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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 5:58 pm
by Dong Zhou
Sun Fin wrote:We went to see The Greatest Showman. I'd heard positive things and it lived up to all of them! Music was awesome, acting believable and the story line was interesting and engaging! We got home and put the soundtrack on straight away! Would definitely recommend! Might even get a 9 from the Dong's! :lol:

9's are the devil's work!

I do plan to see it, heard pretty good things and I like musicals


Watched Jaws, the classic we had watched while young but not for a long long time, though certain things did come back to me. We loved the first half, the humorous turned horrifying opening, the very effective less is more with the shark works extremely well here. Not just little use of model and relying on the skilled camera work of Bill Butler but spacing out the attacks, not overdoing it and sometimes showing an attack by other means
like when they find the boat
. The first half also shines due to small summer town dynamics, these aren't bad people but they make bad bad decisions due to their concerns, while there can be clunky dialogue there is some nice character dynamics and Spielberg has an excellent eye for the little human touches.

Second half? Not so much. It had patchy, slow start as as Quint has an accent it takes time to adjust to and spends the early parts being a jerk. Once he drops the jerkness, it does pick up with good stuff between the three characters and some effective action scenes but the pace is slow and it feels like it goes on too long before the final... battle.

Me: 7.0 Sis: 6.5

We also tried Bad Santa 2, the original a beloved alternative Christmas movie full of wit, dark humour, a strange but fun romance and subversive fun. There is the odd funny joke here but mostly this one feels mean for meanness sake, homophobia, sexism, sizeisim, you name it. There is no charm or goodwill here.

Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 6:02 pm
by Dong Zhou
Tried Mindhorn and I can see why people liked the comedy of an ageing actor needing to pretend to be an old TV character to help police but it wasn't clicking for us.

Watched gay coming of age film Closet Monsters. Premise: Oscar (Connor Jessup) lives with his father (Aaron Abrams), aiming to get into make up and costumes for a career. He is also hiding his homosexuality, troubled by a vicious hate crime he saw when young. Oh and he has a talking hamster Buffy (Isabella Rossellini).

Opens well, gives a sense of Oscar's formative events including one shocking early scene, before we see Oscar as a teenager. He is a well developed character, not always the easiest to like, we see the elements he has inherited from his father and how the parenting impacted him but the mother (Joanne Kelly) is badly underdone. There is a lovely friendship between Oscar and Gemma (Sofia Banzhaf) that gives a good, charming heart, love interest Wilder (Aliocha Schneider) is charming and easy to see why he draws Oscar's eye. Relationships feel natural, there is humour, good dialogue and cast do very well, it is charming and an intresting journey as Oscar deals with the issues in his line

There is elements of the surreal like, say, a talking hamster. The hamster isn't overdone, is likeable and has some great lines, I don't think it will put many off however much they dislike fantasy. The ending lacks impact, I see they were going for but it doesn't connect emotionally.

Both: 7.0

Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:31 pm
by Zyzyfer
Tried to sit through the 2016 remake of Ghostbusters. While I had no problems with all female leads or anything like that and missed out on all the critical panning, it just didn't feel like a very good movie. The biggest issue was more the lack of real humor, nothing really clicked and jokes struggled to get a reaction out of me.

Verdict: Pass, like Slimer through a wall.

Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:34 pm
by Dong Zhou
I agree the comedy was a problem

Watched crime-magic caper Now you See Me Premise: Four magicians are contacted by tarot cards and form the four horsemen: illusionist Danny (Jesse Eisenberg), mentalist Merritt (Woody Harrelson), escapist Henley (Isla Fisher) and street thief Jack Wilder (Dave Franco). A year after forming a group they get a big Vegas show where they use magic to rob a French bank. Fair to say this is a problem for the US and French authorities led by FBI agent Dylon (Mark Ruffalo) and Interpol's Alma (Mélanie Laurent).

From what I have heard and the blurb, I was expecting a movie centred on the four magicians, that isn't the case though. Could well have worked, there is good banter and chemistry between the four, Danny is entertainingly arrogant, Merritt's humour could easily go wrong but they pull it off, Henley and Jack are nice but could use more time. The magic shows are entertaining (though Fisher needs to work on her stage voice) and they do an excellent set up of the four's style of magic before they are lured in.

This more focuses on the investigators attempts to work out how the tricks were done and how to arrest them without embrassment. Dylon and Alma make a good duo with chemistry, tension and sweeter moments, they have good clashes with the magicians whether it be interrogations or attempts to catch (bar one scene that goes on a bit too long). We predicted most of the twists but they tended to be well executed, Morgan Freeman's magic debunker Thaddeus does head towards trope Freeman character but they pull out of it in time.

Nice action, fun characters, humour, magic, good cast, working out how the robberies were done, it made for a good time despite an ending undermined by one cast member's performance being off
Mark Ruffalo is flat in the end scenes which is a problem given he is the very heart of the mystery

Both: 7.0


Watched action movie Drive Angry. Premise: Milton (Nicolas Cage) escapes from hell to seek vengeance on cult leader Jonah King (Billy Burke) for what was done to Milton's family. Picking up waitress Piper (Amber Heard) along the way, he also has to worry about those seeking to bring him back to hell.

It has a little bit iffy start as it thinks two things, 1) Serious action Cage is cool. He isn't. 2) the coolest most epic dialogue is one with lots of swears and sex. What is intresting is that the cast generally struggled with it like trying to speak ye olde English can cause actors to sound uncertain and forced. The only figure that was fluent in the language they wanted was waitress Norma with Katy Mixon making it smooth, flirty and natural. So they dropped that aspect and it did improve

It went quite well, Piper is spunky, sometimes action exposes it's cheap effects but goes nicely enough, an alright villain but lacking a bit of spark, an enjoyable sense of humour. It's side characters like Norma, Candy (Charlotte Ross), police chief (Tom Atkins) and Frank (Todd Farmer) tended to make the most of their moment, providing a sense of fun and humour before leaving. It also benefited from "The Accountant" (William Fichtner) who had a slightly otherwordly air and again helped bring humour and a bit of fun.

Me: 6.5 Sis says: 6.5 because fun and ridiculously over the top even if Nicholas Cage didn't seem to get the memo

Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:53 pm
by Dong Zhou
Watched horror film the Autopsy of Jane Doe. Premise: The police find an unexplained massacre in a home and a female body (Olwen Kelly) that seems half unburied in the basement. Sheriff Sheldon Burke (Michael McElhatton) sends the Jane Doe to local coroners, Tommy Hilden (Brian Cox) and his son Austin (Emile Hirsch) for an emergency autopsy.

The first segment is a murder mystery (but where the coroners stay in the morgue and don't go around hunting for clues, battling bad guys) and credit to writers Ian Goldberg and Richard Naing (plus director André Øvredal of Trollhunter) for 1) having the bravery to stick with this, not rush to the horror but to take time on this segment, 2) to do it so well. They take their time on this and it is a good thing, as they dig into the body, it brings up more and more mystery while giving you enough to build your own theories and it is absorbing to watch. Cox and Hirsch have an excellent dynamic and the characters feel real while avoiding tropes. Horror is sparse during this segment till it begins a build up but does enough to give some tension when needed.

Then it moves onto horror and it matches up with that same quality. Strong atmosphere, generally good delaying (one or two scares that are effective but it waits a beat too long before unleashing), varied horrors like playing with radio, use of lighting and so on, the reaction of the cast feels human and not trope, it knows when to take a breather and do a bit on the mystery before bringing back the horror. Soft toys may or may not have been brought down for comfort *cough*

The end phase dips quite a bit. What are supposed to be big emotional scenes fall flat as it relies on aspects that haven't been built on and cast don't pull it off. The horror big idea is good but they don't quite pull it off, a lot of explanation, the horror no longer working. In the last few minutes they hit their horror stride again and is very enjoyable.

Scariest film we have seen since Amtyville
Me: 8.0, Sis: 7.5

Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:34 pm
by Dong Zhou
Watched Agatha Christie film Crooked House. Premise: In 1950's Britain, business tycoon Aristide Leonides (Gino Picciano) has died but granddaughter Sophia (Stefanie Martini) fears murder so she contacts the detective and former lover Charles Hayward (Max Irons) to take the case. Reluctantly he does so, entering a house full of potential killers....

We didn't go into this with great expectations. Clearly got a noted cast (granted Julian Fellows is not the best writer) but when a film gets turned into TV rather then released as a film, it isn't a great sign unless on Netflix. This wasn't. This was for terrestrial channel 5 which is not famed for it's good sense of movies. They got a lucky break in that the BBC, who had been on an excellent run under Sarah Phelps, having to pull their Christmas Christie after allegations against one of the staff

It is not a good production. They go for 50's costumes but everything is a bit too clean and new as if cars magically had no dirt, however to be fair great costume work for actress Magda (Gillian Anderson), Colleen Kelsall the costume designer really honing in on the character. While having a house set in one style but then individual rooms in a very different setting according to the characters personal taste was good. The editing by Peter Christelis was awful, in fairness he had a difficult task trying to jam everything into the near two hours but one gets very sharp cuts from one scene to another and some confusing jumps. Director Gilles Paquet-Brenner fails to build atmosphere, a sense of mystery or get the best out of quite a few of the cast (Terence Stamp, Irons, Martini, Anderson, Christina Hendricks as American wife, all underperformed while my sister and I are split on Glen Close as the matriarch Edith).

The format of a two hour film perhaps doesn't suit Crooked House which has a lot of characters (the family is nine, not counting dead guy, with a tutor and a nanny) that are clearly meant to be explored in depth but there is no time for that. When they are all in the same room, sparks fly and there are some great scenes were tensions explode but as individuals it rarely works. The best characters are ones to the side, the teenage Eustace (Preston Nyman), the tutor Laurence (John Heffernan), Amanda Abbington does brilliantly to bring character and humour to the small role of Clemency, I like the child Josephine (Honor Kneafsey) but my sister liked Edith. The main figures likes Sophia and Charles fall flat, they don't bounce off each or work individually. End scene is mixed, one aspect works well but other aspects do not.

Me: 5.5, Sis: 6.0


Tried Trail of the Pink Panther but it was one film too many for me. Trying to make it when Sellers was dead and one could see the joins as scenes from other films inserted in then rest of supporting cast tried to make funny scenes around it. It wasn't a franchise I was particularly enjoying (had some fun romances and baddies down the years but could find the inspector's slapstick tiresome), my sister stayed and said she found it intresting watching them try to make up for having no Sellers.

Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:09 am
by Dong Zhou
Watched comedy What We Did On Our Holiday. Premise: Doug McLeod (David Tennant) and Abi (Rosamund Pike) are living in separate houses but agree to pretend they are still together as they take their three children to the highlands for the ailing Gordie's (Billy Connolly) birthday.

I wouldn't call this particularly funny but it does have a nice sense of humour running through it like the reactions of adults to the awkward things youngest Jess (Harriet Turnbull) says, the sinister emu and some nice jokes. It has a nice sense of warmth about it with Gordie the beating heart and the best developed character with Connolly providing humour, a sparkle and warmth. The children are nicely acted but sometimes the dialogue feels forced "the things children say" and other times feel the right side of children are annoying, decent strand with eldest Lottie (Emilia Jones) struggling to cope with lies. It has a big twist in the middle that it runs with well and keeps that warm heart and sense of humour

It's ending phase is weak as Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin try to crowbar the end they want, characters taking decisions that purely would get them to ideal ending though there is a sweet speech. Also feels like one strand of the family, led by Gavin (Ben Miller), is underwritten by the time key moments begin.

Nice warm hearted movie
Both: 6.5

Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 7:02 am
by Dong Zhou
We tried Wolverine film Logan, we have watched the other two and the reviews for this were excellent. There are clearly very good ideas here that make this something different from the other X-Men films but it just doesn't click. The performances, the scenes, just nothing. The other two Wolverine's may have been objectively worse but there was a sense of fun there . So we switched to animated comedy western Rango and again, didn't click. We didn't warm to the characters particularly the lead and humour tended to fall flat. There was a fun saloon scene though and some nice touches.

At least Sunday's film would go right... wrong. Horror rom-com Nina Forever has a great premise but it is hard to warm to the two human characters, though I did with Holly (Abigail Hardingham) during a few moments, I had hoped the appearance of Nina (Fiona O'Shaughnessy) would change things up but no. One or two nice touches but didn't care for character and felt wasn't making any headway with premise.

Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:47 am
by Zyzyfer
Logan took a while to pick up from what I can remember, to be fair. I don't know if you made it to the scenes with the little girl doing her thing but if not, yeah you might want to consider another shot when in the mood. I did find it a bit disjointed at times but enjoyed it enough. Glad I didn't watch it in the theater though.

Speaking of comic book stuff, I caught Black Panther yesterday. Just a simple review so I avoid spoilers. In short, I had a pleasant experience watching it, but felt it was a comparatively weak entry with the Infinity War right around the corner. I'd rank it above stuff like Ant-Man, second Thor, the old Hulk films, Iron Man 2, it's squarely in the middle of the pack for me in other words.

Pros - Music started off weak but by the end I was really digging it. Good and fun acting all around, and I do commend going with an almost entirely black cast (this partly influenced my decision to see it in the theater). Certain elements of the plot really drew me in.

Cons - However, the plot was just way too predictable. Plot points that showed promise are left lacking. You have all this room for political intrigue and they opt not to go as deep into it as I would have liked in the end. Final battle felt way too chaotic in a bad way, I feel like none of the little lessons brought up over the course of the movie come into play here.

Interesting - Marvel humor dialled way way down, you get a couple of jokey jokes and Andy Serkis chomping on scenery but it's mostly played straight. I do wonder if this is a response to issues with Thor: Ragnarok.

Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 8:26 am
by Dong Zhou
I might give Logan another chance. I have heard great things about Black Panther, yours is possibly the most negative reaction I have seen about it yet Zy

Watched American remake of Belgian film, The Loft which is a mystery film. Premise: Architect Vincent Stevens (Karl Urban) keeps a loft for himself and his four friends where they can go and have affairs or private moments without their wives knowing. When they find the dead body of a blond woman one morning, they do not know what to do or how to react.

This managed to last well enough for awhile based on a cast doing a good job ( James Marsden and Matthias Schoenaerts play the friends I don't mention) though my sister disagrees, a decent atmosphere and mystery. Mimi (Kali Rocha) is arguably the best character with her wit and Rocha's performance but she is in it so little, it is a problem for the females who do have a good cast doing well (Valerie Cruz, Rhona Mitra, Dora Madison Burge, Rachael Taylor and Margarita Levieva) but have really small roles. There is potential for a lot more from some of the pairings like Luke Seacord (Wentworth Miller) and Ellie (Elaine Cassidy) were they hint at intresting dynamics but it never gets built on.

However the friends are tropes and the plotting relies on characters making really stupid decisions. They literally give this secret loft key to a jokey blattermouth with a drinking problem in Marty Landry (Eric Stonestreet), that kind of utter stupidity continues throughout and undermines the mystery. In the last half hour, it goes for twist after twist after twist to the point of disbelief and losing any impact.

Sister left with half an hour to go, possibly should have done myself.
Me: 5.5