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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Posted: Sat Dec 22, 2018 2:48 pm
by Reza
Roma (Alfonso Cuarón, 2018) 10/10

Cuarón's vivid memory piece is set during the early 1970s in the Roma neighborhood of Mexico City and is dedicated to his childhood nanny. This mesmerizing film - shot in widescreen and in stark black and white - is a series of vignettes during a year in the lives of a middle class family as seen through the eyes of their dedicated maid. The household consists of the patriarch who is going through a mid-life crisis, a harried mother, four boistrous kids, an old grandmother and a frisky dog. Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), the indigenous Mexican maid, is beloved by the children and is very much part of the family. Cuaron shoots the film in a languid style using long takes depicting daily moments in their life which are in turns mundane, funny, edgy, tragic and hopeful. This is the director's love letter to his own life as the story is clearly semi-autobiographical, capturing moments of his childhood with trips to the market, to the countryside, to the movies (where the kids watch "Marooned" set in space and which Cuaron would return to with the epic "Gravity"), a new year party, a life defining moment at the beach along with scenes of historical turmoil seen in the background - the Corpus Christi massacre where students protesting on the street turns into a riot as the police resorts to violence and we become a spectator to that along with the characters on screen viewing the scenes of death and chaos through an upstairs store window. The camera becomes our eyes as we go along for the ride into the lives of this family. The film is clearly influenced by past masters - the humanism of De Sica and Rossellini, the social criticism of Fellini and Antonioni while using Ozu's tracking camera style helped by the art directors who created moveable walls in the house to help the camera in its constant movement. Nostalgic and deeply moving film has a magnificent central performance by Yalitza Aparicio, who although not an actor, has great camera presence and vital energy which in turn profoundly captures the family's dynamics. The film also has a strong message of hope - no matter what crisis life brings there is always hope at the end. A great film not to be missed.

Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Posted: Sat Dec 22, 2018 2:15 am
by Reza
King Lear (Richard Eyre, 2018) 8/10

Shakespeare's tragic and iconic "King Lear" gets a stylish retread with the setting changed to a dystopian England with the king a military dictator. The plot moves towards tragedy at the outset as the volcanic and tyrannical King Lear (Sir Anthony Hopkins) decides to divide his kingdom between his three daughters - the eldest Goneril (Emma Thompson), the middle Regan (Emily Watson) and the youngest and favourite Cordelia (Florence Pugh). The vain ruler demands to know how much they love him. The two elder daughters flatter him but the youngest refuses to fall in line with them and is banished along with the faithful Earl of Kent (Jim Carter) who sides with her. Now at the mercy of his two scheming daughters the old man is reduced to a life of penury and madness. The parallel plot about the Duke of Goucester (Jim Broadbent) runs on similar lines with his power hungry bastard son, Edmund (John MacMillan), framing his brother Edgar (Andrew Scott) for conspiracy and his father for treason. It ends badly for all with the two vicious sisters soon at each other's throats, Regan gouging out Gloucester's eyes with her nails, Lear roaming near a derelict shopping mall in a state of madness, Edgar left in a state of hysteria, the evil Edmund getting his comeuppance and Cordelia heading the french army to unsuccessfully try and save her father. The modern setting with the men in army uniforms using guns and Range Rovers in place of horses is an inspired choice giving the familiar story a fresh outlook. The casting is also dramatic. Apart from the main stars a number of characters are now played by black actors in particular the riveting MacMillan. Edmund is called "half blood" to his face, a slur that takes on a number of meanings refering not only to his illegitimacy but also his inferior social status and colour using racism to bring the plot into the modern world. Hopkins is magnificent as the wretched old king brought down to his knees while Thompson and Watson play pure evil with great relish and elegance. Already the next step of change for this play has an actress enacting the part of Lear with Glenda Jackson bringing her acclaimed London stage performance to Broadway next year. Hopefully we will get to see her performance on film as well in a medium this great actress has been away from for over 25 years.

A Simple Favor (Paul Feig, 2018) 5/10

Slick thriller goes the "Les diaboliques" route only to take a few twists in another direction. A single mother (Anna Kendrick) befriends a rich married, Martini guzzling, upper-class woman (Blake Liveley) when she agrees to a play date for their sons. When the sultry woman disappears her friend all but moves into her house and gets close to her husband (Henry Golding). The plot involves an insurance scam, a dead body and double and triple twists which come fast and furious between the potholes in the plot. Kendrick does her usual annoying perky persona and Lively goes completely over-the-top. Catchy french song score on the soundtrack is the only major plus.

Only When I Laugh (Glenn A. Jordan, 1981) 5/10

Neil Simon no longer seems fresh. His once funny screenplays with their rapid fire one-liners now seem like stale sitcoms although this film falls into the dramedy category. Based on his play "The Gingerbread Lady", which won a Tony for Maureen Stapleton, is revamped to create "juicy" material for his wife Marsha Mason. However, the material is so full of clichés that the cast merely flounder. An alcoholic stage actress (Marsha Mason) returns from a rehab stint to banter with her two best friends - an aging beauty (Joan Hackett) and a gay struggling actor (James Coco) - who are her life support system each time she screws up. When her teenage daughter (Kristy McNicol) decides to move in with her and her ex-boyfriend (David Dukes) asks her to star in a play he has written about their relationship she begins to lose the plot and goes off the wagon causing problems for all. The screenplay is a series of confrontations between the characters as they hysterically shout at each other trying to come to terms with their own personal issues as well as with each other. Simon provides Mason with a lot of big scenes to emote - crying jags, acting drunk, a big moment on the telephone as she tries to reach her doctor, a nasty tussle with another drunk and getting a solid dressing down from her disappointed but loving daughter. Mason, Coco and Hackett were all nominated for Oscars but its McNicol who actually comes up with a great performance as the wise daughter who has more maturity than the three whining superficial characters surrounding her.

Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Posted: Mon Dec 17, 2018 1:36 pm
by Reza
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey & Rodney Rothman, 2018) 8/10

Call it age but it took me awhile trying to figure out what was going on. This is the first Marvel film that actually feels like you are reading and immersed inside a comic book. What a relief after most of the lackluster live-action Marvel adaptations as this is one of the best films of the year. With "diversity" a hot topic blowing across the United States this film has Hollywood trying hard to show the world how the country really means business. At the end of the day it is a fantasy film after all with Spider-Man refreshingly going the "Motown" route as Miles (Shameik Moore),
a cute black (well, he's half-Latino so that makes him doubly diverse) high school kid gets bitten by a radioactive spider and turns, with fits and starts, into the Superhero. The original Peter Parker aka Spider-Man dies during an encounter with Kingpin (Liev Schreiber) whose machine unleashes from various dimensions a whole slate of Spider-Men - the original, now older, with a paunch, a Spider-Noir (Nicolas Cage who does a voice impersonation of Bogart) in black and white from the 1930s, a Spider-Ham who is a tiny pig, the female Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld) and one who looks like an escapee from Japanese anime. Trying to overcome his self doubt and guilt our young hero, along with his allies, needs to defeat the villain and ensure all the visitors get back safely to their own dimensions. Fast paced exhilarating film, with equal amounts of comedy and tragedy, never lets up as it takes you on a pop culture roller coaster ride. The frenetic animation style is an amalgamation of various different forms which gives the film a fresh and unique look. A must-see.

Front Page Story (Gordon Parry, 1954) 6/10

A workaholic newspaper editor (John Hawkins) faces numerous trials and tribulations during the day. He has to decide which of the many news items to place as a headline, his neglected wife (Elizabeth Allan) decides to divorce him and one of his colleagues (Derek Farr), who has had an affair with his wife, threatens to take over his job. Multifaceted story is well acted by the harrassed Hawkins who also discovers that the plane his wife has taken has crashed. Everything and the kitchen sink.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (David Yates, 2018) 5/10

Long, tedious and very boring sequel is terribly confusing in its attempt to build this new "Harry Potter" prequel franchise. The main plot - Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) joins Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) to bring down evil Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) - introduces so many different characters with their own mini dramas taking place on the sidelines that it gets hard to follow. The story this time moves towards a darker tone with some glorious visuals. And were Dumbledore and Gindelwald lovers once upon a time? If only one could decipher what the hell was going on I may have enjoyed this more. The synopses on google confused me even further.

Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Posted: Mon Dec 17, 2018 1:35 pm
by Reza
Venom (Ruben Fleischer, 2018) 2/10

A group of alien parasites arrive on earth using the bodies of astronauts as host. An evil scientist (Riz Ahmed) plans on using them for his own nefarious means. Typically over-the-top Marvel nonsense has a tough reporter (Tom Hardy) bantering with the good parasite - "Venom" the parasite speaks in a sonorous voice like James Earl Jones - which enters his body while an evil parasite who is using the body of the scientist has to be defeated. The alien creature / parasite keeps changing shape from an elegant eel-like amoeba with huge gnashing teeth to a giant sized beast resembling a cross between the "Predator" and the "Alien". Michelle Williams plays Hardy's lawyer-girlfriend looking very awkward to be stuck in this crappy film. And the post-credit sequence with Woody Harrelson doing a drag queen impersonation of Hannibal Lecter is not only absurd but sadly signals that there could be a sequel to this messy and extremely boring film.

Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan (2007) 7/10

Epic film that proposes to restore the reputation of Temudgin by painting him as a benevolent hero. The screenplay here captures his childhood and the equally strife ridden early years of his life leading up to the time when he would become the mighty Genghis Khan known and feared by millions. An interesting mix – part love story and part action adventure - as it charts the early life of an enigmatic warrior and merciless conqueror who would unite various nomadic tribes of Central Asia and eventually go on to rule over one-fifth of the Earth’s land mass. The film's world-view feels very raw in its authenticity as the characters move across beautiful vistas. The director shot the film in Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan with stunningly shot action scenes filmed on the vast steppes. The first Mongolian film to be nominated for an Oscar in the foreign film category.

Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle (Andy Serkis, 2018) 7/10

An intriguing and serious adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book" is a far cry from the animated musical version which here is a mixture of live action and animation. Mowgli (Rohan Chand) is played by a human actor and surrounded by CG motion-capture animals voiced by famous Hollywood stars. The familiar story - a baby boy is left all alone in the jungle after the evil tiger, Shere Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch), kills his parents and he is brought up by a pack of wolves led by their leader, Akela (Peter Mullan), and his wife Nisha (Naomie Harris), who become his surrogate parents. Also providing protection, training and spiritual guidance respectively are Bagheera (Christian Bale) the black panther, Baloo the bear (Andy Serkis) and Kaa the hissing and sinister giant python who in this version of the story has had a sex change to accommodate the sexy intonations of Cate Blanchett. The tone of the story is decidedly persistent in showing the cruelty and horror of the jungle making it a realistic ride, closer to Kipling's roots, which is a far cry from previous Disney versions - Warner Bros. took on this ambitious project which made its debut on Netflix. The scenes set in the man-village where Mowgli is given shelter by a hunter (Matthew Rhys) and his loving wife (Frieda Pinto) take on yet new horrors which the boy discovers. The special effects are mostly spectacular with a few clumsily drawn wolves but this is a welcome and different take to the familiar story helped in great part by the painstaking genius of Andy Serkis who created all the animals giving them a distinct look resembling all the famous stars who voiced them. The young actor playing Mowgli gives an incredible physical performance as he gets mauled, beaten, battered and bruised and emerges as the true heart of this film.

The Passage (J. Lee Thompson, 1979) 6/10

Thompson returns to the war genre like his classic "The Guns of Navarone" although with much diminished results. Old fashioned film has an attractive cast of stars going through the motions in a plot with clichés galore. The french resistance hires a Basque shepherd (Anthony Quinn playing yet another peasant) to help an American scientist (James Mason) escape the germans. There are two big problems which the Basque discovers to his horror. The man has a family in tow - an ailing wife (Patricia Neal), a son and a daughter (Kay Lenz) - all of whom he has to guide over the snow-capped Pyrenees into Spain. Snapping at their heels is a sadistic SS officer (Malcolm McDowell) who plays cat and mouse with them in between periodic explosions, hair breath escapes and action set pieces that even involve an avalanche. The film comes hilariously to life each time McDowell appears who plays his character completely over-the-top, hissing and preening in a campy manner, taking great delight in torturing two victims both played by former Bond villains. One (Michael Lonsdale) he straps to a table, dons an apron and a chef's hat and chops up cilantro while cooking goulash and whispering "chop chop" cuts off his fingers. The other, a gypsy (Christopher Lee), who has sheltered the family, gets doused with fuel and burnt alive. The film's funniest moment comes during a rape scene when he strips to reveal a jockstrap with a large swastika across his crotch. All the violence is in extremely bad taste and the film got scathing reviews and flopped but there remains a delicious element of guilty pleasure watching in particular McDowell who creates yet another of his numerous psychotic parts which started with "A Clockwork Orange" and would go on to include this, "Caligula" and "Cat People" among many more. Great fun.

Kedarnath (Abhishek Kapoor, 2018) 7/10

This done-to-death love story harks back to Bollywood films of the 1960s and 1970s when the mountains and valleys of Kashmir as a location played an equally integral part of the story helping to enhance the romance or tragedy on screen. The stunning location used in this film - the mountains in the State of Uttarakhand surrounding the Hindu temple of Kedarnath - is simply jaw dropping in its beauty and majesty. The screenplay weaves into the plot the devastating floods of 2013 which destroyed houses, hotels and shops surrounding the temple which was inundated by water and mud but miraculously remained undamaged due to a huge boulder which lodged itself against a wall deflecting most of the watery onslaught. The main plot revolves around the inter-faith romance between a wealthy Hindu girl (Sara Ali Khan), daughter of a Pandit, and a humble Muslim boy (Sushant Singh Rajput) who is a "pithoo" (porter) who transports pilgrims on his back up the 11 mile trek to the temple of Kedernath. Predictably the romance between the two hits an immediate snag due to their religious and class differences with her parents aghast and fiancé livid. His widowed mother is also perturbed as tension rises between the Hindu-Muslim communities which all comes to a head as the massive flood hits causing death and destruction. The film's charm rests on the shoulders of the two young leads. The luminous Sara Ali Khan, in her film debut, gives a remarkably assured performance as the fiercely confident and rebellious girl. Sushant Singh Rajput underplays throughout as the sensitive young man who at first is amused by the brash girl but gradually gets swept off his feet with her forceful nature. The film soars during all their romantic scenes but falters through the predictably melodramatic sequences involving the over heated reactions of their families and friends. Old fashioned film gets marks for the sweet romance, the spectacular performance by Sara Ali Khan, the stunning cinematography and the dramatic denouement when the flood hits.

Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Posted: Mon Dec 17, 2018 1:32 pm
by Reza
Pinky Memsaab: A Dubai Story (Shazia Ali Khan, 2018) 9/10

Shazia Ali Khan's spectacularly assured directorial debut comes in the wake of other equally cutting edge independent films in Pakistan like "Mor", "Manto" and "Cake", all of which have dared to experiment far away from commercial fare exercising instead a much needed creative voice in the revival of this country's cinema. The perceptive screenplay, co-written by the director and Babar Ali, is a series of vignettes about life viewed through the eyes of a few characters. It is also a scathing indictment of Dubai as a city that holds much promise in its glow yet deep down is extremely hollow. From posh Jumeirah to the seedy dance bars of Deira it is a city that sucks you into its rat race which can have amazing highs but can also suddenly fling you down with life becoming a lonely struggle for survival. The plot revolves around a group of expatriates from the subcontinent from different social strata who work, reside and socialize together. Pinky (Hajira Yamin), a poor divorced woman from the village of Shah Allah Ditta in Pakistan, goes to work as a maid for an affluent Pakistani couple in Dubai. Hasan (Adnan Jaffar) is an investment banker who spends long working hours followed by socializing at night in order to make business contacts. His wife, Mehr (Kiran Malik), simmering with repressed anger at a failed career in writing, feels neglected by her husband, is estranged from her father back home and spends most of her time socializing with catty friends who are career and status conscious. The couple have one son who is neglected by both parents. Into their lives comes Pinky, eager to learn and please in order to earn money to send to her poor family back home. She soon fits into the household as a cook, friend to Santosh (Sunny Hinduja), the driver from Bihar, nanny to the child and as a companion for Mehr who, in her loneliness, responds by teaching Pinky how to read and speak in english and transforms her into a "memsaab" through her attire. During a party at their house a misunderstanding results in the couple's separation with Hasan taking custody of their son and Mehr moving back to Islamabad and reconnecting with her father (Khalid Ahmad) and stepmother (Shamim Hilaly). Pinky moves out of the house and finds another job. Life moves on changing them all forever. The film's last iconic image is of the skyline of nightime Dubai with its deceptive golden lights which not only signify that "all that glitters is not gold", a reflection of what has happened to the characters in the story, but it also signals the birth of a new beginning with ever-changing life taking on new directions for all. This sensitive and extremely moving film is superbly acted and beautifully shot with great attention to detail in its production design and in its contemporary costumes and accessories designed and chosen by Maryam Ali Khan, who helps to visually balance the scenes in the film through texture and colour using different motifs for each character. Abbas Ali Khan provides an excellent background score. For something different at the cinema which allows you to think about life this is just the film to watch and also feel proud as a Pakistani that we have talent like Shazia Ali Khan to help our cinema reach new heights.

Robin Hood (Otto Bathurst, 2018) 5/10

What do you get when you mix together the Christopher Nolan Batman films with "John Wick", "Ben-Hur", "Black Hawk Down" and "Saving Private Ryan"? What you don't get is the classic tale of Robin Hood made famous by Errol Flynn. Instead you get a revisionist version of the story complete with modern sensibility and dialogue, hip custom-made leather jackets amidst period costumes and CGI galore all aimed squarely at the eyes and hearts of today's youth who make the bulk of the cinema going public. We have here a Maid Marian (Eve Hewson) who is dating Will Scarlett (Jamie Dornan) - granted she was told that Robin (Taron Egerton) had died while fighting during the Crusade. The scenes set during the fight to spread Christianity in the East comes off best with a number of Indy Jones-like action sequences involving the bow and arrow. You would be forgiven if you thought you were in the midst of a battle in Iraq as shown constantly in the recent past on CNN although in place of tanks and helicopters you have horses and Arab snipers using gadgets to fire arrows instead of bullets. Back in "ye old merrie" England it's strictly a return to basics with Robin trying to bring down the evil Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelsohn) and a slimy Cardinal (F. Murray Abraham) as he plans to steal gold from their coffers and give back to the poor who have been heavily taxed to pay for the crusades. Helping Robin along the way is a Saracen he picked up in the East - where good white man had saved enemy black man - and is promptly dubbed Little John (Jamie Foxx). Loud noisy film goes through the motions with nary a forest in sight let alone Sherwood. The only thing going for this film is the youthful exuberance of Taron Egerton in sharp contrast to the glum expression on the faces of filmdom's last two "hoods" played by Kevin Costner and Russell Crowe.

Colette (Wash Westmoreland, 2018) 6/10

Colette (Keira Knightley), a girl from the country, falls for the charms of the much older "Willy" (Dominic West), a writer and publisher. Encouraged to write she produces the scandalous "Claudine", a thinly veiled memoir, for which her husband takes credit and the couple become the toast of Paris. This conventional screen biography reveals the writer's frustrations - denied the authorship to a successful series of books that bring adulation to her libertine husband - and paints an enticing portrait of a sexually liberated marriage involving shared lovers with her husband who also encourages her to carry on affairs with other women. West is superb as the selfish, preening and demanding husband - at one point he locks her in a room and demands that she write - while Knightley is a vision in period clothing, whether dressed in frills or manly attire which she carries off with erotic elan. The film's highlight is the exquisite look of its production design and the sexually liberated lifestyle of Colette which makes her unique during an era when women lived suppressed lives. Knightley shines during the second half when she breaks free from her husband's hold and crosses sexual boundaries via affairs with women, a trans man and appearing on stage in a modern dance interpretation. The film covers only a portion of this fascinating woman's life concentrating only on the dramatic business arrangement of her first marriage. She would go on to a second marriage, have a child and continue her writing career becoming one of the most celebrated female authors in the history of french literature but this time under her own name when among many books and short stories she wrote "Gigi" which became a success not only on page but on stage as well for which the writer herself chose a young Audrey Hepburn to play the part. This is a winning but slight look at a woman who lived a full life.

A Star is Born (Bradley Cooper, 2018) 6/10

My second go-round brought about an appreciation of Lady Gaga's talent as an actor. She nails the part of a rising singer discovered by a famous rock star (Bradley Cooper) whose career plummets due to a drug and alcohol problem with jealousy and resentment causing a rift in the couple's relationship. This is the fourth version of the story - the first two were set in the world of cinema while this, like its predecessor, is about rock stars. Also surprised to see that Jon Peters produced this film as he did the previous version starring his former girlfriend Barbra Streisand. Both films have in common a leading lady already an established superstar in the world of music. Another common theme running through both films is the leading lady's nose where both singers are repeatedly photographed in profile which sort of becomes a running gag. Well acted film has Cooper in great form both in front and behind the camera. The film's best songs are "The Shallow", sung as a duet by the two stars, and "I'll Never Love Again" which Lady Gaga sings during the emotional finale. I still feel there was no need for yet another remake but understand that there is always a new audience which Hollywood likes to tap into for a buck.

Apple Tree Yard (Jessica Hobbs, 2017) 7/10

A middleaged woman (Emily Watson) - a scientist, wife and a mother of two grown up kids - on the spur of a reckless moment ends up in a sexual tryst with a charismatic but mysterious stranger, Mr X (Ben Chaplin), in a broom closet in the House of Commons. It is followed later by another passionate sexual encounter with him in the loo of a restaurant. And it continues later not only in bed but in an alley at Apple Tree Yard in St. James' Place. This gripping beginning soon turns into a nightmare for both when a harrowing rape leads to murder and they both find themselves in jail on trial for their lives. Riveting film, based on the book by Louise Doughty, has a number of potholes in the plot but is held together in a vice-like grip by Watson giving a performance of great depth as she goes through various conflicting emotions. The entire story is told through her eyes with the other characters - lover, the loyal husband (superbly played by Mike Bonnar), pregnant daughter, son and a close female friend - merely reacting to her predicament.

The Ritual (David Bruckner, 2017) 5/10

Lizzie (Craig William Macneill, 2018) 5/10

Operation Finale (Chris Weitz, 2018) 4/10

Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Posted: Sat Dec 15, 2018 10:59 pm
by Precious Doll
The Other Side of the Wind (2018) Orson Welles 5/10
Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) Marielle Heller 6/10
They'll Love Me When I'm Dead (2018) Morgan Neville 6/10
The Land of Steady Habits (2018) Nicole Holofcener 3/10
Hold the Dark (2018) Jeremy Saulnier 1/10
Tallulah (2016) Sian Heder 4/10
Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey & Rodney Rothman 4/10
Black '47 (2018) Lance Daly 7/10
I Don't Feel at Home Anymore (2017) Macon Blair 5/10
Shut-ins: Britain's Fattest People (2015) Storm Theunissen 5/10
We the Animals (2018) Jeremiah Zagar 7/10
Mute (2018) Duncan Jones 2/10

Repeat viewings

Badlands (1973) Terrence Malick 10/10
The Seventh Victim (1943) Mark Robson 8/10
Detective Story (1951) William Wyler 6/10

Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Posted: Sun Dec 09, 2018 6:02 am
by mlrg
Black Panther 4/10

Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Posted: Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:11 am
by Precious Doll
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018) Ethan & Joel Coen 6/10
Sorry to Bother You (2018) Boots Riley 6/10
Outlaw King (2018) David Mackenzie 1/10
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018) Lasse Hallstrom & Joe Johnston 4/10
The Resistance Banker (2018) Joram Lursen 4/10
War Machine (2017) David Michod 4/10
13th (2016) Ava DuVernay 7/10
Beasts of No Nation (2015) Cary Joji Fukunaga 4/10
King Cohen: The Wild World of Fimmaker Larry Cohen (2018) Steve Mitchell 6/10
Into the Inferno (2016) Werner Herzog 5/10
Mascots (2016) Christopher Guest 5/10

Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:00 am
by Reza
Precious Doll wrote:
Reza wrote:Widows (Steve McQueen, 2018) 5/10


Have you ever seen the TV series?

Not yet but I believe it's on YouTube so will watch it.

Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:26 am
by Precious Doll
Reza wrote:Widows (Steve McQueen, 2018) 5/10


Have you ever seen the TV series?

Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 4:45 am
by Reza
Widows (Steve McQueen, 2018) 5/10

This heist movie throws in everything and the kitchen sink - police brutality, sexism, interracial marriage, a tough talking black woman wielding a gun - and is very busy with loads of characters but not enough screen time to do any of them justice. There's just too much going on in this adaptation of a British tv series (the setting here is switched from London to Chicago) which had more time on its hands to do the story justice. McQueen, coming off the Oscar winning "12 Years a Slave" directs this genre piece in a frantic and flashy manner interspersing the action with flashbacks depicting the lives of the women before they became widows. This is perfect as popcorn fair but nothing close to being the kind of film that has critics going gaga over it. A renowned thief (Liam Neeson) and his three partners are killed in a botched robbery. His widow (Viola Davis) is threatened by a local criminal into paying him the $2 million her husband owed him. After finding her husband's diary which has plans for a heist she enlists the widows (Michelle Rodriguez & Elizabeth Debicki) of the men who were killed during the robbery. The plan is to steal $5 million, pay off the mob, and split the rest. The plot is strictly formulaic with no sense of urgency or danger as the women go through the motions of the robbery. An eclectic cast is wasted in small parts - Colin Farrell as a corrupt politician, Robert Duvall as his racist father, Carrie Coon as one of the widows not involved in the robbery, Jacki Weaver as the abusive mother of Debicki and Daniel Kaluuya as the sociopath brother of the crook who gives the women a hard time. Davis, in action mode, narrows her eyes and acts wounded - she not only has a husband who died and left her with a burden but a teenage son who was killed by cops. The film is quietly stolen by Debicki as the abused wife who turns tricks with a john (Lukas Haas) and who transforms from a frightened victim into an empowered woman which she conveys through her facial expressions in a few short underplayed scenes. Extremely disappointing film has nothing we haven't seen before.

Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 4:44 am
by Reza
Every Day (Michael Sucsy, 2018) 3/10

Pretty high schooler falls for a person called "A" who inhabits a different person's body - boys and girls of every race and gender possible which in itself is the glaring message - every 24 hours making the relationship kinda dicey. Stupid premise, based on a book that was unbelievably a New York Times bestseller, has an appealing lead (Angourie Rice) struggling to keep afloat what is basically a rather average teen romance.

The Making of a Lady (Richard Curson Smith, 2012) 4/10

Old fashioned period piece with gothic overtones hinting at a bodice ripper but more in line with the Barbara Cartland school of melodramatic literature. It has elements of a thriller which becomes an outright horror effort. An educated lady (Lydia Wilson) with no means is taken in as a companion to a lady (Joanna Lumley) only to be dismissed curtly. Taking pity on her the lady's nephew (Linus Roache), a widower in line to a great fortune, takes her as his bride and brings her to his huge isolated mansion in the countryside (shades of Daphne Du Maurier's Manderly) complete with a butler and maid who both suspiciously resemble Mrs Danvers. The plot takes on a melodramatic turn after the husband is recalled to India by his regiment and his nasty cousin (James D'Arcy) and Indian wife turn up on her doorstep. Soon they are trying to poison her and kill her unborn child in order to take over the estate. Rambling story keeps getting more and more absurd with the screenplay (based on a novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett) tossing in a drowning, death by gunshot and an attemped smothering as the heroine is subjected to peril at every ten minute intervals. The rapid pace condensing far too much plot into a short running time hampers the film considerably.

Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Posted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:31 am
by Precious Doll
Reza wrote:Aus dem Nichts / In the Fade (Fatih Akin, 2017) 5/10
Kruger goes through the motions with a dead-pan expression and was surprisingly awarded the best actress prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

Kruger's Cannes win wasn't all that surprising. Last year (2017) you may recall lots of handwringing at the lack of female directors included in the main competition at Cannes. Films like Western (Valeska Grisebacj), Faces, Places (Agnes Varda) & Let the Sunshine In (Claire Denis) were regulated to side-bar competitions whilst lesser films were in the main competition. Any three of those would have been a better choice than Sofia Coppola's The Beguiled wh0 clearly won director due to the lack of female representation in the Competition because the film has little to command it.

What few people noticed was the that films selected for competition lacked great roles for women. Of the 19 films in competition only 10 had 'a leading lady' but not a single performance in any of those films screamed 'great performance'. The nearest to great was easily Maryana Spivak for Loveless. I thought Diane Kruger was good within the constraints of the film narrative but its not a performance worthy of best, but given the weak competition she was in some respects a no-brainer for that award.

Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Posted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 7:04 am
by Reza
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2018) 9/10

The Coen brothers have come up with a quirky anthology film set in the far distant West with death as the common theme in all six tales. Clearly a pastiche as the brothers tip a witty hat to the films of Ford, Leone, Corbucci and Tarantino along with a slapstick touch of Mel Brooks. The witty screenplay plays havoc with the genre as the film's first tale begins in Ford's familiar Monument Valley with the camera zooming on to Buster Scruggs (William Blake Nelson), a singing cowboy on a horse - not unlike Gene Autry or Roy Rogers - whose goofy grin disguises his sharp shooting skills which he proceeds to use with much glee. The body count in all but one of the tales is very high, often coming up unexpectedly and in vicious fashion. An eclectic cast plays assorted characters familiar to the genre - a bank robber (James Franco), a traveling showman (Liam Neeson), a grizzled gold prospector (Tom Waits), a young girl (Zoe Kazan) on a wagon train and passengers (Brendan Gleeson, Tyne Daly) on a stagecoach. The hilarious screenplay (with romantic, comedic and tragic elements), Bruno Delbonnel's glowing cinematography which captures the spectacular western locations, the costumes, production design and special effects all combine together to create one of the most impressive Westerns in some time. And Delbonnel desrves an Oscar for his outstanding work.

Love, Simon (Gregg Berlanti, 2018) 8/10

Extremely perceptive screenplay about the coming-of-age of a gay high school teenager. What is astonishing is that a major studio chose to go ahead with this subject usually a trope of independent cinema. Simon (Nick Robinson), a typical popular teenager with a close group of friends, comes from a well adjusted family with cool parents (Josh Duhamel & Jennifer Garner) and a kid sister. But he has a secret. He is gay which he has kept hidden from all close to him. When that secret is exposed he has to face family, friends, the entire school and his secret love with whom he has been annonymously carrying on a regular chat on the net. The film is a bit too clean-cut but nevertheless has many laugh-out-loud and crowd pleasing moments along with a great scene between mother and son which delivers the film's main message of love, acceptance and tolerance. Charming and heartfelt film with a wonderfully nuanced performance by Nick Robinson.

Searching (Aneesh Chaganty, 2018) 8/10

The highly innovative and original structure of this mystery uses the internet to tell a story about a missing girl (Michelle La). Her father (John Cho) uses the net - jumping through facebook, twitter, instagram, tumblr, YouTube - to try and find clues to her whereabouts. A detective (Debra Messing) also doggedly pursues the case with both working in tandem. Our vantage point throughout the film is limited to a computer screen as we watch the events unfold - the disappearance, the man's desperate interrogation of people who knew his daughter, his interactions with the detective, the discovery of the girl's car, the detective's deduction of abduction and murder which then leads to an unexpected conclusion. The suspenseful twists and turns of the screenplay, superb direction and the excellent performances by Cho and Messing make this a highly unique film and a must-see.

The Nun (Corin Hardy, 2018) 3/10

The demonic nun from "The Conjuring 2" gets her own spinoff film which here explains her origin. Extremely atmospheric film is derivitive to the point of being silly and absurd with by-the-numbers scenes that are meant to provide shock and horror but provide only memories of far better horror films from the past where all that goes on here was done better there. A nun's suicide at a remote Romanian Abbey sets off a chain of events that unleash unbridled horror. The Vatican sends a priest (Demiàn Bichir) and a young novitate (Taissa Farmiga - sister of "The Conjuring" star Vera) to investigate. Arriving at the eerie abbey (Corbin Castle in Romania is used as location which is famous for being Dracula's castle) and things immediately start going bump in the night. The nuns at the abbey act jumpy, there is talk of a portal which may be open through which evil is unleashed, vicious attacks take place on the priest and the novitate which involve demons from their own past leading up to the titular nun's appearance who looks like a clown dressed in a habit. The fantastic location is a major plus but it cannot compensate for a script that is downright silly and has more laughs than scares. Skip this.

Blue Night / Here and Now (Fabien Constant, 2018) 1/10

Dull maudlin drama about a singer (Sarah Jessica Parker) who is medically diagnosed with a fatal disease. She spends the whole day walking around in a trance, absent mindedly interacting with friends, her band members (she even manages to sleep with the drummer despite her trauma), outwardly pretending nothing is wrong but inwardly cringing at the possible outcome. Parker is one note throughout in an underwritten role and her character is totally unbelivable. She gives no impression of playing a legendary jazz singer. The film tries to recall Agnés Varda but doesn't even come close.

Columbus (Kogonada, 2017) 9/10

Not since Antonioni (and to a lesser extent, Woody Allen) has architecture played such a stunning role in a film. Kogonada, along with his cinematographer (Elisha Christian), has created simple but spectacular images on screen chosing Columbus, Indiana as the film's setting. The city, known for its modern architecture and public art, becomes an eclectic backdrop for the characters in the story who are placed in interesting ways positioned in front of important buildings, churches, alleyways, doorways, sculptures and interiors of rooms. The exquisitely sparse screenplay is in turns moving, full of sadness but also exhilarating at the same time. A Korean-born man (John Cho) travels to Columbus to care for his father, an eminent architect, who is in a coma. We also meet a young girl (Hayley Lu Richardson), obsessed by architecture, who works in a library, cares for her mother who was a former meth addict, and who has long discussions with a co-worker (Rory Culkin). A chance encounter with the old architect's son allows the two to wander the city as she talks to him about the buildings. Their conversations become more personal - they discuss his lack of feelings for his comatose dad and her fear of leaving her mother and going out into the world to use her talent. Delicately acted by both leads, this is a remarkable first film from Kogonada. The visually hypnotic images will stay with you for a long time.

Aus dem Nichts / In the Fade (Fatih Akin, 2017) 5/10

For a film that won numerous awards from around the world this is shockingly quite ordinary. A German woman (Diane Kruger) is devastated when her ex-convict Turkish husband and son are killed in a bomb attack. The police suspect the man's shady past as cause for the attack even though she describes seeing a suspicious woman leave a bicycle outside the office where the blast took place. Eventually the police round up a Neo-Nazi couple who are suspects. During the long trial the accused couple are let off on a technicality so the woman decides to take matters into her own hands. The conventional screenplay, based on similar attacks on minorities in Germany by Neo-Nazi groups, is presented in an extremely banal way with no sense of urgency or tension. The film is presented in three static acts making it seem like a stiff play. The director lingers through scenes where often nothing much happens slowing down the action considerably. The film boils down to being merely a revenge drama with absolutely nothing to say about racism or explaining why the attackers targeted minority groups. Kruger goes through the motions with a dead-pan expression and was surprisingly awarded the best actress prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Posted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 7:01 am
by Reza
The Thing (John Carpenter, 1982) 9/10

Incredibly Carpenter's horror film - a re-imagined remake of the 1951 Howard Hawks classic - flopped upon its release. The film was unfairly thought of as an "Alien" rip-off and had the bad luck to arrive on the heels of the overated "E.T. The Extra Terrestrial" with its child-friendly cute alien. The form-changing version on display here is all gnashing teeth, a blood and guts soaked piece of wobbly flesh that attacks its prey and transforms itself into the dead host but not before creepily scurrying like a giant spider with huge tentacles which it uses to pry open human flesh. Norwegian scientists discover a crashed alien spaceship buried under ice for thousands of years in the Antarctic. An awakened alien destroys their research station killing all the scientists and using a dog as its host arrives at a nearby American research station. It soon creates havoc as one by one it starts killing off the scientists. A gruff alcoholic pilot (Kurt Russell) deduces what is going on and he and his mates (Wilford Brimley, David Clennon, Donald Moffat, Richard Dysart, Keith David, T.K. Carter, Richard Masur) spend their time in a state of terror and paranoia trying to guess which of them have fallen prey to the monster alien. Carpenter starts off slowly but soon goes for the jugular as flesh is torn, limbs are flayed apart, blood gushes profusely and the death count rises. Spectacular make-up effects, Dean Cundey's crisp and striking cinematography, taut editing and a sparse score by Ennio Morricone help to create a horror masterpiece which has rightfully now been accepted as a classic of the genre.

Innocent Bystanders (Peter Collinson, 1972) 5/10

Frantic spy thriller, one of many imitations of the Bond franchise, is not only terribly dated but tries to use violence, rapid fire editing and a flippant attitude to appear hip. A Soviet scientist (Vladek Sheybal), holding an important formula, defects and various factions are out to get him. The heads of the American and British Intelligence (Dana Andrews & Donald Pleasance) use a washed up agent (Stanley Baker) as a decoy but he, along with an "innocent bystander" (Geraldine Chaplin) whom he kidnaps, prove far more resourceful than the two bumbling agents actually assigned to the case. Globe-trotting chase film has a couple of thrills and anusing moments but its all pretty deja vu. Baker, too long in the tooth and wearing a hideous toupée, has non-stop fight sequences â la Bond. A miscast Chaplin appears to be at sea in this genre but she manages to create an interesting character and holds her own in what is a rather messy film.

The Dinner (Oren Moverman, 2017) 2/10

Two boys pull a mean and nasty prank on a homeless woman by burning her alive, videotaping her death and loading the film onto YouTube. Their fathers - a politician (Richard Gere) and his estranged brother (Steve Coogan), a former high school teacher, along with their wives (Rebecca Hall & Laura Linney) meet up for dinner at a posh restaurant to discuss the situation their sons are in. Shrill, hysterical drama has the four characters involved in a shout fest as the director tries to deflect this stagy material with assorted flashbacks showing how fucked up everyone was in the past just as they all still are in the present. None of the characters are appealing and the film's abrupt ending adds to the overall fiasco this project proves to be. Skip this lousy film.

Shubh Mangal Saavdhan (R.S. Prasanna, 2017) 8/10

Bollywood has certainly come a long way and is increasingly coming up with screenplays about audacious social issues. Here it not only attempts to handle pre-marital sex between an engaged middle class couple but takes it a step further in dealing with the man's performance anxiety which leads to erectile dysfunction. A serious issue is presented with humour (playing to a section of the male movie going public) but hitting home with its underlying serious message thanks to very funny dialogue and hilariously camouflaged quips. Despite a second half that tends to go in a different direction to close loose ends this is a film that sensitively handles a prickly subject and superbly presents a middle class Delhi mileu through outstanding production design and a slew of accurately drawn characters. The leads are played by the charming Ayushmann Khurana and Bhumi Pednekar who maintain their great screen chemistry after their first film "Dum Laga Ke Haisha". The film is stolen by Seema Bhargava as the girl's outspoken mother who explains "the birds and the bees" to her using Ali Baba (of 40 thieves fame) entering the cave as a veiled analogy.