Watched any good movies recently?

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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Mar 28, 2014 4:26 pm

Ayame wrote:
Dong Zhou wrote:
Ayame wrote:Finally got around to seeing Life of Brian.


Did you enjoy it?


Yes, and I need to watch it again. I have a feeling I missed something.


Did you figure out what you missed?


Watched Machete which felt like Robert Rodriguez and Ethan Maniquis doing a parody of action films. A very political parody, it was surprising how clearly pro-immigration the film was and was the only time the film felt serious. Sometimes treating it with dark humour and mockery, sometimes fairly straight but not a film for certain political people.

The rest of the time? It went for comedy, silliness and being over the top. The action over the top with overly skill-full kills, massive explosions with appropriate dives and coolness. It avoided being too violent, lots of deaths and bloods but any elaborate death was done with humour rather then gross out. It teased at how the hero always gets the multiple girls and some neat shots at the kind of silly stuff that goes with that, yet it did include a fair bit of nudity as well. The film had a silly logic to it but was mostly just trying to have fun, jokes in dialogue, setting up for next romance/action, having the baddies be baddies and some decent twists.

Film was well shot, edited, sound and so on, the film quality degrading for the past was a nice touch, so it was well made. Steven Seagal was slightly erratic, a strong villain but a bit flat in the video conferencing scenes but generally the cast did well and with a sense of fun: Danny Trejo, Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Jeff Fahey, Cheech Marin, Don Johnson, Lindsay Lohan and Shea Whigham.

Is it fun? Fairly fun, first half it could be a little underwhelming at times but picked up in the second half. Did prefer Knight and Day or Shoot 'Em Up.
Me: 6.0 Sis: 5.5
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Ayame » Sat Mar 29, 2014 4:02 am

Haven't re-watched Life of Brian yet. But I did watch Fearless (with Jet Li).
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Mar 29, 2014 9:54 pm

Watched the 2005, and more lengthy version, of Mel Brooks musical The Producers. Premise: Washed up producer Max Bialystock (Nathan Lane) is told by new accountant Leo Bloom (Matthew Broderick, bit of a Lion King connection here) that he could make millions from a musical that bombed. Can they create a sure-fire failure?

Doesn't try to be super impressive with special effects, one can see the green-screen and use of models but that works for it with some scenes clearly being set out to give the illusion of being on a stage. The costumes are good, sound quality and editing good, choreography good, pacing perhaps not quite right as ending is a little rushed. The songs are the sort that entertain during, like Keep It Gay, but you forget the next morning.

It is a slow starter and originally felt like it was going to be some nice songs (Opening Night, We Can Do It, I Want To Be A Producer) but boring outside of it. When Lane and Broderick have only each other to work with for an extended period (fortunately only twice), it doesn't work. Perhaps they try a bit too hard and force the comedy but that isn't to say they aren't fine leads. Lane is a natural comic lead who fills the flamboyance and persuasiveness of a producer with a knowing wink at the audience, Broderick is more the straight man but easily fills the inept, nervous likeability required. Neither will be the next Phantom of the Opera but their singing suits the style of the songs.

The film picked up as soon as a third character comes into play, Franz Liebkind (Will Ferrell), as it meant Max and Leo began bouncing off other figures. The film loved the reaction shot, panning onto the two (or three) characters when one of the others did something worthy of reaction and their reactions, plus the event itself, was often funny. Dialogue was amusing, the characters were amusing, film has sense of the ridiculous, the songs were fun, the situations were funny and there was even a fairly nice if not particularly strong romance. Heck, simply seeing John Barrowman as the ideal Aryan Nazi was funny as were the Nazi costumes, it was a film that managed to make the Nazi musical amusing. Plus the after-credits was funny and it was a well written movie, linking past events to the present and mocking the trade,

Will Ferrell made a good crazy Nazi, amusing in his performance and a surprisingly strong singer, Uma Thurman was an amusing romance figure but as good as those two or Lane, were: the pick of the cast was Gary Beach with his flamboyant, camp, artistic Roger De Bris with an excellent performance.

Overall: After a slow start, a very funny musical with some nice songs and a nice romance.
Both: 7.5
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Mar 31, 2014 11:59 am

Watched the 2009 family horror The Hole, the latest film by Joe Dante. Premise: Susan (Teri Polo) and her sons, the sulky teenage Dane (Chris Massoglia) and young Lucas (Nathan Gamble), move to Bensonville. Soon the brothers and next door neighbour Julie (Haley Bennett) find a bottomless hole in the basement.

Nice use of darkness and well-shot even in 2D, the film was pretty good at building up tension and using one or two figures
clown and creepy girl (Quinn Lord)
to add to that but it was never particularly scary for me though my sister disagrees. Nicely builds a few themes, logic generally fine but one or two questionable moments and has a nice sense of family with the banter and issues going on around. It is easy enough to warm to three of the four main characters, Dane takes a bit more time as a teenage jerk but did warm to him after awhile. Cast does a good job, the cast helping make their characters likeable but Massoglia comes up short in the big moments.

When it shifts to the end phase, it does go into dark territory but that was being built up to, the film doesn't quite shift smoothly from middle-phase to the concluding phase. I can't put my finger onto why, it had built everything up carefully enough but it still ended up feeling underdone.

Overall: Nice tension and liked the people in it, made a pleasant enough watch.
Both: 6.5
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Tue Apr 01, 2014 12:31 pm

Watched the spy thriller Duplicity from Bourne franchise's Tony Gilroy. Premise: Former secret agents Ray (Clive Owen) and Claire (Julia Roberts) now work in cosmetic productions business where things are tense between two rival bosses.

Well shot, neat way of showing flashbacks are starting, good sound, good cast like Tom Wilkinson, Paul Giamatti, Denis O'Hare, Kathleen Chalfant, Thomas McCarth, Wayne Duvall in supporting roles and doing well. As a thriller? It isn't something that grabbed attention, I didn't particularly care about the plots and twists about the companies though it did generate the odd moment of tension. Also apparently a comedy but I don't recall laughing much.

Where it worked for the long movie was the two leads, particularly once the flashbacks started as it was a little slow before then. They were fairly intresting figures and it was fun learning more about the relations between the two and seeing it evolve, there was enough charm between the two leads to make it work. It kept the film intresting and I even cared for them a bit, I wanted to see where it would go. Also has a surprisingly good ending that is far better then the rest of the film
Both: 6.5
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby epaminondas146871 » Wed Apr 02, 2014 5:08 am

Watched Rush recently; it's about rival formula 1 drivers in the 70's. I doubted this movie at first, but I absolutely loved it.

Pros: Gripping plot (fairly accurately based on true stories), comedy, Hans Zimmer knocking my socks off once again, fantastic acting across the board and from Daniel Bruhl particularly, insightful moments and thought-provoking themes

Cons: Um... not enough shirtless time from Chris Hemsworth?

9/10
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:14 pm

Saw Italian-French comedy Habemus Papam/We Have a Pope by Nanni Moretti, who also played a psychiatrist. Premise: After many failed ballots, Cardinal Melville (Michel Piccoli) is surprisingly elected Pope but he doesn't feel ready for it at all.

Well shot, good sound work with some lovely music, flowed smoothly and a good cast. I'm not sure why it is called a comedy though, I don't recall many jokes or a humorous mood. This seemed more like a film exploring the idea of a man thrust into the highest office and breaking, about how an old organization in the modern day would cope with that and a film about the little conversations. Mind you, I'm also unsure why one Catholic paper took offence, Conclave seen as out of touch but very human figures.

I found the film nice but not as interesting or absorbing as one would hope, it didn't make me think (maybe too tired) as much as one would hope. Melville was a likeable figure and there was mild interest in seeing what happened when doubts set in, for him, and the reaction from the public and the Church. Conversations were nice and pleasant, characters seemed human with only the psychiatrist a little annoying and it even pulled off a good sporting tv event
I was really pleased when the Oceania Cardinals got the consolation point and the reactions from everyone
. Ending was very well done, quite powerful and did make me think quite a bit.

Overall: Nice enough, strong ending.
Both: 6.0
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Apr 05, 2014 11:19 am

Saw Terence Davies's (latest film) 2011 adaptation of Terence Rattigan's 1955 play The Deep Blue Sea. Premise: In 1950's London, Hester (Rachel Weisz) attempts suicide as she is torn between her older husband William (Simon Russell Beale) and former RAF pilot Freddie (Tom Hiddleston).

The start wasn't promising, the type of camera work from Florian Hoffmeister that could either be clever or overly showing off, Samuel Barber's music could be a little over-dramatic and it wasn't always easy to tell if scenes were present-day or flashback. The quality of scenes varied, sometimes flowing and natural with gentle humour or good side characters like Mrs Elton (Ann Mitchell) or Mr Miller (Karl Johnson), other times the acting and scenes felt rather stiff and formal with Hiddleston unable to charm so was hard to believe Hester falling for immature Freddie.

Once it hits a certain point earlyish in film
Freddie and Hester moving in together
, it starts to do rather better. Lighting is an issue as it can be rather dark but camera work is consistently of good quality, music calms down and there are some good songs like Stuart McLoughlin's excellent rendition of Cockles and Mussels. The flashbacks are still an issue, it can be disorientating trying to work out when a scene is happening, the past or the present.

The main 3 and their story is a mixture of brilliant and frustrating. A delicate construct that requires complete attention or you may miss something important that requires awhile to pick up again, at times the conversations are exquisite and extremely well done, easily flowing and intresting. Hiddleston's finds the easy charm required but shows glimpses of undercurrents, it is hard not to like Beale's William and Rachel Weisz puts a good lead performance. One gets brilliant glimpses of the characters and how they have become what they are. However there are patches were the film drifts a little, it feels like we only scratch the surface of the characters with the glimpses and there is so much more to learn about them. With the characters, the basic situation, there could have been something even greater and more emotionally powerful but, for all the cleverness, it never quite manages that.

Overall: Can see why someone would love or hate this. Potentially brilliant but frustrating at times.
Me: 7.0, Sis: 7.5
“You, are a rebellious son who abandoned his father. You are a cruel brigand who murdered his lord. How can Heaven and Earth put up with you for long? And unless you die soon, how can you face the sight of men?”
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Kong Wen » Fri Apr 11, 2014 2:47 pm

I just watched Children of Men.

I really liked the atmosphere, and I can recognize that it was a good movie, but something about it just didn't sit well with me... it was either the pacing (seemed too matter of fact, even while it was trying to show urgency) or Clive Owen, who I usually like, but he seemed a little wooden in this one and I didn't really get the whole hero's inner journey thing from him.

Anyway, it was still good, interesting, entertaining, dark, great setting, etc.

7.6/10
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Apr 12, 2014 2:09 pm

Saw the black comedy Election based on Tom Perrotta's novel, adapted by Jim Taylor and director Alexander Payne. Premise: In Omaha, Nebraska, popular teacher Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick) sees busy-body Tracey Flick (Reese Witherspoon) is going to run unopposed for president of the student council so he seeks to interfere.

Only a few laughs but enough comic and exaggerated edge to take the edge off the tradegy to prevent it becoming depressing. Decent production values, cast (Delaney Driscoll, Mark Harelik, Jessica Campbell in first film, Molly Hagan, Matt Malloydo) a pretty good job, nice playing with teenage passions and views of how wise they are. Main characters are rarely likeable, with the exception of jock Paul Metzler (Chris Klein) who adds a sweet touch, but one can see how they have become the people they are. It is all well done, bar the ending feeling slow, but it really fascinates during the start, otherwise it is just a nice enough if sad film.
Me: 6.5, Sis: 6.0
“You, are a rebellious son who abandoned his father. You are a cruel brigand who murdered his lord. How can Heaven and Earth put up with you for long? And unless you die soon, how can you face the sight of men?”
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