The Official Review Thread of 2017

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby Mister Tee » Sun Jun 18, 2017 7:14 pm

I keep meaning to mention that I saw The Lost City of Z a while back. I certainly agree about its visual achievements, and I liked the film well enough. But, like most of Gray's work, it failed to get my motor racing very much. I find Gray's films very much in the style of mid-range films I saw in the 60s and 70s -- not the great ones, but the perfectly respectable ones that would maybe make my top 30 but never my top ten. I know a lot of folk around here are wild about him, and I wish I could share the level of enthusiasm. I've never disliked anything of his, but I've also never become engaged in the way I'd like.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby dws1982 » Sun Jun 18, 2017 6:27 pm

My movie-I-probably-wouldn't-have-seen-otherwise was It Comes At Night, currently dying at theaters nationwide.

This was another one that A24 mismarketed--similar to The Witch--as being more of an outright horror film than it actually is. It has some scares and jumps, which may have been more notable for me, as I was literally the only person in the theater (weekday morning show...I even had to go ask management to start playing the movie). It Comes At Night is very well-made; working with a small budget, Trey Edward Shults really makes the most of the atmosphere and the use of suggestion. We know there's a horrible disease that seems to have infected the entire world, at least the "world" that these characters know, but we don't know if secluding themselves in a boarded-up cabin is the actual right move or if it's the workings of a crazy, paranoid man. And even then, the question is whether he's justly paranoid or if there's another, darker source to his paranoia. When a few people from the outside world, such that it is, comes into their lives, it keeps looking at the paranoia and distrust, and essentially how humans function in these extreme circumstances. This is essentially a post-apocalyptic film, but played much more realistically than other films like this. Very much worth seeing, even if I understand why audiences gave it such low ratings. EXTREMELY well-shot as well--The Lost City of Z still reigns supreme among cinematography for the year, but this and A Cure For Wellness are both better than many cinematography nominees.

Also recently saw (and liked) Get Out (but not as much as It Comes At Night) and Beauty and the Beast. Saw Going In Style too, but that one didn't go so well.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby Mister Tee » Sun Jun 18, 2017 3:54 pm

So...Wonder Woman. My seems-annual trip to see the sort of movie I'd otherwise skip because a) it's getting good reviews or b) it seems culturally significant.

It's not bad, exactly. I thought the early scenes on Amazon Island (I can't be bothered to learn the spelling for what they call it) were pretty ugly-looking, and had that "let's save on extras by using CGI to populate the swordfights" utter fake look. But once we got to London, things became somewhat more interesting visually -- though I wonder why the whole DC Universe seems to be built on washed-out color, some of the overview shots were reminiscent, in a good way, of Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes. As for the story...well, as BJ notes, there really isn't an original moment here: you have Diana as fish out of water, the ragtag bag of misfit heroes, the villains out to destroy the world, the character who seems an ally but turns out not to be. But the WWI setting gave a somewhat fresh feel, and the character interaction was pleasing enough within unimaginative boundaries. This film is far less bad than some of the things to which I've subjected myself over the past few years because of visual effects nominations.

But, yes, the reaction, from some critics and definitely audiences, is way over the top. People seem so hungry for a female heroine -- perhaps from their anger over last November's result -- that they're looking at Hamburger Helper and labeling it Filet Mignon. I'm all for the ideal of female protagonists, and don't begrudge young girls feeling about this the way their brothers do about Transformers (or all the way back to Luke Skywalker). But let's keep a little perspective.

By the way: could anyone really define what Wonder Woman's powers ARE? The film was so vague about this, I was in constant suspense throughout the film about what it'd turn out she could do next.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby Precious Doll » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:49 am

anonymous1980 wrote:
Precious Doll wrote:Call Me By Your Name (Luca Guadagnino) 8/10



How'd you get to see it?


Sydney Film Festival (SFF), which officially closed tonight (though they screen additional films over 3 days) with Bong Joon Ho's delightful Okja, which for reasons known only to themselves Netflix allowed to be screened to an audience just shy of 3,000 people. And to top it offer Bong Joon Ho was present to present his film, where he received a rock-star welcome.

Sony Pictures seem to have a good relationship with the SFF and the Melbourne Film Festival which starts in August. Needles to say the screening of Call Me By Your Name (in the city) was almost sold out (just under 2,000 people) and was greeted at the end with an enormous round of applause and cheering. Don't know how the other screening of CMBYN which was held 'across the bridge' in the Northern suburbs was received as it's a very conservative area and not the sort of film that would play there on a commercial basis.

Anyway, 35 films in 12 days - I'm over it and my 3 cats are glad to have me back on a full-time basis, at least until we drive down for the Melbourne Film Festival in about 6 weeks.
"I have no interest in all of that. I find that all tabloid stupidity" Woody Allen, The Guardian, 2014, in response to his adopted daughter's allegations.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Jun 18, 2017 5:12 am

Precious Doll wrote:Call Me By Your Name (Luca Guadagnino) 8/10



How'd you get to see it?

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Jun 17, 2017 7:49 am

Call Me By Your Name (Luca Guadagnino) 8/10

A lovely, touching coming of age/sort-of coming out drama that sees the return to form of director Luca Guadagnino after the unnecessary A Bigger Splash. This was such a viewing pleasure taking me back to simpler and seemingly better times than today in the gorgeous setting of 'Northern Italy' as a caption tells us.

It will be interesting to see how this film performs at the box office once it opens and just how much awards traction it will receive. There is no denying that the Academy appears to becoming a little more liberal and if this can snag a Best Picture nomination it will be the most overtly gay themed film to do so to date. Adapted screenplay would be a wonderful win not only to acknowledge James Ivory's work on the screenplay but his overall career, though Call Me By Your Name in no way feels like a Merchant/Ivory production. Technical awards for cinematography, editing & art direction may also be on the cards. Luca Guadagnino first directoral nomination could come to fruition with any luck.

The actors are a bit harder to tell. Relative newcomer Timothée Chalamet carriers much of the weight of the film and it is his story that is being told. Chalamet is more than up to the challenge and his scenes with Armie Hammer are very tender and seductive. They are very natural together and the way they move their heads and bodys speaks a thousand word.

Sony Pictures will soon need to determine which actors will be running in what categories. Timothée Chalamet is lead. No question. He has the most sceentime and it's his story driving the narrative. I think a case for Armie Hammer could be made in both lead and support. For lead: He has a large enough role and plays the second most significant character in the film, his name appears first on the opening and closing credits. Against lead is that whilst he does have a large role Timothee Chalamet is clearly the central character and it is his story that we we following.

Then there is Michael Shuhlbarg, the plays Timothy Chalamet's father & Armin Hammer's employee and doesn't really have very much to do at all. It only much latter in the film when Shuhlbarg gives his son some very sound and warm advice, done with a great deal of affection and understanding, that Shuhlbarg really shines.

So Sony is going to have to decide, and they have a few months where to place Hammer - lead or supporting. Personally I'l place him in supporting and hope for the best (that Hammer & Shuhlnarg receive nominations).

On a final note. The ending is an absolute dozzy.
Last edited by Precious Doll on Tue Jul 04, 2017 5:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
"I have no interest in all of that. I find that all tabloid stupidity" Woody Allen, The Guardian, 2014, in response to his adopted daughter's allegations.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Jun 17, 2017 5:58 am

DESPICABLE ME 3
Cast: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker, Pierre Coffin, Miranda Cosgrove, Julie Andrews, Steve Coogan, Jenny Slate (voices).
Dirs: Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin.

The third installment in the increasingly popular and increasingly tiresome Despicable Me franchise has Gru meeting his long-lost twin brother Dru. Despite some commendable voice work from Steve Carell (who plays both brothers) and Trey Parker (I'm amazed he consented to do this) as the primary antagonist, this franchise is getting tiresome. Now, it's not without its charms. (e.g. I appreciated the fact that the villain is basically stuck in the '80s, therefore making '80s nostalgia the villain). But it's basically just the same old stuff now. Kids will still love it though but anyone older than 12 will begin to see the cracks.

Oscar Prospects: Maybe Original Song.

Grade: C.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby Precious Doll » Sun Jun 11, 2017 9:16 am

Happy Ending (Michael Haneke) 7/10

Where to start. Michael Haneke has was of the most impressive list of feature films that must be the envy of many a filmmaker. From his 1989 cinema feature debut The Seventh Continent up until his most recent films Happy End he almost always delivers the goods, punching very high too. His only mis-step and it was a dozzie, was his ill considered American re-make of Funny Games which with Gus van Sant Psycho, are the two most unnecessary films ever made by director of their caliber.

If there is disappointment in my viewing of Happy Ending it lies with the very high expectations that I had for the film regardless of the lukewarm response it received at Cannes and coming after so many sterling efforts: Amour, The White Ribbon & Cache.

Haneke's biggest problem with the film is that because he moves his story with a snails pace there really isn't a great deal of time spent fleshing out most of his characters. It's terribly frustrating to see actors of the calibre of Isabelle Huppert & Toby Jones really given very little to do, particularly as they are romantically linked and seem to be up to something no good but its never explored. Mathieu Kassovitz is addicted to smutty talk on the internet and we've seen that sort of things 100 times before - it's rarely interesting. The films success and grounding come from newcomer Fantine Harduin as Kassovitz's daughter and that acting institute himself Jean-Louis Trintignant. There scenes together are electric and play off each other beautifully. For something that is meant to be an attack on the indifference of the bourgeois it hits very softly. Some good laughs come towards the end but the shows over. Better luck next time.

78/52 Alexandre O. Philippe 5/10

A documentary about the filming of the shower screen from Psychos sounds like great fodder for a film until you realise that most of the people involved are no longer living and you need substitutes of sorts for them. Certainly Jamie Lee Curtis, Osgood Perkins, and Alfred Hithcoch's grand daughter are great choices. But then we have Illenia Douglas & Elijad Woods. I ask WHY. Why not John Cusack & Sienna Miller or James Franco & Anna Kendrick. You get my drift none of these actors having anything to offer if they weren't there.

78/52 is really just a special feature with half an hours worth of to much footage and with further trimming would make a great special edition on a Blu Ray for Psycho.
"I have no interest in all of that. I find that all tabloid stupidity" Woody Allen, The Guardian, 2014, in response to his adopted daughter's allegations.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Jun 10, 2017 7:03 am

THE LOST CITY OF Z
Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, Tom Holland, Angus McFadyen, Ian McDiarmid, Edward Ashley, Franco Nero.
Dir: James Gray.

I don't read a lot of non-fiction books but this film happens to be based on a non-fiction book that I've read and actually kind of loved. It tells the story of British explorer Percy Fawcett who's obsessed with finding a lost ancient city hidden deep in the Amazon rain forests he dubbed as "Z" (and disappeared along with his son). This is my favorite film of 2017 thus far. Of course, I'm a huge fan of writer-director James Gray and he made probably one of his very, very best works in this one. It is a beautifully, absorbing and absolutely compelling character study of a man obsessed. Part David Lean, part Werner Herzog, it's really the kind of film that seldom gets made anymore, an adult mid-budget adventure film that doesn't go for eye candy thrills or a cheap gore fest. It is gorgeously shot with beautiful acting all around (kudos to Sienna Miller who took what could have been a nothing part and made it sing, giving a career-best performance). This will be one of the great films of 2017.

Oscar Prospects: It DESERVES Picture, Director, Actor (Hunnam), Supporting Actress (Miller), Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Production Design, Costume Design, Sound Mixing and Makeup & Hairstyling. It will be lucky to get in Cinematography and Makeup though.

Grade: A.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby The Original BJ » Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:12 pm

Greg wrote:
The Original BJ wrote:DUPED AGAIN! #2017 Edition


Is this your reaction to Wonder Woman?


I get that we're in a political moment where this movie means something uniquely significant, but my god, it's the same damn plot as every single other one of these boring things!

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby Sabin » Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:04 pm

"This fucking thing has a 93% on RT. It's the third highest reviewed superhero of all time. I can't think of a better eulogy for the genre," he says as he buys an advance ticket for Spider-Man: Homecoming.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby Greg » Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:05 pm

The Original BJ wrote:DUPED AGAIN! #2017 Edition


Is this your reaction to Wonder Woman?
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby The Original BJ » Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:37 am

DUPED AGAIN! #2017 Edition

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby Sabin » Sun Jun 04, 2017 7:23 pm

Well, sure, it saves the DCEU from being total garbage, but it's not that good at all. In the plus column, I must admit that as a cultural event it has some value. Biggest opening weekend by a woman director, first summer superhero blockbuster by a woman, and a narrative that with a few small lapses aims at empowering the shit out of every girl in the audience. The first twenty minutes left me totally cold, like I was watching a distant idea of a mythology rather than an immersive one, but the imagery is important. A society of woman helping each other and teaching each other to be strong. Little girls have someone to look up to, and will be shouting SHIELD! at the top of their lungs as they play Amazons in the back yard.

The best thing I can say about it is that they make a smart choice to give Diana a Don Quixote-esque quest after Ares to end the war, which Chris Pine thinks is largely ludicrous and is played for laughs. The two of them have some very strong, charming moments, although I wish they didn't feel the need to have them consummate their relationship because the film was getting VERY close to saying something about a man and a woman who just respect the shit out of each other too much to risk losing it (let alone truly give something special for the young girls out there). And there's just something fool-proof to me about showing superheroes fighting in old wars. For good long stretches, Wonder Woman is the version of Captain America: The First Avenger that I wanted.

But there is something boringly protected about this character. At no point do you feel like she will do anything but win every moment of the film's running time. The film sort of gets away with it bc it's the story of her education...but it's not dramatic storytelling. Just powerful imagery. I like it when my superheroes have to pay rent like Spider-Man.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Jun 03, 2017 1:03 pm

WONDER WOMAN
Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Elena Anaya, Ewen Bremner, Lucy Davis, Said Taghmaoui, Eugene Brave Rock.
Dir: Patty Jenkins.

FINALLY! This is indeed the film that saves the DCEU franchise from being total garbage. This film is actually....pretty good. Not just for a DCEU film but both as a superhero movie and as just plain movie. Of course, it's the women who are the saviors. Typical. Anyway, this is of course the first big-screen live-action solo adaptation of the most famous female superhero, Wonder Woman, pretty much her origin story. How she's basically a goddess coming from an island of women who comes to our world to save it. It is what a superhero movie should be. It's exciting, it's humorous, it's got a solid story and it's actually about being a hero. Director Patty Jenkins is of course a pretty darn good director. I hope this leads to her directing more stuff.

Oscar Prospects: Production Design, Costume Design, Visual Effects, Makeup & Hairstyling, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing are possible.

Grade: B+


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