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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2019 5:45 pm
by Dong Zhou
Tried Yes which opens really well with Shirley Henderson's cleaner monologue about her status in the world. Sally Potter's decision to go with Iambic pentameter for all dialogue didn't work for me, it felt like the film tried to hard to make things rhyme so dialogue, particularly in big romance, didn't click and could try too hard. My sister liked it but not enough to continue when I wanted to do something else

Also tried The Space Between Us but other way round, I was quite enjoying it but my sister didn't. Good premise about a boy born on Mars and unable to return to earth, I liked what they were doing with him frustrated on Mars well enough (though not inventive or new in any way) but my sister didn't, neither of us like the tropeish Tulsa (Britt Robertson) and clearly meant to be love interest.

Watched The Descent: Part 2, sequel to one of the greatest horror films I have ever seen, this hadn't had great reviews so wasn't expecting much. In the end it wasn't too bad, a not very good horror film that had a few moments. It had a decent premise to justify sequel but elements did feel a bit against first movie
major spoilers for first film
Sarah Carter's (Shauna Macdonald) escape given the way they first film ended with her trapped and in her own mind
, problem is some of the character's justification for entering caves wasn't good. The first film created a good sense of characters, this doesn't and some of them are a little annoying (deliberately so).

The first film was initially more a caving disaster, using the group dynamics and reactions to the trapped situation then slowly building the horror, using "less is more." This is good when it does use cave disasters but it more leans towards blatant horror, showing rather more which exposes the limited special effects for when it goes for shock or gore, while the constant screaming from two characters is utterly idiotic. The film does create moments of good tension when it plays on the trapped or the unseen elements, when it can create the odd surprise, nice nods to the first film. However at times it also felt just not very good, could be a little boring when not got the tension right and end phase is way too action orientated.

Me: 5.5, Sis: 6.0

Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:35 pm
by Dong Zhou
Lost post so quality may not be as good as the life changing post I had written up :P

Watched Taken since it was seen as a modern example of its genre and well regarded so might do better for us then it usually does. My sister almost left and while I had a better time, not that fussed at watching any of the sequels. Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen as writers do some good things, they capture the sense of an easily distracted teenager in Kim (Maggie Grace does good job ), the film shines when Bryan's (Neeson does very well) expirence comes into play to give him an advantage on his foes be it in fight or trying to tilt situation his way. Straight out action was flat but pace went along nicely and decent "heroic lead, getting revenge+rescue tale".

One does get the impression the writers see Bryan as the all American action hero, that one is meant to dislike the likeable Stuart (Xander Berkeley) and it hates those that do work behind desks. What was disturbing was that Lenoare (Famke Janssen) felt less like the main female character and more like someone's therapy for a divorce, she is wrong all the time, mean and clearly meant to be seen as a nag and unreasonable.

Me: 6.5, Sis: 6.0


Watched French animation Mune: Guardian of the Moon/Mune, le gardien de la lune. Premise: It is time for the guardians of the sun and moon to retire, to pass on to their arrogant apprentices Sohone (Rob Lowe) and Leeyoon (Christian Slater) but there wouldn't be much of a film if things didn't go wrong.

The animation is lovely, it is like a beautifully drawn book and is a highlight seeing the world, the characters, the light and dark, the creatures (there are some adorable and amusing creatures). The set up is nice, a sense of humour, enjoying the world, the side characters, the voice work was good, adventure goes along nicely. However I found it drifted for me once the main three
Sohone, Mune (Joshua J. Ballard), Glim (Nicole Provost)
combined, things fell flat with them around while I found the villain sidekicks annoying (my sister found them adorable and amusing). There were moments where it came alive, an emotional punch here, a side character there, an inventive moment or two but then it would drift back to not clicking.

Me: 6.0, Sis: 6.5


Watched Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, a revival of a set of films I had enjoyed as a youth. This however doesn't quite feel like a Jumanji film, some of it are changes I can understand (changing from family to teenagers, changing from board-game coming to life to being within the game itself so not altering real life and I missed that aspect) but one I didn't: the game was passive. Jumanji is about the game trying to win and trap its players, that it alters and changes things for that purpose and that it isn't fair. This doesn't happen here, this could be any ye olde video game adventure spoof.

As a video game adventure? The "need to explain video games to audience" feels odd nowadays, there is some good jokes in first half about video games including issues that remain now but it dries up, the baddie is token and barely has impact, the video game story is negligible. The adventure/action has one or two good scenes but generally falls flat and the final level, as it were, lacks tension or spark.

The big idea is four stereotypical teenagers get transported into video game in very different bodies, the set up for this is a little lacking as the young cast are solid but lark a spark to draw you in, when the big stars take over then gets an immediate sense of charisma uplift even if still takes a little more time to get the adventure going. The humour in the set up comes from the odd line here or there by teachers, the four characters are stereotypes: nerd Spencer (Alex Wolff), jock Fridge (Ser'Darius Blain), popular beauty Bethany (Madison Iseman) who loves pictures for her social media and the intellectual Martha (Morgan Turner). One does get a sense of the individual personalities beyond that, the mannerisms and so on, get the sense the writers do not approve of Bethany's lifestyle even though they don't punish Bethany or vilify her.

A problem is I'm not sure the stars really got a sense of the characters they were meant to portray, maybe didn't see the scripts or the performances that were to precede their adventure. Karen Gillan is the only one who captures her counter-part in Martha to any real sense, she also captures the humour of being teenager who has body-swapped and gives a good performance though other bits of humour were hit and miss. Dwayne Johnson wasn't at his dominating best but still brought plenty of humour, charisma and was good bonding with Gillan or having fun with "nerd in jock's body." He just wasn't playing Spencer himself, just an average nerd in that situation which he did well with humour but it wasn't Spencer.

Kevin Hart played Kevin Hart and unfortunately the really annoying not funny version of Kevin Hart. Jack Black really tried to the point where it hampered him, he tried to change his voice, his mannerisms to suit his character
and it didn't work, it felt forced due to way he did it, it looked and sounded wrong. However when Black concentrated on the jokes, dropped the voice and style but played it like himself, he pulled off some risky jokes that could go wrong and made them very amusing.

Me: 6.0, Sis: 6.5


Watched Phantom Thread, has a slightly surreal atmosphere, relies very much on the dialogue and the performances of Daniel Day-Lewis as the designer, Vicky Krieps as Alana and Lesley Manville as the designer's sister. The performances are very good and I enjoyed the dynamics, watching it and relations evolve and change, the designer's self absorption and how others mold around it. Does go on a bit too long and run out of steam

Me: 6.5

Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 12:00 pm
by Dong Zhou
Tried New Zealand rom-com The Breaker Upperers which has an intresting premise, my sister enjoyed it but for me, it didn't click. I can see the appeal, it has a sense of humour and runs with the premise but it just didn't land for me bar Ana Scotney's delivery as Ana and a few funny break ups. Tried Mr Brooks, I liked when the detectives came in but found the dynamic between Brooks (Kevin Costner) and his dark side (William Hurt) didn't land and there wasn't tension or thrill.

Watched horror film Child's Play/Chucky (the original), was kind of expecting a cult movie or possibly so bad it was fun but it was quite a good horror film even now. Nice set up for how situation came to pass, figures like Katherine (Catherine Hicks) have a nice sense of humour and concern so easy to warm to, the child's innocence works well. For Chucky, I wouldn't have minded some more chance to learn about the figure inside but generally its action holds up well (a few "that has aged") but things like way Chucky moves at key times, the first time Chucky loses temper is very effective, good moments of tension. Final battle goes on slightly too long but otherwise had an enjoyable time

Me: 7.0, Sis: 6.5


Watched drama Lars and the Real Girl. Premise: Lars (Ryan Gosling) is a shy man who lives next to his brother Gus (Paul Schneider) and in-law Karin (Emily Mortimer). They are delighted when Lars tells them he has a girlfriend but are rather surprised when they discover it is a doll....

I feel sorry for whoever had to market this, essentially a story about someone with an imaginary girlfriend but the doll is what people will notice. This is a very clean movie in that respect, it is careful how it handles the doll aspect while refusing to ignore it. Movie builds it's goodwill by showing Lars dynamic at work, at church, with his family and Karin's clear care for her in-law warms you to the characters and it lands their realisation at what Lars has done perfectly. It moves onto the general reactions, the doctor (Patricia Clarkson) exploring why this happening, Lars relationship with the doll and how people adjust.

It is all well done, cast doing a good job (I slightly wish Schneider had more charm to balance out some of the things his character goes through early on), there is a sense of good-will and heart to it, dialogue works and it has an eye for situations that occur. There is an element of fantasy in that, it does show a variety of reactions from "ok we must go with this", jokes with a few idiots, disproving stares, the reaction of family feels right yet nobody attacks the doll, nobody yells "she isn't real", it pulls its punch on how horrible people can be. In some ways that might help the atmosphere as it moves from confusion towards acceptance and concentrates on Lar's evolving relations but it doesn't quite ring true.

I wish there was, say, another 15 minutes, it does well with fleshing out Lars and running with the issues this creates for his family but I wish they had done a bit more with the town, there are some good moments with those who pop into their lives but felt at the end a bit more could have been done and it jumps a bit too quickly from division to full on acceptance. Lars and the doctor scenes are another really well strand and it touches on Lars past but did feel it could have done even more with why Lars became the way he did.

Both: 7.0


Watched Kingsman: The Golden Circle aka the sequel. Was not a fan. Eggsy was at best meh and at worst irritating, the heroes didn't click, things they had done for spoofing the genre in first film don't work so well when those elements are still there in second film and not being spoofed. Things that were slightly disturbing the first time return here and still feel "I wish they hadn't done that", romance lack chemistry, I didn't care for the characters old or new, there wasn't a gentleman's spirit. The odd flashes of humour and decent action were not enough, the big cameo works well till it gets self indulgent near the end, film did run on a bit too long.

The saving grace, almost, was the villain played with relish by Julianne Moore. They had fun with the baddie as a persona, the dynamics with her minions and her evil plan (including how others respond to it), the scenes in her evil lair click, has a lot of humour and the sense of fun the heroes lack, a good evil edge to it as well.
Me: 5.5 Sis: 6.0

Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2019 3:12 pm
by Zyzyfer
I have not been working an office job lately so that has cut back on my posting in this thread (it was a great distraction from work). But figured I can break my silence to post this spoiler-free review.

My wife and I watched Captain Marvel last night. I think I mentioned in my Infinity War review that I had my reservations about this film. I won't go so far as to say that it 100% met them, but personally felt it left a lot to be desired as a Marvel film, no matter which existing parameters you choose to measure it by.

Cast is fine, Brie Larson mostly plays it straight but from time to time brings humor and charm to scenes. Jackson's Fury is taken in a bit of an unexpected direction with buddy cop undertones, it's generally a fun turn and lets Jackson stretch his legs out a bit in this role. Ben Mendelsohn does get to ham it up a bit, Jude Law is ummm starring as Jude Law, everyone else is serviceable but largely forgettable.

Humor is muted, I suspect this wasn't deliberate, but more that the jokes don't always resonate. I could kind of get into it but don't imagine that most would be fans, bit dry and sarcastic at points, then suddenly childish moments later, then totally serious. I felt they had a hard time settling on a tone. I will say however that there are some pretty amusing scenes involving Jackson and Goose the Cat.

CGI was mixed, what they did with Jackson was amazing, Coulson looks a little off by comparison. Fights are...well it's better than the Black Panther climax, but considering how much space action there is, it leaves something to be desired on occasion. And CGI Goose was pretty awful, but I might be biased here because the actual cat they seem to have cast was a pretty awesome animal actor.

The title character is not one that I know well and there are scarce few tie-ins to more well-known Avengers, so I found the story just OK. It also doesn't really bring anything unexpected to next month's Endgame...

Although while watching the first credits scene,
I started thinking that they were going to have Captain Marvel be one of the ones to get snapped out of existence!

In a way, it reminds me a bit of the first Captain America, the character is a key foundation of the franchise at this point, but his first film was (and in retrospect, kind of had to be) quite particular in its presentation. One can look back now and get what the creators had their heads, but at the time I saw it, felt it was a dud for the franchise. I feel similarly about Captain Marvel - now that the origin story is out of the way, I hope to see the character interact in interesting ways with the others.

But I do also have concerns about where the MCU franchise goes now, while I thought Guardians was fantastic and Thor was tolerable (mainly owing to Ragnarok), if the franchise keeps moving out into space more and more, without finding some sort of natural appeal, I am going to quickly lose interest.

Oh and soundtrack. I found it fell flat. The actual songs (big 90s hits that I totally loved) just do not suit the movie's tone (unlike Guardians), and the normal soundtrack really lacked that catchy Tron-like tone Ragnarok had - despite a few beats where it seemed they would commit to a quirkier sound.

OK stopping here, pain to type all this out on my phone!

Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 12:07 pm
by Dong Zhou
Sorry about Captain Marvel. I do agree there is a lot of seeming space or something different (Dr Strange) franchises seemingly in the offing with a lot of earth ones set to close down, I assume they will have a few like Black Panther to keep some centre on earth.

Watched Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde where Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) takes up animal rights and goes to Congress. Family film, we had a nice time despite its flaws as has charm, sense of humour (though Jennifer Coolidge falls flat), nice nods to first film, Witherspoon is a good lead, a nice cast, heart, adorable dogs. This allowed us to ignore for its running spell the rather blatant flaws.

It is flawed based on the writing of Kate Kondell (her first film) lacks the sharpness Karen McCullah and Kirsten Smith brought to the first film, this was reflected in the jokes, the broad-brush characters including the old guard and the new figures, it's extremely simplistic covering of politics (not healthy), characters literally changing personality when suits the storyline. The question of how healthy a system is where Woods can get jobs and help based on the club she is in doesn't get addressed but first film didn't engage in that either.

Even Woods is hampered by the writing. She was making mistakes that she wouldn't have made in the first film at all, let alone repeating mistakes of first film, the sharp intelligence is meant to be there but when she does "inspirational speech without facts" rather then using facts as the basis for her arguments, it doesn't help.

Both: 6.0


Watched Deadpool 2 which had a great opening with humour, action, 4th wall breaking, twists, good dynamics with people from the first film, funny credit sequence, a good mix between humour and the dark side of Deadpool's life. Then it goes into a bad patch
essentially, the prison stuff
where dynamics don't spark, I never warmed to Firefist (Julian Dennison) and even find him a little irritating, Cable (Josh Brolin) lacks a bit of oomph as the opponent, there is humour but the bits between the jokes lacked spark. Thankfully once Deadpool gets others
around the point
recruits for Xforce
, it goes back to the funny self.

I think Deadpool 2 benefited from us having less expectations then when going into first one and knowing what to expect, that some of the humour isn't us. We enjoyed the 4th wall stuff, some fun nods, the odd shock of the unexpected and Deadpool has good dynamic with the right groups around him like most of the old guard (bar Weasel, that didn't click), Cable grew more into the film which helped. Loved Domino (Zazie Beetz), they had fun with her powers bar one moment that felt cheating
bus driving itself is not luck
, her asides and humour fitted right into the Deadpool dynamic. It was a fun adventure, full of humour to the end and nice action, it perhaps lacked a bit on the truly unexpected and balance wasn't always right with characters
Negasonic was barely in it!
of the dark side of Deadpool's life.

Both 7.0


Watched Sherlock Gnomes, taking the cast of Gnomeo and Juliet then adding the detective (Johnny Depp), Dr Watson (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and a mystery with twists you will see coming. There is some fun humour with the side cast, good one liners, I liked Watson to an extent but the four heroes didn't spark as a unit or by themselves. When the side characters aren't around to provide some levity, the film quality drops. Poor choice of music, felt like they jammed in Elton John rather then music for the situation so it could be distracting or even overpowering in a bad way.

Me: 5.5, Sis: 6.0

Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2019 12:55 pm
by Dong Zhou
Watched escape room type mystery the Cube. Premise: Five people meet up in a strange place, one filled with traps as they try to find their way room from room to the outside. Can they get out? How does this work? Will they get on?

One of those provides just enough fun to keep going, doesn't do anything outstanding but does enough decently to pass the time. Director Vincenzo Natali is able to generate a bit of atmosphere, the characters chosen aren't particularly interesting but their personalities are chosen for clashing and it does that fairly well, some cliché dialogue but it does get better, cast fine but not great. Nice bits of tension and bit of oomph with the end phase to ensure one finishes with a bit of excitement.

Both: 6.0, won't watch any of the sequels


Watched Ready Player One, had a better warmer time then I was expecting from the reviews. Starts well, I enjoyed the, I'm sure only a few nods, that I got (and the blatant sponsorship amused me more then annoyed), the world they were in drew me in. I liked the way the adventure started, the puzzles, the short and well done action, a sense of humour (particularly T.J. Miller), of bonds. It also had villains that felt like there was more to learn about, Ben Mendelsohn and Hannah John-Kamen doing a good job to make their moments count while I enjoy their minions efforts.

It goes well for the first two stages
second stage
loved what they did with the Shining
but flags in the third. The heroes led by Tye Sheridan and Olivia Cooke (who has done great work elsewhere) don't click after the opening stages, they are fine when the focus is split but when it comes to rely on them to give the big push and heart, they fail to shine or pull you along and the balance between them is wrong with the lead essentially "the chosen one" when more of a team focus may have been better. They also squeeze other aspects we have enjoyed like the sense of world as the heroes get more of a focus.

The emotional messaging feels mixed and confused, the "I feel something has been cut out" feeling becomes more frequent (I haven't read Erenest Cline's novel) both in terms of "I suspect they filmed something that got cut", jumps and a feeling that there is a deeper backstory (particularly of the villains connections) then we are seeing. Goes on slightly too long and the big action scenes not helped by hero tendency to stop and stare when time is of the essence, it undercuts the drama.

First time in awhile where I couldn't help but wonder at end if it should have been a TV show instead.
Both: 6.5

Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 1:52 pm
by Sun Fin
I really enjoyed The Jumanji sequel, despite my in-laws slagging it off throughout. Do think your criticisms are spot on though Dong.

I watched The Other Boleyn Girl last night. Largely because the lead actress, is well Natalie Portman, but was pleasantly surprised that I knew of almost the entire cast. For example I had no idea that Benedict Cumberbatch, Eddie Redmayne and Theon Greyjoy (don't know the actor's name) were all in it! But also because I'm reading around the era at the moment for an essay and I frankly find many of the figures fascinating.

I guess I enjoyed it? Both ScarJo and of course, Natalie Portman, did stellar jobs of making their characters believable. However, as I often find when watching historical fiction when I know the history, I found the discrepancies intensely frustrating. I don't know how closely they stuck to the book, but the sweet and innocent Mary Boleyn was absurd as was Anne the vixen seductress. The complete lack of Protestant loyalties in Anne's motivation intensely irritated me, and I was disappointed that we saw so little of Cromwell, considering how pivotal he was in Henry's divorce. An adequate chick flick I suppose but not what I was hoping for.

Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:37 am
by Dong Zhou
Tried a Map of the World, can see what the film is trying to do, some nice little sense of frustration with main character's life but I just found things weren't clicking, I wasn't warming to figures and pace was so slow... Tried The Spy Who Dumped Me, it had odd moments with Kate McKinnon as the best friend and flashbacks to the romance but the action and humour didn't work for me.

Watched Kung Fu Panda 2 and it was nice enough, I'm not the biggest fan of the franchise but it had a sweet start and felt better then first movie. Most of the side cast are pushed aside still but a better baddie (good voicework by Gary Oldman), good visuals and nice jokes
Me 6.0, Sis: 6.5

Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2019 12:39 pm
by Dong Zhou
Tried Driver, good during opening crime scene with tension and intelligence, I liked those who seemed connected to criminals as those scenes sparked but the romance was filled with dead uninteresting silence rather then dialogue and balance tilted too far to latter. Also tried Predestination which had good opening, slightly drifted but I liked it enough, my sister didn't.

Watched Shaun the Sheep Movie, haven't seen the show but the stop motion animated comedy thankfully didn't require much past knowledge. The animated quality of Aardman Animations is always reliably strong, it had plenty of heart, good choice of music (feel like summer really hit the right notes), an eye for humour particularly about film's tendency for convenient events happening. Initially I considered leaving as would be a moment of great humour and then passage that didn't click but once adventure began to knit together, it moved along nicely with the heart and humour carrying it along.

Both: 6.5

Watched Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, not one (bar one recurring joke about Robin's hands aside) where you need to have seen the show to enjoy the movie, premise is basically the group seeking their own movie since all the other superheros have one. This is a gentle ribbing of superheroes, does both sides with a surprising cameo
fair play to Stan Lee
and Will Arnett does well as antagonist Slade.

I tend to find the show is a passable 11 minutes, can be inventive and hilarious while managing to fit in small lessons while destroying them or really going dark, most of them it is just passable and now particularly my sense of humour. I was considered going from 11 minutes to 84 minutes would be a problem but the space and budget seems to have helped. Used music to good effect for mood and jokes, decent and quick battles, decent voice work, animation seemed a bit sharper, humour held up nicely enough. Was a nice enough time, build well to it's finale.

Me: 6.0

Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2019 3:24 pm
by Sun Fin
I went to see Captain Marvel over the Easter period. I'd heard mixed things about it but went in with an open mind. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's not a stand out Marvel movie - it doesn't compare to Winter Soldier or Iron Man or Civil War - but it was a solid entry. Although I'm still missing Ant Man and the Wasp, Homecoming and Black Panther I'm feeling moderately set up for End Game.