The Official Review Thread of 2017

anonymous1980
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby anonymous1980 » Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:09 am

COCO
Cast: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael Garcia Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Alanna Ubach, Ana Ofelia Murguia, Edward James Olmos, Alfonso Arau, Cheech Marin, Gabriel Iglesias, John Ratzenberger (voices).
Dirs: Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina.

A young boy who's an aspiring musician but who grew up in a home where music is forbidden plays his dead great-great-grandfather's guitar and unwittingly transports himself in the Land of the Dead during Die de Muertos. I saw this the same day the John Lasseter story leaked to the press. I'm hoping that piece of news does not tarnish this truly wonderful entry to the PIXAR canon. This is quite simply one of their finest works and a jewel in their crown. It is everything you've come to expect in the best of PIXAR and more. A lot of it reminds me of Miyazaki even (pooh, I know someone who will curse me for that comparison). It is a funny, engaging adventure film that truly tugs the heart and moved me close to tears. (Yes, my tear ducts got a working out again, jeez). It's one of the best films of the year.

Oscar Prospects: Deserving of Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay nominations. But it's getting in and most likely winning Best Animated Feature. It will also get in Original Song and maybe Original Score.

Grade: A

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Nov 19, 2017 9:07 am

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
Cast: Timothee Chalamet, Armie Hammer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar, Esther Garrell.
Dir: Luca Guadagnino.

First off, I wouldn't be surprised if this was my #1 film of the year (too early to say but I still have a lot of movies to get through). So anyway, this is an adaptation of the Andre Aciman novel about bisexual (yes, I said it, it ain't a dirty word) 17 year old boy who has an affair with an older man who's his parents' houseguest in the beautiful Italian countryside in the 1980's. I've read the book shortly before seeing this film and let me tell you, it's a beautiful translation. As a writer, if I was asked to adapt the book, I might have been tempted to use voice-overs but I'm glad James Ivory in his infinite wisdom knew better. Along with director Luca Guadagnino, gave us a beautiful, romantic, sexy and emotional film that will resonate with everyone, no matter where you are on the Kinsey Scale. Timothee Chalamet gives a star-making performance and Michael Stuhlbarg is also a standout as his dad. An excellent film all around.

Oscar Prospects: Deserves nominations for Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography and Original Song.

Grade: A

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:08 am

JUSTICE LEAGUE
Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Amy Adams, Ciaran Hinds, Jeremy Irons, J.K. Simmons, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen, Amber Heard, Joe Morton.
Dir: Zack Snyder.

Batman/Bruce Wayne recruits a bunch of superheroes to fight a super villain threatening to destroy the world. It's basic superhero stuff. Well, it's better than Batman v. Superman. It contains less of the tiresome bleakness and nihilism which director Zack Snyder mistake for depth and is a step in the right direction. Joss Whedon obviously added a lot more humor and pathos to the proceedings as well as the influence of the success of Wonder Woman where superheroes are actual heroes. It's still a mess though. Again, the best part is Wonder Woman through and through. Ezra Miller's take on The Flash is also pretty good. Overall, I personally think DC and Warner Bros. should just keep making Wonder Woman movies and have the Flash show up as a sidekick every now and then.

Oscar Prospects: None.

Grade: C+

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby nightwingnova » Sun Nov 05, 2017 4:15 am

THE SNOWMAN

I can report that the movie is nowhere close to the book in blood violence porn. And the indulgent psychoanalysis has also been pruned to the stalk.

So the movie is a reasonably respectable and tasteful adaptation of the lurid mystery novel.

Michael Fassbender is brilliant and subtle. Dion Beebe's cinematography avoids framing the gorgeous imposing expansive Scandanavian landscape as postcard views but instead generally integrates it as an integral part of the plot and action.

I cannot say that it is a terribly good movie, but it is good enough to be enjoyed.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby Mister Tee » Fri Nov 03, 2017 5:04 pm

I liked The Meyerowitz Stories WAY more than Sabin did. It's easily my favorite Baumbach film (not a deep-loaded competition, for me); my first remark to my friend on the way out was that this was a phenomenonally improved version of The Squid and the Whale. Baumbach is clearly still struggling with his rage at his father, but here he allows the father more to speak for himself (even if it only leads to his condemning himself with his own words). And exactly what Sabin had a problem with is what I most liked about the film: the fact that it covers such a wide range, mapping out an entire universe where people seem obsessed with family issues yet also seem determined to crack apart whatever family unit they manage to create. (Even the young daughter hops from boyfriend to boyfriend in short order.) I'm not generally disposed toward movies about the intellectual/artsy class, but this one worked for me; I find it as good an original screenplay as I've run across this year (conceding I've see none of the festivals favorites -- Three Billboards, Lady Bird, Shape of Water -- that will likely dominate awards-giving this year).

I'm fairly astonished that I'd feel this way about a movie headlined by two guys I've been unable to stand for so many years. Sandler isn't any great shakes, but considering he normally evokes nails-on-chalkboard for me, that's a big plus. And Stiller, whose appeal has long eluded me, gives a truly moving, unfussy performance. Oh, and Dustin Hoffman has his best role in years -- at a certain point, I found myself wondering why, in this godawful year for lead actors, he wasn't being promoted. (Then I read the news the next day, and figured, well, forget that.) Elizabeth Marvel has less to do, but does a great job of evoking a certain kind of recessive sibling used to taking reduced billing in a family of aggressors. And Grace van Patten does a lot with her daughter role.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby anonymous1980 » Wed Nov 01, 2017 1:34 pm

LOVING VINCENT
Cast: Robert Gulaczyk, Douglas Booth, Jerome Flynn, Saoirse Ronan, Helen McCrory, Chris O'Dowd, John Sessions, Eleanor Tomlinson, Aidan Turner.
Dirs: Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman.

This is a film which sees the life of renowned painter Vincent Van Gogh through a murder investigation around a year after his death. This is said to be the first ever animated feature film that's made completely through oil paintings. For that alone, this film has my respect. Of course the story of Vincent Van Gogh is a fascinating one, having been the subject of previous films before this. As for the film itself beyond the technique, the way it's presented is by and large not very emotionally involving, despite being beautiful and fascinating to look at. It does get better in the end but it's too little too late. All in all, I respect the artistry but didn't really completely love the film. Extra points though for Clint Mansell's excellent score.

Oscar Prospects: Animated Feature is very possible. I think it also deserves Original Score.

Grade: B-

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Oct 28, 2017 9:23 am

THOR: RAGNAROK
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins, Idris Elba, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Benedict Cumberbatch, Taika Waititi, Tadanobu Asano, Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi.
Dir: Taika Waititi.

The goddess of death Hela takes over Asguard and Thor finds himself in a gladiator type planet having to fight the Hulk. This is easily the best Thor movie although admittedly that's a bit damning it with faint praise since I think Thor's solo films have been on average, the weakest of the Marvel movies, not counting The Incredible Hulk, and this coincidentally, is probably also the best big-screen use of the Incredible Hulk so far. Director Taika Waititi infuses the Thor series with a lot of much-needed humor while still delivering a very satisfying action adventure picture (as well as almost stealing the movie in a mo-cap performance). Cate Blanchett seems to have a real ball delivering a hammy (in a good way) villain performance, pretty much making her one of the best Marvel villains yet. Top-tier Marvel, for sure.

Oscar Prospects: Visual Effects is very possible. Costume Design and Production Design wouldn't be undeserved. Original Score deserves to be considered though.

Grade: B+

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby anonymous1980 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:50 am

THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER
Cast: Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Barry Keoghan, Raffey Cassidy, Sunny Suljic, Alicia Silverstone, Bill Camp.
Dir: Yorgos Lanthimos.

A heart surgeon has his fairly pleasant upper-middle class life with his wife and children shattered when a teenage boy who happens to be the son of a patient who died enters their lives. This is a film from Greek provocateur Yorgos Lanthimos so you know you're in for a very dark and very weird ride. This happens to be my least favorite Yorgos Lanthimos I've seen so far but it's still quite exemplary. The acting of the entire cast is flawless and those Kubrick-style Steadicam shots are stunning. The film is unpleasant but it does hold your attention and keeps you guessing what happens. It's definitely not for everyone but I'm glad Lanthimos gets to make films like this.

Oscar Prospects: I guess Original Screenplay is possible but this is more divisive than The Lobster.

Grade: B+

A GHOST STORY
Cast: Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara.
Dir: David Lowery.

A man dies in a car accident and his ghost is left to linger on to haunt both the wife he left behind and the house he lived in. It's not a horror movie. It's kind of a love story but not totally. This film basically goes back to the root concept of the ghost (down to the sheets with eye holes look) and sort of used that to become what is essential an existential ghost movie. And it's pretty darn brilliant. It feels very Malick-y in its execution. It's beautifully shot and scored. It also gives you a lot of things to chew on and there's a melancholy tone to it. It's definitely a movie that will get you thinking about the concept of life, death, the very nature of existence, etc. It's deceptively simple but kind of epic and complex in a way.

Oscar Prospects: None but it wouldn't be a bad nominee for Screenplay, Cinematography and Score.

Grade: A-

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:54 am

BEACH RATS
Cast: Harris Dickinson, Madeline Weinstein, Kate Hodge.
Dir: Eliza Hittman.

A young man spends his time doing drugs, hanging out and bro-ing out with his delinquent group of friends while trying to spend time with his new girlfriend....and hooking up with older men from internet at night. This is actually the second feature from writer-director Eliza Hittman but it honestly feels like a first feature since it kind of often falls into the trap of telegraphing things a wee bit too often (one scene in particular had me rolling my eyes because it was way too on the nose). However, it does feature some really good performances. I was blown away to find out the lead actor is British in real life. I thought she found him in the neighborhood they shot at. Overall, it's not bad but for from great.

Oscar Prospects: None.

Grade: B-

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby Sabin » Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:44 am

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) is about one of two things: 1) a dysfunctional family that gathers after their patriarch suffers cerebral damage after a fall, or 2) explaining the Meyerowitz family to us. I wish that Noah Baumbach just owned up to the fact that, yes, he is telling a story about the first. While this film isn't without its pleasures (and for the first half hour, I thought for sure I was watching his best since Frances Ha), Noah Baumbach needlessly complicates this rambling, indulgent story by devoting a ridiculous amount of screen-time to simply explaining how these people are related to each other that it's almost impossible to care as much as he wants us to. With anyone else, I would say that he lost track of his characters within the wordplay, but this was clearly a choice on his part. He didn't want to just tell a story about a family that gathers when the patriarch falls ill. Instead, I'm not sure he's told much of a story about anything.

It's not without interest. As reported, this is clearly Adam Sandler's best performance, or depending on your view, only performance. There's a fun little narrative device of cutting characters off mid-sentence to take us to a new chapter. Ben Stiller's character is largely interchangeable from other characters he's played for Baumbach but he has a very good breakdown scene. And while Elizabeth Marvel isn't given much to do, she makes a very strong impression. I'm not sure I've seen her before but I'd like to see her in a role that actually gives her more to do -- and while Jean seems to be intentionally marginalized, I'm not sure that's an excuse. I still would've liked to see more of her. I keep returning to my previous point: I know that Noah Baumbach wants to tell a story about the Meyerowitz family, but I don't think he quite figured out which story he wants to tell.
"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 Oct 14, 2017 10:03 am

THE MEYEROWITZ STORIES (NEW AND SELECTED)
Cast: Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, Elizabeth Marvel, Grace Van Patten, Judd Hirsch, Adam Driver, Rebecca Miller, Candice Bergen, Matthew Shear. Sigourney Weaver.
Dir: Noah Baumbach.

Three adult siblings are forced to reunite to deal with their difficult artist father and each other as their father falls into a coma after an accident . It seems like American independent cinema has these types of stories all the time but in the hands of Noah Baumbach, this manages to be a fresh, funny and poignant comedy-drama which manage to hit close to home (even though I don't come from a New York middle-class artsy Jewish family). This results in quite simply one of the best films of the year. I know Adam Sandler is getting a lot of praise for this and he is quite excellent in one of his best roles since Punch Drunk Love but the cast is uniformly excellent. I'd love to have seen this in theaters but I would've had to wait a longer time so yay, Netflix streaming! Noah Baumbach just adds more to his already stellar filmography.

Oscar Prospects: If this is eligible, it should be a contender for Original Screenplay and Original Song.

Grade: A-

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Oct 08, 2017 4:40 am

VICTORIA & ABDUL
Cast: Judi Dench, Ali Fazal, Eddie Izzard, Michael Gambon, Adeel Akhtar, Tim Pigott-Smith, Olivia Williams, Paul Higgins, Fennella Woolgar.
Dir: Stephen Frears.

This film is based on a little known true story about the final years of Queen Victoria which has her forging a close friendship with an Indian Muslim manservant, Abdul Karim. This film is, well.....fine. Just fine. It features a really good performance from Judi Dench who has played Queen Victoria before and is therefore pretty much a pro at it. There is a healthy sprinkling of humor in it which was welcome and thankfully, it avoided being too heavy-handed on the more political and the religious aspects of the story. It is overall an okay movie and it held my attention but it feels like one of those Miramax productions from the 1990's designed to win Oscars. It's not bad, just fine.

Oscar Prospects: Judi Dench would be a slam-dunk for a nod in weaker years. Now, she probably has to fight for a Actress in a Musical/Comedy Globe nom. Costume Design, Production Design and Makeup & Hairstyling are possible.

Grade: B-

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Oct 07, 2017 11:25 am

BLADE RUNNER 2049
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Jared Leto, Ana De Armas, Robin Wright, Sylvia Hoeks, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Lennie James, Dave Bautista, Barkhad Abdi, David Dasmaltchian, Hiam Abbass, Wood Harris, Edward James Olmos, Sean Young.
Dir: Denis Villenueve.

The sequel to the 1982 cult science-fiction film takes place around 30 years after the original with a younger model Replicant police officer involving himself in something that could change the course of human history. Going into further detail is going into spoiler territory. I will say that even though this film doesn't quite out-do the original....it came very, very close. It is indeed a very worthy follow-up. It did literally everything a sequel of this nature is supposed to do: expound on the themes and philosophies touched upon by the original, deepen our understanding of this particular fictional world, make it relevant to today's world, etc. Director Denis Villenueve managed to make distinctly his film whilst still honoring the look and feel of the original. This features astounding visuals courtesy of the super production design, visual effects and of course Roger Deakins jaw-dropping cinematography. Yes, it is one of the best films of the year.

Oscar Prospects: This is a lock for Cinematography, Production Design, Visual Effects, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing. Deserves nominations for Best Picture, Director, Original Score.

Grade: A-

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby anonymous1980 » Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:00 am

I think I may have liked Logan a bit better than you and I also thought Mad Max: Fury Road deserved its Best Picture nomination and The Dark Knight definitely deserved to get nominated (at least over The Reader). But even I am baffled by a lot of the Best Picture and Best Actor talk Logan has been getting. I don't think it will get nominated for anything except maybe one or two technical awards.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby The Original BJ » Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:28 pm

My first screener arrived -- Logan. I'd skipped it in theaters, not feeling any special connection to this franchise (I've seen some of the X-Men movies but not all, and none of the Wolverine stand-alone films). But I do remember some "this should be a Picture nominee" talk from some (dubious) circles, and I always do my due diligence with those screeners, so I caught up with it.

I couldn't begin to tell you what this film's biggest partisans saw in it. I didn't think Wonder Woman or Spider-Man: Homecoming were anything special, but both of those films had reasonably engaging narratives (Spider-Man even had one pretty surprising plot turn), and maybe even more importantly, they both had a sense of humor. I found Logan's plot line pretty sluggish -- the story basically amounts to "Wolverine and the kid are being chased by the bad guys, and every half hour or so they all fight." And my god, the whole thing is so utterly humorless. I know this was the intended approach -- this is a "darker" take on a superhero movie -- but for me it wasn't anything bleaker in terms of thematic territory (the way I think The Dark Knight was, which by the way, STILL managed to have a sense of humor). Instead, it just seemed to rely on excessive amounts of violence, which I found pretty unpleasant, and even moreso in those moments when such extreme violence came at the hands of a young child.

Still, Hugh Jackman certainly commits to a more emotionally taxing role than has been typical for this character (from what I've seen). If The Greatest Showman ends up being a player, I could definitely see his Logan work factoring in to some "you had a good year" recognition.


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