The Film Review Corner

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

Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Athelassan » Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:06 pm

Xisor wrote:Anyway, not a perfect film - a lot of odd tonal changes, even scene to scene, but then I don't think that disjointness really bothers me. In fact, I think I'm broadly happier to see more of it - especially if it's doing something relatively inventive and creative in the process. If it's already a bit of a pedestrian, run-of-the-mill piece, I'd be a lot less tolerant of that sort of thing, but in films like this, it's not even that it doesn't matter, rather: it's kind-of the point. It's already defying, subverting or playing around with lots of norms. (Though not enough, in my esteem. Nevertheless!)

I agree. And I think you've identified most of the same noteworthy points, concerns and interesting features about the film that I did, which is encouraging, even if our opinion on whether some of them worked may diverge at times. Incidentally I have yet to hear anyone make even an attempt at defending that final "joke". It's amazing how poorly-judged and crass it was, and I have to admit I kind of hope for the DVD release they just... edit it out. I think it would improve the film a lot, certainly when it comes to the takeaway impression of it upon conclusion.

Weirdly, it made me want to re-watch The Southland Tales.

It's interesting you should say that, as that's a film I have previously felt the need to rewatch. I would advise against it, though; when I came back to it I found that what had initially appeared intricate and potentially profound if only one could get to grips with the setting and pay close attention to the plot was actually pretty superficial, poorly explained... for want of a better word, bollocks. It's, unsurprisingly, a bit like Donnie Darko (another film where both audience and filmmaker have apparently confused obfuscation, invented mythology and sixth-form philosophical platitudes for profundity), but without the strong central performances and emotional weight that make Darko actually a reasonable film even if it is, basically, cobblers.

That said even having been effectively told that myself didn't dissuade me from re-watching it since I felt that surely there must be something there, so I won't blame you for disregarding my advice. The most impressive thing about the film, to my mind, is still the cast; it's hardly packed with A-listers but dredging up some of those guys who seemed to have disappeared into film purgatory deserves recognition in itself. (Although even in that respect, Sin City eats it for breakfast and is a much better film to boot.)

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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Vivia » Fri Apr 10, 2015 11:40 pm

Athelassan wrote:

Again, it's kind of ironic and funny, I think, that Game of Thrones (and other similar shows) feel the need to insert sex scenes to keep the viewers from getting bored, including the notorious "sexposition" where important plot points are relayed over bouncing nudity. The snooty among us sniff at this, but it does seem to work even on people who should know better. But in Caligula I think it's almost the other way round: the sex gets in the way of the plot, and rather than keeping us interested it makes us want to turn it off (pace Insomniac). Maybe it's because the sex is so explicit, and/or because the film's atmosphere is so generally seedy. I don't know.

Ath[/color]

From what I recall Caligula had a dark and grim tone to it, weren't Caligula & co executed at the end, to me that nullifies the sexploitation aspects, it becomes non-sexual when grimy darkness gets in there. Plenty of Italian trash cinema had this tone, the Nazi and holocaust themes are one, could be the Christian guilt of sex. Mindboggling mix, sex can't be enjoyed unless everyone pay a price. :D
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Vivia » Sat Apr 11, 2015 12:52 am

Funny Southland Tales was mentioned, the director is more Zack Snyder (hm, I have mentioned that name before, hee) than David Lynch. These new types of directors that really want to create complex stories told in visuals the way Lynch does, but without understanding the depth and darkness behind the work. Lots of Bergman in there as well with the sense of the fantastic and heavy, heavy psychology. Lynch and Bergman don't have the minds of the light-hearted, just saying.

Lynch has come up a few times in my online reading, I was catching up with the new Twin Peaks series. That's certainly someone who understands darkness and disturbance in ways that are uncomfortable.

Lost Highway:

My friends and I were big fans of Lynch, we worshipped him, the same way we worshipped Monroe, the tragic star. Every tragic and emotionally disturbed personality was our hero and Lynch was the high priest, that's how influential Twin Peaks was (we listened to the OST to death, blärgh).
Lost Highway isn't my favourite Lynch film in the least, there is a lot I don't care for in this movie. But it's a fascinating story, visually compelling in all, and many scenes are forever ingrained into my mind, the mystery man is one, he scared me so much. I found it thoroughly uncomfortable to watch because Lynch is just too good when it comes to depict dysfunction, the entire film watches to me like a psychotic episode and it's exactly what it is.

Then there are the many Lynchian turns and tricks that I don't care for and the film lost me a couple of times. The random and nonsensical rant by Robert Loggia, the over the top characters in general, some of the actors choices were odd, but I admit they were interesting. I didn't like the grimy tone though, it isn't pretty. In general I admit these details does give the film a very unsettling atmosphere, it plays very much as a nightmare coming to life.

Much of the symbolism and visuals is spot on when it comes to a frail mind: the play of dark and light that nearly makes them come alive (hallucinations), and homage to film noir no doubt; the wishful thinking of changing body/changing life; detachment from reality (the mystery man). Mulholland Drive had these elements too which is done in a more fluent style. What sets it apart is the fact that the character of Fred welcomes his loss of sanity and embraces the darkness inside of him.
t's a dark story and as usual it pays to pay close attention to details, though it's easier to follow than Mulholland Drive, not as much time shifting.
I watched an interview with Lynch years ago and he explained that the influence for the story and character was O.J Simpson, he wanted to explore the mind of someone who had committed a terrible crime. The same theme shows up in Mulholland Drive.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Xisor » Sat Apr 25, 2015 12:58 am

I once tried to show my friends The Southland Tales. They all hated it.

I kinda love it though. It's schlock. Bumf. Wall to wall nonsense. But with the 'plot' of The Rock's & SMG's film within the film is too daft yo even really think the film itself was to be taken seriously. Made seriously, and kinda takes itself seriously, but it's just not. Or perhaps it is - serious about being daft. It's not silly enough, perhaps, but things like The Rock's little tick and flight when the fake shooting goes awry was glorious. Same with Grand Nagus Zek's mad scheme. Same with "quantum teleportation! ". Hell, has there ever been a better, more ludicrous line than:

"Scientists are saying the future is going to be far more futuristic than they originally predicted! "

Anyway, I digress. Still not rewatched the above recently as Ath might be right.

---

Anyway, just seen Age of Ultron. Left me feeling a bit depressed and listless. Almost like it'd been made by people who didn't quite get humour, but we're still trying hard. Also felt like Angel Exterminatus - working too hard to have a neatly encapsulated trio of foreshadowing, denouement and legacy. Didn't feel... organic? And the CGI felt mighty intrusive. Even Tron:Legacy wasn't so bad. I think my head kept butting with "that didn't need yo be CGI!" and "this slowmo is adding little for me!" and do forth.

Not a bad film, really, but my brain wasn't having much of it. And now I'm sad.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Bane Of Kings » Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:15 am

A few thoughts on the five most recent films that I've seen:

Fast & Furious 6 Justin Lin, Action (2013): I jumped on with the fifth movie and while they're not perfect, the Fast and Furious films are movies that will keep you entertained all the way through provided that you turn your brains off (because we might just have found the longest runway in film history, ever). London is the destination this time for Vin Diesel and co and whilst it lacks the same tension of the last movie with the Rock not hunting the team anymore, and the bad guys are somewhat bland and forgettable, it's still watchable and just about fun enough to keep you entertained, even if it goes on for a bit longer than necessary. Verdict: 3/5

Westworld Michael Chrichton, sci-fi/western (1973): Seeing as this has an upcoming HBO remake from Person of Interest Creator and brother of Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan - I thought I'd check it out and wasn't dissapointed. A great western/sci-fi blend with some cool high-concept ideas that work great. It doesn't feel too long and is nicely paced, with Yul Brynner killing it as the Gunslinger Robot who goes beserk, and there's a lot of tension there as well. If you like Westerns and or Science Fiction, you'll get a kick out of this. Verdict: 4/5

22 Jump Street Phil Lord, Chris Miller, comedy (2014): After a recommendation from a friend, I thought I'd check this out. Pretty good film, with a lot more laughs than I was expecting and the end credits sequence is amazing. I'd actually watch most of those films if the same directors (who also did the brilliant Lego Movie), worked on them. The chemistry between Tatum and Hill is superb and it's very meta. Will have to go back and watch 21 Jump Street at some point as well though, because it wasn't available on Netflix. Verdict: 4/5

Jeresy Boys, Clint Eastwood, biopic (2014): I've only seen 3 Eastwood movies and Jersey Boys was the second with the disappointing American Sniper the first. I like the Four Seasons and even though I don't watch a lot of musical biopics (the last I saw was James Magnold's superb Walk the Line), this was fun, if not perfect. The lead actors can actually sing and much like in WTL, the songs are great. However, everything else just feels like a musical version of Goodfellas that's nowhere near as strong as Scorsese's masterpiece. Verdict: 3/5

Unforgiven, Clint Eastwood, western (1992): Saw this one yesterday. Eastwood, Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman in the same movie make for an excellent western that's one of the strongest from the genre. There are no good guys and bad guys, with plenty of flawed characters as it adopts a fantastic revisionist take on the western, with a great, haunting atmosphere making this the strongest Eastwood movie that I've seen, with some fantastic cinematography and an incredibly well paced storyline that will mean you never get bored. Masterpiece. Verdict: 5/5
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Chun the Unavoidable » Sat Apr 25, 2015 8:08 pm

The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Whisper it: arguably better than Assemble. A bit deeper, a bit more heart, fantastic battle scenes, funny, involving. I'm not sure the next set of Avengers will be enough to carry a film (though Vision is pretty damned cool), but what the Hell do I know as the MCU behemoth continues its... behemothiness in grandly entertaining fashion. Highly recommended.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Athelassan » Tue Apr 28, 2015 5:23 pm

Of late I have been watching... the Harry Potter films. It's interesting the extent to which the films divide opinion, with some people ardently defending the first two films, whereas I think they start to improve dramatically from the third (which some critics still rate as the best) and really hit their stride around the fifth, with the sixth being one of the best of the bunch.

Most notably, though, having recently rewatched Brazil, I really appreciated the references to it in Deathly Hallows Part 1 while the intrepid trio are infiltrating the Ministry.

They're still by no means great, but the later films have held up ok. The first two films have, I think, always been pretty rubbish. But not everyone agrees.

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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby schaferwhat‽ » Tue Apr 28, 2015 7:20 pm

I found Avengers Age of Ultron frightfully dull. It decided spectacle was more important than themes or characters and went out of its way to undermine the tension by having a quip made every 90 seconds, and more wearisome was that the quips were all made with Whedon's standard comedic voice which undermines the grasp on characters that we had because they kept stepping out of themselves for jokes that got repetitive and weren't that funny.

In that respect the greatest piece of characterisation was the introduction of the new characters, Vision and the Twins because they weren't making jokes but arguably the twins were superfluous to what actually happened in the film and the Vision didn't do much more than function beyond a deus ex machina though one that offers potential in the future.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Chun the Unavoidable » Wed Apr 29, 2015 7:28 am

Oh, it was certainly formulaic; but, then, I expected that. It remains, for me, an entertaining formula. I maintain that there was some depth and some characterisation, enough, anyways, that it didn't become merely a spectacle... but, like I said, I wasn't expecting more. I'm not sure if I should have done or not.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Mossy Toes » Wed Apr 29, 2015 7:53 am

Well, it still isn't out here in the states for another couple of days, so... *grumblegrumblegrumble*
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby schaferwhat‽ » Wed Apr 29, 2015 9:30 am

Chun the Unavoidable wrote:Oh, it was certainly formulaic; but, then, I expected that. It remains, for me, an entertaining formula. I maintain that there was some depth and some characterisation, enough, anyways, that it didn't become merely a spectacle... but, like I said, I wasn't expecting more. I'm not sure if I should have done or not.

I thought I had low enough expectations, having been burned by believing all these people whose tastes I thought I could trust on Guardians of the Galaxy I don't know to what extent the film threw me by.

Spoiler: Starting with a big action set piece, I thought "great straight into the action this is going to be fast paced, high octane it'll hurtle through the plot so quickly I won't notice how thin it is. But that action set piece took an age which wasn't helped by how laborious I found the forced attempts at wit. So by the time they got out of the castle I was already bored and just wanting something to happen and stuff did happen but I was already in the head space to make it a hard sell. Possibly my own fault though.




Sorry Mossy. I hope I didn't go too spoilerific in my criticisms. I sort of forget the other side of the pond is Avengers less.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Vivia » Sun May 10, 2015 3:31 pm

The Lover:

French period drama takes place during the 1930s. I liked it more than I thought I would, it had a very slow pace and usually it isn't my taste, though in all it suited the story's mood. I prefer these types of French films than Hollywood ones, well, I mean I'm glad it was a French production as it kept the solemn mood very well. It was controversial in the '90s, but I must say the sex scenes were very discreet so I don't know what the fuss was all about.
The cinematography was wonderful, there was a scene towards the end on-board a ship with a night sky that was truly breathtaking. The acting was perfect, the main characters kept their detachment throughout the film. Some of the reviews talked about the stiff acting in Jane March and Tony Kai Fai Lung, in my eyes it worked with the stunted feelings and it was the base of the story. Refreshing film that sets itself apart from the usual romantic story, no sugar coating and no tears.

Now I'm in the mood to watch the Bruce Willis turkey Color of Night with Jane March. It was a cable favourite of mine during the '90s. A must-watch. :mrgreen:
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Major Rawne » Fri May 15, 2015 5:49 pm

Took my mum to see Spooks: The Greater Good today. Pretty good British spy film if I do say so myself, supposedly follows on very well from the series (not one I ever really watched).
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Insomniac » Sat May 16, 2015 4:52 am

The new Mad Max... Go see it. It's like a two hour action sequence with killer visuals, bad ass characters and a crazy villain. Easily the most fun I've had in theaters in years.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Mossy Toes » Sat May 16, 2015 9:51 am

Insomniac wrote:The new Mad Max... Go see it. It's like a two hour action sequence with killer visuals, bad ass characters and a crazy villain. Easily the most fun I've had in theaters in years.

Have plans this weekend with some friends. Basically the universal response to seeing it I've seen has been either "go see it," or "HOLY CRAPNUGGETS MAD MAX."

Very much intend to report out.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Chun the Unavoidable » Sun May 17, 2015 6:20 pm

Dredd: rewatched, taking more notice as I was sans booze this time around. I enjoyed it - some nice touches for the initiated (loved the Chopper graffiti), with a gratifyingly grimdark feel to the whole proceeding. I don't know why they went for the 18 certificate, though - a fifteen would have been enough to remain true to the comic and would also have put more bums on seats at the cinema...thus creating more chance of a sequel.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Xisor » Sun May 17, 2015 10:44 pm

Mossy Toes wrote:
Insomniac wrote:The new Mad Max... Go see it. It's like a two hour action sequence with killer visuals, bad ass characters and a crazy villain. Easily the most fun I've had in theaters in years.

Have plans this weekend with some friends. Basically the universal response to seeing it I've seen has been either "go see it," or "HOLY CRAPNUGGETS MAD MAX."

Very much intend to report out.


Bingo. Insomniac's spot on with it - absolutely spot on. I'd say it really puts most other popcorn flicks thoroughly to shame. E.g. Avengers 2: Avenge Harder, feels like amateurish tripe in comparison.

Caught Fury Road this evening on something of a whim after coming back from a stag weekend in London. Exceptionally entertaining film. Just the right mix of almost everything.

---

Due to the above, I think I've also seen Jurassic World now thanks to the ludicrous trailer. Perhaps there's some other stuff in the film, but it didn't feel like it. No need to watch it now. :x
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby David Earle » Mon May 18, 2015 12:37 am

Might make it to Mad Max on Memorial Day. A bit tied up at the moment.

Age of Ultron: Not quite as good as the first Avengers, better than Thor: The Dark World and Iron Man 3. Hard to judge with Winter Soldier - I think Soldier had the tighter plot, but Age of Ultron was a better comic book movie.

I love James Spader in Blacklist, but he was a bit too Red Reddington and not enough homicidal killer robot for Ultron. Although he certainly had his moments. Sorry Ulysses! The rest of the cast was great, newbies included. The plot was a bit too "this is happening because this needs to happen" in places, but not bad enough to slam the film. 4/5 stars, intend to buy on Bluray.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Mossy Toes » Mon May 18, 2015 6:13 am

Seeing as my roommate whose big wall of movies are in the living room and I are soon parting ways, I figure that I'd better watch some of these that I've been promising myself I would for some time, and of which I've only seen an odd half-dozen this past year.

So. Moon. Just my sort of movie, though talking about why risks spoiling it, of course. Nice balance of tension, claustrophobia, stress, despair, and catharsis. Sam Rockwell has a quite a challenge set before him as an actor here, but... I daresay he rises to it.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby VictorK » Mon May 18, 2015 2:38 pm

Mad Max. That movie was bananas. And the world is bleak enough that I legit did not know how it was all going to turn out in the end. I really had a great time with this, the movie was gorgeous.

Ditto on Jurassic World. I can't yet take Chris Pratt seriously in a somewhat dramatic role. Guardians was pretty perfect for him.

I was disappointed by Moon. I never felt that it went anywhere.
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