The Official Review Thread of 2015

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2015

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Sep 19, 2015 11:27 am

EVEREST
Cast: Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Jake Gyllenhaal, Emily Watson, Robin Wright, Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington, Michael Kelly, Martin Henderson, Elizabeth Debicki, Thomas Wright, Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson.
Dir: Baltasar Kormákur.

This is the film based on the true story of an ill-fated expedition to climb Mt. Everest. I actually did not know all about the story and I actually avoided reading about it. All I know is that some died but I don't know who was playing who so certain things were surprises for me (including the fate of that one character). I went out of my way and doled out some extra bucks to see this on IMAX 3D and I must say if you're gonna see this, see it on IMAX 3D because you really feel that "you're there" and the scale and height are more pronounced. As for the film itself, it's a solid enough adventure/survival drama. Nothing really new but the cast is strong and lifts up the material. Emily Watson to her credit actually made a potentially boring, nothing role into something that made an impression.

Oscar Prospects: Techs could happen, namely Visual Effects, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing...MAYBE Cinematography and Makeup & Hairstyling (those damn frostbites!)

Grade: B

ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL
Cast: Thomas Mann, Olivia Cooke, RJ Cyler, Molly Shannon, Nick Offerman, Jon Bernthal, Connie Britton.
Dir: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon.

When I first saw the trailer for this film, it felt like it was The Fault In Our Stars as directed by Wes Anderson. Now that I've seen it, it is actually The Fault in Our Stars as directed by a Wes Anderson wannabe and replaced Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley with variations of....well, ME (an awkward, social misfit film geek). Adapted from a YA novel, it's about the aforementioned social misfit and his "co-worker" befriending a girl diagnosed with cancer. I wanted to resist it (and I tried hard) but I found myself utterly charmed and moved by it. I guess it's because it had a character which I related to loving the things I love (which is probably why this played a lot better with the Sundance crowd than with the general public).

Oscar Prospects: I guess Adapted Screenplay is a remote possibility.

Grade: B+

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2015

Postby Sabin » Sat Sep 12, 2015 9:59 pm

Sleeping with Other People (Leslye Headland)

Lesley Headland's success with Sleeping with Other People is a very calculated success. It's a medley of raunchy conversations inter-spliced with emotional moments, all following the romantic comedy playbook. But it's very good at it. This is line for line the funniest movie I've seen all year. It trades heavily on its star's personas, both of which are charming, although Alison Brie's characterization is a little inconsistent. If it flirts with parody at times it's because she never quite registers as credibly three dimensional, and it's not as though she's being viewed through Jason Sudeikis' idealized POV. Ultimately, the reason why you want them to be together is they're very funny and they say funny things. Having self-inflicted myself with a barrage of subpar romantic comedies, that's more than enough.

Back to Alison Brie, the more I think about her casting, the more I think she's probably perfect because Headland was never going to make a great movie out of this script. She keeps the tone, the pitch, and the sense of fun, and the fact that she even flirts with three-dimensionality is a credit to her talents. It's a sitcom movie, but it's one of my favorite sitcom movies in a while.
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2015

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Sep 12, 2015 10:04 am

HENERAL LUNA
Cast: John Arcilla, Mon Confiado, Joem Bascon, Archie Alemania, Lorenz Martinez, Aaron Villaflor, Paulo Avelino, Mylene Dizon, Bing Pimentel, Epy Quizon, Nonie Buencamino, Leo Martinez, Alvin Anson, Ronnie Lazaro, Ketchup Eusebio, Art Acuna.
Dir: Jerrold Tarog.

Whenever Philippine cinema makes a historical biopic, they're usually little more than live-action dioramas where the heroes are treated with reverence and slavish to history books which makes for an "eat your vegetables" type of cinema. Not this one though (at least for the most part). This film is about General Antonio Luna, considered one of the greatest generals in Philippine history who is one of the key figures in our revolt against Spain and one of the resisting forces in the colonization of the Philippines by the United States during the Philippine-American war. The film actually makes history come alive by actually striving to make an entertaining film first and foremost, painting a human picture of General Luna as a brilliant, patriotic general but a rather huge asshole. The film has elements of a political thriller and a war movie with sprinklings of humor for good measure. It drops the ball in the end, being a bit too on-the-nose, at least in my opinion but overall, an admirable piece of work.

Oscar Prospects: This is one of the candidates our committee is looking at as a possible submission to the Best Foreign Language Film race.

Grade: B+

RICKI AND THE FLASH
Cast: Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Mamie Gummer, Rick Springfield, Sebastian Stan, Nick Westrate, Audra McDonald, Bill Irwin.
Dir: Jonathan Demme.

A mother leaves her family to chase her dreams of being a rock star. Years later, she fails and has to return in order to console her daughter due to a recent painful breakup and attend her son's wedding. Meryl Streep is as usual terrific as the not-the-best-mom-in-the-world-but-she's-trying-her-best-to-make-amends character. She sings and plays the guitar like a pro. The supporting cast is also likewise terrific, Mamie Gummer and Audra McDonald both shine but the film is overall kind of a lightweight fluff especially coming from someone like Jonathan Demme. It wouldn't be getting attention if it weren't for Meryl. Wish Diablo Cody made her script a bit sharper and darker. But it's still a pretty good, entertaining film.

Oscar Prospects: Original Song. Meryl might have better luck with Suffragette.

Grade: B.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2015

Postby anonymous1980 » Thu Sep 10, 2015 10:40 am

FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen, Tom Sturridge, Juno Temple, Jessica Barden.
Dir: Thomas Vinterberg.

Based on the Thomas Hardy novel, it's about a young woman who inherits a farm from her deceased uncle and attracts the interest of several men who propose marriage to her. Carey Mulligan is once again fantastic in the lead of this beautifully mounted, gorgeous and lovely adaptation which despite being a period drama, moves at a brisk pace and almost never feels too bloated. Mulligan is supported by the wonderful Matthias Schoenaerts and Michael Sheen though Tom Sturridge leaves something to be desired. It's not quite a masterpiece but it is a really solid drama well worth watching by anyone.

Oscar Prospects: Actress (Carey Mulligan), Production Design, Costume Design, Cinematography and Original Score are possible.

Grade: B+

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2015

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Sep 06, 2015 12:16 pm

TALE OF TALES
Cast: Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassell, Toby Jones, John C. Reilly, Shirley Henderson, Hayley Carmichael, Stacy Martin, Bebe Cave, Christian Lees, Jonah Lees, Franco Pistone, Guillaume Delaunay, Kathryn Hunter, Jessie Cave.
Dir: Matteo Garrone.

The trailer for this makes it seem like a Fellini-meets-Jodorowsky visual fever dream and although it contains weird visuals and unusual narrative turns, it is surprisingly rather conventional. It is a film adaptation of four stories of Italian fairy tales from the 17th century (allegedly for children but the film is quite adult in both in terms of nudity and gory violence). All four were set in the same fictional universe and they jump from story to story. As with most films with multiple stories/segments, some parts are better than others. it is far from a Fellini or a Jodorowsky but it is a gorgeous production and it is never boring and features some really interesting turns from Salma Hayek, Toby Jones and Shirley Henderson.

Oscar Prospects: If it gets an Oscar qualifying run, I can see Production Design, Costume Design and Makeup possibilities.

Grade: B.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2015

Postby Mister Tee » Sat Aug 29, 2015 2:59 pm

Diary of a Teenage Girl is nothing in the visual department (it has that washed-out, cheap indie look) and the storyline doesn't reinvent the wheel -- it has echoes of Ghost World and, especially in the final reel, Thirteen. That last reel is, in fact, the weakest part of the film -- it manages to be both rambly and often too predictable, and goes on just too long. But, especially in this moribund season, there's a fair amount to like about the film. It has an honesty about teenage female sexuality, and treats all its characters -- even ones who behave appallingly -- with respect if not affection. Above all, it has Bel Powley's central performance, which is terrific. She's got what you'd call average looks, but she creates an inner beauty that makes her mesmerizing to watch. Worth the time.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2015

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Aug 29, 2015 12:42 pm

TRAINWRECK
Cast: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, Tilda Swinton, Vanessa Bayer, John Cena, LeBron James, Colin Quinn, Mike Birbiglia, Ezra Miller, Dave Attell, Norman Lloyd, Evan Brinkman, Method Man.
Dir: Judd Apatow.

I've known Amy Schumer was funny for a few years now. I'm glad she's breaking out this year so more people can find out how funny she is. This is not a bad way to introduce them to her though it could have been A LOT better. This raunchy R-rated romantic comedy about a young woman who spends her time hooking up with various guys, pretty much afraid of commitment has a lot of great moments, both really funny ones and sweet ones but unfortunately, Judd Apatow though with an ear for comedic dialogue, still has absolutely no sense of pacing and still has no idea how to streamline it. There's a really good 90 to 100 minute comedy in the way too long over-two-hour running time. Amy Schumer is a good actress, as it turns out but here, she is supported by an outstanding supporting cast (including John Cena and LeBron James),

Oscar Prospects: I guess an Original Screenplay nomination is not completely out of the question.

Grade: B-

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2015

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Aug 23, 2015 4:27 am

VACATION
Cast: Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Skyler Gisondo, Steele Stebbins, Leslie Mann, Chris Hemsworth, Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Ron Livingston, Charlie Day, Catherine Missal.
Dirs: Jonathan Gladstein, John Francis Daley.

Perhaps very low expectations made me like this more than I expected. For one thing, I didn't think the original, which I saw recently, was all that good and I had absolutely no sentimental/nostalgic value placed on it. I would say, they're about the same but with raunchier and more explicit jokes. The reboot/sequel of sorts' plot is pretty much the same: This time, it's the son Rusty Griswold is the one who takes his family across country to Walley World. It's far from great but there are several good laughs in this one and the cast is charming and game enough for me to forgive the lame parts. It's not a great movie but it's far from the abomination the Rotten Tomatoes score suggests. I personally think this would've gotten slightly better reviews had the original film not exist.

Oscar Prospects: None.

Grade: B-

THE GIFT
Cast: Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, Joel Edgerton, Allison Tolman, Wendell Pierce, Busy Phillips.
Dir: Joel Edgerton.

A man and his wife moves into a new house near the place where he grew up for business. An old schoolmate reconnects with him and starts to intrude on their lives. At first glance, this seems like another stalker/home invasion thriller where an obsessive psycho terrorizes an innocent couple but it's not. It's so much more than that and to tell you why would be spoiling it. I will say that it is a psychological thriller in almost its purest sense. I was afraid it was going to chicken out and become a generic thriller at the end but thankfully, it did not commit that mistake. It's nice to see Jason Bateman stretch his dramatic acting skills. This is a fine, fine feature debut from Joel Edgerton.

Oscar Prospects: It wouldn't be an embarrassing nominee for Original Screenplay.

Grade: B+

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2015

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Aug 22, 2015 12:43 pm

INSIDE OUT
Cast: Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Richard Kind, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Kaitlyn Dias, Diane Lane, Kyle MacLachlan, Bobby Moynihan, Paula Poundstone, John Ratzenberger (voices).
Dir: Pete Docter.

I wonder why they had to wait until August for this to be released in my country. Oh, well. This is an art film disguised as a colorful kiddie adventure. I'm not joking. And I also meant that as a very high compliment. The film which goes into the mind of an 11 year old girl who recently had to move from her hometown and is experiencing conflicting emotions as reflected by the personifications that goes in her head. This is definitely the PIXAR I know and love, combining eye-popping visuals, endearing characters, genuinely laugh out loud moments and of course, will hit you emotionally when you least expect it.I It's also surprisingly mature (it's like if Ingmar Bergman or Woody Allen was to make a kids' movie). I'm definitely buying the Blu-ray of this one! I absolutely loved it. Can't wait to see it again.

Oscar Prospects: A worthy contender for Best Picture, Best Animated Feature, Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Score, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing.

Grade: A.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2015

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Aug 22, 2015 12:54 am

I found Phoenix somewhat disappointing. I didn't think the scenario was particularly convincing though it is a credit of director Christian Petzold and his regular leading lady Nina Hoss that it maintains interest until the end.

Interestingly, the book that it is based on has already been filmed at least once before as Return to the Ashes (1965) by J. Lee Thompson with Maximillian Schell, Samantha Eggar & Ingrid Thulin. I have no idea which film is closer to the book but this is by far the more satisfying film. The films are quiet difference and the only resemblance really is the basic outline of the story which is somewhat dragged out Phoenix.
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2015

Postby Mister Tee » Fri Aug 21, 2015 6:47 pm

Phoenix is rather a smaller thing than I'd been expecting. When I got to the end, my feeling was, oh...that's all it was -- but I hasten to add, this wasn't a wholly unpleasant sensation. There's something nicely simple about the climax. I can't say this movie's without flaw -- I found myself questioning many of the plot logistics -- but in as desultory a season as this, it's worth looking into. And it might send you home, as it did me, anxious to hear some Kurt Weill.

I also finally caught up with Clouds of Sils Maria, and echo much of what BJ wrote months back. For the first half hour, I was energized by the talk and movement; it felt like the first real movie I'd seen in some time. But the script-within-a-script conceit got way too tony and obvious for me, and then the last half hour far more elliptical than I'd prefer (and the obviousness of much of the script made me suspicious the ellipses were only concealing more uninspired notions). I've liked Assayas' earlier work far more than this. The lead actresses, however, were strong -- Stewart easily holding her own with Binoche.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2015

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Aug 16, 2015 5:41 am

MULA SA KUNG ANO ANG NOON (From What Is Before)
Cast: Perry Dizon, Hazel Orencio, Roeder, Karenina Haniel, Reynan Abcede, Miles Canapi, Ian Lomongo, Joel Saracho, Evelyn Vargas.
Dir: Lav Diaz.

Lav Diaz is of course one of the world cinema's masters now. Not just saying that because he comes from my country. After making waves with Norte, he once again makes waves with another even longer, more ponderous film with From What Is Before. This time it's set in the early 1970's and about a remote barrio in the rural areas of the Philippines where a series of mysterious incidents seem to signal the beginning of the dark years of Martial Law under President Marcos. It is 5 and a half hours long....and feels like it but personally I can't imagine it done any other way. The immersive beauty of the film and its long stretches of silences allows one to ponder its rich and dense subtexts especially for one who is from this country. Performances are great of course. Although I felt it should've ended just 10 minutes earlier, this is an affecting piece of work by one of contemporary world cinema's most fascinating voices.

Oscar Prospects: No, if Norte could not make it, I would be surprised if this makes it. It is not as accessible for Lav Diaz newbies.

Grade: A-

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2015

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Aug 15, 2015 10:29 am

THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.
Cast: Armie Hammer, Henry Cavill, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, Hugh Grant, Jared Harris, Sylvester Groth, Luca Calvani.
Dir: Guy Ritchie.

Thanks to my line of work, I've actually seen quite a few episodes of the TV series this film is based on. I thought it was only a matter of time this gets a big-screen treatment and that time is now. The premise is the same, an American CIA agent and a Russian KGB agent team up to stop a bigger threat. The film is slickly made and very entertaining despite the fact that the plot is about as generic as they come. The actors are fun to watch though. Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer make a great team and yes, my crush on Alicia Vikander is deepened with this. But with so many action franchises and spy-related franchises, this one is rather forgettable. It's an amusing time-killer, no more, no less.

Oscar Prospects: I actually like the Costume Design a lot so I guess it's a contender there.

Grade: C+

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2015

Postby Kellens101 » Fri Aug 07, 2015 12:31 pm

I really liked The Wolfpack. I thought it was quite an interesting and poignant documentary about the escapism of movies and how they help people get through tough times. Anyway who also liked this film should check out the The Wolfpack's Criterion picks on YouTube or the Criterion website.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2015

Postby anonymous1980 » Fri Aug 07, 2015 10:47 am

THE WOLFPACK
Cast: The Angulo Family.
Dir: Crystal Moselle

Ever since I heard about this documentary, I've been aching to see it. It documents a group of siblings (mostly boys) who have been kept mostly in their NYC apartment by their over-protective/crazy father. Their one joy and their window to the outside world is the movies, which of course, I could relate. It of course did not disappoint. Frankly, I'm amazed that the siblings turned out....relatively normal considering they've been kept mostly in isolation for most of their lives. The film tracks the beginnings of their assimilation in mainstream society. It doesn't break any new ground but it is a fascinating and oddly relatable look into a rather unconventional family life.

Oscar Prospects: Could get in Documentary Feature.

Grade: A-


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