The Official Review Thread of 2018

anonymous1980
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Jun 10, 2018 5:02 am

JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM
Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, Jeff Goldblum, James Cromwell, Ted Levine, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, B.D. Wong, Toby Jones, Isabella Sermon, Geraldine Chaplin.
Dir: J.A. Bayona.

The volcano in Isla Nublar, where the now defunct Jurassic World theme park is located, is about to erupt and they have to try and save at least some of the dinosaurs but the people in charge have less than altruistic intentions. The plot is pretty much lifted almost directly from The Lost World: Jurassic Park but the ridiculousness is so high, I often have trouble trying to suspend some of my disbelief as I've always done in movies like these. However, Spanish director J.A. Bayona effectively infuses some of his visual storytelling flair which made The Orphanage and A Monster Calls effective genre pictures which gives life to the film, at least in the climactic scenes. Is it a good film? Eh, I guess it's okay overall.

Oscar Prospects: Visual Effects.

Grade: C+

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby Mister Tee » Thu Jun 07, 2018 11:59 pm

I'm surprised BJ failed to note the one thing about First Reformed that immediately jumped out at me: Paul Schrader has performed a massive act of self-plagiarism, virtually re-writing his Taxi Driver script.

(SOME SPOILERS WILL FOLLOW, AS IT'S THE ONLY WAY TO FULLY MAKE MY POINT)

You have a isolated man suffering psychic pain in the aftermath of a disastrous war. He's putting his feverish thoughts into a journal, which we hear in voice-over. He becomes obsessed with the filth he sees all around him (the urban chaos of NY in the 70s now extended to the entire polluted planet). He has contempt for the bureaucrats who answer his questions with platitudes. He begins to contemplate a violent act in response to all this (an act that's aborted). His great redemptive relationship is with a younger, fair-haired girl, for whom he cares more than anyone else.

I'm not saying there's nothing more to the movie. There are all the elements BJ cites, and for the first hour I was intrigued by how Schrader was addressing many of his long-time passions, wondering how the film was going to take them somewhere satisfying. But once I saw that Hawke had held onto the (not to be completely spoiler-y) object, I had a sinking feeling I knew where the film was going (because I'd seen it before), and it wasn't very interesting waiting half an hour to get there. (I was supposed to know Hawke's plan, wasn't I? Because both Hawke's penultimate scene with Seyfried ("Don't come to the consecration") and his set-to with the megachurch guy ("I'll go to rehab after the consecration") made it feel really obvious that's where things were going.) Granted, the very ending was slightly unpredictable (chiefly by being "what did that mean?"), but not enough to offset that long stretch where I felt the plot had played out.

I certainly respect Ethan Hawke as a serious guy who wants to do significant cinema, but I can't say I felt he did anything here that much elevated the material. (If, like me you're mentally comparing him to deNiro, it's no contest.) I thought Amanda Seyfried gave by far the film's best performance...though all the actors were at least solid.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby dws1982 » Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:32 am

The Rider
It may be more-or-less played out in theaters, so you may have to wait for video/streaming, but this is very much worth seeing. It's about a rodeo rider trying to make sense of his life in the aftermath of a near-fatal accident. Worth seeing alone because of the world it depicts--it's set in a location and among a group of people who are almost never shown in contemporary movies. Almost recalls John Ford in its depiction of community--these people live and breathe the land that they live on. A movie like this could've easily fallen into one of two camps: wallowing in misery, and showing the guy be a bad-ass and push through the pain (and potential injury), but Claire Zhao shows shades of both as the main character wrestles with the loss of a lifetime dream--and something he probably believed was his only way out of a cycle of poverty--and then ultimately, gradually, maybe, begins to see a way that he might be able to function in his new life. A lovely movie, with truly excellent cinematography.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Jun 03, 2018 11:02 am

REVENGE
Cast: Matilda Lutz, Kevin Janssens, Vincent Colombe, Guillaume Bouchede.
Dir: Coralie Fargeat.

After a young woman is raped and left for dead by her rich married boyfriend and his two hunting buddies, she rises up and gets her...well, revenge. Saw this on Netflix. The plot, along with its title, is quite generic. There's an entire sub-genre of B-movie horror-thrilers that pretty much follows the same formula. However, this one is written with a lot of intelligence and nuance and despite it being essentially a B-movie, it has A-movie aesthetics with its gorgeous cinematography. it makes itself quite relevant in the current #MeToo atmosphere. It does get a little over-the-top and a tad unbelievable at times but it still delivers on all the goods of the revenge horror genre and then some. It's definitely a film that will get people talking, for better or worse.

Oscar Prospects: None.

Grade: B+

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Jun 02, 2018 1:50 pm

Reza wrote:
Can animated films be nominated for production design? Isn't that part of the animation?


Yes. Animated films are eligible for production design (but none have been nominated before). It's part of the animation but a production designer still has to design it. However, in the case of stop-motion animated films, there are actual real-life sets that are designed and built where they animate the puppets in so it's really no different from a live-action film (just smaller).

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby Reza » Sat Jun 02, 2018 1:12 pm

anonymous1980 wrote:ISLE OF DOGS
Cast: Bryan Cranston, Koyu Rankin, Edward Norton, Bob Balaban, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Konichi Nomura, Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand, Scarlett Johansson, Harvey Keitel, Liev Schreiber, Akira Ito, F. Murray Abraham, Tilda Swinton, Yoko Ono, Akira Takayama, Ken Watanabe, Courtney B. Vance, Kara Hayward (voices).
Dir: Wes Anderson.

After an outbreak of dog flu, the dog-hating mayor of a futuristic/retro Japanese city decrees all dogs be moved to a remote island. A young boy flies to the island looking for his beloved pooch. I have to say this is my favorite film of the year so far. I am a huge Wes Anderson fan and I pretty much have liked or loved most of his films. This is yet another jewel in his oeuvre. I'm also a fan of Japanese cinema and as such, there's plenty to love here since it's such a loving tribute. The animation is gorgeous and the voice cast is superb. A quick word about the minor controversy surrounding this film, which seems to have died down now: I'm not Japanese but I am of Asian descent and I found nothing wrong about this film. It's simply a beautifully well-told story, no more, no less.

Oscar Prospects: Since its competition seems to be sequels, I think this could WIN Best Animated Feature. Deserves nominations for Production Design and Original Score as well.

Grade: A.


Can animated films be nominated for production design? Isn't that part of the animation?

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Jun 02, 2018 10:08 am

ISLE OF DOGS
Cast: Bryan Cranston, Koyu Rankin, Edward Norton, Bob Balaban, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Konichi Nomura, Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand, Scarlett Johansson, Harvey Keitel, Liev Schreiber, Akira Ito, F. Murray Abraham, Tilda Swinton, Yoko Ono, Akira Takayama, Ken Watanabe, Courtney B. Vance, Kara Hayward (voices).
Dir: Wes Anderson.

After an outbreak of dog flu, the dog-hating mayor of a futuristic/retro Japanese city decrees all dogs be moved to a remote island. A young boy flies to the island looking for his beloved pooch. I have to say this is my favorite film of the year so far. I am a huge Wes Anderson fan and I pretty much have liked or loved most of his films. This is yet another jewel in his oeuvre. I'm also a fan of Japanese cinema and as such, there's plenty to love here since it's such a loving tribute. The animation is gorgeous and the voice cast is superb. A quick word about the minor controversy surrounding this film, which seems to have died down now: I'm not Japanese but I am of Asian descent and I found nothing wrong about this film. It's simply a beautifully well-told story, no more, no less.

Oscar Prospects: Since its competition seems to be sequels, I think this could WIN Best Animated Feature. Deserves nominations for Production Design and Original Score as well.

Grade: A.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby dws1982 » Sat Jun 02, 2018 9:08 am

True, but I feel like they could've at least done with A Ghost Story (which I personally didn't care for) what they did with It Comes At Night--push it out wide on opening weekend so you at least get some money then, even if bad word-of-mouth kills it after that. They're not as bad as Sony Pictures Classics, but they need to do better.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Jun 02, 2018 9:02 am

To be fair A Ghost Story & Good Time would be hard to market. One of the things I think going against A Ghost Story every breaking out is word of mouth, which I imagine would be mixed at best. The few people I know who saw it didn't like it and I wouldn't recommend to anyone for fear that they wouldn't appreciate it (to be honest I didn't myself) and then ignore me when I recommended something that was more accessible. I wouldn't have a clue after more than 40 years of film going how to market a film but it was a real shame that nobody could come up with a good marketing campaign for Good Time and what business it has done appears to be purely word of mouth. They had a potential breakout hit with that one and dropped the ball.

Lean on Pete is coming my way in late June but I've opted to purchase the UK Blu Ray instead, whilst I doubt that the Schrader film will even get a local release in any form. The last Schrader film to get a big screen release was either The Walker or Auto Focus. Everything he has made since as been straight to video and that market is on its last legs.
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby dws1982 » Sat Jun 02, 2018 8:42 am

Unfortunately I don't have much faith that First Reformed will ever play around me. A24's Lean on Pete only made it to Nashville, at a time when I couldn't get up there to see it, and right now the Belcourt doesn't have First Reformed on their docket at all.

On a related note, can we admit that, unless it's an Oscar contender, A24 is not that great of a distributor? Almost every movie of theirs, I look at it and think of what a Focus or a Fox Searchlight might have done. They've only had eight movies gross more than $10 million--and only Lady Bird has cracked $30 million. Just last year Good Time and A Ghost Story had really strong reviews. Their combined gross was less than the "flop" Solo made on Thursday alone. A better distributor could've at least gotten a decent opening (i.e., bottom half of the weekend top ten) before it dropped off. So many other movies of theirs have topped out in the $5 million range (or below) despite having enough mainstream appeal to at least do better than that.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby The Original BJ » Sat Jun 02, 2018 12:31 am

It's flown a bit under the radar, but I wanted to recommend First Reformed as a film worth seeking out -- I think it's one of the stronger efforts of the year so far. It's quite a sad film -- I think there's barely a laugh in the whole movie -- but despite dealing with heavy subject matter, it doesn't wallow in misery. Schrader's touch as a director has a lot to do with this, as the film's reserved style lets the story play out more as elegy than melodrama.

The film's plot doesn't exactly barrel along, and there were one or two detours that didn't quite work for me (the fantasy sequence certainly), but the film is more focused on character and mood, and a central narrative gradually emerges to take the film toward a fairly gripping climax. Along the way it deals with a lot of prescient issues -- the conflict between religion and politics (specifically on a subject -- the environment -- where that nexus hasn't been excessively explored), the tension between fading small-town America and modern culture (the flip phone -- itself a relic at this point -- for Hawke's character is a nice touch), the way citizens of our world seem to be wrestling with the feeling that life on our planet is getting worse and not better. And the contrast between the two churches -- the old historical landmark and the megachurch -- provides for a compelling portrait of intra-faith religious differences. (And the details Schrader uses to characterize the environments of both churches are spot-on -- the megachurch youth leader, for instance, is perfectly cast.)

This is Ethan Hawke's strongest work in some time, playing a (literally) buttoned-up character bottling up a lot of his own anger and pain while attempting to present the more measured image expected of him in his job. (And of course it crossed my mind that Hawke playing a man of the cloth would have fulfilled Damien's wildest dreams.) And this is a nice change of pace role for Amanda Seyfried, who doesn't typically get to play material this serious.

The ending is obviously open to interpretation, though it strikes me that there are really only two ways one could interpret it. Both seem to have religious/spiritual connotations, and without going too deep into spoilers, it may well be a Rorschach test for how optimistic or pessimistic one is about the future of the world these days.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat May 26, 2018 10:01 am

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY
Cast: Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Paul Bettany, Joonas Suotamo, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Erin Kellyman, Jon Favreau, Linda Hunt, Warwick Davis.
Dir: Ron Howard.

This is the spin-off film that's basically the origin story of Han Solo. Did we really need to know how he met Chewbacca or Lando Calrissian or he got the Millennium Falcon? No, we don't but here we are. The intriguing behind-the-scenes drama aside, this film isn't the huge mess it had the potential of being. It's a competently made blockbuster, as what can be expected from a Ron Howard movie. But as far as Star Wars movies go, this is definitely only a notch higher than the prequels in terms of quality. I mean, it's not offensive, just largely forgettable. The saving graces are Donald Glover as young Lando who I wished this movie was about and his droid L3-37 who's probably the best droid character in all the movies. I'm looking forward to their inevitable spin-off movie. Overall, neither a disaster nor a triumph. Just okay.

Oscar Prospects: Visual Effects is possible.

Grade: B-

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat May 19, 2018 7:49 am

EARLY MAN
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Tom Hiddleston, Maisie Williams, Timothy Spall, Miriam Margolyes, Nick Park (voices).
Dir: Nick Park.

A tribe of cavemen find themselves having to play a big football match for a right to keep their home in the valley against the more advanced Bronze age players. This is the latest from Aardman and they usually do great work. I love the Wallace & Gromit shorts and the Shaun the Sheep movie was superb. This is a significant step down unfortunately. It has its charming moments of course. There are funny parts, the stop-motion animation is always something to see and Tom Hiddleston is really good as the main villain. But I simply wasn't taken by this at all. I found it rather dull and too derivative. I will say this is for Aardman completists only.

Oscar Prospects: Animated Feature and Original Song (I think) are possible.

Grade: C

DEADPOOL 2
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Julian Denniston, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller, Leslie Uggams, Brianna Hildebrand, Jack Kesy, Eddie Marsan, Rob Delaney.
Dir: David Leitch.

The second installment of the hit R-rated superhero movie franchise has Deadpool protecting a young boy mutant from a time-travelling super soldier named Cable who wants to murder him as a child to save his family. I enjoyed the first film but I didn't think it was the Second Coming like a lot of fan boys did. This second installment is more of the same where they amp up the violence and the snarky meta humor. If you enjoyed the first one and like that kind of stuff, there's no reason to believe you won't enjoy this. I did. I had a good time but I can see someone getting tired of this type of thing fast. It would be interesting to see if they can make a third one without feeling repetitive and tired.

Oscar Prospects: Makeup is possible. So is Original Song ("Ashes").

Grade: B

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby Precious Doll » Fri May 18, 2018 3:18 am

Thanks for the link to the article Franz. Read through it whilst waiting at the vet getting my three cats vaccinated for their flu shots. It was very interesting reading and had a good overall perspective on Queer Cinema since the dark days of AIDs (that sadly are still with us).

Probably the only person that comes to mind making totally out there Queer cinema is Bruce La Bruce, with very much mixed results I'm afraid. His 2013 film Gerontophilla, the most accessible film La Bruce has made to date, is so sweet but audiences who flocked to Love, Simon would be running for the exits on mass if they happened upon it. I was surprised that God's Own Country wasn't mentioned in the article though. It's a film that seems to have struck a cord with audiences but had the misfortune of being released in 2017 - the year of Call My By Your Name, so never really broke through to a winder audience, though I must confess that it left he as cold as the environment that it is set in.
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby Franz Ferdinand » Thu May 17, 2018 11:54 am

Going back to the Simon thoughts, this quote is from a longer piece on Queer Cinema.

Beyond discourse, the question of what makes a film queer has become subsumed by aesthetics and narratives that display a straight gaze. The most egregious example is one of the most recent: Love, Simon, a gay bildungsroman whose political and moral center is that its protagonist Simon is Not That Kind of Gay. Simon is a blandly handsome high-school teenager (Nick Robinson) who spends much of the film assuring the (hetero) audience that he’s just like them. “For the most part, my life is totally normal,” he says in the expository voice-over. He lives in a big two-story house; his parents are played by L.L.Bean catalogue models Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel; he gets a car with a big red ribbon on it for his birthday like a holiday car commercial. “I’m just like you except I have one huge-ass secret,” he says. “Nobody knows I’m gay.”

So what kind of gay is he not? Well, he’s certainly not like the only out gay student at his school named Ethan, a black femme student (Clark Moore) who delivers many of the movie’s only jokes. In a scene where a couple of jocks are bullying Ethan, Simon remarks, “I wish Ethan wouldn’t make it so easy for them.” When Ethan and Simon finally talk in the end, rather than have Ethan push back against just how good Simon has it, the film whiffs and has Ethan act as a sympathetic shoulder to lean on. Ethan remains a patsy, offering reassurance rather than resistance to the implicit assumption that Simon is “relatable” precisely because he’s white, masculine, and upper-middle class. The gravest injustice in Love, Simon is that a gay white boy couldn’t have grown up like a straight white boy.

It’s easy to castigate Love, Simon, but it’s the middlebrow iteration of a widespread sensibility that trades in sentimentality as a way to render LGBT people sympathetic


The entire article is worth a read.

http://www.vulture.com/2018/05/queer-ci ... to-it.html


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