle and religious side, there is a section of the film that plays to it's strengths
a few X-men locked up by army. It is small, self contained action, allows for character stuff
. However generally it goes for big, dramatic action which is not the film or the franchise's forte including the sometimes ridiculous, it drops doing character stuff, some questionable logic, bad pacing. It also relies on the baddies but once team evil is gathered, they stop developing the characters with three of the five might as well be statues who are only active when they fight and lack of development at all. Apocalypse gives a glimpse at a figure that could be so intriguing but they don't build him up enough and relies very much on a sense of power and Oscar Isaac's performance. Which is fine but isn't a compelling performance that it needs given other issues in the film.

Me: 5.5, Sis: 6.0

Second X-Men trilogy overall: Doing the same characters with new cast and redo runs many many many risks but they pulled it off. Going young with a good young cast (though I felt the older cast's expirence gave them the edge), doing enough to change the dynamics without going too far, relegating some figures while bringing through others like the awesome Quicksilver, going further with Magneto's past. The films did have a tendency for going slightly too overboard with action scenes so they lost impact. I enjoyed seeing the start of their adventures in First Class which I really liked, Days of Future Past was certainly different but had same problem as the last film: first half builds up characters and is intresting, second half action heavy. Like the first trilogy, dislike 3rd one and other two likeable but forgettable. Will watch the next trilogy certainly!
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Jun 29, 2017 12:53 pm

Finally got round to Hail, Caesar!, didn't bother to finish it and if it hadn't been for a good scene with Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich) and then an excellently amusing DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson) scene, I would have left much earlier. There are good moments like Moran's, Tilda Swinton as sisters, a musical number but generally found the film left me cold and uninterested.
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:53 am

Tried Indian comedy Oh My God which had a funny opening scene but otherwise didn't come to life, wasn't wooed by the main character's salesman technique and humour wasn't quite hitting. So moved onto Mel Gibson film Get the Gringo which also wasn't bad but didn't have enough for me to make me want to sit through the whole thing, it seemed decently made and had a neat basic idea but simply didn't full engage with it.

Watched Suicide Squad aka DC's not entirely popular supervillian film. I have said before my attitude going into it so summary on that: Pro trailer, casting, Harley Quinn, the basic idea (launch villains for future films who may lack name recognition, play into Marvel weakness, a film based around the baddies). Anti the 5000 characters, lukewarm reviews, the rumours the trailers popularity caused a panic and some reworking, DC messing around with Arrow TV show. I thought it was a great move to try to counter Marvel

It had a slow start as Waller (Viola Davis) sets out her plan as a way of introducing the characters (though never quite sells the plan), the otherwise impressive Davis seemed to struggle with narration, the scenes took a bit too long, it dragged a little. There was humour, particularly around Griggs (Ike Barinholtz) and Harley, the Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman) stuff didn't work, June Moore (Cara Delevingne) falls flat but the Enchantress stuff is fun. Some fun visual flair which fades away from film during second half, frustration as Steven Price selected really good songs but they messed up how to use them properly with poor timing or volume too low and sometimes dialogue could dip, both problems that remained throughout.

Once the adventure begins? There is stuff that worked to make it a nice enough film. Waller is an impressive, ruthless figure when on screen and hope she is used again, Will Smith is a charismatic actor who feels like a leading man, Harley Quinn was chaotic, funny and had style with Robbie giving a fun performance
though I agree with Sun Xia's unhappiness
, Boomerang (Jai Courtney) was amusing in his few scenes. There was a nice humour and decent chemistry built between the group. The males have some good costumes (and the females, other then Waller, seem to have been hit with extreme clothes rationing which undermines potential for good costumes). Of course, it is something of a problem when my enjoyment of film is based on "well I like some of the characters and it has a nice humour" becuase it indicates there are issues with rest of film. Where it has worked is I want to see certain figures (Waller, Harley, Deadshot, Boomerang though I suspect only in small roles, possibly Enchantress becuase I get their feeling there was potential wasted) and it has clearly given a chance for some of the figures to go onto other DC movies or have their own.

This is not a well constructed film. They do a brief "this is why team was created" without really managing to sell that is not a plainly stupid idea throughout the film, action scenes are boring, any time the film tries to get serious/emotional it struggles to connect. It feels like a not very well constructed video game where one does one objective then moves to next rather then something with twists and turns (I can't help but feel some sort of heist or assassination movie would have suited the squad). The big bad has the same problem as many big bad's in superhero films, lack of screen time leads to lack of oomph
The Enchantress was fun at start (sharing the hand moment was great), so was her defection and Waller's stabbing of heart, until her brother saved her. Then she becomes a bikini lady with a weird voice whose only moment of interest is her offer to the team.
. There also seems to be something old fashioned about the film like how it does some of the dialogue particularly for non-white characters, some of it's morals system
Deadshot doesn't kill females as an assassin just feels sexist rather then an admirable line to draw nowadays
and I certainly do see where the accusations of sexism are coming from.

There are issues with characters: My feeling on the Joker scenes were mixed
the AMC chemicals one I liked, the electrodes to Harley's head undermined it being her descent somewhat, the dancing at the club felt wrong
but I disliked Leto's interpretation of the Joker and felt he lacked the charisma, force of personality or chemistry with Robbie (I did really like the hand tattoo though). Probably the worst joker I have seen. My sister on the other hand did like the Joker so.... Rick Flag gets shafted, he is amazingly incompetent
how many times does he get captured? His handling of the squad is Ma Su level leadership.
possibly due to Will Smith factor. Characters like Katana
seems to have a cool backstory
(the one decent action figure) and Croc (who never has the sense of power of the Arkham games) really sidelined and cutting them wouldn't have hurt the film so they could be used when given a proper chance, Diablo has fun visuals but his main storyline suffers from the language and the inability to do serious scenes well. It is meant to be an ensemble film but other films (like guardians) have shown how one can (while having lead figures) balance things out better whereas this more feels like "Harley and Deadshot, plus a few others" film.

Will Smith becomes an issue, though not due to his performance. I don't know if they got Deadshot portrayal as very accurate but simply did it badly (I know some of it is comic accurate) but couldn't shake the feeling they rewrote parts of the movie becuase they had Will Smith. The dynamic with Rick Flag could be intresting in master assassin vs solider but it becomes Will Smith is awesome, look how he is the greatest fighter and leader ever vs Rick Flag the buffoon. Who isn't as cool as Will Smith.

Another issue is tone. This is supposed to be about a group of villains with horrible crime list and tendencies forced to band together under a figure they hate. At the start they do do seem to go down the "these are not nice chaps" route but once the adventure starts, it loses that. Too many are having a redemption arc, too few actually commit any wrong doing during the film and even fewer anything that could be described as a serious crime. With one character
Deadshot
, they literally feel the need to remind us the figure is a bad criminal becuase they have done nothing to show it and then spend the next five minutes explaining how that character feeds orphan puppies every weekend. Instead of embracing what could have made this film (bar needs better writing) special aka having villains do the type of mission they can't ask the good guys to do and being baddies, DC seem to have feared... something (putting stars as baddies, whether audience would enjoy it, marketing, Ayer playing it safe, whatever reason) and gone for something generic rather then be bold and embrace the potential the basic premise had.

Overall: Humour, visual style and characters just do enough to rescue a flawed film. May be more remembered as a platform for certain DC characters then as a film
Both: 6.0
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Jul 19, 2017 6:34 pm

Watched Robert Eggers 2015 horror film The Witch. Premise: In 1630's New England, William (Ralph Ineson) gets expelled from the colony due to religious differences. The family settle near a forest but as harvest fails and eldest daughter Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy) loses her baby sibling near edge of woods, tensions rise...

Very good cast with Harvey Scrimshaw as the eldest son Caleb also impressing, well shot, has good quality sound. Eggers makes it that religion is as second nature as breathing and such a natural part of their lives, the animals at the farm are included as part of day to day life, as part of the story rather then just window dressing. It does feel like 1630's New England rather then people playing at it. Is the type of film that can be hit by people expecting something else and then needing to adjust to it and I did find atmosphere faded over time.

At it's best when it concentrated on the family growing more and more tense as difficulties grow, they felt like real people, there were good dynamics, the kids felt like kids rather then Hollywood version of kids. My sister and I tend to enjoy these kind of films where it is about a group of people under stress, how relations change and evolve. The horror element was more hit and miss, sometimes fitting in naturally into the family day to day life, sometimes brilliant
the ending with the devil barely visible, Sarah Stephens's witch drawing Caleb too her
but a bit too often too unsubtle and taking me out of the film.

Personally: An interesting well made film yet something stopped me being drawn in half way through.
Both: 6.5

=====

Watched animated film Igor. Premise: In the kingdom of Malaria, chocked by big black clouds, but prosperous under King Malbert (Jay Leno) with his policy of blackmailing the rest of world by threatening them with facing the weapons of Malaria's evil scientists. One Igor (John Cusack) dreams of creating life and becoming an evil scientist himself....

There are some good basic ideas in this as a basic premise and some decent, on paper, jokes but for an hour, it drags. The cast is unable to make the jokes work, make their characters irritating and brings no life to the proceedings, the big bads like Dr. Schadenfreude (Eddie Izzard) lack threat and don't quite have the charisma the film is aiming for. In the last half an hour it comes alive, there seems to be heart, the jokes work and there is enough charm for a nice little movie but that is after an hour of boredom.

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

Unread postby Bush Leagues » Wed Jul 19, 2017 8:36 pm

Nice write-up on The Witch DZ.

I personally enjoyed the film quite a bit more. I considered it one of the best horror movies to come out in many years. It's not horror like most horror movies are today, with the jumpscares and the likes, which is great because I don't like that stuff at all. It's the kind that makes you pause for a second before you walk into the woods or turn the light off when you go to sleep (at least that's the kind of effect is had on me), because all of a sudden those things are suddenly creepy, and mind starts to go places that aren't rational.

It's been a while since I've seen it (I should watch it again), but I do recommend RedLetterMedia's review of it in their 2016 movie catch-up episode. The link will start right before they begin talking about it. Not sure if it includes spoilers, so proceed with caution.

Highly recommend on my end. It's horror done right, in my view.
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