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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2019 1:08 pm
by Dong Zhou
Watched French adaptation by Christophe Gans of Beauty and the Beast with Léa Seydoux and Vincent Cassel as the leads but no songs. The build up to meeting the Beast is a bit slow but it does build up Belle's family, though the father (André Dussollier) seems more an idiot then I think they meant him to come across, with their troubles and their reactions to what happens. Comedy comes from the sisters Anne (Audrey Lamy) and Clotilde (Sara Giraudeau) who give a bit of spark and silliness to things.

When we get to beast... the animation isn't bad but it isn't impressive, it feels a bit cheap, the beast looks a bit like the cowardly lion and the servants are a clever idea that just comes off a little creepy
adapted from beagles but a bit too much of a mix between real with weird eyes
rather then adorable. The other is the Beast/Belle dynamics, kept different from the Disney version but without charge, charm or consistency. Belle's persona seems to change depending on the scene, the subtitled dialogue feels clumsy, what seems to be some odd editing decisions leaving us puzzled. More problematic, the Beast feels... I know he is meant to be out of touch with humanity, needing to learn lessons but he comes across a bit... controlling and with no sense of personal boundries. Even in flashbacks. The romance and love moments at the end don't feel earned, have they really learnt anything?

The end phase feels like the movie has gone on a bit too long, poor action, it's focus isn't on the characters we wanted to see and there is an element of females being put in certain trope roles. There were some nice touches and moments
Belle's pleasure in the country
but one character's fate annoyed us more then it perhaps should have
Astrid's death (Myriam Charleins)

Me: 5.5 Sis: 6.0


Watched Black Panther, had liked him in past Marvel film, heard really good things which may not have helped, I found it fine but overhyped, my sister liked it up to a point
she felt it went downhill after Seoul
and hated the big fight. The talk was of great villain, big themes but I felt both could have been better and that perhaps a lot of things got hit by setting up Wakanda and characters.

In terms of building my interest in the Black Panther team and lands, it worked. The opening helped set up Wakanda, it fitted in it's magic and technology smoothly, the visuals were good and I loved the costumes of the tribes that both stood out and felt real. The royal family had fun dynamics, there was humour between them, I enjoyed the performances of Chadwick Boseman, Danai Gurira and Letitia Wright. It is good that I want to see more of the land, more of the tribes but I did feel characters like Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o), Okoye (Gurira hiding it via her performance) and W'Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya) feel underdone as characters compared to where they should be.

Outside of exploring this new part of the Marvel universe, the adventure was... likeable enough depending how much stomach you had for the lengthy final battle (my sister got bored, I was unusually enjoying it). Humour is good but dries up for big end phase, the adventure twists and turns are predictable but performed competently, I thought action was hit and miss in terms of execution but not best judge of that. The themes? Interesting ideas that lacked the proper time to really explore, it showed tantalising glimpses of the grounds that could have been covered but it got squeezed out and one side wasn't helped by its main advocate
Killmonger as King was not impressive.
, like Zy I kind of wish it had gone more political intrigue. The big bad? Stands out for two very good scenes that stick in the head so in some ways, has more impact then most Marvel baddies for that alone. However as a villain, the choices made by movie and bad ones by character lead to a lack of real sense of threat and didn't find the character intresting outside of a few scenes.

On the race angle, I do indeed hope it is a huge advancement. It does feel rare that a big budget action/superhero movie not only has a black lead but black director, black baddie, majority of side characters being black and I think we can all imagine what would have happened if Black Panther had merely done ok. Hopefully the sheer critical and financial success will see more such films cast, that it seems to have inspired people can not be dismissed (I'm really hoping Shuri inspires people into sciences long term). Credit to Marvel on taking this gamble, they deserve the financial payoff and credit they got but I do feel as a whole, their films and some of their TV shows are guilty of siloing. That default is white male lead, white girlfriend, white support characters (tilted towards male) unless the film/show is specifically "the lady show, the Asian one, the black one" (Marvel/Netflix shows a strong example). They need to do better at having their cast diverse as standard, of not defaulting on Peter Parker's rather then Miles Morales, of diversifying the support. I think Marvel are becoming more aware of that, the new shows are better at it, Thor's recent film showed some attempt to rebalance, Spiderman had a diverse cast and hopefully over time as the old guard fade out, they will be better at it.

Both: 6.5

Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2019 3:23 am
by Sakae Wu
I saw Fantastic Mr. Fox recently.

This was way more entertaining than I expected it to be. Great voice acting, amazing attention to detail in the animation/stop motion. Pretty quirky and fast moving, not many dull moments in my opinion.
One odd part was that the bad guys all had British accents and the good guys (animals) all sounded American.
I was never a huge Wes Anderson fan, but I thought this was pretty fun to watch. 8/10

Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 10:10 am
by Sun Fin
Dong Zhou wrote:Watched Maze Runner: The Death Cure. the last instalment was held up by serious injury to lead Dylan O'Brien and I found early on I wished there had either been a recap or I had looked up on wiki but did get my bearings. Those making the film seemed aware of past issues, they worked to give more of a sense of the world which they did just about decently enough and to ensure other characters beyond Thomas, who still remained too "world revolves around him", got more of a look in.

As a film? For the most part it was... nice enough, went along pleasantly, you don't feel the film's long length, usual YA beats are touched, nothing remarkable about it. Humour didn't quite land with only one figure
Gally (Will Poulter)
landing humour due to cast member being the one cast member to shine and character not being so enamoured with Thomas while the usually reliable Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) didn't land his jokes. Is a feeling for my sister and I that Denise Chamian and director Wes Ball assembled a talented cast, adding good supporting adults over the three films, but Ball has failed to get anywhere near the best out of them in any of the trilogy, they lacked a spark here.

It goes action filled near the end and, being more tired then we thought, both us had become sleepy, but the action fails to excite, it goes on too long and the big emotional punches they go for don't land. Mostly becuase we just don't care enough about those characters over the trilogy. Granted I had apparently missed one big scene via sleep looking at wiki in interests of fairness.

Have watched it now, I think this is a fair summary. I do think the lack of backstory for any character in book 1 makes it hard to emotionally invest in any of them and that impacts the story the whole way through.

I didn't think the big twists landed:

I mean 'big twist'? Thomas' blood being the one cure? That was so obvious, I could have predicted that by the end of the first movie. The other twist was that Newt wasn't an immune, I think for that to have really worked I'd want to know about his family, why he went in etc.

Ultimately I think the story needed to do more exploring of the characters history to really work.

I agree they tried to do more world building but not enough all the way through for me and while I like action scenes it definitely dragged in this one without any satisfying resolution.

I doubt I'll be watching them again.

Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:19 pm
by Dong Zhou
Sakae Wu wrote:I saw Fantastic Mr. Fox recently.

This was way more entertaining than I expected it to be. Great voice acting, amazing attention to detail in the animation/stop motion. Pretty quirky and fast moving, not many dull moments in my opinion.
One odd part was that the bad guys all had British accents and the good guys (animals) all sounded American.
I was never a huge Wes Anderson fan, but I thought this was pretty fun to watch. 8/10

Yeah that is a good animated movie with a lot of charm

I agree with you Sun Fin. I'm glad I watched them, they were a nice time but certainly wouldn't watch them again

Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 5:30 pm
by Kong Wen
Last night I watched Bad Times at the El Royale (2018). I've wanted to see this since the trailers came out last year, but I never had an opportunity while it was in cinema. Finally decided to download it for my birthday and it was a rollicking good time. I can't say too much about it without spoiling things. It makes great use of the ensemble cast—every character has their own motivations and backstory and the way they intertwine is very well done. The characters you're afraid of, worried about, and rooting for shift and shimmy throughout the course of the story. Solid 8/10.

Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:35 pm
by Dong Zhou
Tried Can We Talk About Kevin, very well made and acted, nice seeing a film coming from such a different perspective but I wasn't drawn into it. Then moved onto Rocket Scientist which just seemed... meh

Watched It Comes At Night. Premise: Sickness has swept across the world, Paul (Joel Edgerton), Sarah (Carmen Ejogo) and their son Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) have holed up in their home, trying to survive. When a man (Christopher Abbott) breaks in, how will this change things?

I almost left this during the first half, there were moments that were gripping as it focused on family grappling with situation, the intruder and humans but at other times the slow pace and the slip into horror made my mind drift out. It was better when it focused on the human paranoia, the tension, the choices being made in this apocalyptic world and the cast (including Riley Keough). The second half more focused on that so I enjoyed it more and liked the ending but my sister questioned some of the decision making

Me: 6.0, Sis: 6.5

Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 2:53 am
by Sakae Wu
Watched Glass yesterday, ugh what a stinker that was.
It started out pretty well and James McAvoy gave an excellent performance. But Willis and Jackson, both of whom I like a lot, just seemed to be going through the motions.
The dialogue and action just seemed dull and uninspired. There's a few twists later in the movie but nothing that adds much, just more confusion. My friend kind of liked it though so maybe just not for me.

Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 12:18 pm
by Dong Zhou
Tried Every Day which doesn't have a bad idea of someone bouncing from body to body, it was a good set up and sense of friendship between Rhiannon (Angourie Rice) but lost interest as it began to get romantic and does rely on counter-part multiple casts all being good, unfortunately that wasn't so. Tried Zama which was alright but my sister wasn't a fan particularly when it was going weirdly mystic.

Watched Love, Simon, got a lot of focus as Hollywood's first gay romance film though I would say it was more a coming of age film, far more then a romance
major spoiler
That the romance happens with last shot, I wonder if there was an element of playing it safe so some step forwards still to make
. Being a gamble (fortunately paid off), the decisions made were generally careful, the building up of lead Simon (Nick Robinson) as a so so normal American student, the theme of having to deal with something that isn't mainstream yet setting it in a liberal environment which gives it power when showing that even there it isn't quite safe to be different.

As a film, it is nice with some good moments and charm but feels poorly structured. Greg Berlanti doesn't get the best out of his cast with Robinson doing a decent job as lead but at times felt more could have been offered andI felt Josh Duhamel as father failed to land one or two scenes as well as he should. A sense of time is lost, character decisions sometimes feel like done for plot rather then human reaction, there are many characters so they aren't build up properly even with old friend Leah (Katherine Langford), relying on cast and a key scene or two with said characters to make up the gap.

Yet it does have charm, a lot of the scenes are well delivered, Alexandra Shipp (as new friend Abby) and Jennifer Garner (as mother Emily) do well, but Tony Hale is amusing as the vice principal and Natasha Rothwell is very entertaining as the drama teacher with some great one-liners. It does land its themes, has a decent pace, just feel it could be more with better performances and structure.

Both: 6.5


Watched Buried which ZY has watched aka the one with Ryan Reynolds in a coffin. Wasn't entirely sure about watching it, glad I did, thought Reynolds gave a good performance, it created a sense of desperation and panic, good voice work by those on phone and some of the characters have a sense of personality, good dialogue. Some intresting camera work that doesn't always pull it off, I also felt the main character made some really bad judgement calls and that could take us out of the movie when stupidity kept happening. Effective ending

Both: 6.5


Watched thriller The Guest. Premise: The Peterson's are mourning the death of soldier Caleb when one day a fellow soldier and friend David (Dan Stevens) turns up to deliver a final message of love from Caleb. They put him up for the night and he begins to integrate himself into their lives...

As a psychological "stranger in the house", it works well and they very quickly make clear that David is a figure to worry about through "evil stares" which are just hilariously bad. Dan Stevens had had practise for such roles and he delivers a good (bar distance creepy stares) performance, the charisma and friendly politeness, the sense of caring and helpfulness that wins people over yet also the moments the mask slips, the bits of threat in the stare, the strength when need be for action. In terms of the family, the mother Laura (Sheila Kelley) is barely used, some really good moments with father Spencer (Leland Orser) but I wonder if some scenes regarding him were cut. Where the film really shines is when David is with the children, waitress Anna (Maika Monroe) and student Luke (Brendan Meyer), their initial wariness and how relationship evolves as David carefully gets involved in their lives, how their relationships take different turns, the little moments between them, the help he offers.

Where it hampers itself is when it goes thriller with a big twist midway through
David is a creation of government agency
and then instead of the inevitable path of these things being decided by character moments, it comes via clumsy thriller stuff. It isn't bad but it just isn't exciting and far less intresting then the character stuff, it can feel shoehorned in and there are few moments where it tells you something has happened but seems like the scene got axed for thriller stuff. Decent final fight, ending is a nice idea badly executed.

Both: 6.5


Watched Gothic film Stonehearst Asylum loosely based on Poe's "The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether". Premise: In 1899 young doctor Edward Newgate (Jim Sturgess) comes to the title asylum under the revolutionary care of Dr. Silas Lamb (Ben Kingsley) and falls for patient Lady Graves (Kate Beckinsale). This may prove one of many complications...

Film is good but with a feeling of it could have been so much better, hard to warm to Newgate and Sturgess performance is merely alright (director Brad Anderson failed to get best out of some key members of cast),Where it comes alive is Dr Lamb thanks to a superb performance by Kingsley, Graves is usually intresting as well though Beckinsale is erratic, when the focus is on them, their dynamic or the general asylum under Lamb, it is an intresting film. Mickey Flynn (David Thewlis) had a spark to him and I liked what they did with nurse Millie (Sophie Kennedy Clark).

The film does build a decent atmosphere with costumes and location, some nice things to say about treatment of the mentally ill, some good touches based around it though also falls into "insanity shorthand/tropes" with background characters. There is one character who only speaks in exposition but thankfully isn't on a lot, the romance is flawed
works well when Graves isn't interested in him, and feels very wrong when she does
. The ending has some good ideas but it also uses some of the weaker elements, mistimes its twists and character reactions don't always seem correct to their characters.

Both: 6.5

Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:21 pm
by Dong Zhou
Tried the recent Bladder Runner film and couldn't get into it at all, I find my eyes drifting to clock so left.

Watched Shape of Water, my history with Guillermo del Toro is he has great ideas, gets great reviews but work leans towards a let down and not quite executing those great ideas. This was better, particularly once I adjusted to the set style, strong performances, romantic chemistry, a bit of humour and decent baddie. Yet the pace felt too quick and it undermined the romance+character decisions, losing a sense of time.

Me: 6.5

Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2019 12:20 pm
by Dong Zhou
Tried Sudden Fear, started well with Jack Palance well cast as Lester Blaine, skilled actor who is rejected as romantic lead in a play, that scene of rejection is well done as is the building of relationship with wealthy playwright Myra Hudson (Joan Crawford) on the train. As a romance it works well enough but when it turns towards noire thriller, it lacks excitement and sizzle. Not helped by key decision being utterly stupid
"let us discuss murder in room I know has Dictaphone+hidden recorders and I won't check to ensure they are off

Watched horror rom-com Night of the Living Deb. Premise: On July 3rd, quirky Deb (Maria Thayer) falls for engaged Ryan (Michael Cassidy), they wake up on America's special day not remembering how they got to his room and what happened the night before. Oh and Portland has been hit by zombies!

I didn't warm to it at first, Deb's quirkiness never quite worked for me and too many jokes didn't quite land but it had a nice enough spirit, did pick up when they met more people where Deb began to click, jokes bounced off each other with more then one person to play off and exchange humour with. Some good long running jokes like the level of Ryan's handsomeness, had a nice ending.

Me: 6.0 Sis: 6.5


Having enjoyed the first one, Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous is something of a disappointment. There are funny lines, returning figures like Stan Fields, Cheryl Frasier (Heather Burns excellent at the absolute sincerity needed for her character's comedy) and Harry McDonald click, they handle not having Benjamin Bratt well with a good early scene. Yet too much of it doesn't click, director John Pasquin kills a lot of comedy by getting pace of jokes wrong, the dynamic between Gracie Field and fellow agent Sam Fuller (Regina King) has not aged well, new characters don't bring the same comic strength of first video, action lacks impact (bar one or two comedy action) and villains are forgettable.

I don't think the premise works in the film's favour, opening is decent but once we time jump to Field reduced to arrogant, star face of the FBI, it loses what made her... her. The awkwardness, fish out of water, sarcasm at what is going on around her is replaced by arrogance, pampered, not using her brain and a role I have seen a bit too many times. Only when she begins investigating the case does the film pick up some consistency, even if still jokes being wasted by bad pacing, and feel like the old Gracie. It was a nice enough family film but not sure I wish they had made this.

Me: 5.5 Sis: 6.0


Watched Avengers: Infinity War, mostly avoided spoilers. Film opened as it meant to go on, was impressively well balanced with the large roster with only a few figures sidelined
Black Widow, Falcon, War Machine
but literally everybody got their big action moment. Usual tone which I enjoy, action mostly well done
bar one
though Barnes action doesn't work for me
though some CGI or greenscreen was a little too obvious, some good character moments, the emotional moments sometimes landed really well and sometimes not quite, plenty of well done twists. One of the longest, it was flagging a bit before a well done end phase.

Where I disagree with the general popularity was I liked it but didn't love it, main reason being there seemed a big divide between "scenes with team space"
(aka guardians and Thor)
were involved and when they were not. It wasn't just when team space were with each other where things were more enjoyable (a lot of fun and flair) but when they mixed with other figures, suddenly the lines of humour became snappier, the performances seemed to get better, dialogue clicked. There were other sets
Wanda [<3]Vision and Wakanda
that also thrived by themselves but were more minor.

Thanos finally got his shot as the big bad after a very very very sporadic build up, was one or two moments where I was wishing they had built him up before and his minions certainly suffered for it. A few I got a handle of due to way they fought and appearance, but the only stand out was the Herald who had a great way of speaking so always made an impression as he announced Thanos or an attack. Thanos himself lacked a sense of wow but is one of Marvel's best villains, the sense of personality and goals they delved into, his scenes tended to click, intelligence as well as power in fight, the connections used well and rose to the big occasions.

-Have some Civil War disappointment, Spiderman was the only film since to run with the impact and the team are now almost united again. There wasn't a sense of division or unease between the two factions except from at the beginning

-Loved the guardians reaction to Thor including how much stronger he is to Starlord.

-Great to see Red Skull again

-I'm assuming the snapped deaths will be reserved, possibly with old guard returning (even without film announcements since, no way Spiderman and Black Panther would be killed off with franchises just starting+the meltdown if they killed their only leading black superhero in the movies.). I assume the non snap deaths will stick, on those

Heimdall , his role was gone with Asgard's destruction but death lacked impact, Idris Elba always does well but hadn't a chance to establish momentum in film before dying and felt his roles had been reduced in latest films so makes sense to cut.

Loki NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Ok not really, after his star show in phase 1 he had been really limited used bar the last Thor film, I more miss the glory days and the way he shone in the rare days on screen since. Tom Hiddelstone did a great job with him and was a great character, love he is getting a TV show, but I can see why he was cut. Well worked early death

Gamora, part of the great guardians, she helped provide balance to the team and tended to be one of the main figures in their shows, fitted their humour, well built up. I'll miss her but curious to see the impact her death has on the team when they realize she isn't coming back (though I wouldn't rule out guardians becoming guest stars after Gunn controversy hampers film they are making) though she is the one of the dead who they can bring back via soul stone. Her death scene was mishandled, her character's failure to realize where this was heading felt clumsy but Thanos clear pain and mourning was powerful.

Vision: I like him but less becuase of his role as Jarvis with Iron Man then for his romance. The romance tends to click on screen and it worked really well here leading up to two decently done deaths, there is a romantic chemistry and sweetness. Yet they have never been built, they only turn up in Avengers films and in small roles. So I can't say I'll miss Vision himself, I'll miss the romance. Glad he and Scarlett Witch getting their own show

-The snap deaths were well done, mixing up the pace, the reactions of those dying and those around them. The highlights were Spiderman's death and the ordinary chaos in post credit sequence. The former becuase, as much as I had enjoyed the age gap jokes in things like movies, the death reflected the age, how young Parker is, how afraid he was, how he needed a father figure in that moment as he clasped Stark. The post-credit scene showed that if half the world vanished, there would be chaos on streets and unexpected side effects

-Was kind of hoping for a glimpse of Mistress Death

Me: 7.0, Sis: 6.0