Watched any good movies recently?

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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Aug 12, 2019 7:57 am

Tried Freeway for a few minutes, the opening credit drawings are different but a tad... creepy in the wrong way, dialogue was not clicking and wasn't warming to anyone.

Watched Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation which was one of those nice but didn't quite have enough. Usual spirit, ok baddies, some good jokes, meh romance, decent enough end phase. All sorts of "that was nice" but also moments where the film flagged, the jokes not quite working, the baddies and the goodies not quite doing enough to pull one in.

Me: 6.0 Sis: 6.5

Watched Sony superhero movie Venom, one that critics hated but sold well and fan scores seemed high so was curious as to how we would react. First segment bad, Venom good might sum it up. The build up takes awhile and does not help it, there are attempts to build up the baddie philosophy but I found the villain stuff never clicked (for me, Riz Ahmed didn't click as evil scientist). The main romance is... ok but doesn't spark as well as one would hope, there are attempts at humour but it misses more then lands, however we did like Anne (Michelle Williams). Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) is meant to come across as a flawed, loveable man but he more comes across as an irritating idiot, humour with him tends to be try too hard or a bit too crude. I was not a fan of Matthew Libatique's camera work, felt the film looked visually bad at times.

Once Venom (also voiced by Tom Hardy) comes into it, the film livens up and has a sense of fun. There are some decent action scenes but also Venom's humour works, his attitude towards his host (bar some late things that are not at all explored) and those around Eddie, his objections and demands, the sudden insults, the bluntness. They use the creature inside another thing decently, the culture clashes, felt the lack of Spiderman wasn't a hindrance and there was laughter. When Venom was around, the film held our attention.

Both: 6.5
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:20 pm

So, I've been watching a whole bunch of Soviet and Kazakhstani movies recently. I posted the reviews on my blog, but I'll just post a Twitter-length review here and a rating as well as a link to my blog post on the same movie.

Pervyi eshelon (The First Echelon): Sweet, easy-on-the-eyes romantic comedy with an outsized score by Shostakovich and one outrageously fun action scene near the end. 16 / 20. Link: https://heavyangloorthodox.blogspot.com ... et-to.html

Mest' (Revenge, or The Reed Flute): Beautiful, stylised and surrealistic epic saga of revenge spanning 300 years - a movie by and about Soviet Koreans. Features hedgehogs. 18 / 20. Link: https://heavyangloorthodox.blogspot.com ... oviet.html

Otyrardiń kúıreýi (The Fall of Otrar): Grand-scaled but rather cynical historical epic about the fall of Khwarezmia to Genghis Khan in the 1200s. Features Doqdurbek Qydyralıev getting tortured a lot. 18 / 20. https://heavyangloorthodox.blogspot.com ... le-of.html

Kavkazskii plennik (Prisoner of the Mountains): Masterpiece of Russian indie film with an anti-war message, a transposition of Tolstoi's novella of the same name to the Chechen War of the 1990s. Easily some of Sergei Bodrov's best work. 20 / 20. https://heavyangloorthodox.blogspot.com ... t-his.html

Shıza (Schizo, or The Recruiter): Starts off as a rough-and-tumble crime thriller, but quickly turns into a romance. The main character is Kazakh but has more similarities to an archetypical Russian anti-hero. 17 / 20 https://heavyangloorthodox.blogspot.com ... drama.html

Kóshpendiler (Nomad): Another Sergei Bodrov film. Big, loud, noisy historical war drama featuring hammy performances by Mexican soap opera stars. All in good fun. 12 / 20. https://heavyangloorthodox.blogspot.com ... jurek.html

Ulzhan: Gritty road movie which tries to turn into a shamanic discovery-of-self journey. Gets lost up in its own pretentiousness. 7 / 20. https://heavyangloorthodox.blogspot.com ... -hunt.html

Réketır (Racketeer): Story of the life of a boxer who grows up in the 1990s and falls in with the 'wrong crowd'. Has Muslim undertones. 15 / 20. https://heavyangloorthodox.blogspot.com ... stice.html

Tulpan: Slice-of-life, understated comedy about a Navy vet who goes back to his home village in hopes of marrying. 18 / 20 https://heavyangloorthodox.blogspot.com ... teppe.html

Kelin (Daughter-in-Law): Set on the steppes in distant antiquity, the tale of a love triangle which escalates into a web of murder and witchcraft. Beautifully shot but harrowing, with a lot of sex, nudity and violence. Gulsharat Jubaeva defs worth looking at, tho. 16 / 20. https://heavyangloorthodox.blogspot.com ... bleak.html

Baikonur: Sweet, quirky romantic comedy set on (and outside) the famous Cosmodrome. Space-obsessed Kazakh youngster Gagarin falls for a French cosmonaut from a distance. 17 / 20 https://heavyangloorthodox.blogspot.com ... -frie.html

Jaýjúrek myń bala (Myn Bala: Warriors of the Steppe): Historical war drama about the liberation of the Kazakh Khanate from the Dzunghars. Technically a better movie than Nomad, but has less charm. 15 / 20 https://heavyangloorthodox.blogspot.com ... jurek.html

Shal (The Old Man): From the same director as Kelin, a retelling of Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea set on the Kazakh steppe. The titular old man has to defend himself and his herd of sheep against enraged wolves during mating season. 17 / 20. https://heavyangloorthodox.blogspot.com ... teppe.html

Ya ne vernus' (I Won't Come Back): Journey of two runaway orphanage girls on the road to Kazakhstan. A rather bittersweet and melodramatic tear-jerker, but incredibly well-done. 18 / 20. https://heavyangloorthodox.blogspot.com ... -lake.html
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:04 am

Watched Pixar's day of the dead movie Coco which was one of those films that we had meant to see but events kept putting it off so was wondering if it would be a disaster. Not quite what I was expecting (hoping for more music and more day of dead from moral side) but it was a nice family friendly movie.

Visually looked impressive, had a nice heart, set out some members of Miguel's (Anthony Gonzalez) family well and his dream, the dog Dante is adorable and moves so well. What songs there are nice with it's main one well used, good voice work by likes of Renée Victor and others listed here. They used Miguel's ageing great-grandma (Ana Ofelia Murguía) sparingly but to great effect, has decent enough humour but not the funniest Pixar movie, they land the old movies of Ernesto (Benjamin Bratt) in terms of getting the style right. Story touches on some sad themes and has a very moving end phase that is above the rest of a decent film.

The twists are easy to guess, the support characters like Hector (Gael García Bernal) don't quite provide the great charisma or humour to support main character. I feel one direction they went in is predictable and expected for these kind of films but was a mistake given what could have been done instead
having a villain. Felt like using human nature would have been more effective then moustache twirling evil


Both: 7.0
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Aug 29, 2019 8:41 am

Tried Horror-comedy Dance of the Dead, the young cast do well to liven up a flat screen play but jokes don't work, characters are cliche without being intresting, everything feels a bit cheap (fair enough) and not well done. Tried comedy heist movie Scorched but didn't seem intresting or funny

The Gamers: Hands of Fate (extended edition). Premise: The gaming group find their gaming sessions constantly interrupted by real life and after one such issue, Cass (Brian S. Lewis) is frustrated but spots Natalie (Trin Miller) playing card game Romance of the Nine Empires. She wants to save it from those trying to stop it's story, he wants to date her but as he plays, it has an impact on the fantasy world of heroes Myriad (Samara Lerman) and Dundareel (Jesse Lee Keeter)

Split film into two parts as was long and wasn't quite sure if it would have enough, found myself regretting that as pulled in. The fantasy stuff is a bit flat at first, it has a bit of humour that comes through as Myriad starts to twigg she has done this before or fails and some nice moments but lacks a bit of spark and emotional pull at the start, it is the slowest factor to work. It is also a way (along with humorous training flashbacks) to do something other then showing card games and that works well.

The real life group has some nice humour, pulls you into Natalie's desire for the game, calls Cass on his behaviour without making too unlikeable, the friends provide humour be it the frustrated D&D moments, the relationship between Logan (Nathan Rice) and Jessica (Carol Roscoe) and so on. However the villians plans feel simplistic and clear taking sides on an issue, it's handling of females is to try to tackle tropes and problems but not doing it in a way that didn't feel a little clumsy.

The crowd scenes could drag a little, it was better when focusing on main characters or the fantasy, built well to a finale and it's final card battles. The humour always remained but so did the well meaning clumsiness, didn't quite wrap everything up as well as it might have, nice humour songs.

Me: 6.5
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:38 am

Watched Mission Impossible: Fallout which is fine, not one of their best but bar the lengthy action scenes generally rolls along. The best thing in some ways is the scenery, working out parts of London (for example) most wouldn't see from other films, finding new angles to shoot from. In fairness it is impressive work by Rob Hardy and deserves noting even if perhaps it being the best part doesn't reflect too well on the rest of film.

The action is well made but tends to go on too long, there is no action scene that would rank near the best the franchise has to offer, the big finale one didn't work for me but my sister liked it, both of us felt the descent into swearing was weird and didn't fit. The basic plot wasn't impressive, the twists were done well enough but easy to guess, the villains were not well used though I liked them
big spoilers
I liked the white widow (Vanessa Kirby) but she vanishes, was nice to see Solomon Harris (Sean Harris) but they never fully used him and felt wasted, the big baddie was fine but maybe if they concentrated on one of the three?
, there is an element of "doubts about Hunt, I have seen that 5,000 times before already"

While not the funniest film, it did have a level of humour about it including spoofing itself which was enjoyable, characters were their likeable selves with nice dynamics. Some nice nods to past but I think new figures got sufficient explanation to avoid confusion, cast did a decent job and was a likeable enough film.

Me: 6.5, Sis: 7.0

======

Watched dragon fantasy Reign of Fire. Premise: Construction work is going on for the London Underground when they find a cave, boy Quinn (Ben Thornton) enters and awakes a dragon. The dragons take over the world and in 2020, adult Quinn (Christian Bale) leads survivors at Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland with tensions high among the survivors.

Shown in 2002 it has already shown its age, child Quinn going through building site without any issues, that bar the love interest the cast (lead, best friend, main child, rivals, any important task person) are... all white males. One would certainly hope some of those tasks could go to woman in a film made nowadays. Also an apocalyptic film set in 2020 is just asking for Brexit jokes if the film isn't any good...

It is a film that kept doing just enough to keep us engaged, an inventive adaptation of a story for children was fun, the background to what happened, the arrival of new factors but it keeps drifting, the dynamics and characters are just not intresting enough to hold attention. By the end phase, it no longer has good tricks to revive attention and we don't care about the characters involved, the action doesn't excite and I ended up regretting sticking with it.

Both: 5.5

======

Watched Drew Goddard film Bad Time at El Royale. Premise: In the 1970's a series of guests arrive at a motel that crosses the state line between California and Nevada that is well past its heyday, where some money has been hidden and murder committed. They are catholic priest Daniel Flynn (Jeff Bridges), Darlene Sweet (Cynthia Erivo), salesman Sullivan (Jon Hamm), and a rather rude lady (Dakota Johnson). I bet they all have a peaceful night.

Does really well to give a sense of time, the costumes, the style of interiors and items (which the camera loves to show), the great music. Slow intro as the characters come into play and the pieces start to fit, was the odd scene were pace could have been quicker but once it began to delve into the characters, why they were here, bouncing off each other, the film clicked. Fun twists, knew when to add something new to the table, characters were intresting enough to hold the attention (bar Dakota Johnson's character who suffered from backstory being late and more involving others then herself).

Enjoyed the characters, the exchanges as relations evolved, the impact and aftermath of the twists, got more and more pulled into tale despite moments of slowness, some decent tension and backstories done well. Ending lacked a bit of oomph to give it a strong finish but had a good time once the film got it's characters and story going.

Me: 7.5, Sis: 7.0
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby CapV » Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:26 am

Kids movies like Zootopia,Toy Story & my new favorite Big Hero 6

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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:22 am

Watched sort of documentary rom-com Meet the Patels. Premise: Actor Ravi Patel has broken up with long term girlfriend Audrey (Audrey Wauchope) having never told his parents (Vasant K. Patel and Champa V. Patel) who suggest trying out more culturally traditional ways of meeting a girl. All this is recorded by Ravi's single sister Geeta Patel...

Was never quite sure how much of this was a documentary, the animated bits used to open and the conversations between siblings or bits not caught by camera worked well and looked different. Not the best visually but it helps give the sense of someone just shooting a home movie, to create the sense of family intimacy, one or two moments were sound could have been better but otherwise the style worked.

I had a nice time watching this, the glimpses at another culture, the parties and celebrations that feel alive, warmth and dynamics between characters, a sense of love and humour. It does touch on issues including cultural divides, divides between generations, pressure and it is best when the film just allows it to emerge or little interview moments with those of Ravi/Geeta's generation about mistakes made by parents generation.

Ravi's attempts to spoof his culture doesn't tend to work, sometimes timeline isn't 100% clear so parents growing frustrations feel a little abrupt but one can see why they get annoyed, one can see where the divides are coming from. I didn't find Ravi easy to warm to, one could see why others got frustrated with him

Me: 6.5, Sis: 6.0

==========

Watched stop-motion animation fantasy film Kubo and the Two Strings. Premise: Kubo's mother (Charlize Theron) had fled danger but not before Kubo (Art Parkinson) lost an eye. Now 12, Kubo loves to show his storytelling at the local village with help of animated origami but must always return to his ailing mother before dark

Visually a good film and the villains tend to have an impact when first seeing them due to their appearance, sound could sometimes dip with too quiet conversation compared to rest but otherwise a well made movie. This felt different, it covered one or two issues not usually covered in a family friendly movie, the main story felt fresh but I also enjoyed the little side stories that got told via origami. A few characters provide a sense of humour, there is warm feel about the movie and heart, good voice work from likes of Matthew McConaughey, Ralph Fiennes, Rooney Mara and George Takei.

It was nearly a 7 for me but didn't quite click enough, some of the humour (particularly Monaughey's beetle) didn't quite work, the final battle and ending phase didn't land for me and wasn't quite engaged enough. It is a good movie that gives a warm feeling and does something different but was more a personal thing.

Me: 6.5, Sis: 7.0
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Sep 26, 2019 11:17 am

Tried Raw which I had heard good things about but left during the very slow setup. The lead Justine (Garance Marillier) seems a nice enough lady but her vet school classmates do nothing for the image of French/Belgian students or society in general, it gets hard watching such people. One or two intresting visual touches but not pulled into tale

Watched dark comedy thriller I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore. Premise: Nursing assistant Ruth (Melanie Lynskey) has had dreadful day, compounded when her home is burgled and police including the detective (Gary Anthony Williams) don't seem to care. She recruits annoying neighbour (Elijah Wood) to help her track down her stuff...

It starts well, the bad day shows the good balance between the horribleness of life with well timed movements of humour. The struggling nurse suffering all sorts of rudeness, slights and misfortune, a bemoaning of everyone being... gits, the tragedy of her life is well done but without going too dark, helped by the moments of humour and silliness like Ruth's storybook time. The cast is good with Lynskey leading well, we really enjoyed the friendly and charismatic Meredith (Christine Woods) when she appeared, story moves at a good pace and keeps things fresh.

However we were left feeling unsatisfied, that we liked it but it felt like a snack rather then a full meal and a bit empty. The villains are underdone but so is the tale as it goes on, a feeling things could have been explored and fleshed out but weren't which impacts the end phase (though liked the ending), that things had moved on a bit too quickly. Chemistry between the leads isn't as good as the film seems to think so glad when more figures came in.

Me: 6.0, Sis: 6.5

=====

Watched classic Richard Curtis rom-com Four Weddings and a Funeral, certainly enjoyed it. The casting was really well done, a lot of now famous names like Hugh Grant, Simon Callow, John Hannah, Kristin Scott Thomas, Anna Chancellor who were not star names then. Hugh Grant's performance feels different (though the shy, charming, bumbling figure is already there) from what one is used to, Andie MacDowell's American accent stands out in a very English film which initially took some adjusting to, good performances all round.

Using various British traditions for weddings including changes of music, types of ceremony and receptions helped keep it fresh, romance nice enough though wasn't 100% behind it despite the charm, the credits scene felt appropriate. I liked the group of friends and some amusing banter, they had fun with deaf brother's sign language, but they felt slightly underdone which hampered some key moments though one was moving
Hannah really hit the right notes with his speech


Me: 7.0

=======

Watched Aquaman, what I had heard was that it was quite fun, Jason Momoa charismatic lead, Amber Heard erratic, middle bit too long but generally good, visually does well but some bad CGI, happier tone and enhanced James Wan reputation, sold well. I hadn't been the biggest fan of Aquaman in Justice League as felt they tried too hard for him to be cool but saw enough to look forward to this.

I enjoyed that it started well with a sweet opening with a sense of humour (if not the best voice over) and agree with the general reaction I had seen: Momoa was a good charismatic lead who helped carry the film, I felt Heard warmed into film but was really erratic in the first half, visually some lovely things like seeing Atlantis but characters swimming looked really bad. I did like the middle bit but felt the film was just a little too long overall, also felt there was an epic longer tale but James Wan did well to stitch (despite some strains) the pieces together while glimpsing at tales untold.

I liked the story even if twists are hardly unexpected, the glimpses of Atlantis society which touched on modern issues if not going into them deeply, cast did well with somewhat underwritten baddies. Loved the jokes about cultural misunderstandings like what is edible as people crossed from land to sea or vice versa, there is a nice enough sense of humour and warmth, action fairly well done without quite going on too long while nice touch ensuring Mera got her action screen time. Romance was nice if a bit underwhelming.

Both: 6.5
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Sep 30, 2019 8:04 am

Tried The Boy by Taika Waititi but didn't warm to it. It was a good in the sort of fantasy, trying to be cool, misunderstanding of world that youngsters have but didn't warm to characters or the story.

Watched A Quiet Place, gained a good reputation as a horror and for being nearly without dialogue so was curious about this. Uses the silence well, characters having to take measures to avoid being heard, the tensions when sound breaks through, using sign language while having a good reason they would know this, a good opening scene that sets the mood and why everything has to be quiet.

Adopts a less is more approach to the monsters which helps, they are fairly effective when seen but best glimpsed and carefully used to add tension to situations. Mostly the film logic seemed to hold up
bar how did one such monster get in the basement
, it glimpses rather than shows at how this came into being. It builds the tension over time and knows when to break for a relaxed moment, for character moments rather then keep the horror going too long.

Me: 8.0, Sis: 7.5
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:36 am

Tried Icelandic film Under the Tree about neighbour dispute, some humour and it is decently set up but wasn't pulled in enough to continue.

Watched Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, a very loose (judging by Frank family and Marston family objections) telling of the creator of wonder-woman as Professor William Marston (Luke Evans). Tries to knit a few strands together, 1945 defends his comic from Child Study Association of America's Josette Frank (Connie Britton) then a flash of the Dice theory that segment will be on. Then flashbacks on how professors of psychology, wife Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall) and student Olive Byrne (Bella Heathcote, who admits film Olive very different from historical one ) relationship built and the influence that had on the comic.

I'm not sure the seguing worked too well between the past and the present, the Frank vs Marston is perfectly fine though Marston at times comes across as a bit pompous and headstrong though that strand pays of well in end phase. The main part of the film is the trio's relationship, one does wonder if wise given teacher-uni student relationship but it builds well, the initial testiness and division, the concerns, the setting up of three very different people though Olive can suffer a little from being the quiet one. I sometimes wondered at Hall's accent but she also provided an injection of humour, the three gave very good performances and had a good on screen chemistry.

I enjoyed watching the relationships evolve, they managed to have the Marston's feel like a married couple and romantic feeling built well with Olive, the tensions as things went wrong, it certainly loved symbolism be it the use of lie detectors or finding a way for the Wonder Woman costume to emerge (that was a lovely scene). It tackled the attitudes of the time with a sense of "look how bad it was" and how tragic without going too overboard though without tackling the student issue or would today's attitudes be much better over polygamous relationship?

On the sensual (like bondage) I thought it was generally well handled, it felt lovers enjoying themselves, exploring their desires while keeping restrained but there was one scene that felt like camera was lingering and trying a bit too hard to be sexy, it didn't feel necessary to go quite that far.

Me: 7.5
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