The Official Review Thread of 2018

Sabin
Laureate
Posts: 7301
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby Sabin » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:30 am

I’ll write more on A Quiet Place soon, but this is definitely a high water mark in the horror renaissance. It is one of the most suspenseful films I’ve ever seen. If I didn’t quite respond to the emotions of the story (which are totally earned), it was because I was too caught up in my admiration for how well-woven the story/character elements were. Smart fucking writers. Plot holes? I’m honestly uninterested. This is an enormously satisfying piece of entertainment. The audience I saw it with erupted in applause twice.
"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

anonymous1980
Laureate
Posts: 5140
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 10:03 pm
Location: Manila
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:08 am

A QUIET PLACE
Cast: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe.
Dir: John Krasinski.

After the Earth (or at least parts of America) is overrun by alien creatures who hunt their prey by their sound, a family struggles to survive the best way they can. Though it's not a transcendent piece of filmmaking, or even a transcendent piece of horror filmmaking, it is an extremely well-crafted and gloriously fun creature feature in the vein of all the classic monster movies. The performances of the four actors are all outstanding. They ground the crazy goings-on with plenty of heart and humanity and this just intensifies the scares and even ups the emotion. This is an exemplary film overall. John Krasinski is a promising filmmaker, I must say.

Oscar Prospects: This *has* to get Sound Mixing and/or Sound Editing nominations. Those elements had to be outstanding for this film to work. I wouldn't mind a Best Actress nom for Emily Blunt either.

Grade: B+

RAMPAGE
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Malin Akerman, Jake Lacy, Joe Manganiello, Marley Shelton.
Dir: Brad Peyton.

Apparently, it's loosely based on a video game, this film is about a secret scientific genetic experiment which results in giant, aggressive organisms. Three animals, including a friendly sign-language fluent albino gorilla grow large and start their...well, rampage. This is the second monster movie that has sign language as part of the plot in so many days. This is one is not as good as the other one. But there's still some fun to be had. This kind of spoiled what would have been the inevitable King Kong vs. Godzilla movie that's sure come down the pike in the next few years but what can you do? It's not an awful film and it's quite entertaining but it will forgotten a few weeks from now.

Oscar Prospects: None.

Grade: C+

Mister Tee
Laureate
Posts: 6361
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby Mister Tee » Tue Apr 10, 2018 9:33 pm

I have roughly the same response to The Death of Stalin that BJ did, though I'd change the emphasis a bit: yes, it's not as consistently gut-bustingly funny as In the Loop or the best Veep episodes, but I'd say, rather than it being "more smile/chuckle-funny, clever from beginning to end, but in a more low-key way", there were in fact scenes I found just as riotous funny as in the earlier works -- but that they alternated with scenes that were more serious/horrifying.

And I believe that was intentional; I think Ianucci was aiming for something a but more impactful than usual. As much as I've enjoyed In the Loop and much of Veep, the borderline-nihilistic "they're all venal boobs" kept me from taking them completely seriously -- I brush them off as super-cynical parodies. Here, because he's dealing with settled historical events, there's a gravity that goes beyond his earlier work. Even if the characters are mostly just as venal and buffoonish as anyone on Veep, the deep impact they had on millions of lives -- worldwide, but especially in the Soviet Union -- make the work inevitably more serious...as does, of course, the omnipresence of sudden death.

Watching the film, I had an odd flashback to 12 Years a Slave, specifically the Michael Fassbender/Sarah Paulson segment. I said when I saw that film that the Fassbender plantation section wasn't so much about the overall evils of slavery as about the terror of being in the control of two people involved in a toxic marriage. Here, I had a similar feeling about Stalin vis a vis Communism. It's long been accepted writ for many (universally held on the far right) that Stalin was what happened if you implemented communism as governing philosophy. But I got the notion watching this film that the deeper tragedy of the Soviet Union in the 20th century was that a vengeful sociopath ascended to the head of this system and infected it with his poison, to the point it lived on in his successors. We don't really know what might have been the result had a visionary leader -- a Mandela -- been there to lead the way post-Lenin.

And, of course, the fact that having a sociopath in charge can have such far-reaching results is why watching the film is such an uncomfortable experience for those of us living in 2018 America.

anonymous1980
Laureate
Posts: 5140
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 10:03 pm
Location: Manila
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Apr 08, 2018 5:26 am

PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING
Cast: John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaeny, Charlie Day, Jing Tian, Burn Gorman, Rinko Kikuchi, Adria Arjona, Zhang Jin, Karan Brar, Ivanna Sakhno.
Dir: Steven S. DeKnight.

The sequel to Guillermo Del Toro's robots vs. monsters...oh, excuse me...Kaijus vs. Jaegers movie. This time, the evil aliens who are unleashing the giant monsters found a way to get back in the game so robots have to fight the giant monsters again. The first Pacific Rim was a really fun film. Director Guillermo Del Toro was able to fuse imagination and child-like wonder in the concept of robots and monsters fighting into a big, fun action movie. A change of directors really gave this all the difference....and for the worse. What was once a novel, fun concept infused with pure fun, imagination and joy has sadly devolved into just another generic action movie that lacks the sense of wonder and fun the last one had and it really goes to show how big of a difference between someone like Del Toro and someone like DeKnight who just delivers just another slam-bang action movie. It's not offensive but kind of disappointing and more than a little bit dull.

Oscar Prospects: None.

Grade: C

anonymous1980
Laureate
Posts: 5140
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 10:03 pm
Location: Manila
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Mar 31, 2018 7:59 am

READY PLAYER ONE
Cast: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Mark Rylance, Lena Waithe, Simon Pegg, T.J. Miller, Philip Zao, Win Morisaki, Hannah John-Kamen.
Dir: Steven Spielberg.

Most of the world is plugged into a virtual reality system called the OASIS and its recently deceased owner/inventor holds a contest for its control. A teenaged boy is first to unlock its secrets triggering a race between him and an Evil Corporation. I've read the book this film is based on. I found it a relatively fun read which is a minor miracle because I'm not a gamer and I hate '80s nostalgia. I must say this film greatly reduces my problems with the book namely I thought the protagonist was too much of a Gary Stu (look it up) and its over-reliance on geeky pop culture references (the images on the screen saved me from reading Ernest Cline's barely passable prose). Steven Spielberg definitely knows how to up the thrills and the fun. It may not be top-tier Spielberg but it's far from his worst.

Oscar Prospects: A strong contender for Visual Effects. Sound Mixing and Sound Editing are possible too.

Grade: B.

anonymous1980
Laureate
Posts: 5140
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 10:03 pm
Location: Manila
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Mar 25, 2018 9:01 am

I KILL GIANTS
Cast: Madison Wolfe, Zoe Saldana, Imogen Poots, Sydney Wade, Rory Jackson, Art Parkinson, Jennifer Ehle.
Dir: Anders Walter.

A young troubled girl imagines herself a giant slayer, protecting her town from nasty giants as she baits and slays them with her traps. When I first saw the trailer to this film, I thought, "Oh, it's A Monster Calls but with a little girl"....and I was right. The main difference is that it doesn't reveal itself to be as such until about the third act. I apologize if that counts as a spoiler but watching this, you know that's where they were headed. I personally loved A Monster Calls and I would've loved that this film be an equally good female counterpart to it but alas, it is not. I found the character to be an aggressively annoying shit throughout much of the film. It was a tad too much that when the film reveal all its cards, it's too little too late. I won't spoil it any further but I think it's a waste to have a wonderful actress Jennifer Ehle at your employ and not use her more. I think it would've improved it. It's an okay film but you can stick to A Monster Calls.

Oscar Prospects: None.

Grade: B-

The Original BJ
Emeritus
Posts: 4143
Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2003 8:49 pm

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby The Original BJ » Sat Mar 24, 2018 4:19 pm

I don't think The Death of Stalin quite hits the highs of In the Loop -- that earlier film had me consistently laughing out loud, dazzled by the caustic wit of the nonstop great one-liners. The Death of Stalin is more smile/chuckle-funny, clever from beginning to end, but in a more low-key way. Part of this, of course, is a matter of subject -- Death of Stalin deals with much grimmer material, and there's a point in the film when the farcical antics give way to some very bleak political satire, so it naturally has to operate in a somewhat different register of humor. But I found that, within this register, the film hit its stride pretty early on, and confidently carried its wry brand of laugh-that-we-may-not-recoil humor to the end. (And, like many, I couldn't help but imagine this film as an only slightly more extreme version of what life in the current endlessly chaotic and demoralizing White House might be like.)

In this slower part of the moviegoing year, it's a nice treat. Though it should be said, 2018's first few months seem to be filled with a lot more works from top talent than usual -- in addition to Iannucci, there's Spielberg, Wes Anderson, Lynne Ramsay, Sebastian Lelio, Jason Reitman, Gus Van Sant. (And that doesn't even include the efforts from Eastwood and Ava DuVernay, which didn't meet aesthetic expectations.)

anonymous1980
Laureate
Posts: 5140
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 10:03 pm
Location: Manila
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Mar 24, 2018 10:19 am

UNSANE
Cast: Claire Foy, Joshua Leonard, Jay Pharaoh, Juno Temple, Amy Irving, Aimee Mullins, Matt Damon.
Dir: Steven Soderbergh.

A young woman is placed in mental institution against her will and she finds that the man who has been stalking her is working there. Director Steven Soderbergh shot this entirely on iPhones and even though it looks kind of off, it is appropriate for this type of narrative. The film is marketed as a horror film and for most of it, it didn't exactly play that way even though there are some disturbing stuff happening and it does earn its horror stripes in the last ten minutes. I guess this is what a Steven Soderbergh horror film looks like. Beyond the gimmick, it's still a pretty compelling piece of work with some excellent acting by Claire Foy and Joshua Leonard. It's overall terrific work.

Oscar Prospects: None but it would be cool for it to get a Cinematography nomination, no?

Grade: B+

anonymous1980
Laureate
Posts: 5140
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 10:03 pm
Location: Manila
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:58 am

A WRINKLE IN TIME
Cast: Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine, Levi Miller, Deric McCabe, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Pena, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Andre Holland, Rowan Blanchard.
Dir: Ava DuVernay.

A young girl's scientist father disappears. Four years later, three magical beings send her, her friend and her little brother on a mission to save him. This is based on Madeline L'Engle's classic children's science fiction novel which I've actually read but it was such a long time ago, I barely remember any of the details. I did remember liking it a lot. There are lots of things in this adaptation to admire. The visuals, the acting and of course the intent of everyone behind the scenes are commendable and laudable. It just doesn't come quite together...that is, until near the end when it almost completely won me over. It's far from a perfect but it's not a bad film either. Overall, decent enough.

Oscar Prospects: I think the Score is fantastic, that should get consideration.

Grade: B-

GAME NIGHT
Cast: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler, Jesse Plemons, Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, Michael C. Hall, Danny Huston, Chelsea Perretti, Jeffrey Wright.
Dirs: John Francis Daley, Jonathan Gladstein.

A married couple who love game night and their couple friends get caught up in what's apparently a real life-and-death situation in a murder mystery/play-acting game gone wrong. Among all the slew of violent, R-rated broad black comedies that have popped up in recent years, this film is definitely one of the better ones. The ensemble cast led by Jason Bateman and Rachael McAdams leads you through an often hilarious ride in this comedy-thriller-farce. There are lots big, good long laughs in this one (one particular scene involving Billy Magnussen is the hardest I've laughed in theaters in a while). The film falters a bit in the end when sticking the landing but overall, this counts as a pretty good win in the black-comedy-thriller sub-genre.

Oscar Prospects: None.

Grade: B+

anonymous1980
Laureate
Posts: 5140
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 10:03 pm
Location: Manila
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby anonymous1980 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:32 pm

ANNIHILATION
Cast: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Oscar Isaac, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny, Benedict Wong.
Dir: Alex Garland.

This is writer-director Alex Garland's sophomore effort is an adaptation of a science-fiction novel about a mysterious, possibly alien force called the Shimmer and a team of female scientists and military personnel sent to investigate and study it. Anything further would be spoiling it. The reviews that have compared this to the works of Andrei Tarkovsky and Stanley Kubrick have merit. This is a beautifully realized and magnificently acted visionary piece of science fiction. However, I thought the ending revealed just a wee bit too much. It would've been nice to have been a bit more ambiguous but it's still crazy enough to inspire some chatter. It's definitely one of the best films of the year so far.

Oscar Prospects: Deserving of nominations in Cinematography, Visual Effects, Production Design, Original Score and Adapted Screenplay.

Grade: B+

anonymous1980
Laureate
Posts: 5140
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 10:03 pm
Location: Manila
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 10:02 am

TOMB RAIDER
Cast: Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Kristin Scott-Thomas, Daniel Wu, Derek Jacobi, Nick Frost.
Dir: Roar Uthaug.

This is the reboot film adaptation of the popular video game where Lara Croft goes on adventures involving tombs. Here, she tries to find her lost father who's searching for the fabled tomb of a mythical Japanese queen with the power over death. I'm not a gamer. I've never seen the original films with Angelina Jolie. I just watched this because I like Alicia Vikander because she's a beautiful, talented actress who I like. She acquits herself well as a female action star and she should star in action vehicles....but not this one. I found this rather dull, pretty standard stuff. This could have been like a female Indiana Jones movie but it's just a dull by-the-numbers, silly but not in an enjoyable way type film. I want more female-led action franchises...just not this one.

Oscar Prospects: None.

Grade: D.

anonymous1980
Laureate
Posts: 5140
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 10:03 pm
Location: Manila
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Mar 03, 2018 12:22 pm

RED SPARROW
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Jeremy Irons, Charlotte Rampling, Mary Louise Parker, Joely Richardson, Bill Camp.
Dir: Francis Lawrence.

After a Russian prima-ballerina breaks her leg during a performance, she is recruited by her uncle to become a "Red Sparrow" a type of spy who seduces their target to get what they want. It's an intriguing premise and the film starts out rather promisingly. But then along the way, with its handling of the sex, violence and rape, the film falters as it doesn't quite know how to traverse this minefield of having what's advertised as a sexy, hard R-rated spy film and dealing with some touchy subject matter and content. It is possible to be able to do it but both the script and direction doesn't quite get there which probably explains the wildly mixed reception this is getting. Jennifer Lawrence is pretty good though (and has a not-that-problematic nude scene too, so, yeah....)

Oscar Prospects: None.

Grade: C+

anonymous1980
Laureate
Posts: 5140
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 10:03 pm
Location: Manila
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby anonymous1980 » Thu Mar 01, 2018 10:40 pm

A FUTILE AND STUPID GESTURE
Cast: WIll Forte, Domnhall Gleeson, Martin Mull, Matt Walsh, Emmy Rossum, Thomas Lennon, Joel McHale, Natasha Lyonne.
Dir: David Wain.

This is a Netflix original biopic about Doug Kenney, the founder of the influential satirical magazine the National Lampoon. It's a fascinating story and certainly one I didn't know about. I mean, I've heard about National Lampoon and everything but I didn't know anything about the people behind it. It's directed by David Wain and it does tow the fine line between a straight up biopic and a comedic, wacky parody of a biopic in a case of wanting to be both but the script and direction never quite finds the balance between them since they seem to be fighting each other rather complimenting. That said, it's still an interesting story and Will Forte and Domnhall Gleeson's performances hold it together.

Oscar Prospects: None.

Grade: B-

anonymous1980
Laureate
Posts: 5140
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 10:03 pm
Location: Manila
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:37 am

MUTE
Cast: Alexander Skarsgard, Paul Rudd, Justin Theroux, Seyneb Saleh, Robert Sheehan, Dominic Monaghan.
Dir: Duncan Jones.

A mute Amish-raised man's girlfriend mysteriously disappears and he has to navigate high-tech futuristic Berlin (which looks straight out of Blade Runner) to try and find her. This is a Netflix movie that got a bunch of bad reviews. Since I've already paid for it, so I thought, what the hell. Anyway, the first act and the set-up are all pretty good and fairly intriguing. The mystery sucked me right in. The production is also handsomely mounted. But once the revelations and the twists start to happen, the film gradually unravels itself. It shoots itself in the foot too many times in terms of how to handle delicate subject matters as well as the darker, more sinister content. Ultimately, it all doesn't work despite the efforts of its cast.

Oscar Prospects: Not sure if it's qualified but I doubt it will get any if it were.

Grade: C-

anonymous1980
Laureate
Posts: 5140
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 10:03 pm
Location: Manila
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby anonymous1980 » Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:13 am

BLACK PANTHER
Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, Sterling K. Brown.
Dir: Ryan Coogler.

The hype is real. This is indeed one of, if not THE best, Marvel film to date. The film takes us to the fictional African country of Wakanda the home of the superhero known as Black Panther as he struggles with new responsibilities of taking over for his father, the king particularly when a challenger to the throne shows up to cause some trouble. Director Ryan Coogler manages to infuse what made his previous two films special into the Marvel formula, giving us a superhero movie that thought hitting the familiar buttons and giving us some rousing action popcorn sequences expected from these films adds an unexpected layer of humanity all throughout which fits comfortably into his oeuvre. The cast is terrific but Michael B. Jordan, as the villain Killmonger, probably steals the entire picture. As the villain, he is given a genuinely heartbreaking arc which pretty much takes the film into new heights. This is definitely a high mark for the superhero genre for sure.

Oscar Prospects: I think this may be Marvel's most Oscar-nominated film. Cinematography (by Rachel Morrison), Production Design and Costume Design are all strong possibilities as well as Visual Effects, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing. Perhaps...maybe...a Supporting Actor nomination for Michael B. Jordan? Eh, one can dream but it's possible. I wouldn't go so far as to say Picture and Director....but Get Out also opened in February so who knows?

Grade: A-

(I think even The Original BJ might like this and he won't be duped this time!) :mrgreen:


Return to “2018”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests