The Official Review Thread of 2014

The Original BJ
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2014

Postby The Original BJ » Mon Aug 04, 2014 7:41 pm

OscarGuy, you are right -- most sane moviegoers would stop seeing the kinds of movies that they feel provide only diminishing returns.

But, when you work in the entertainment industry, and movies come out that are both big hits AND enthusiastically reviewed...well, you sort of feel like you have to keep some pulse on what people are watching, and the movies that are widely considered to be "good." I just wish I understood more -- even from a distance -- the appeal of fare I find so miserable.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2014

Postby OscarGuy » Mon Aug 04, 2014 5:30 pm

It cannot be age. I'm almost 40 and everything in the movie made perfect sense. You didn't even have to be familiar with the other Marvel movies to know what was going on. I didn't find it visually cluttered at all. Richness of detail made it even more interesting. Perhaps it's just a lack of connection to the medium. If you don't care much for the style or the settings or the type of characters, then there's little likelihood you'll actually enjoy it.

I think I've said this before, but you just need to stop going to superhero movies. If you don't enjoy them, and clearly you don't, then no manner of praise will get you to believe you'll like it.
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The Original BJ
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2014

Postby The Original BJ » Mon Aug 04, 2014 4:15 pm

I really don't mean to just be a curmudgeon, but I simply don't get it. I barely had any idea what was happening in Guardians of the Galaxy, I thought the humor was so limp I couldn't fathom how people viewed this as anything resembling a spoof/satire, I felt the screen was so full of visual clutter it nearly gave me a headache, I didn't think there was one interesting characterization or narrative beat (see: I had no idea what was happening for the majority of the running time), etc. I'm not trying to be overly snobbish toward the populist -- and I don't think my taste overall suggests that I am -- but just from a sheer baseline pleasure standpoint I found it completely inaccessible.

For what it's worth, I've seen all of the Marvel cinematic universe films, and though collectively they are definitely not my thing, I thought this Guardians one was among the worst of them.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2014

Postby Okri » Mon Aug 04, 2014 2:44 pm

The Original BJ wrote:Guardians of the Galaxy: DUPED YET AGAIN!


One must give you credit for living in hope. I have to admit I'm hugely curious about your reactions to blockbusters. I swear I can actually chart your (their?) descent over the years.

Full disclosure: the only Marvel movie I've seen was Iron Man.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2014

Postby The Original BJ » Sun Aug 03, 2014 2:37 am

Guardians of the Galaxy: DUPED YET AGAIN!

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2014

Postby Sabin » Sun Aug 03, 2014 1:08 am

No time for a full review but Guardians is an excellent, entertaining blockbuster. An almost constantly funny lark that one-ups The Avengers in every way that matters.
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2014

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Aug 02, 2014 9:28 pm

ENEMY
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Melanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon, Isabella Rossellini.
Dir: Denis Villeneuve.

The premise is intriguing: A history teacher discovers that a bit player actor looks EXACTLY like him. Then it just gets weird. Although based on a Jose Saramago novel, this is more like Denis Villeneuve's attempt at emulating David Lynch (I mean casting Isabella Rossellini in a small role can't just be a coincidence, right?). High concept films like these rely on how it lands: Shocking twist, batcrap crazy and ambiguous. The film does a little bit of the latter two. It is intriguing work but I'm not sure I was completely satisfied with it. This could go either way. I can see people arguing about it for a long time. Gyllenhaal was terrific, of course.

Oscar Prospects: Had the film made more of a critical/commercial splash, we'd be talking about Jake Gyllenhaal in Actor.

Grade: B.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio Del Toro, Djimon Hounsou.
Dir: James Gunn.

I have to say that this is probably my favorite Marvel movie to date. Let's face it. I was sold when I saw the machine-gun toting raccoon! It's the funniest Marvel movie but oddly enough, it's also the most emotionally resonant. Nearly every element of what makes a great popcorn movie is there. There's fun action sequences, hilarious moments and a strong emotional through-line as well as well-defined character arcs for every character. James Gunn, despite an increase in budget, managed to make his voice shine through. This is every bit as fun and more as Slither and he even managed to sprinkle in fun bits of references every now and then. I expect Chris Pratt to become a real star after this. I can't wait to see this again.

Oscar Prospects: Should be a shoo-in for Visual Effects. Could get in Makeup & Hairstyling, Production Design, Costume Design, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing.

Grade: A-

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2014

Postby dws1982 » Sat Aug 02, 2014 8:52 pm

I suspect that most people who haven't seen it yet will have to catch it on DVD, but those stark black and white images really need to be seen on a big screen if possible.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2014

Postby Big Magilla » Sat Aug 02, 2014 8:16 pm

Ida has a DVD release date in the U.S. of 9/9.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2014

Postby dws1982 » Sat Aug 02, 2014 7:53 pm

Ida

Not sure who still has this playing at a theater nearby; according to Boxofficemojo, it hit its widest release in the States in late June. If it's still playing nearby, give it a shot. It's a very good movie, about a young nun who's told that she must go visit her only surviving relative before she can take her vows. I'm hesitant to go into much more detail about the plot, because I think that the movie as a while will work much better if you go into it blind. Pawlel Pawlikowski unpacks a lot of narrative and thematic heft in the 80-minute runtime, and visually it's very meticulously composed within the 1:37:1 frame, with much of the action confined to the lower corners of the frame; Pawlikowski isn't much on center-frame close-ups of his actors, but when he grants them (the final shot for example), it's pretty striking. Depending on how the year shakes out, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see a few critics groups (say LA and National Society) single out Agata Kulesza. Lead/Support confusion may hurt her; for what it's worth, I think she's pretty clearly lead, and she would be pretty high up on my list for 2013 or 2014.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2014

Postby Mister Tee » Sat Jul 26, 2014 2:15 pm

I'm higher on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes than anyone else here so far. For two reasons:

1) I don't think the physical production/effects are just notable; I found them pretty jaw-dropping. The previous movie hit some high notes in the latter portion -- the shots of the apes crossing the Golden Gate the clear highlight. But here it's "how did they do that?" pretty much from start to finish. And I think more than WETA deserves the praise. The sombre lighting really set a tone, and Matt Reeves provides some impressive framing. For me, visually, this movie's pretty much a knockout. (It seems these days for a film to win the effects Oscar, it has to be a best picture contender, so Interstellar, sight unseen, would have to be this year's favorite. But it's hard for me to believe anything could top this film)

2) I found the plot more interesting than BJ did. The Rise movie had a not-uninteresting structure, but was hobbled by hokiness for much of its running time -- too-obvious villains set all the conflicts in motion. This film has alot less of that (and slyly mocks the concept, by having the one character who'd qualify for the obvious-villain slot actually say, "Oh, I'M the asshole"). There are characters (ape & human) whose nasty bigotry largely create the war, but 1) they all have understandable (if not forgivable) reasons for their views and 2) it takes the toxic chemical reaction among them for the conflagration to really get set in motion. What I like about the plot is how it suggests that war is often not a great crusade, but something nations blunder into thanks to long-held prejudices on both sides. (The film also implies that the possession of weaponry, rather than being a quiet suppressor of violence, can often be a creator and escalator of it. This will not be the NRA's favorite film of the year)

Because I found all that compelling, the film's dark, humor-free tone didn't bother me the way it did BJ. This film sees itself as built along the Dark Knight model, not as a summertime lark. If it doesn't work for you, obviously you'll react as BJ has, wishing it were more fun. I found it, if certainly not Shakespearean, a decently ambitious drama, operating nicely within the parameters of the special effects blockbuster.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2014

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Jul 26, 2014 10:39 am

HERCULES
Cast: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, John Hurt, Joseph Fiennes, Peter Mullan, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Askel Hennie, Reece Ritchie, Tobias Santelmann, Rebecca Ferguson, Isaac Andrews.
Dir: Brett Ratner.

I think lowered expectations made me like this a bit more than I thought I would. It is after all a film starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and directed by Brett Ratner. The film sort of deconstructs the Hercules legend with an attempt to ground it in reality and make him a more, umm, believable historical figure rather than a figure of myth and legend. It's not bad. But it's still far from great. The Rock is actually a fairly decent actor, when he's being a badass action hero who occasionally drops a zinger or two, but when he is asked to do something emotional and deeper, he falls sadly short. The same can be said with Brett Ratner. I can tell he wants this to be a sort of modern-day version of Jason and the Argonauts and whatnot. The man is trying to be Ridley Scott at certain points as well (even hiring his costume designer). But he's just not a talented enough filmmaker to balance the tone of serious and goofy which was often jarring. Ian McShane steals the show though.

Oscar Prospects: None.

Grade: C.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2014

Postby Precious Doll » Fri Jul 25, 2014 7:48 am

That is such a shame but it the sign of the times.
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2014

Postby Big Magilla » Fri Jul 25, 2014 7:27 am

Still Life has been playing film festivals in the U.S. A theatrical release is possible, but it's more likely to be one of those films that goes straight to DVD here. Too bad, it has an interesting premise and Marsden's co-star, Joanne Froggatt is becoming quite well-known here, having just received her second Emmy nomination for Downton Abbey.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2014

Postby Precious Doll » Fri Jul 25, 2014 4:54 am

I rarely post on this particular thread. It's easier to just list and rate what I have seen during the week.

However, last night I saw the best film I have seen for the first time this year. And whilst the film is from 2013 it is opening in most territories in 2014 and I assume the U.S.

Actually imdb doesn't list an American distributor but their information is often incomplete. It doesn't list the Australian distributor or release date either and it opening 'down under' yesterday. It doesn't even open in the UK until the end of the year.

The film is Still Life. It is an UK/Italian co-production. The director Uberto Pasolini and much of the crew are Italian. Though the film was made and is set in the UK with an English cast.

I really recommend seeing this film without knowing very much about it. I had seen the trailer a couple of times over the last month or so and all it really reveals are the barebones of the piece. Gives enough information without revealing too much.

Eddie Marsan, one of the best and most reliable 'character actors' is given centre stage here and he is simply wonderful. The film also has one of the best endings I have ever seen in a film.

This isn't the sort of film the Academy will acknowledge but Marsan could win a couple of critic awards if it is released in the U.S. this year.
"I think he sexually assaulted a child and I don't think that's right…It's gotten very quiet in here, but that's true." Susan Sarandon on Woody Allen, Cannes Film Festival 2016


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