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Author: Subject: 2017 Movie Roundup
Flash
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posted on 8-12-2017 at 05:04 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Caught Annabelle Creation with some friends tonight and we all enjoyed it well enough.... I like horror movies, but I think like Mike touched on above most of them want to make you yell at the characters for being so dumb (just as an aside one of the more clever movies that I thought did away with this was the Evil Dead remake as they found very concrete reasons to not run away screaming)... Annabelle Creation for the most part features rationale enough people... mostly kids.

It's a good, not great, scary movie... but I'll admit to being a bit tingling and keep looking over my shoulder while writing this in the midst of a big thunderstorm, seemingly safe in my house where I live alone; ears suddenly finely attuned each raindrop and familiar creek of the 100 plus year old house suddenly made unfamiliar....

I think plot/scares wise if you've seen any of these kind of movies you know what you're in for, but will say this about the.... uh... Conjuring-verse movies is that they entirely rely on practical and old school effects; yeah there's usually something in the dark, or out of the corner of someone's eye, but no cats weirdly jumping out of cupboards, or CGI monstrosities... plenty of use of light and shadow, and lots of work going into the sounds... they earn their scares with lots of hard work all while making it look smooth as hell.

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the goon
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posted on 8-13-2017 at 03:27 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
As a horror buff, I've been pleasantly surprised by the solid reviews that Annabelle: Creation has been getting. Anytime you think "sequel to a horror movie that was a spin-off from another horror series," your expectations probably aren't going to be too high, but this one will definitely get a viewing from me once it hits streaming services in a few months.

And I like how The Conjuring has kind of organically spawned it's own horror movie shared universe; this is probably what Universal wishes they were able to have pulled off with The Mummy.

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posted on 8-13-2017 at 07:15 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
I was reading an interview with one of the producers last night after watching Annabelle and they said that they have a pretty good chronology mapped out so that when they do come up with some movies they have a better idea of how they fit into the shared universe.

There's a movie called The Nun coming next year which will be the first in the chronology; given the title I'm wondering if it involves the entity from the second conjuring (probably the creepiest scene). I didn't realize how well they have it mapped out, or are "Easter egging" the other movies until I saw the title for The Nun as there's kind of a throw away scene in Annabelle Creation that didn't click with me while watching it, but kind of dawned on later as something really cool.

It also sounds like there's a third Conjuring coming in the next year or two as well... so yeah, definitely really building something cool.

As for the Universal shared universe... man I don't know what you do with that mess... Dracula Untold was supposed to start it, and there were some interesting threads in there (although it's now out of the shared universe)... the Mummy was entertaining enough in a forgettable way, but outside of a walk and talk through a lab it was a hot mess in terms of universe building.... too much too soon... I think everyone forgets that Marvel started with mostly a stand alone movie leaving the connections to a post-credit cool throw away.

I think where Universal is maybe going wrong is in trying to modernize everything right away... set some of the stories in the past; give the universe a sense of history and these monsters a legacy... don't just start jamming parts together before you develop anything.

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posted on 8-13-2017 at 07:45 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Flash
There's a movie called The Nun coming next year which will be the first in the chronology; given the title I'm wondering if it involves the entity from the second conjuring (probably the creepiest scene). I didn't realize how well they have it mapped out, or are "Easter egging" the other movies until I saw the title for The Nun as there's kind of a throw away scene in Annabelle Creation that didn't click with me while watching it, but kind of dawned on later as something really cool.


Yeah, The Nun is going to be a prequel/spinoff from The Conjuring 2 and from I've read takes place in the 1950s. You're right about the Easter egg in Annabelle: Creation and apparently there's also a post-credit scene that sets up The Nun.

quote:
Originally posted by Flash
I think everyone forgets that Marvel started with mostly a stand alone movie leaving the connections to a post-credit cool throw away.


100% agree with this. I mean, when the first Iron Man came out, the MCU wasn't even a thing outside of a post-credits teaser with Nick Fury. That's why I think DC went way too fast, where you had just Superman in Man Of Steel and then Superman/Batman/Wonder Woman already teaming up and fighting Doomsday in the second movie (which would have been like Iron Man/Captain America/Thor fighting Thanos in Iron Man 2 or something), even though it seems they have righted the ship a bit with Wonder Woman being such a huge critical and commercial hit. But I do think these shared universe things work much better when they unfold slowly and organically, like the MCU and now the Conjuring-verse, as opposed to something like Universal going "we're going to do a Universal monsters shared universe!" before the first movie is even proven to be a success.

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posted on 8-27-2017 at 07:58 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Couple new movies to add to my list; The Hitman's Bodyguard and Wind River; very different movies

THE HITMANS BODYGUARD
This wasn't a great movie, or overly stylish but with Sam Jackson and Ryan Reynolds starring in it it's a lot of fun listening to them bantering back and forth, and it did boast a high body count.

If you've seen the trailer then that's pretty much the movie in a nutshell; Jackson is a hitman with ties to a genocidal dictator (Gary Oldman), or more specifically refused to work for him and witnessed him do some bad stuff... Reynolds was once the premier protection specialist, but do to a botched protection job that Jackson's character may or may not have been the trigger man for, finds himself largely guarding coked up bankers before being called in to help out his ex-wife, who is the Interpol officer in charge of getting Jackson's character to the Hague to testify against Oldman's character. The two rivals banter and shoot their way across England and the Netherlands while running from Easter European hit squads. Hilarity and bullets are a plenty...

Overall the movie wasn't bad; but it felt like maybe the script started out as something serious before Jackson and Reynolds landed their parts and the movie became something more comedic. They try to play with some motivations for each character, and question their respective motivations; like Jackson only kills bad guys whereas Reynolds will protect just about any scumbag... but other than that both characters are fairly flat other than the smart talking and various quips that both actors are known for. The villain is also extremely dark; like Oldman plays it straight instead of something over the top that might have been a bit more befitting the rest of the movies tone.

I think it's worth watching as it is fun; but probably something for a Netflix night in than catching at the movies.

WIND RIVER
I actually went into this one never having seen a trailer or knowing anything at all about this movie other than it was written (and directed) by Taylor Sheridan; the guy behind Sicario and Hell or High Water... both excellent movies and worth checking out if you haven't seen them... Sheridan's scripts take their time; kind of peeling back the characters through action and dialogue, and when the action does happen it's swift and brutal; Wind River is no exception.

The movie stars Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, and Graham Greene; and everyone really steps up their acting here... Renner is a fish and wildlife officer; although more to the point he eliminates predators in the snowy Wyoming expanse- Renner's character while tracking a family of mountain lions discovers the body of a raped and murdered native girl from a nearby reserve. Because of where the murder happened Olsen's FBI character is brought in to assist local native police officer Greene- There's definitely a level of educating the audience on some of the third world conditions and violent drugs and crime which plague the reserve; as well as some of the bureaucracy that creates a level of indifference to the multitude of missing indigenous women which is an all too real problem... but Sheridan doesn't dwell too long on the politics of Indian agents, lack of resources, and inter department jurisdiction issues and instead keeps bringing the movie back to the victim and his leads. He also goes out of his way in calling attention to some of the problems on reserves to go beyond just painting natives as victims; adding instead equal strokes of strength and complexity to everyone.

I don't want to say too much about the plot; it's not that there are many twists and turns; but as I touched on above a lot of the movie is about unravelling the characters...

I think if I had one complaint about the movie it's that Sheridan as a director didn't really open the camera up to the stunning sights of Wyoming's country side... everything is up close and personal, and any time he does go out for a wide shot it's almost POV; which I think was probably a very deliberate choice considering the tone of the movie and this being about people more than it is solving a homicide in a stylish shoot em' out.

Great movie with great acting; but also not the kind of spectacle that you would need to see on the big screen... still, definitely worth checking out.

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posted on 8-28-2017 at 03:01 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by the goon
But I do think these shared universe things work much better when they unfold slowly and organically, like the MCU and now the Conjuring-verse, as opposed to something like Universal going "we're going to do a Universal monsters shared universe!" before the first movie is even proven to be a success.


100% this. It's why I am very cynical about the DCEU and even more so about the Universal universe. Make a good movie first. Just announcing that you're doing a shared universe doesn't make me excited. I haven't seen Kong Island yet (and I hear it was pretty good) but the movie studio being so "SHARED UNIVERSE EVERYONE!" made me more averse to seeing it.

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posted on 8-28-2017 at 04:33 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
I think to Kong's credit; while the studio may be screaming "Shared Universe!!!!", whoever made the movie (ditto for Godzilla) tried to just make a good (fun) movie that stands on its own. If memory serves me there may have been little clues for super nerds (like the organization being called Monarch and a few others), but they largely pulled a Marvel and left the biggest "Hey Godzilla" stuff until a post credit scene, and if that was a bit more subdued so that you were more jacked... like the film maker busted out some side boob, whereas the studio wanted to give you the hardest of hard core euro-porn.
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posted on 8-28-2017 at 04:37 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Skull Island is great.

The 'shared universe' stuff doesn't come at you until the end-of-credits scene, so it's not forced or explicit during the actual movie.

The next Godzilla is going to be BIG.


TL : DR - see the fucking movie if you haven't.

[Edited on 8-28-2017 by williamssl]





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posted on 8-31-2017 at 05:11 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Just got home from LOGAN LUCKY...

It was a nice fun caper movie... kind of a red neck Ocean's 11 (same director) with a more eccentric cast of characters, but maybe not something you'd go back and watch again.

In a nutshell Channing Tatum is a West Virginia divorced dad recently let go from his job at a South Carolina (or was it North... can't remember) construction crew that was doing some work at a NASCAR speedway. Before being let go he discovers how the money is over around the speedway and he gets to scheming. Partnering up with his one armed brother who is convinced the family is jinxed, and his hair dresser sister they make arrangements with an incarcerated (or In-CAR-se-RATED as he says) Daniel Craig who maybe steals the movie with his over the top southern hillbilly explosives expert Joe Bang. Throw in Bang's dimwitted brothers and you've got like Ocean's 6. There's various schemes that come into play with a decent amount of laughs (THE game of thrones stuff was pretty funny) along the way. Seth McFarlane pops in for an extended cameo as a pretty over the top billionaire that you'd love to see get punched in the face.

I think a nice cheap night date movie, or something more for a Netflix and chill type night it pretty much follows the same pattern as the Ocean's movie: Build the gang, throw a few hiccups to the plan in there, do the robbery, the reveal, and wrap it all up... pretty much the same formula, so if you liked Ocean's you'd probably enjoy this one as it's all pretty good natured.

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posted on 9-15-2017 at 06:06 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Caught AMERICAN ASSASSIN tonight and it was an enjoyable action flick... kind of brutal in the same way that maybe Taken was, although with a higher body count, but not as over the top violent like the Wick movies were.

In a nutshell Dylan O'Brien's character is the victim of a terrorist attack wherein he see's his girlfriend gunned down (among many others). Fast forward a few months later and he's been on a solo mission to train himself to infiltrate jihadist cells and take them out- this puts him on the radar of the CIA who impressed with his skill set and drive recruit him for a top secret anti-terrorist group called Orion- kind of spies, black ops, off the grid agents trained by Michael Keaton... plenty of tough love. In the background; quickly moving to the foreground are the actions of an assassin/terrorist known as the Ghost (Taylor Kitsch) who has ties to Keaton's character and is assembling a nuclear device.

The action is good, but the characters range between flat and angry, with a big dose of ''hoo-ah rah rah" thrown in... it's not bad overall, forgettable, but with the potential for sequels (I believe it's based on a book series)- although I doubt it will make enough to warrant a bunch of sequels. I don't know O'Brien but he looks familiar (A gander at Wiki says that his biggest roles have been as the lead in the 'tween movies Maze Runner and he stars in the Teen Wolf TV show)- he's a good lead- kind of get a Jon Snow vibe from him, especially when he's all bearded up. As always Keaton is a treat, but this role doesn't really challenge him... I've enjoyed him more in Pacific Heights and even a fun turn as a bad guy in Desperate Measures- which was better than it got treated back when it came out 20 odd years ago. I'm not sure what happened to Kitsch- he's got movie star good looks, but is manly enough looking that I think guys can like him too... He seemed to be on his way to the A-list a couple of years ago with starring roles in John Carter (which I really liked, but bombed big time) and Battleship (actually kind of fun and for a movie based on a board game, better than you'd think)... he's had some other movies, but seems to be doing more low profile or supporting roles (wiki again- looks like he's been doing more TV projects, like True Detective). Directing wise it's good- some good action scenes shot far enough back that you can enjoy them, but with enough close ups to sell the brutality. They also did a good job of using some infrequent locations for big Hollywood movies like Rome, and Istanbul.... not saying that you don't see them in movies, but this was a lot of street level stuff.

I liked it- there's a bit of a lull in the movie release schedule right now so if you are a fan of just going to the movies you could do worse, but otherwise I'd say Netflix it.

One thing I would touch on is that it seems to be raising some controversy over the depiction of Muslims as the bad guys... I think it fits the current climate of where the terrorism focus is; and honestly the main bad guy is Kitsch who's white... the movie also touches on the sins of American intelligence- so the villainy is fairly spread around... so long story short; the controversy is just the same noise that say the Italians make whenever Scorsese does a mob movie.

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posted on 9-22-2017 at 03:47 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Another Thursday, another movie... man I need a life...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle this time out, and it was a lot of fun, but had a very fat run time of 2 hours and 21 minutes... and while it didn't so much suffer from any pacing issues, the time in between the big action scenes did sometimes take a bit, with the odd diminished pay off not being worth all the talk that lead to it.

Style wise Matthew Vaughn knew what worked from the first movie and continued to pour it on in this second outing, and does a great job of combining some big comic action scenes with plenty of haha's (there's an extended cameo in the movie that stole the movie, but I don't want to ruin it) spread throughout. Eggsie is back, a little older and more mature; dealing with the troubles of carrying on a relationship with a very public paramour (It's the princess from the last movie) and being a covert spy... as you probably saw in the trailers Kingsmen comes under attack from a secret drug cartel... well, more THE CARTEL as they are behind all drugs worldwide, and are lead by Julianne Moore who just wants to be recognized for the savvy business woman that she is. Long story short the bad guys have a big plan to become an even bigger player, and the weakened Kingsmen are forced to team up with another covert agency; they long lost American brethren The Statesmen. Along the way (again as seen into he trailers) an old friend who was thought dead turns up among the living, and while the movie may not surpass the body count of the first, it tries its best.

Egerton, Strong, and Firth all pick up their roles from the first movie, and do a decent job, and while Moore has the chops to be a great villain they kinda waste her... she's mostly a talking head with nothing to do for the most part. Jeff Daniels, Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, and Pedro Pascale all join the cast as Statesmen... all are likeable, but varying degrees of flat... much like Moore they suffer from not a lot to do, or seem to be just thrown out there at times without much build up to whatever it is that they are doing (I don't want to say too much, but the films ending really suffered from this).

It was a fun movie, but nowhere near as good as the first... some of that was because it's hard to match the energy and originality of the first... it can be done; look no further than Guardians repeating the magic, but this time the story is a bit of a mess, with supposed big armies only ever showing a couple of henchmen with undercuts how big they are presented as, and big set pieces that are wasted.

It's a fun enough night out, but not necessarily must see on the big screen.

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posted on 9-29-2017 at 09:11 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Saw AMERICAN MADE tonight with Tom Cruise and it was pretty good... I can't speak to how accurate of a bio pic' it is; as the wiki entry seems to gloss over the CIA stuff in the movie, and there are some things that are outright different- but for a kind of crazy period in American history in terms of just what the hell the CIA was doing down there in Latin America it was pretty decent.

Tom Cruise does a good job as Barry Seal; an opportunistic pilot who winds up working first for the CIA to not so covertly take pictures of the various Soviet sponsored communist guerrillas training down there, and then later for the drug cartels (Escobar and friends- see Netflix's Narcos for the full background, and just a well done show). Soon he's getting deeper with both the CIA and the Cartels, and making more money than he knows what to do with; all while the FBI, DEA, ATF and other various 3 letter combo government agencies are circling his business.

If you read his wiki bio Seal seems like a scum bag- the kind of guy always looking for an angle to make more money- even before he got into it with the cartels (and maybe the CIA if that's true)- Cruise plays him as a likeable guy; charismatic but still pretty amoral... a guy who isn't afraid of a risk, but also can't stop himself from taking for than his fill- even when certain danger is evident. I might be biased- despite being a probably crazy cult member I still find Cruise likeable enough in the right roles- I've dug his last several movies (really liked the first Jack Reacher) and he's likeable enough in this movie, and Seal is unknown enough that you don't go in with too big of an idea of who he is that you can get lost in Cruise's performance... The shame of Cruise is that he's far too big of a celebrity that sometimes you can't see the role with him in it... like Valkerye or Vanilla Sky. Domhall Gleeson would be the next big-ish name in the movie... he plays Cruise's CIA handler... not a challenging role; somewhere between annoyance, charming, and conniving; but when he's there he's great to watch.

Dough Liman does a good job as director; he's one of those guys that I'm surprised he isn't marketed as a bigger director more, as he's got a good list of movies behind him... His first movie I saw was the underrated Go (I love Sarah Polley), and really dug the Bourne Identity and Edge of Tomorrow; although others might know him more from directing Swingers... he's a bit like Alex Proyas (Crow, Dark City)... both guys who pick their movies, don't necessarily have year end box office leaders, but if you know them then you usually know their stuff is good.

So worth plunking down the cash for it or not? You could do worse... it's a drama- but made in a more fun way than heavy handed... Cruise carries the movie and does well... in saying that it's not a special effects laden movie that screams see me on the big screen.

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posted on 10-3-2017 at 06:51 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Saw FLATLINERS tonight and while it's not as DOA (ha! Wordplay) as the critics have painted it as, there's not a lot going on in this one... I'll say some of the directing is kind of interesting at the start, but it's like the director ran out of gas half way through though; as a lot of the stylistic flares that they started with quickly disappear.

The original Flatliners wasn't the best movie; but it found a way to personalize the horrors that follow those that cross over... they kinda do that here, but it's a mix of underdeveloped "haunting" and a bag of modern day "sins" like texting while driving leading to death, or hacking and spreading sexting photos to the school, and unprotected sex.. I guess they wanted to be relevant with todays teens. I think the above comment about underdeveloped really applies to the whole movie... like they could have pushed it father; but they got caught somewhere between remaking the first movie, wanting to be mysterious about the afterlife... but kind of whiffing on the whole this is a movie about the exploration of the afterlife. Had they pushed things further and developed the characters a bit more it might have been a nice thriller that you could have taken into something more akin to a psychological horror... instead we got 20 minutes of an interesting (albeit re-used) premise, followed by a less fun Final Destination knock off... throw in a few music video styles shots along the way and you've got Flatliners 2017.

There are some interesting developments with the cast along the way... but it winds up being more like offing a character then calling up an even lesser developed substitute to finish out the movie... too bad as some of the cast had some potential. Most baffling in the movie though has to be Kiefer Sutherland's role in the movie... Sutherland of course starred in the original; and he billed this as less a remake and more a sequel... apparently this was likely from an earlier draft, as by the time we get to what showed up on screen it's pure remake... Sutherland shows up for better than a cameo's worth of screen time, but is not playing the same character he did in the original... You're almost watching the movie thinking hey... maybe this is the same guy from the first and he's gone into some kind of hiding with an assumed name; as he seems to be poised to do something interesting at some point... instead we get a flat generic- complete with cane House knock off.

I'd skip this one... it's not completely terrible, but not worth paying money to see either.

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posted on 10-3-2017 at 03:02 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Hey Flash,

Great job on these mini-movie reviews. I've seen almost all of this most recent string you've done and while some of my person takes may vary you are essentially right on the money.

Logan Lucky - As it gets called in the film, Ocean's 7-11. Fun little romp, but the actor's aren't as good as the actual Ocean's movies so it isn't elevated to any great level. Enjoyable and forgettable. I like heist movies so I'm glad to have seen it. I am still trying to figure out if it is insulting to southern culture or just having fun with it.

American Assassin - The opening terrorist attack was more impactful and brutal then I was prepared for, but the rest of the film becomes a generic light R violence movie. I did enjoy the meta narrative for Taylor Kitsch and Dylan O'Brien where O'Brien was the new guy after Kitsch failed. Exactly what Hollywood thinks of them too. The highlight of this film were the few scenes where Micheal Keaton gets to unleash the crazy.

Kingsman: Plenty of fun, but a step down from the first. The first was so great because it was a parody of Bond films. This one was more just a bond film. Rather then clever humor it went for trying to get laughs by being over the top. While a liked the movie I felt it didn't learn the right lessons of what made the first one good.

American Made - I think I liked this one better then you. I have come to terms with the idea that Tom Cruise might be my favorite "movie star". Sometimes I just want to watch a movie star be charismatic in a well directed, well scripted movie. This scratched that itch for me.

Stronger - Saw this last night. It's about one of the survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing. I have a hard time talking about this one objectively, because it was personal for me on a few levels. I lived in New England the first 24 years of my life including 6 in Boston, so the bombing itself is a day I remember quite vividly even though I was in California by that point. Many of the family dynamics also hit me in a personal way I wasn't prepared for. I thought it was an excellent, but incredibly heavy and emotional. It took a lot out of me.

Keep this up Flash, I'm enjoying it!





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posted on 10-6-2017 at 07:44 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Thanks Town'- much appreciated!

Caught Blade Runner 2049 last night and just wow... I'm still kind of decompressing the movie, because there are a lot of ideas packed in there much the same as the first had... you could watch the first one as kind of a top down movie; cop chases robots, kills them, runs off with girl; and I think you could probably do the same with this one (I don't want to really touch on the plot as how it unwinds is as much a part of what's happening), but there is so much in here that I think it would stand up to a few repeat viewings and you'd still see a lot of symbolism in the movie... definitely some very devil and Christ like stuff going on (but not in your face.. you could write papers about this movie though...)... like I said I'm still kind of unpacking the movie, but it was really well done.

If the first movie was about a human finding out what it's like to be something different, then I think this movie takes the opposite approach by looking at someone/people who are different maybe longing for being human, or a level of acceptance... definitely the issues of identity and what are memories/the soul plays out in this one as well. It's both a rejection, and a seamless continuation of the first movie... and it succeeds in both regards.

Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Arrival) again delivers a really smart science fiction movie, and definitely continues his trend of great movies where people are thrust into confronting some awful stuff and forced to make some tough decisions... He also brilliantly nails the style of the first movie... that kind of neon broken dirty future where sex is an open commodity, enslavement and class are major issues, and there's some truly monolithic set pieces. Gosling and Ford do a great job; as does Ana De Armas and Sylvia Hook. There's some nice cameos in the movie that I won't spoil; but I will say that Dave Bautista does a great job in a limited role... just very weary, cerebral, but also the right touch of menacing... I think he's this movies Roy Battie in that he could arguably be said to the motivating factor for a lot of the story, with his words kind of echoing through the movie... maybe not a tears in the rain type monologue, but important none the less.

Anyway; I really do want to talk about this movie... but I don't want to spoil anything if I can help it... so maybe I'll see if a few of you have seen it after the weekend and we can start a separate thread or something.

Now... as for how to see this movie... I shelled out for the full big screen experience; 3D Imax with that seat vibrating AVX deal... it made the movie feel even bigger. Villeneuve seemed to have shot this in a more classic style, so I don't know that the 3D added much, and I think the real strengths of this movie are it's story and visual style anyway... so you could probably cheap it a bit and catch it in 2D; but the sound is really quite beautiful on this movie, and it is a bit of a visual feast... So I don't know that you could really go wrong... you aren't going to have stuff jumping out at you 3D wise, but I do think the Imax bumped up the look quality some, but walking out of the theatre I think it will be the whole movie that stays with you instead of any one part of the experience.

[Edited on 10-6-2017 by Flash]

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posted on 10-11-2017 at 05:55 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Blade Runner 2049:

It was very slowly paced and way too long, but I also mostly loved it. It was gorgeous, well acted, and interesting. It isn't really breaking new ground in the realm of through provoking movies, but it is an excellent meditation on what it means to be human.

As Flash mentioned, Batista was in many ways the emotional crux of the film and he nailed his part. Does this make him the best wrestler in a dramatic role?

The highlight of the movie is clearly the settings/landscapes. The budget was well spent in that regard. It almost seems like the director wanted every post apocalyptic setting he could think of. The over crowded, grimy yet neon city? Check. The desert waste land? Check. The remains of a once great city? Check. The peaceful lightly snow cover location? Check. The menacing dark ocean? Check. That said, each of the various settings were absolutely breathtaking.

With the settings, the pace, and the symbolism it can be a bit pretentious film snob porn at times, but it works. This is one of those films that stuck with me for hours later.

My other thought is how much of a failure the marking to this movie was, but I'll save that for another time.





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posted on 10-16-2017 at 12:39 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Just got home from THE FOREIGNER and while I enjoyed it, I think the trailer was cut in such a way as to make it seem a bit more fast paced and action packed than what it really... that's not to say it isn't a good movie, just that the violence is a bit more deliberate, and the crux of the story tends to be more Pierce Brosnan's political manoeuvring than Jackie Chan picking them apart.

In a nutshell the movie is about an IRA bombing in London which claims the life of Jackie Chan's daughter. Chan at first watches, then grows impatient with the police as they slowly work through their investigation, and former IRA front man turned politician Brosnan talk through both sides of his mouth about the bombing as he tries to appease his still very strong ties to the former hard line Northern Irish, while upholding a peace he truly believes in. Chan decides to take matters into his own hands and targets Brosnan's character whom he knows is further involved in this than he'd care to publicly admit, all while making use of some black ops skills sets that belong to a life he left behind decades before.

The movie is directed well by Martin Campbell who is experienced with action movies having helmed two different bond films (Goldeneye and Casino Royale)... I think this helps as when Chan does cut loose he's not afraid to pull the camera back and let Chan do his thing in longer fluid takes instead of the more American style of lots of jump cuts. The movie is shot in a very washed out tone... like it's always just rained, or about to... which works for the sombre tone the film is going for. When the action does come it's not overly bloody, but it is hard hitting in a fairly realistic style which works for the movie by grounding it.

This was a nice turn for Chan- who doesn't say much throughout the movie but you always know what he's thinking... very much a man of few words, but probably one who's used to people leaning in to listen closer when he talks. That's not to say he's some kind of tough guy (more quiet tough) as the early scenes with his daughter very much paint a loving father... he's just a very measured man. Brosnan's character is also kind of interesting as he truly does believe in preserving a hard fought peace with the English, but at the same time he's very politically motivated, and probably gotten a bit too used to the soft life while still trying to appeal to hardliners... he's very much a man caught between two worlds... part of the government but also fighting against it via various extra-legal means- an oppressed Irishman, but also a man who has clearly profited from selling people on this idea. It's a nice counterbalance between the two characters as one is a man of deliberate action, the other a man of talk... there' some juxtaposition between the two characters, but at the end of the day each is true to who they really are.

I really enjoyed this movie... I don't know how memorable it will be... it kind of reminded me of that Denzel Washington movie The Siege where it plays heavier than the average action movie, but maybe a little too broad to be a great film... but it was a nice change of pace for Chan... very serious minded. Any fault with the movie I think lays in its marketing... which like I said seems to show it to be a bit more up tempo... there are maybe 3-4 action scenes in the whole movie, but it moves at a good pace, albeit a bit slower.

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posted on 10-22-2017 at 04:51 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Caught THE SNOWMAN tonight, although it might be better said that my brain was lured down some back alley, drugged, and gang raped by just a terrible, terrible movie.

I'm generally pretty generous about movies I see... Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't work, but usually there is something of value to most (not all) movies that you can say "yeah they tried"... with a pedigree that includes Tomas Alfredson directing (the great Tinker Tailor Solider Spy), and capable leading man Michael Fassbender working with the lead character from a series of best selling Norwegian novels you'd think this would at least be good... but nope; a hot mess of Fassbender limping through one scene or another clumsily not living up to his reported image of being this great, but troubled detective.

Spoiler...

The movie is so bad that at the end, after a killer that kinda comes out of left field (the clues are there and you know pretty early, but his motivations are just weird) after the movie devotes like a third of it's time wandering around some nearly unrelated case involving an unrecognizable Val Kilmer... the killer literally kills himself by accident... no epic conclusion, no final battle or crafty moment by Fassbender's Harry Hole character, the guy just steps through some ice and dies.

This movie is just troubled, and watching it you get the sense that either they ran out of money and couldn't do badly needed reshoots to make the plot cohesive, or there was a level of studio interference here that should require them to all fall on their swords for releasing this mess. I think it's often been said that the trailer is the movie the studio wishes the director made, and the movie is what the studio forced onto the director for the most part so that no one is happy.

I'd skip this one... it's not even entertainingly bad; so not even a stay home and Netflix it recommendation on this one. Too bad, as the trailer looked interesting... Man speaking of Kilmer, he does not look good, or sound very good in this movie... I know he recently admitted to having had throat cancer, but if I had to guess I'd say this movie was made at the peak of his battle with it... good for him for working still, but it's almost jarring and pulls you out of the movie.

ETA: So I've been doing some reading just to see if anyone else can make sense of how something that on paper sounds like a formula for a great detective thriller could go wrong, and apparently the director has just outright admitted that they didn't finish shooting the whole script, but it sounds like they didn't realise this until they got to editing!

[Edited on 10-22-2017 by Flash]

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posted on 10-27-2017 at 08:31 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
GEOSTORM tonight... if you've ever seen any Dean Devlin movie you know shit you recognize from around the world blows up to a stirring emotional soundtrack, then more crap blows up.

It wasn't actually that bad, although I still get a laugh out of one review I read that basically said Geostorm "is for all those that loved Armageddon, but thought the acting was a bit pretentious"... okay it's not that bad, but man... does Gerard Butler need a win... the guy is so tainted and box office snake bitten that I think they omitted him from the trailers all together despite him being the star. All in all I thought it was kind of that mindless, but occasionally fun way to waste a rainy night... it also wouldn't surprise me to see this movie show up in a few high school environmental science classes, as much like Devlin's other movie The Day After Tomorrow it deals with extreme climate change, although this one takes the stance of taking place after we saved ourselves from a planet bent on flushing away the blight to mother nature that is humankind.

In saying that; I think they kind of missed the boat on making a better movie... maybe not to the same level as Michael "What do you mean I need a script" Bay, but there was the semblance of something cool at the heart of the movie which feature as I said above a near future world where we solved the climate crisis (Through the use of a kind of global net of satellites called Dutch boy... named for the kid with his fingers in the dyke holding back the water) which in and of itself is interesting, but they kind of throw in a badly developed conspiracy plot whereby someone has infected the central computer that governs Dutch Boy causing it to go haywire and start causing weather devastation far worse than it was charged with preventing... which in turn necessitates Gerard Butler to fly into space to save us all... Probably too much emphasis on blowing stuff up than further developing characters beyond sibling rivalry, or the whole conspiracy plot that is so poorly constructed that it wouldn't hold up to a breeze never mind the super GEOSTORM that the movie threatens (a super-duper storm caused by several super storms combining into a trailer parks worst nightmare).

I'd skip this one in the theatre unless you're really bored... I don't think it would disappoint as like a Bay movie, you kinda know what you are going to get with Devlin (Patriot, Independence day).. not a lot of thought, some Ra-ra humanity moments, blow stuff up... but there's not big FX scenes or level of mass carnage that requires a big screen to say wow at... if anything Devlin kinda takes a different approach this time by picking out one person, or car to follow in the midst of the devastation so you are cheering for that person/car to make while other stuff blows up around it... it works, but it also shrinks a big disaster movie down to a personal scale that is ultimately meaningless because don't know the person the camera is tracking, or they are so poorly developed you have no reason to care.

So I'd watch it again, but definitely a Netflix movie...

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posted on 10-29-2017 at 09:01 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
If you have no shame about watching a really bad film just because a pro wrestler is in it then I suggest BUSHWICK with Dave Bautista. Kind of a fucked up start-of-the-Second-Civil-War concept, where Texas secedes, most of the Old South follows, and for some reason the rednecks decide to attack the neighbourhood of Bushwick in New York City to achieve the goal of seizing enough of the big eastern cities via insurgency with the goal of forcing the federal government to approve of the secession - yeah, I know it doesn't make a lick of sense to me either. The writers and directors (yes, there's two of them) apparently decided to cash in on the moment with the alt-right being viewed as a bunch of murder-lusting psychopaths because they've got the secessionists dressed up like SWAT teams running around a beaten-up NYC area shooting as many civilians as they can, like some Nazi einsatzgruppen killing squads from the Eastern Front in WW2.

The neighbourhood inhabitants are basically cardboard cut-outs as well. Gang-bangers, looters, and other assorted NYC stereotypes. It's film in one long tracking shot, which is interesting from a cinematography viewpoint. Batista was good in it but that's about all. Not one to avoid for being wretchedly stupid but it's just empty and silly. Torrent it for free and don't use up any of your Netflix or Hulu account money on it.

[Edited on 10/29/2017 by Paddlefoot]





You know, everyone says it's not supposed to make sense, like that's the whole point, dude. And I'm just saying, you know, that's like an excuse for lazy storytelling. Just don't sell me shite and tell me it's gold, all right? I might be stoned, but I'm not high. You know what I mean?
- Cassidy from Preacher, commenting on The Big Lebowski and/or professional wrestling

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posted on 10-29-2017 at 05:09 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Not every movie I watched in 2017, but most em.

Split
Prevenge
John Wick 2
Lego Batman
Kedi
Get Out
Logan
Raw (I have not watched yet, but I have a feeling it live up to the hype)
Life
Colossal
The Void
Guardians of the Galaxy 2
Alien: Coveneant
Wonder Woman
The Bad Batch
Baby Driver
The Big Sick (on my to-watch list)
Dunkirk
Detroit (on my to-watch list)
The Hitman's Bodyguard (slow start, but the second half is very enjoyable!)
Lucky Logan
Dave Made a Maze (on the to-watch list)
It
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Who's Streets - documentary on civil rights
Score: A Film Music Documentary (on the to-watch list - interviews with everyone from Hans Zimmer to Trent Reznor)
American Made - great film that covers a critical part of American history
Blade Runner 2049
Mother!
Professor Marston & The Wonder Women (to-watch list)
Brawl in Cell Block 99 (utterly odd movie with Vince Vaughn playing a inmate)


Upcoming Films
____________

The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Loving Vincent (a film about Picaso made out of paintings)
Thor Ragnarok
Star Wars: Episode 8

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posted on 11-3-2017 at 12:29 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
I'm in London tonight, and was so crazy jet lagged from the flight over that I wound up sleeping all day, so I grabbed a bite and wound up catching Thor Ragnorak in Leicester Sq at one of those big theatres where they hold the premiļæ½res usually... gorgeous theatre, but I think the Brits might play more ads for cars and other crap than we do back home.

I think there's a thread for this movie around somewhere, but I'm too tired to look... bottom line, and more of a mini-review but it's awesome... just hilarious more than anything else, but plenty of action with more than a few touching moments... I was a bit zonked so I didn't spot a lot of Easter eggs in there beyond some of the ones already touched on elsewhere from the trailers; but I did spot a Beta Ray Bill statue in one wide shot; and a Valkerye that looks a lot more like the one from the comics in one shot. Also a couple of nice actor cameos in there.

Anyway; great movie, might be a bit heavy on continuity for those who didn't watch the first two Thor's, although they do a good job of recapping some stuff in a fun way that would get you up to speed. Go see it!

Anyway, off to Italy tomorrow; ciao.

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posted on 11-18-2017 at 05:46 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Caught Justice League and right out of the gate I can tell you that the best part about it was that if felt like a comic book movie that liked it's roots. The little snippets of Batman's and Superman's classic themes, Supes and Flash race(which has oficially happened in comics, animation, the small screen and now the silver screen), THE HALL OF JUSTICE!

Anyway, it was a so-so idea(introducing 3 new heroes, establishing the league, reviviving Superman all in the same damn movie) but I don't think it could have been executed any better.

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