Watched any good movies recently?

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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:46 pm

Sorry the second half didn't land. If your Star Wars, we do have a Star Wars thread in case anyone's interested

Watched horror film Creep 2, sequel to an intresting little horror we had quite liked. This time the horror figure is approaching middle age and struggling film-maker Sara (Desiree Akhavan) comes into his web.

The first film worked partly via a sense of mystery and "something seems wrong", by exploring the two main characters but as a sequel, the mystery can't be there. So they don't hide it, they leave enough mystery for Sara without making you go through the same thing and avid frustration with Sara. They do explore the dynamics, Sara is a very different character from those in the first film, she is more confident, cynical, nice sense of humour and she fits in well with the world, she establishes a good dynamic that is intresting to watch with the baddie.

They do enough to keep the film fresh by doing different routes, Akhavan and Mark Duplass do a good job while the general quality just seems that bit better over the first film. Will be a sequel apparently and look forward to what they do with the third film

Me: 7.0 Sis: 6.5

Watched the (failed) reboot of Hellboy, the opening was fun with Ian Mcshane's unusual narration but some of the flaws, like cast failing to connect, were there from the start. One got the sense of tone early on, the attempts at humour but also the lack of spark. Hellboy (David Harbour) himself was annoying, generally performances were at best erratic with Milla Jovovich probably the best as the villain and generally cast failed to bounce off each other. It felt like were too many ideas and the plot ended up lacking coherency as they tried to show what Hellboy could do with the mystic stuff, they needed to slim it down and focus on things like the relationship between Hellboy and his father rather then about five relationships for Hellboy to try to build. There were some good ideas even if the execution wasn't always there or they got squeezed out, there was some moments of laughter but too many misses with the humour and it ran out of steam before the end.

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

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:59 pm

Watched Locke by Steven Knight. Premise: We follow Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) driving down the motorway on night where he is constantly on call, discussing with family and co-workers major professional and personal issues that cropped up.

As set in one car with only one face on screen, it relies on Hardy's performance, for me it was mostly good but his Welsh accent fluctuated constantly which really put my sister off, good voice work by people like Coleman, Ben Daniels, Ruth Wilson and Andrew Scott as the calls circulated. Good touch with how Locke kids handle things in way youngsters do, build evolving stories nicely, good dialogue in some tense calls, rotates the calls well to keep things fresh. By end I felt it was only part way done which was frustrating but it was good while it lasted

Me: 6.5

Watched Captain Marvel, it was solid enough, fine. Seemed to get decent reviews and some praise for some of the more inventive stuff it did, Marvel seemed to be very aware of the need to not get this one wrong given it only took them about 330000 films before they decided a female could lead a film. The main flaw for me is that the adventure itself lacked oomph, I wasn't drawn into the conflict or to the baddies, or really into the captain's origin story which lacked an emotional punch.

Where it worked was as a buddy movie between the Brie Larson's hero and Samuel Jackson's young Fury, the film came alive once the two of them united. The sense of humour is nice, there is a good comradeship, some nice (but disappointingly few) nods to the past and aliens on earth. One Kree character
Talos (Ben Mendelsohn)
gets integrated into things in second half and adds well to the film, the cat is awesome. The humour and camaraderie is the heart of the film that gives it a pleasant feel and there is a feeling more can come from Captain Marvel

Me: 6.0 Sis: 6.5
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby ky9ersfan » Mon Feb 03, 2020 8:54 am

I watched a movie called The Iceman(2013). It was about a Gambino crime family hitman named Richard Kuklinski. It was a pretty interesting movie, about mafia life, how guys take on contracts, and eliminate problems. It starred Michael Shannon, and Ray Liotta. I give it a solid 7/10.
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby ky9ersfan » Tue Feb 04, 2020 3:04 pm

Watched a movie called Suicide Squad, it was pretty entertaining. It was about a group of DC Comics Universe villains, being recruited by the government to battle an ancient goddess/witch that had been foolishly ressurected, and possessed a female archeologist, and had become a major threat to the city. It was solid, I give 7/10.
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Feb 06, 2020 10:15 am

Tried Bullets over Broadway, didn't really click at any level for me

Watched the fundamentals of caring. Premise: Ben (Paul Rudd) is an unhappy man, avoiding answering his door and has taken up a career as a carer. His first job is full time care of teenager Trevor (Craig Roberts) who suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Bonds formed, views changed and the usual.

It covers some usual beats and not in particularly inventive ways, there is at least one female character who turns up purely for the growth of the men folk, near the end the film feels a bit self satisfied with itself. Where it works is the strong performances from Rudd and Roberts, they do create a chemistry on screen (as does Trevor's mother Else, played strongly by Jennifer Ehle, but sadly she is not in film as much as one would hope), the dynamics between the starting duo+trio are intresting to watch and Trevor does have a a good wit that produces some comic moments.

The introduction of Selena Gomez's Dot is a mixed bag, there are some very good personal scenes between her character and others though the character is a bit of a trope, it is well timed to freshen things up before the film could get stale. However each character takes awhile to gel in this film with no exception for Dot and some scenes suffer from Gomez not performing as well as Rudd or Roberts.

Me: 6.5 Sis: 6.0

Watched rom-com To All The Boys I Loved Before, the first of an upcoming trilogy based on Jenny Han's novels. Premise: Lara Jean (Lana Condor) is a single student who, when she gets a crush, writes a letter and hides it. Youngster sister Kitty (Anna Cathcart) sends out the five letters, it causes chaos in Lara's life.

A very very very flawed film, performances as a whole are erratic at best and some like the father (John Corbett) seemed to be performing in a different film, dialogue is clumsy quite a fair few times. It was poorly structured, the premise relies on Lara not doing the clearly right thing
the main three boys are figures she can easily just go "sorry, it was years ago and my sister posted them"
while not really dealing with consequences. Important conversations seem to happen off screen so isn't always clear who knows what and relations suddenly seem to change, even important characters end up feeling ciphers around Lara Jean.

Yet it does just enough to make a nice time, there is charm and a goodwill, jut enough goes right that one roots for the romance and the characters, most figures seem quite nice people whatever their mistakes and quite forgiving of other while the baddie in the school (Emilija Baranac) is decently performed though attempts to give depth don't quite work. I have seen a lot lot better but it was still quite a nice time

Both: 6.0
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Sakae Wu » Sat Feb 08, 2020 3:55 am

I just watched Blade of the Immortal 2017
Basically about a samurai who was given the power/curse of immortality. He meets a girl who reminds him of his late kid sister and agrees to help bring vengeance for the loss of her family.
A lot of action, but very gloomy and depressing at times.

Sugisaki Hana/ Rin's performace was an A
the movie itself 6/10
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Feb 12, 2020 1:37 pm

Watched Crazy Rich Asians, huge and rather blatant advert for Singapore but get to see some lovely shots of the city and some rich houses+hotels so not complaining, just could be a bit more subtle at times. Cinematographer Vanja Cernjul and director Jon M. Chu have an eye for a good shot for a scene, music didn't land bar Kina Grannis whose adaptation of a famous song worked well with an important scene.

Got huge publicity when it came out, by an Asian (or Asian descent) writer, team and cast, mostly set in Singapore and a huge hit with both public (bar in Singapore) and critics. The cast generally did well and hopefully gave their careers a boost, having a different setting didn't hurt and while the story played into certain rom-com stories/tropes, it did feel like the family dynamics made it feel fresh enough.

As a film? The family seems split, the males liked it and the females were... well it is ok. The romance between Rachel and Nick (Constance Wu and Henry Golding) was fine but lacked spark to really carry the film, the best friend Goh Peik Lin (rapper Awkwafina) and Nick's cousin Oliver T'sien (Nico Santos) light up the screen as comedic figures but are on far too rarely. The family dynamics are intresting but also less then promised, it focuses on Rachel+Nick deal with his mother but after a big intro that showed potentially very intresting character arcs, Nick's cousins get shoved aside. There could have been a moving story around Astrid (Gemma Chan) and Michael (Pierre Png) but it relies on two or three big scenes set a long time apart and ignored the rest of the time.

I think I generally liked the tale and the smaller moments more then others in the family but I acknowledge it is not a good romance, comedy great but rare and the bigger moments gave me an emotional tug despite the flaws.

Me: 7.0 Sis: 6.0

====

Ralph Breaks the Internet is a film of two halves. The first half starts well, Ralph (John C. Reilly) and Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) are a likeable duo for a bit, within the arcade there is humour within the setting and the much underused Felix (Jack McBrayer)+Calhoun (Jane Lynch). When it gets to the internet, it starts nicely but the set up takes too long, action scenes takes a bit too long. It also lacks a certain bravery and inventiveness about the internet, it has plenty of names to plug but is reluctant to tackle all but the usual "no company itself to blame" joys and failures in an internet world, a lot of the ideas have been done before though I did like their search engine KnowsMore (Alan Tudyk).

The second half, bar one overly long boss section, was an improvement as it changed direction that gave the film an emotional heart, touching on issues and pulling on the heart-strings to good effect, however that got slightly squeezed by the longer first half and which could have been explored more with some cutting elsewhere. It also has the princess scene which is worth the entire movie on its own, taking on Disney princesses with love, fun observations but also a bravery lacking in tackling the internet, it is a lot of fun (as is the end credit scenes, combined with the princess scene is far funnier then most of the movie).

Both: 6.5
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Sakae Wu » Sat Feb 29, 2020 6:41 am

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, I just saw this one the other day on Netflix.
I'm a huge fan of the Coen brothers films in general, and I thought this one was right up there with some of their classics.
It's an anthology of 6 short films with an American Western (late 19th century) theme. They vary in length and while a few are very funny, a couple are a bit dark.
It's classic Coens' in the brilliant camera angles and clever dialogue, and it may take a rewatch or two to catch the thread that ties them together. The cinematography is also top notch.
Liam Neeson, James Franco and Tim Blake Nelson were some of the bigger names and were all fantastic.
But the two that stood out the most to me were Stephen Root as a bank teller and Chelcie Ross as a fur trapper. Completely nailed their roles and were fricking hilarious.

Highly recommend: 9/10
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Mar 13, 2020 1:31 pm

That was a good film, the Ballad (also a good ballad) though we split it into two half's.

Watched Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again aka the second one. Bit of a mixed bag, opening not helped by "wait, how many of the first cast aren't going to be in it?" (answer far less then we thought but initially seemed like quite a few big names). Some decent early songs and there is a confidence to adapt the songs to situation but the songs don't suit the singers while the set up takes awhile. Film had two strands

1) Present day led by Sophie (Amanda Seyfried). Seyfried is a good lead but for too long, she doesn't have anyone to really bounce off until the aunts arrive, they really add a much needed spark with their humour. This strand drifts a bit until those two arrive and then more figures from the first film arrive, it brings spark, characters to bounce off and humour.

2) The past which is the main focus, a young Donna (Lily James) leaving university and on her journey to Greece and meeting potential partners (played by Jeremy Irvine, Hugh Skinner and Josh Dylan). James does well as a lead and is a fairly good singer but I didn't quite feel her comedy clicked as much as it could have, I liked the first romance but felt the other two were good ideas that didn't quite work. My sister however enjoyed the romances more and I wonder if I wasn't quite in the right mind-set for this film. Songs were hampered by males poor delivery and a tendency to be a little too long, it was helped when the female friends turned up with Alexa Davies hilarious as young Rosie.

In terms of sense of fun, too much of it lacks comedy or doesn't quite work, it relies on the Dynamo girls (Christine Baranski, Julie Walters and Alexa Davies) with small support comedic roles from Hugh Skinner as young Harry, Omid Djalili is very funny in his small role and the late emergence of Maria Vacratsis adds another comic figure. There are a lack of strong dynamics when the Dynamos aren't around in the current day story, it relies very much on the romances from the past which had mixed impact.

In terms of songs, they didn't always fit but were good at adjusting the song to the situation, a good mix of very well known Abba songs and lesser known ones (despite being Abba fan, had never heard of "Why Did it Have to Be Me?"). I found some songs didn't click, repeating "males who can't seem to sing" was baffling and attempts to use the crowd this time didn't work, I just found they were well choreographed but the sizzle didn't happen. However when the Dynamos past or present sang together, there was an energy and connection that other songs lacked.

The end phase is very good, the whole thing suddenly connects and really lands. Having some of the old guard from first film coming in does help, an expert singer turns up and really shows what can be done, two of the songs are done in a very moving way
I've Been Waiting For You was incredibly moving
, party songs had a bit more oomph and had nice time.

I would watch again, I partly think my mind wasn't quite in right place that is required to enjoy the Mamma Mia films.

Me: 6.0, Sis: 6.5

=====

Watched Avengers: Endgame and.... it may be my least favourite of phase 3. The near three hours long does take its toll as does an long opening phase that makes a long set up where it struggles to convey the emotional fallout of Infinitive War, some decent scenes and moments of comedy but most of it just fine. I found Hulk's new look a bit odd and Ruffalo's delivery a bit flat but my sister says just me.

When it got to the adventures, it picked up a bit with focus on some characters who haven't always had great screen time
Nebula, War Machine
even if perhaps not offering anything new. The adventures were a little long but well done, even if predictable moments
Black Widow and Hawkeye for the soul stone
had punch thanks to way they were done, some lovely moments
Thor with mother, seeing Jarvis from the show
and nods to the past. I do wonder if the adventures might have been more effective in a shorter film, that a little bit of emotional power was lost.

The final battle drags a little early on but after a key moment
the return of Doctor Strange and others
, it clicks into gear, humour, fun action scenes, some intresting pointed shots by Feige and Russo brothers, the stakes raised. Its aftermath scenes are generally well done and feel right for the characters, it gave a good sense of end of a great era and start of (hopefully) another great one. One key scene fell flat
Captain America passing on the baton to Falcon was the right idea but it didn't click on screen. Would have liked more with Captain America getting his chance to live with Peggy


Me: 6.0 Sis: 6.5
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Mar 28, 2020 5:50 pm

Watched animated comedy The Missing Link. Premise: Explorer Sir Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman) seeks to discover creatures thought mythical and join the Society of Great Men. Making a bet with society head Lord Piggot-Dunceby (Stephen Fry), Sir Frost seeks out the missing link aka the sasquatch. This soon draws him into an adventure he could never have imagined...

When Chris Butler wrote this down, I imagine this looked like a hit in the waiting. The ideas behind it are good, there is good character arc for some of the characters, a potentially amusing baddie, varied settings, messages and nods, action. Unfortunately what Butler produced as director can't take advantage of any of that, there are moments of humour and action but it doesn't come to life. It is far from the worst thing I'll see this year but the execution of the ideas isn't right, too much does not click.

Both: 5.5

=======

Watched family adventure film The Kid Who Would be King. Premise: Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis), a big King Arthur fans, and his best friend Bedder (Dean Chaumoo) are struggling at their new secondry school. When Alex stumbles across a sword in a stone and pulls it out, events get underway with Morganna (Rebecca Ferguson) seeking to rule the world.

It's alright, a passable film with heart in right place. The acting isn't great but the four children grow a good bond over time, the adult cast tend to be trying a bit too hard, action scenes are weak but has some good build into the action scenes. There are some nice ideas and it keeps things fresh but the character ideas don't get built up properly so it ends telling rather then showing which is as clumsy as it sounds, doesn't land it's "for the kids" messages as doesn't build them properly. MVP is Angus Imrie as Merlin, a role that could go very very wrong and requires movement that could go look very very silly but pulls off the right tone and makes the movement really sing. Me: 6.0

======

Watched comedy Jexi. Premise: Phil (Adam DeVine) is a lover of phones as the sign of the doom of our civilization. Phone gets broken and new one comes with Ai system Jexi (voiced by Rose Byrne with a robotic tinge, takes awhile for that to work) to help him. Maybe with that cute bike store owner Cate (Alexandra Shipp)? Maybe with his work? Or maybe it will go horribly horribly wrong.

Early on the film reveals a few problems, one is the robotic voice is a little stranger but got used to that over time, it has a tendency for crudity and in the early stages it is used very clumsily in a tiring way, lots of swears between Jexi and Phil. In fairness as the film went on, it seemed to hone its comedy and some ideas that could have gone horribly crudely wrong instead got us laughing. It was the right movie for us, its jokes were more hit then miss with Bryne and DeVine experienced comic performers and they had a lot of fun with the AI concept in humorous ways (maybe not unexpected bar "can't believe they went there")

The problem they never fixed was that from the start, it gave the feeling that writer/directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore hate the modern attitudes to phones, that Phil is the type of phone nerd they despise, who they feel needs to learn lessons and get away from phone. I'm a tad surprised there wasn't a "STOP PLAYING POKEMON GO YOU SHEEP" moment. Even in the good, warm moments, that dislike/disapproval crept in, it was very keen for Phil to change and people like Cate are held up as examples of what to be like.

In terms of the romance, Shipp and DeVine do a lot of heavy lifting, they have a nice chemistry, they make the humour work and the romance charm. Individually the romance scenes work well, there is fun, humour and intresting things but overall it hampers itself. Should they have at least one normalish date? We get why Phil loves her but they don't explore outside of some early scenes why she is drawn to him? It doesn't help that Cate helps change Phil which is fine but what changes does Phil bring to her life?

Both: 7.0

======

Watched Us, my sister tried it but didn't click for her whereas I was drawn into the atmosphere (though Michael Abels sometimes overdid it with the music) and I enjoyed the family dynamics, particularly the reaction of the ladies to the jokes of the father (Winston Duke), the family felt real with frustrating aspects in the good way, of family jokes and scores, of the children growing up. Lead Lupita Nyong'o puts in a very strong performance with her character central to the whole thing.

The build up to the horror was very good and atmospheric for me, then the early reveals (if a bit "why didn't the family do the sensible things?") are well done, they use the concept well and some voice-work that falls the right side of what they tried to do. The horror was good when they explored the idea's a bit or went off and did something else rather then vs the family, some well done action but some moments where "seen this sort of thing before" took a minor toll. Some good twists but ending ones didn't quite work for me, would recommend people give this a try if they like horror.

7.0
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