The Official Review Thread of 2019

anonymous1980
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2019

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Oct 13, 2019 3:45 am

GEMINI MAN
Cast: Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, Benedict Wong, Ralph Brown, Douglas Hodge.
Dir: Ang Lee.

A government assassin retires and finds out that a younger clone of himself was tasked with killing him. The only reason I saw this is because it's directed by Ang Lee. I haven't really outright disliked anything I've seen from his filmography even the last one had some interesting ideas and some good performances. This one though is outright bad. Despite some decent action sequences and visuals, this is just silly and kind of dull. I sat there thinking, "This feels like a bad '90s action movie," and wouldn't you know it, the script has been in development since 1997 when movies about clones were all the rage. It does contain some themes that make it feel like an Ang Lee movie (the growing old angle and the daddy issues angle) but it's still pretty bad. I hope Ang Lee still has a few more great ones in him because this won't be one of them.

Oscar Prospects: Visual Effects is a possibility.

Grade: D+

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2019

Postby Sabin » Sat Oct 12, 2019 1:27 am

I think one of the signs of a great film is when you are asked what was so good about it, you talk about character choices. I could go on about what the characters in Parasite choose to do and why for hours. I don't think the film totally sticks the landing (or rather it hits a bump or two along the way) but it's an incredible ride.

Like all Bong films, Parasite a collision of genres and tones that he somehow ties together through force of will. This one is more earthbound than his other films. I was lucky to go in fresh. I had no idea what the film was about or where it was going. Everything unfolded like a wonderful surprise. So, I'll simply say it's the story of a remarkably impoverished South Korean family. Stories of intense poverty and economic disparities really get to me. This is a great one because it never languishes. The characters are always desperately going after something but Bong makes sure that we have a world of empathy for these characters, which is so paramount because they make choices that take advantage of weakness and kindness. There are many moments in this film where characters take advantage of other characters and yet it never feels cruel. He finds the right balance so we are laughing with the choices.

It's a film of tragedies that is full of laughter. While I have some reservations about some character choices at the end of the film, I was constantly enthralled and fairly moved by the end. Loved it.


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The ending lacks a bit of the inspiration of the rest of the film. This is a movie that feels primed to explode and instead it just brutalizes. I never bought "Mr. Kim"'s... choice. The movie makes it a point to set up that he is capable of making that choice and to set up the smell of poverty as a recurring device, but it never seems like a raw nerve for the character. I didn't entirely buy his action. To buy it, I would have had to understand it more before or after the fact. There's something slightly off or missing in Parasite's ending. Perhaps it is saying something about the chaotic nature of class warfare but it just wasn't totally clear to me.
"Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough." ~ FDR

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2019

Postby Sabin » Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:13 pm

dws1982 wrote
Not yet, although I've had the BluRay sitting here for a couple of months now. It looked very Marvel, for lack of a better term.

It is but I found myself enjoying it. It has some fun, Burton-y moments I haven't seen in a while, especially in the prologue.
"Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough." ~ FDR

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2019

Postby dws1982 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 3:09 pm

Sabin wrote:
dws1982 wrote
However, it does illustrate one reason why I prefer DC movies to Marvel, and why I probably always will.

Have you seen Shazam?

Not yet, although I've had the BluRay sitting here for a couple of months now. It looked very Marvel, for lack of a better term.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2019

Postby Sabin » Fri Oct 11, 2019 2:49 pm

dws1982 wrote
However, it does illustrate one reason why I prefer DC movies to Marvel, and why I probably always will.

Have you seen Shazam?
"Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough." ~ FDR

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2019

Postby dws1982 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 2:33 pm

So I found Joker to be kind of a miserable sit. Part of it may have been the fact that I was hungry going in, but some of it is in the film itself: The first two acts verge pretty closely to misery-porn (for the first hour I kept thinking of Mister Tee and his disdain for stories about "losers losing") and the final act, while not misery-porn, is still not fun to watch. It's skillfully-made and Phoenix gives a committed performance, but I don't find myself reacting very strongly to the film positively or negatively.

However, it does illustrate one reason why I prefer DC movies to Marvel, and why I probably always will. Marvel would never allow one of its properties to be used in the way that DC allows Joker to be used here. DC and Warner are willing to make filmmakers to some big risks, and even if the risks don't pay-off, movies like this are the result of that risk-taking. I'm thankful for that risk-taking, I'm glad it got made, although I definitely like the idea of the movie much more than I like the final result.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2019

Postby Sabin » Mon Oct 07, 2019 6:38 pm

Reza wrote
Are you from America?

Yes, indeed. Which is why I’d welcome your perspective.
"Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough." ~ FDR

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2019

Postby Reza » Mon Oct 07, 2019 4:14 pm

Sabin wrote:I'd love to hear what you think some of them are? Besides, obviously, "people with mental illness need help."


Are you from America?

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2019

Postby Sabin » Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:06 pm

Reza wrote
I thought Phillips, through the film, said a whole lot about a number of serious issues plaguing not only the United States but also many other parts of the world. And if by chance Phillips had a totally different point of view and the film was just comic book fodder going the route of Tarantino, then I and a number of people here seem to be on the same wavelength about it. The film touches on very serious issues within its flashy pop sensibility.....yes even on mental illness.

I guess you and I both came away with a totally different view of the film.

I'd love to hear what you think some of them are? Besides, obviously, "people with mental illness need help."
"Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough." ~ FDR

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2019

Postby Reza » Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:06 am

Sabin wrote: It’s altogether unclear what he’s trying to say.


I thought Phillips, through the film, said a whole lot about a number of serious issues plaguing not only the United States but also many other parts of the world. And if by chance Phillips had a totally different point of view and the film was just comic book fodder going the route of Tarantino, then I and a number of people here seem to be on the same wavelength about it. The film touches on very serious issues within its flashy pop sensibility.....yes even on mental illness.

I guess you and I both came away with a totally different view of the film.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2019

Postby Sabin » Mon Oct 07, 2019 5:32 am

Reza wrote
Not even once did I feel, while watching "Joker", that it was a comic book film.

I think calling something a comic book film doesn’t mean the fate of the world is at hand or aliens are being fought. It can mean it plays to a pop sensibilities. I would say it feels like a comic book like most Tarantino films do. It never has a serious interest in mental illness, just as Inglourious Basterds never has a serious interest in the Holocaust. Joker feels like a skillful remix, and how skillful it appears depends on a few things (such as how much the individual needs a Joker origin film, which I just don’t).

A serious film about mental illness? No. But a modest budget Hollywood film that suggests how flashpoint a lower class uprising could be? I got a thrill from that even though at the end of the day Phillips (not Arthur) is the apolitical one. It’s altogether unclear what he’s trying to say. Which makes it all the more a comic movie.
"Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough." ~ FDR

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2019

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:13 am

ABOMINABLE
Cast: Chloe Bennet, Tenzing Norgay Trainor, Albert Tsai, Sarah Paulson, Eddie Izzard, Tsai Chin, Michelle Wong (voices).
Dir: Jill Culton.

A teenage girl finds a Yeti (the Abominable Snowman) in her rooftop and together with her two friends, try and take him back home to the Himalayas, while trying to evade an elderly billionaire and a zoologist hellbent on proving its existence. This is like the third animated film about the Yeti/Sasquatch. The best thing I can say about this film is that it's far from bad (it's the second best Yeti movie released in the past 16 months). The worst thing I can say about this movie is that it's also far from great. The plot is super typical of this type of film and is largely predictable (though they did pull a switcheroo on the "antagonist who has a change of heart" part). That said, this should please most kids without annoying the parents. You could do a lot worse. It's a fine adventure.

Oscar Prospects: The Best Animated Feature category is still weak this year so this could sneak in by virtue of it not being a sequel. It should contend for Original Song as well.

Grade: B-

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2019

Postby Reza » Sun Oct 06, 2019 8:43 am

Not even once did I feel, while watching "Joker", that it was a comic book film. It was only when Bruce Wayne, the kid, pops up that I was brought back to the "reality" of the connection which joined this sad man to the Batman franchise. Luckily those bits weren't terribly intrusive and the film took me back to the story of this depressed man and the various important messages the screenplay was trying to convey. At least that's how my take of the film is. Not once did I feel it was treading a comic book path which is probably why I liked it so much.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2019

Postby Sabin » Sun Oct 06, 2019 2:22 am

Todd Phillips' Joker is going to inspire the worst film criticism of the year from both sides (professional and amateur)*. So let me just weigh in first on what it *is*. It's a comic book movie. It's not anything that could possibly be taken seriously as a film about mental illness. It's a comic book movie telling an origin story using pretty expert riffs on genres we've seen before to stick the landing. And for the most part, Joker works. For me, the strongest selling point of Joker is that it's exactly the kind of film growing up that I wish they would make. Now that I am 38, I understand why an adult film industry wouldn't make such a film. But we don't have an adult film industry anymore, don't we. Regardless, the three narrative devices employed in this film are: 1) we wait to see him become the Joker, 2) we go through doors hoping for explanations as to reasons why he is what he is, and 3) watching Joaquin Phoenix do crazy shit. All three of these are effective but never profound. It would be a shame if Joaquin Phoenix wins the Oscar for this film, which is why I'm fairly certain he will win. For me, he never quite comes into focus as a character, however he is very effectively utilized by the film as a whole. I enjoyed the vision, as a gritty, grimy, well-shot, edited, scored, thing that filled me with excitement and dread, about a world of Haves and Have Nots, of remarkable inequalities, and all it takes a world into chaos is a spark.

But at the end of the day it is a comic book movie in that it is using these tropes in an unserious but effective manner designed to thrill and excite. That's it. They're all mostly used very well. This is a well crafted film. The moment where Arthur is smacked in the face with his stolen sign is shot and edited better than it should be. It truly feels like it comes from nowhere. The whole film is full of those moments.

Definitely worth watching.

* After Todd Phillips' public comments this past week, I don't blame anyone for loathing this film. What a remarkably unserious asshole for suggesting that it was woke culture that drove him away from making his precious Hangover sequels and forced him to make... his best film. The worst moment of the film is a Clown protester holding a RESIST sign. What... are... you... doing? Especially considering that it completely undermines a fairly astonishing "Kill The Rich" economic message.
"Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough." ~ FDR

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2019

Postby Reza » Sat Oct 05, 2019 3:35 pm

I've not been a big fan of any of the comic book films (except Black Panther) that we have been inundated with these last 10-15 years or so. However, I'm happy to be called a fanboy of "Joker". I think it's a brilliant and important film about mental illness and extremely relevant to what's happening in the United States today - a calling for more medical attention towards this illness (globally) and the rampant violence constantly in the news in America with mass shootings in schools, cinemas and restaurants.

It is also a remarkable character study with an amazing performance by Phoenix. He deserves to finally win an Oscar. If the film is a hit I think it will be nominated for more than just his performance. It should get nods for Best film, Todd Phillips, the screenplay, cinematography, production design, score, sound design and make-up in addition to Phoenix.


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