The Film Review Corner

Extraneous communication, genuflection, adulation, dissection and admiration should make its way in here.

Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Vivia » Sun Feb 01, 2015 12:36 am

Three surprising movies, three feel-good films.

Just Like One of the Guys:
I wasn't expecting to find the film as good as I did, I was totally charmed by it, I have soft spot for gender-bender stories. Joyce Hyser played a teenage girl who is disappointed by the sexism she experiences while pursuing her dream as a journalist. She has it all, she is popular, she has looks and a cool boyfriend, typical teen comedy territory. And so, she decides to cross-dress as a male student and apply to a different high school. Hyser was 30 when she played this role and that's amazing, she looks exactly as a teen, and she pulls off the male outfit, not 100% but it's charmingly enough. Excellent acting throughout by the cast, there was nothing cheap about it, top notch 1980's teen flick. I'm in a nostalgic mood now.

The Big Hunt:
It's a film about bird watching, and I was completely drawn in, birds are fascinating, when I saw it had Jack Black and Steve Martin, at first I was a bit eh, but it quickly went away. Black was very subtle in his role for a change and doesn't play an annoying idiot, in fact he is quite cute as the adorkable guy. Martin is also very toned down, none of them do any physical comedy, it isn't Blade of Glory were the entire premise is making fun of skating, it treats bird watching just like it should be as hobby. Owen Wilson plays the jerk for a change, he is good yet not entirely convincing as one, I'm finding it hard to see him age but it happens to all actors. The film doesn't make any of the main characters into stereotypes; Black isn't a loser to laugh at, he gets a compelling background with divorce, a job he hates and a disinterested father. Martin plays the career guy who is trying to break free from a over-consuming job, Wilson is the competitive one who loses a lot along the way. Some gorgeous cinematography and very nice comedy.

The Men Who Stares at Goats:
Really great cast for this one, Jeff Bridges is so good as Bill, I'm not fond of Kevin Spacey and George Clooney, but as an ensemble they created magic. When I saw Ewan McGregor I was like "who are you", I can't believe I used to like him back in Velvet Goldmine and Trainspotting.Since he made the Star Wars films he is forever tainted in my mind, he isn't that comedic and compared to other actors he came across as a little boy; I'm all for androgyny and boyish's charms, of which Clooney has plenty, but this shouldn't translate into a lost manhood.
For the film, it was great in parts and had a charm, the humour and satire was really nice, Spacey's spirit voice was so random, but as whole it doesn't hold up and wasn't that enthralling.
There is nothing gay about the Princeton fight song. "Oh, the men of Princeton are charging up the rear, holding all the balls..." Okay, I hear it now. – Jack, episode Queen of Jordan
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Mossy Toes » Sun Feb 01, 2015 1:25 am

Looper was enjoyable, so long as you don't look too closely at the logic and consistency of various timelines, as far as I'm concerned... still, a good example of making a tangled Gordian Knot of a quandary that is neatly resolved with one quick, extreme, outside-the-box Alexander-sword-slash.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Vivia » Tue Feb 03, 2015 6:24 pm

Holy guacamole, I have been watching so many films lately and they're all interesting.

Rocky Horror Picture Show:

When I watched it as a child I got nothing from watching it, then as a teen it made no sense and left me disappointed, it took until now to GET it. I'm very anti-musical, I can't take them unless they are extraordinary in some sense. This time I managed to get yet another different view and that's what I'll mention.
I have been talking so much about timeless appeal and what nots, RHPS is an excellent example of this. It has a lot of the '70s culture, the experimental stuff and sexual revolution, yet it's such a deliberative hodgepodge of several eras that works very well. I love it as an homage to old sci-fi films and horror, but at first glance it seemed just like a campy film a la Myra Breckinridge and Valley of the Dolls, vapid and kitschy.
It has some lovely moments of horror elements; when Frank kills Eddie, the first creation. Terrific mood setting at the build up of the scene, first we get a really nice rock'n roll number and everyone were singing and dancing, then time to commit murder. The sounds from the ice hack in the background were very creepy. I love the reference to Robert Mitchum in Night of the Hunter, Eddie had the same knuckle tattoos. Then there is the comedy, which is so funny; the dinner scene is grand, the setting of kind of Gothic castle and Frank uses an electric meat saw to cut up a turkey. I can appreciate the constant battles of the normal vs the unconventional.
The cabaret musical number is quite moving and beautiful, it manages to be both sad and horrific. First time I noticed the buoy said "S.S Titanic", alluding to what is happening. The show must go on.
Frank is wonderful as both evil and vulnerable, despite all the over-the-top he had many sides.They even managed to make Rocky into a version of Frankenstein's monster, the tragic beast. The story is shock-full of high and low themes in our culture.

Special mention of Michael Gray as the narrator, he gave a calm dignified presence to what we were watching.
There is nothing gay about the Princeton fight song. "Oh, the men of Princeton are charging up the rear, holding all the balls..." Okay, I hear it now. – Jack, episode Queen of Jordan
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Athelassan » Wed Feb 04, 2015 2:38 am

Saw Kingsman this evening. Really good fun, consistently funny, impressive fight choreography, and a couple of scenes of jaw-dropping audacity. Some entertaining cameos; Mark Strong in particular is very good. I'm not familiar with the source material, but the film is kind of unapologetically and unironically... Tory, in the classical rather than the modern sense, although also happy to send up Bond, the Avengers, and other classic spy thrillers whenever it gets the chance. There was briefly a problem of tonal dissonance, and one joke that was really ill-judged, both towards the end, but on the whole I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Vivia » Fri Feb 06, 2015 1:46 am

I forgot I had watched this picture, and Out of the Past, for the film challenge 2014, well meh. Le film noir is back, I watched them due to the Tired Old Queen at The Cinema reviews.

Fallen Angel (1945):

As Otto Preminger second film noir it's much darker than Laura, the story leans towards hard-boiled than the melodrama of his first film in the genre.
Again, we see Dana Andrews in the lead, Linda Parcell plays the femme fatale and it's hard to grasp that she hadn't done these types of roles before and her age, Charles Bickford plays a nasty police detective and is pretty scary in his intensity. Every actor is solid in their performances, they're wonderful to watch. As this a darker story, the characters are depicted in a merciless, unflattering view of 1940s life.
Andrews plays a drifter, the kind of person one expect living in the aftermath of WWII, going from town to town without any purpose in life. If one think about these factors it easy to see the underlying darkness and obsession that the characters tend to possess in film noir. Andrews' character becomes obsessed with the town's waitress, and the waitress isn't the nicest woman around, not to mention he is kind of a creep. He isn't the only one interested in the waitress. This leads to a spiral of crimes of passion and theft when Andrews tries to con another young woman, the only real likeable person in the story.

What I love about the film is the view of the town, since this takes place after WWII, despite the sunniness and charm of the small town the characters really speak otherwise, people are boiling with menace and darkness in an emotionally desolate place. The detective had some graphic scene that weren't all that common in the day.

Dana Andrews starred in a handful of film noir and was an amazing actor. He had a rare quality, very rare, a subtle acting skill. He only moves his eyes and body language to convey passion, one flicker of the eye and we know he is angry. A true cinematic actor, where the camera captures the minimal gestures, it's worth paying attention to them. In Laura he plays a police detective and in Fallen Angel he is a crook, and with small but significant changes he made the transition. He had a quiet menace and a surprisingly deep voice, a hot and cold quality which gives the impression that at any given moment he will burst out in murderous rage , despite this he kept a boyish charm when he smiled. He reminds me a little of Jeff Bridges.


Steve Hayes: Fallen Angel
There is nothing gay about the Princeton fight song. "Oh, the men of Princeton are charging up the rear, holding all the balls..." Okay, I hear it now. – Jack, episode Queen of Jordan
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Vivia » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:38 pm

Over The Top:

Classic Stallone film, and not classic as in superior art, but as a parody of art. Over The Top is my friend's all-time favourite riffable film, he owns the VHS just for this purpose.

I love when Stallone tries, like really tries to be a down-to-earth person and yet still seems to have taken a too long sniff of the white powder, because he co-wrote the script of this thing. I don't know much about the '80s USA but I hear Jack Donaghy's voice saying something akin to "wholesome American entertainment" and "appeal to the holy trinity: college students, the morbidly obese and homosexuals" when I watch this film.

So we get Stallone playing as a wholesome, patriotic trucker named Lincoln Hawk, I wish I was joking and only the name gives the vibe of 30 Rock territory, in a journey to come close to his estranged son or whatever. It's all very selfless but it goes nearer and nearer to Jenna Maroney territory and Stallone NEEDS to show off his bulging muscles and strength. Screw son and family, make way for MEEE! It's an irrepressible urge to show off everything at once, acting skills, muscles, t-shirt wearing. What is even more odd is that there is drama and action, superfluous action and drama that fits no purpose at all except to show his person in a flattering light, something he certainly needs because he takes his poor son to seedy bars to seek entertainment. Wholesome fun for the family found at the bottom of a whisky bottle. Try to remember that this is a family drama and not a comedy.

Family, death, arm wrestling, Stallone feeling real emotions, the film tries to cram it all in in ways that aren't all digestible for the audience. The arm wrestling competitions are surreal: Again, entertainment for the whole family, happy grannies, small children, all crowd to this event because watching weird and violent men is what families do best. There is a scene that mimics a Rocky film; b/w shot, Hawk loses in arm wrestling, slow motion. Sadness.

What makes the film pure comedy gold is the tone: It's serious but the only way it can be done right if it's Zoolander.Stallone isn't joking in this film, he is dead serious about the raw dramatic performance. :lol:
What kills me is the fact that Hawk's son has an evil grandfather, which means evil according to the world of Stallone, he wants to protect his grandson and Hawk is the good father shown with acts of violence.
Moral of the story: Have a cool dad that is Stallone with a big truck and look for arm wrestling in questionable places.

If the viewer thinks this is top of the out-of-this world Stallone, then think again because Cobra takes the cake: Violent Reagan-loving cop takes on devil cult worshippers. Stallone dipped his head in cocaine and went up for air and apparently everyone involved.

For more cocaine stories read Michael Ironside's interview, he is a legend:
Michael Ironside on Turbo Kid, Highlander II, and being in the real McBain
Last edited by Vivia on Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:23 am, edited 2 times in total.
There is nothing gay about the Princeton fight song. "Oh, the men of Princeton are charging up the rear, holding all the balls..." Okay, I hear it now. – Jack, episode Queen of Jordan
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Insomniac » Wed Feb 18, 2015 10:18 pm

He cuts a slice of pizza in half with scissors in Cobra. Scissors. C'mon.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Vivia » Mon Feb 23, 2015 1:50 am

:D

Regrettable film of the year goes to I Know Who Killed Me starring Lindsay Lohan. I won't go into the plot because I understood it but it seemed so meaningless, the film doesn't really say anything. Nor am I going into a rant about what a bad film it is, I didn't think it was that bad. Lohan is good considering the story she stars in.
It's regrettable because it was a hideous film, it's so ugly shot, like everything, the actors to cinematography, I felt I needed a shower. The plot was okay, it's a regular horror film, pretty okay by their standards, the characters were the typical idiots and silly people one tend to find in bad horror flicks. The reviews are way too negative, most horror movies are bad, it's a given rule. This film doesn't stand out in any way in the genre.
My advice is to watch more film, watch Mystery Science Theater 3000. Feel the burning of bad cinema and let it warm you.

Learn from Steve Hayes, in his review about Oscar nominated The Letter:
"I decided to talk about the role that should have won but didn't, 1940 The Letter with Bette Davis. It was a real tough year for actresses. The nominees were Joan Fontaine in Rebecca, Bette Davies in The Letter, Katherine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story, Martha Scott in Our Town, Ginger Rogers in Kitty Foyle.
And they gave it to Ginger Rogers. Unwatchable movie."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhUVWZs5IgQ
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Vivia » Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:22 am

Film noir is the big thing at the moment.

Out Of the Past (1947):

This film is in my opinion among the darkest of film noir. One of the reasons I feel that it's because the movie is a gorgeous type of noir, not as lavish as Leave Her to Heaven, though not far from. It's wonderfully shot, the cast fits the story like a glove, the soundtrack is beautiful, it's top of the line production, most in the genre isn't, they are often as bleak as they look, lots of b-films in cheap quality.
The story starts as regular detective story, then it moves to be romance, and it's easy to get pulled in by it. The setting is gorgeous, the couple is in love, warmth and sunshine, not as much night scene as one might expect, director Jaques Torneour had a very good sense of this, it's all very deliberately to build up for where the story is heading. His touch in directing is precise and subtle.

It's Robert Mitchum at his best, and just as Dana Andrews he is perfect for noir because there is so much ambiguity in his acting, he doesn't need to express anything in words. Since this is a thriller he isn't good person, but he is so charming as a crook he becomes the good guy of the story. His character is the embodiment of noir; he is a person living in a small town after the aftermath of WWII, the ones that tried building a new life with hope, happiness and since this is noir it ends up nowhere good and wholesome.
Considering that Mitchum wasn't a Method actor, he wasn't a schooled actor at all, he learned on the set, he could stand alongside Marlon Brando. He could switch from sensitive, charming guy to heckling psychopath in two nanoseconds, sometimes it's kind hard to follow and not a little frightening. There is a story about his co-actress in Cape Fear, she was so frightened by him in one of their scenes she wasn't acting.

Jane Greer is outstanding in her role, she did much for the women in noir, which at times weren't very forgiving in portraying them as the "eternal darkness", but at the same time I found them refreshing from the so-called regular women in women's films from the '30s and '40s, they're so bad. She plays both the vicious and vulnerable femme fatale, the one that is so hard to get right, she does it in a very unexpected way. Stella in Fallen Angel was the wisecracking tough girl, Kathie is the nicest girl next door that is also a lying thief and casual murderer, she doesn't wear harsh make-up and it could even be called a natural look by Hollywood standards in the day. Greer does it without trying to pull any sympathy, she looks as innocent as a doll, her voice is what lends depth to her role. Her character is perfect foil for Mitchum's Jeff, both are devoid of sentimentality. She is so ruthless even Jeff is shocked, the gun for hire shocked by her immorality that's how vicious she is.
It's easy to think that even criminals need love, but oh my god. It's one of the best aspects in noir, the lack of sentimentality, especially as this was a time before the '50s, when Hollywood took a dark turn into producing lavish musicals in Technicolor. Blärgh.

Kirk Douglas stars in the role as the bad guy and he is a lot fun to watch. He is so small compared to Mitchum's physical and spiritual screen presence, he is like Mitchum's yapping little brother. Sometimes I forget that just because actors are filmed to look like Stallone doesn't mean they are, not even Stallone is Stallone outside of a movie. In other words, they're short. :lol:

Bittersweet, pitch-black film noir with a cruel ending, some of the darkest in film noir because it's so crass, so merciless. "We deserve each other" says Kathie in a scene towards the end and to me it's one of the most haunting lines in film, I strongly sympathised with Jeff. I couldn't help wonder what happened to romance, why did things get so...ugly.
There is nothing gay about the Princeton fight song. "Oh, the men of Princeton are charging up the rear, holding all the balls..." Okay, I hear it now. – Jack, episode Queen of Jordan
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Vivia » Sun Mar 01, 2015 6:02 pm

Since I have watched a bit of film noir I need to counteract the effect with comedy.

Adam and Steve:
I came across this film due to Parker Posey, I love her in nearly everything she does. It's a romcom which to me is among my least favourite genre, this one involves a gay couple so it's somewhat passable.
The story is nothing out of the norm, guy met guy in what must be the most unfortunate first night, it's so gross what happens. Guy had bitchy best friend Rhonda, the other guy had a jerk best friend. What bothered me a bit was the acting, at times it's very hard to get what the film was trying to be, the actors were a bit fake. Now, it could been a parody of the genre or as just bad acting, I don't know. The actor playing Adam was the most artificial which ruined things for me. Otherwise, the movie had some funny, witty lines and a lot of stabs at the 80s, always welcomed by me.

Dialogue about that only youngsters could say:

Goth Morbid (Rhonda): You're 21, you're almost 30. You have to be more aggressive.
Goth Rex Habit (Adam): What do I say?
Rhonda: Be yourself.
Adam: What's that?
There is nothing gay about the Princeton fight song. "Oh, the men of Princeton are charging up the rear, holding all the balls..." Okay, I hear it now. – Jack, episode Queen of Jordan
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Major Rawne » Fri Mar 06, 2015 5:15 pm

Just got back from seeing Chappie. Utterly fantastic film. Brilliant soundtrack. There re some feels to had watching it.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Mossy Toes » Sat Mar 07, 2015 12:25 am

Hanz Zimmer interspersed with Die Antwoord? What's not to like?

Going to try to rope some friends into seeing that, myself.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Chun the Unavoidable » Sat Mar 07, 2015 9:00 pm

Is it not Short Circuit?
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Xisor » Sun Mar 08, 2015 1:59 am

Chun the Unavoidable wrote:Is it not Short Circuit?

Perhaps it's a remake. In any event, it's no Short Circuit 2, so my childhood epic is safe.

*listens to 'I need a hero'*
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby David Earle » Wed Mar 18, 2015 1:01 pm

I watched the Pixels trailer. I want to like it, and seeing Pac-Man's creator get his hand bitten off by his own creation was funny. But so far it's either being promoted badly or it's going to be bad.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Vivia » Thu Mar 19, 2015 12:47 pm

Wedding Crashers:

I'm not a fan of romcoms and most certainly not of one starring Vince Vaugh. If it hadn't been for Owen Wilson this had been really bad. I have nothing against juvenile comedies about men trying to get it on with women, done rightly they're harmless fun, done wrongly, they become Wedding Crashers, mean-spirited and wrapped in a sticky layer of misogyny. Watching grown men trying to trick women isn't pleasant, anything else has to be better than this. But I don't think that's the problem, anyone but Vaughn could had make it seem less objectionable. He is what in women circles are called super creepers, paired alongside Wilson only accentuates this like a 100 times over, he plays his role straight and Wilson is harmless. Holy guacamole, irony is our friend. Then he gets married in the film. I'm sorry but the only way his character would be redeemed is by death. This can be said about any of his roles.

Vaugh and Wilson aren't versatile actors, Vaughn isn't an actor in my opinion, his range is so extremely limited. He also has an undefined quality that's the antithesis of a movie actor's screen presence, it's uncanny. Dodgeball was difficult to watch because of him, it lacked what I like in what Stiller usually stars in.
A lot of comedic actors are annoying Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Jack Black, but they also have a kind of boyish charm, a sparkle in their eyes of self-awareness while making fun of themselves. I could never describe them as loathsome. Vaughn is loathsome. If I had to choose between Adam Sandler and him I'll choose Sandler forever, Sandler did Little Nicky and Wedding Singer.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby David Earle » Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:35 pm

You did notice that Vaughn was raped/molested twice in that film, yes? And then ends up marrying his rapist. It doesn't make him less morally objectionable, and he's not really redeemed at any point, but he's certainly not playing the creeper role straight.

(I don't even like Wedding Crashers all that much, but it has a small place in my heart because they filmed a chunk of it in Annapolis. Vaughn I can take or leave, usually leave, but I'll defend Dodgeball to my dying day.)

Good Adam Sandler picks, by the way, I think Little Nicky's underrated and The Wedding Singer is a classic. :D

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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Vivia » Thu Mar 19, 2015 4:17 pm

I'm sorry but a woman molesting a man doesn't make it okay, it only adds to the level of misogyny and mean-spiritedness ("a woman molesting/raping a man is just SO funny, zomg" :roll: ). To some people this might be super comedic, but one bad thing doesn't cancel the other so to speak and not with the tone of this film. No. Done well it can be Liz Lemon and her molesting a transgendered councillor when she wants to remain suspended from work. Male fantasy trope aside I wish we lived in a world where someone like Vaughn wasn't part of it, he doesn't play lovable awkward characters.

Dodgeball was fun, but it can't reach into my list of favourite comedies due to Vaughn, the actors surrounding him made the film for me, not him.

Little Nicky works so well for me because it has heart and innocence in a way. Films like Zoolander and Blades of Glory make fun of certain professions, but this never translates into meanness and cynicism.
There is nothing gay about the Princeton fight song. "Oh, the men of Princeton are charging up the rear, holding all the balls..." Okay, I hear it now. – Jack, episode Queen of Jordan
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Athelassan » Fri Mar 20, 2015 12:14 am

Vivia wrote:Vaugh and Wilson aren't versatile actors, Vaughn isn't an actor in my opinion, his range is so extremely limited. He also has an undefined quality that's the antithesis of a movie actor's screen presence, it's uncanny. Dodgeball was difficult to watch because of him, it lacked what I like in what Stiller usually stars in.

I'm sure I've liked Vince Vaughn in something, but I struggle to think what. Maybe Old School? He was alright in Jurassic Park 2, even if that film was overall pretty mediocre. But Dodgeball, yeah, I think you're on the money there. He acts like a void at the heart of that film, sucking in any energy generated by any of the rest of the cast, and looks like he's just there for the paycheque, completely phoning it in.

To be honest I don't think any of the later Stiller-Wilson-Ferrell comedies have come close to Zoolander. Which is one of the reasons I'm so cagey about the plans for a Zoolander 2 and rather hope it gets stuck in development hell indefinitely.

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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby David Earle » Fri Mar 20, 2015 1:28 am

He was Loki in the Hercules series. Hard to believe - I guess I missed that episode. I liked him alright as Wes Mantooth. And I guess he was in Rudy?

And new Avengers trailer makes me stop caring. :D
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