The Official Review Thread of 2018

Sabin
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby Sabin » Fri Oct 05, 2018 5:50 am

The Academy was really onto something with the Best Popular Movie category, except instead it should be Worst Popular Movie. We're in a remarkable period of time where so many movies that cost over $100 million makes money. Obviously there are exceptions, but it would really open up a dialogue about ultimately what kind of bad movies are made. For the most part, there are two kinds of bad movies: boringly competent and disastrously incompetent. When you go to see a Transformers movie or even a Marvel movie, you know what you're going to get. Something that fits into a cookie cutter perfectly. If you don't like the cookies, enjoy your nap. But then there's another kind of bad movie, like your DC Movie or in this case Venom, so ill-conceived you never know what the next minute might bring.

I was dragged to Venom this evening and I will say this: I was not bored. It is a terrible film full of plot holes and inconsistencies so glaring my grandmother could point them out. Why is everybody so bad at their jobs? Investigative reporters, scientists, security guards: everybody! Why does the symbiote have seemingly total awareness of earth pop culture slang the moment he bonds to Eddie? Why does the plot not allow Eddie and the symbiote one moment to react to their unique situation and learn from each other? They don't even have a barely defined meaningful relationship? If the symbiote killed all of their previous hosts, what is special about Hardy, Ahmed, or Williams (spoilers)? This goes entirely unremarked upon. I could really keep going. This film reeks of lack of confidence and post-production, re-editing nightmare. All of it leads up to a tacked on third act of two CGI monsters fighting each other, climaxing in a remarkable image of two symbiotes battling that looks like a jizz fight.

Everybody is bad in this film. Tom Hardy at least commits to it. An awful film devoid of a single honest, believable moment. I wasn't bored for a second but I likely won't see a worse film this year.
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Sep 29, 2018 10:59 am

SMALLFOOT
Cast: Channing Tatum, James Corden, Zendaya, Common, LeBron James, Gina Rodriguez, Danny DeVito, Yara Shahidi, Ely Henry, Jimmy Tatro, Patricia Heaton, Justin Roiland (voices).
Dir: Karey Kirkpatrick.

A young Yeti discovers the possible existence of a legendary creature among Yetis called the "Smallfoot" (i.e. humans). What else can I say? This pretty much went the way I thought it was gonna go. It's entertaining enough for the kids and is also funny and sophisticated enough for grown-ups. But there's absolutely nothing particularly outstanding. The voice-acting is good. The animation is fine. The message its trying to impart is also fine (Philosophy 101 for the elementary audience!) As it turns out, it's also a musical, the songs were fine. Everything is fine. That's also the worst thing I can say about it. Being fine makes it kind of forgettable too.

Oscar Prospects: Animated Feature is a longshot. Original Song is possible.

Grade: C+

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby Big Magilla » Sun Sep 23, 2018 4:55 pm

Winnie Winkle ran for 76 years from 1920-1996. God help us if The Avengers lasts anywhere near that.
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby Reza » Sun Sep 23, 2018 4:51 pm

Mister Tee wrote:So...Avengers: Infinity War.

SPOILERS, THOUGH PROBABLY NO ONE CARES BY NOW

What a big, bloated mess. An hour in, and they were still throwing more characters into the mix. It got hard to keep track of which bunch of characters was where -- and I'm not sure that mattered, in the end, because at some point it seemed they all had just the same super-powers: flying around, and whamming the villains. (At least in the X-Men movies, the individual powers matter.) I only vaguely remembered things about certain characters (very hazy on who Paul Bettany was), but, again, that didn't handicap me much, since the plot as usual came down to "Super-bad Villain wants to take over the world, and everyone else fights to stop him".

I was grateful for Chris Pratt's presence in the movie, as he was generally amusing. On the other hand, I'm about three steps past sick of Robert Downey's shtik. Everybody beyond that was so super-serious they bored me senseless.

As for that "ending"...in my youth, there was a long-running comic strip called Winnie Winkle. At one point, somewhere around 1960/61, she was said to be dead -- and I remember my father saying "How long till we find out she's still alive?" Same deal here. If you believe Marvel is ready to kill off half of its franchises -- if you for a moment think there won't be a sequel to the billion-ish-grossing Black Panther...well, your childish faith is adorable. So, why would I be moved by something that I know is going to undone or reversed in time for about a dozen more movies?

Speaking of Black Panther...if it doesn't win visual effects next February, I think we can write off the chances of any Marvel film ever taking the prize. Not to disparage the amount of work done of the effects here -- they're wall-to-wall and, I guess, impressive. But I think there's not a hint of "shock of the new" about them; when such an ocean of effects can seem so routine, even banal, I don't see much chance Oscar voters will ever go that way. Black Panther can win on cultural/critical prominence; after that, I think Marvel is dead except as chanceless nominee.


:lol:

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby Mister Tee » Sun Sep 23, 2018 4:37 pm

So...Avengers: Infinity War.

SPOILERS, THOUGH PROBABLY NO ONE CARES BY NOW

What a big, bloated mess. An hour in, and they were still throwing more characters into the mix. It got hard to keep track of which bunch of characters was where -- and I'm not sure that mattered, in the end, because at some point it seemed they all had just the same super-powers: flying around, and whamming the villains. (At least in the X-Men movies, the individual powers matter.) I only vaguely remembered things about certain characters (very hazy on who Paul Bettany was), but, again, that didn't handicap me much, since the plot as usual came down to "Super-bad Villain wants to take over the world, and everyone else fights to stop him".

I was grateful for Chris Pratt's presence in the movie, as he was generally amusing. On the other hand, I'm about three steps past sick of Robert Downey's shtik. Everybody beyond that was so super-serious they bored me senseless.

As for that "ending"...in my youth, there was a long-running comic strip called Winnie Winkle. At one point, somewhere around 1960/61, she was said to be dead -- and I remember my father saying "How long till we find out she's still alive?" Same deal here. If you believe Marvel is ready to kill off half of its franchises -- if you for a moment think there won't be a sequel to the billion-ish-grossing Black Panther...well, your childish faith is adorable. So, why would I be moved by something that I know is going to undone or reversed in time for about a dozen more movies?

Speaking of Black Panther...if it doesn't win visual effects next February, I think we can write off the chances of any Marvel film ever taking the prize. Not to disparage the amount of work done of the effects here -- they're wall-to-wall and, I guess, impressive. But I think there's not a hint of "shock of the new" about them; when such an ocean of effects can seem so routine, even banal, I don't see much chance Oscar voters will ever go that way. Black Panther can win on cultural/critical prominence; after that, I think Marvel is dead except as chanceless nominee.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Sep 23, 2018 5:19 am

THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS
Cast: Jack Black, Cate Blanchett, Owen Vaccaro, Kyle MacLachlan, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Lorenza Izzo, Sunny Suljic, Colleen Camp.
Dir: Eli Roth.

An orphaned 10 year old boy is sent to live with his uncle who happens to be a good warlock but with a lot of secrets. One of the most interesting elements in this film is the fact that it's directed by Eli Roth, a horror movie director known for his hard-R torture porno movies like Hostel (which I'm not a fan of). How did he do in his first foray into a PG-rated kids' film? It's...okay, very okay. He does better with the spooky, horror elements than he does with the fantasy whimsy elements. The entire thing is almost held together by Cate Blanchett who surprisingly does not phone it in. She gives it a lot of humor and depth and even shares some nice chemistry with Jack Black who gives his usual Jack Black performance. It's inoffensive fun for kiddies but there are better options out there.

Oscar Prospects: Makeup & Hairstyling is possible.

Grade: B-

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:19 am

SEARCHING
Cast: John Cho, Debra Messing, Michelle La, Sara Sohn, Joseph Lee.
Dir: Aneesh Chaganty.

A father searches for his missing 16 year old daughter by tracking her social media activity. This is a film that's pretty much told entirely from smart phones and computer screens. Yes, it's a gimmick and yes, it's been done before but this film has done it the most effectively so far. From the opening montage which, quite frankly, rivals Up in its emotional impact does a good job of setting up the characters and making us invested in them to the gripping, unfolding mystery behind the disappearance. One of the things that struck me when watching this film is the fact that the story is led by an Asian-American character but the story didn't really require him to be one. It does give the film an added layer of character. It's definitely one of the best genre efforts of the year.

Oscar Prospects: John Cho wouldn't be an embarrassing Best Actor nominee. Editing and Screenplay too.

Grade: B+

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Sep 16, 2018 5:21 am

THE PREDATOR
Cast: Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Olivia Munn, Sterling K. Brown, Keegan-Michael Key, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen, Augusto Aguilera, Yvonne Strahovski, Jake Busey.
Dir: Shane Black.

The Predator comes back to Earth to wreck some havoc and he's hunted by a bigger, badder Predator and caught in a crossfire is a bunch of PTSD soldiers, a government organization that wants to acquire Predator weapons and an autistic young boy. Yes, just writing that out made me realize what a narrative mess this thing is. So many different elements going on at the same time that it seems like the executives upstairs can't decide where to go with this franchise they just threw every possibility out there. But....I found it still quite fun. There are some funny Shane Black-style lines and the cast is engaging. So at least it's a fun mess.

Oscar Prospects: None.

Grade: C+

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Sep 15, 2018 8:11 am

A SIMPLE FAVOR
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding, Rupert Friend, Andrew Rannells, Linda Cardellini, Jean Smart, Joshua Satine, Ian Ho.
Dir: Paul Feig.

A mommy blogger's best friend, whom she met because her son is friends with her son, goes missing. That's all I will say. One of the pleasures of this film is the way it unfolds. In a way, it's nothing you haven't seen before in many other classic crime thrillers, neo-noirs and film noirs but what makes this unique is that it's directed by Paul Feig, and being who he is, he adds a layer of humor not seen in a lot of these types of films. And it works. It makes the thrills and twists and the turns more engaging and even somewhat believable. Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively are both fantastic and it looks like Henry Golding is here to stay.

Oscar Prospects: None.

Grade: B+

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby OscarGuy » Fri Sep 14, 2018 6:27 pm

It's hardly a plot irrelevance. It's no different than the absence of Mr. Beale in the musical Grey Gardens. It simply demonstrates that the patriarch is too busy for everything but making money, leaving his wife to raise the child and groom him. That distance is simply a detail that explains the son's upbringing without having to incessantly call attention to itself.
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby Mister Tee » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:51 pm

Uri wrote:
Mister Tee wrote:Did you pick this up from the movie, or were you acquainted with the book? I'm just curious if I was particularly slow-on-the-draw in grasping all the relationships (I have to admit, several of the peripheral characters I had difficulty placing -- there were thrown at me pretty fast).


It's stated in the film itself - that grand matriarch had 3 children - the unseen father of the leading man and two daughters who are constantly dotting on her, one is the mother of Astrid, the other one of a son we also see in the film. (I'm afraid I'm compulsive when it comes to onscreen genealogy. I've always been a sucker for family trees - from royal ones to the ones I was keeping as a child of the cows in our farm).


I think I missed every bit of that.

By the way, you indirectly raise something else that bothered me about the film: when a big deal is made about a character (the father) having been unexpectedly called away on business, I expect 1) for that to have some role in the plot and 2) for the father to re-appear at some pivotal moment and make a difference to the narrative. Instead, it was a floating plot irrelevance.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby Uri » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:37 pm

Mister Tee wrote:Did you pick this up from the movie, or were you acquainted with the book? I'm just curious if I was particularly slow-on-the-draw in grasping all the relationships (I have to admit, several of the peripheral characters I had difficulty placing -- there were thrown at me pretty fast).


It's stated in the film itself - that grand matriarch had 3 children - the unseen father of the leading man and two daughters who are constantly dotting on her, one is the mother of Astrid, the other one of a son we also see in the film. (I'm afraid I'm compulsive when it comes to onscreen genealogy. I've always been a sucker for family trees - from royal ones to the ones I was keeping as a child of the cows in our farm).

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby Mister Tee » Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:56 pm

Uri wrote:
Mister Tee wrote:
Mister Tee wrote:And Gemma Chan, as sister Astrid...I kept thinking, dye her hair blonde and she's a ringer for Ivanka Trump.


She plays his cousin, not that it's mather. And Astrid's face most probably had work done to it by the same plastic surgeon as Ivanka's.


Did you pick this up from the movie, or were you acquainted with the book? I'm just curious if I was particularly slow-on-the-draw in grasping all the relationships (I have to admit, several of the peripheral characters I had difficulty placing -- there were thrown at me pretty fast).

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby Uri » Fri Sep 14, 2018 6:12 am

Mister Tee wrote:Leading man Henry Golding's model/pretty boy look weirdly makes him look semi-Caucasian.


that because he is - his father is English, his mother Malaysian.

Mister Tee wrote:And Gemma Chan, as sister Astrid...I kept thinking, dye her hair blonde and she's a ringer for Ivanka Trump.


She plays his cousin, not that it's mather. And Astrid's face most probably had work done to it by the same plastic surgeon as Ivanka's.

The film's esthetics as well as approach to developing plotlines and characters are those of a commercial. At one point I was wishing it was intentional - these people seems to have only consumerism as a point of reference and motivation for their actions, but than you have the heroin and her mother - who are supposed to be "genuine" people, representing our - the plebeians - point of view, alas, they are presented in exactly the same synthetic way, making you realize this empty, shallow take on the world is the filmmakers'.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby Mister Tee » Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:35 am

Crazy Rich Asians offers up two hours of wealth porn, food porn, fashion porn, even botany porn -- all wrapped inside a romance-among-beautiful-people that follows the most hackneyed of formulas (old-fashioned mother resentful of the woman her son wants to marry). Is it enjoyable? I guess, in the same way downing a bag of Cheetos or a tub of Haagen-Dazs is -- painless, but strictly empty calories. Even in the category of "it's just entertainment", you'd like to think a movie'd offer SOMETHING fresh.

What is distinguishing, of course, is that the film is headlined by Asians, top to bottom, and I guess the insane grosses might open the door to more creative work by subsequent similar casts. But here, the actors are pretty bland (Michelle Yeoh and, I guess, Awkwafina excluded), and almost too beautiful to take seriously. Leading man Henry Golding's model/pretty boy look weirdly makes him look semi-Caucasian. And Gemma Chan, as sister Astrid...I kept thinking, dye her hair blonde and she's a ringer for Ivanka Trump.

And what in god's name was that scene with bride and bridesmaids wading through a river to get to the altar? I can't imagine any bride I know (emphatically not my wife) happy to have a soaked dress-bottom to get married in.


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