Discuss and rate the last movie you watched

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American Animals (7/10)

If I was rating this film solely on my level of enjoyment, it would be more a 5 or a 6. Still, if I factor in the directing style, and overall craft of the piece, I have to give it a 7 at least.

So, this is a weird combination of "adaptation" and "documentary." It centres on the real-world heist of rare books from Transylvania University (yes, that's an actual place) in 2003, by what starts off as a duo of college students, and has become a quartet by the film's end. It juxtaposes between the dramatization part (played by actors), and interviews with the real-world students, now adults. What's interesting is that there isn't a hard line between the two segments. As in, actor!person may start a line, and then have real!person end the line in the present, and so on and so forth. Also factors in the conflicting accounts of what actually happened.

In a sense, it's tempting to classify this as a heist film, in as much that the film deals with a heist, with the planning, the execution, and the aftermath. However, I feel that does it a disservice, as it's kind of a rebuttal to the glamourization of heist fiction, in that things go wrong, it's clear that the kids are in over their heads, and innocent people suffer as a result. It's less about the heist, and more about how a series of poor decisions on their parts led up to them attempting it. It's not exactly a deconstruction of heist films, nor rebuttal, but it certainly doesn't follow cliches (course, as it's based on a true story, that's arguably kind of the point).

So, yeah. Not the most enjoyable film I've seen this year, but still a good one.

immortalfrieza:
Venom:

8/10

Just got back from watching it, and it blew past my expectations which were already pretty high after the second Venom trailer. This adaption just nails everything except one thing about the character. That one thing? No Spider-Man, and honestly despite the complaints about it the movie is far better for it by not having Venom have anything to do with him. Venom doesn't have that obsessive hatred of Spider-Man weighing them down and pigeonholing them into the role of a villain. This helps evolve them beyond the actually pretty generic bad guy they were in the comics and most other adaptions. This Venom can actually plausibly pass as an anti-hero because he's actually a goodish person at the start rather than be shoved into the role like he was in the comics. The plot was generic really but the effects and action were great. Much more importantly the character of Eddie Brock and Venom worked so well. The plot being a bit cliched didn't detract from how good the movie was because the protagonist and the rest of the characters were written pretty well. Venom himself was easily the best part, they brought deadpan wit and black comedy into the movie but not Thor Ragnarok levels of tone inappropriate humor, the writers knew when to stop.

The only reason it didn't get a 10 out of 10 was I felt like the "setting stuff up" part dragged on longer than it should have. It took too long to get to the point where Eddie actually bonds with Venom and things pick up, I feel like they could have cut a couple minutes here and there up to that point.

I whole-heartedly agree with you, except I DO give it a 10 out of 10; the only thing about this film that could have made it better (in my eyes) is if it was 3 hours longer. I'm admittedly a shameless Venom fan, but they NAILED it beyond my expectations; it is exactly how I've always wanted to see him on the big screen; he was perfect. According to the friend who went with me, I was actually squealing and clapping like a 5-year-old girl. And the icing on this slobbery, toothy hulk of a cake? Stan Lee managed his cameo and Eminem wrote the titular track for the soundtrack. Basically, it was a +2 hour orgasm.

Venom is #1 movie in the WORLD right now.... got damn right !!!

Christopher Robin (6/10)

If I was rating this purely on my level of enjoyment, it would be a 5. Because while this film is at least decently crafted, at the end of the day, I'm really not the target audience here, even though I thought I might be from the trailers. While it's a "family film," it's skewed far more towards younger viewers, said younger viewers being in the cinema as well and refusing to shut up.

So, anyway, as the title suggests, this film focuses on Christopher Robin, dealing with his time after leaving the Hundred-Acre Wood (which is actually its own pocket dimension in this film, accessible via a tree trunk in Sussex). He's married, has a daughter, but is working to death and...what? You're asking whether this is a film that's going to state that it's important to spend time with family and all that? Congratulations. You know your tropes.

Thing is, when Pooh first shows up in London, I thought the film might do something clever, like have Pooh being a manifestation of Chris's subconciousness or something. Certainly an earlier scene indicates this, as his office workers are shown having personality traits similar to some of the animal characters. But no, Pooh's an actual bear that people can see (resulting in him having to be quiet as best he can). Not that that's a bad thing, but it is simplistic. Similarly, when Chris and Pooh re-enter the wood, and find it overcast, I thought it might be a manifestation of Chris's imagination, representing his inner turmoil, but no, the wood's overcast simply because Pooh's friends are missing. Again, none of this is bad, but as an adult, I'd appreciate a lot more 'meat,' especially if the story is poised to give it to me.

One thing I do have to give is that the film displays the Pooh characters perfectly. I mean, they're a bit too twee for my tastes, but they're accurate. Though I don't get why some are portrayed like toys, while Rabbit and Owl appear fully organic. Also, I'm assuming they're magic, because despite Chris being in his 30s/40s, Roo hasn't aged, and no-one brings this up. This again ties in with the imagination thing, but no, these are animals that actually exist...yet the Heffalump doesn't, because that IS a figament of all their imaginations.

So, kids will enjoy it, and adults might find nostalgia in 50s England, but unless you're a big Pooh fan, this might be a bit twee for your tastes.

(Also, a tree trunk that leads to a pocket universe Wood dimension; Chronicles of Narnia anyone?)

The House With A Clock In Its Walls 8/10 - my kids; 5/10 - me

Mostly dread and a couple jump scares with a bit of comedy to lighten the mood. My kids (10 & 7) loved it, even though they spent more than a few minutes peeking through fingers at the screen.

Conversely, I loved the books as a kid and the movie was far, far goofier (and a lot less Catholic). It was far better than most kids movies I end up taking them to, but still nothing I would recommend an adult go see on their own.

Sorry to Bother You
Ok, admittedly the title alone attracted me, then the cover style, during a moment of less-than-stellar mood that tends to make enjoying anything really really difficult. So it's no backhanded compliment when I say that it was good enough to break through that wall of tiresome misery and really worth checking out if everything else happens feels like dread. Having thought I knew nothing about it going in, it took about 20 minutes to remember there was actually an article I read about it a few months back but promptly forgot the title, probably due to it being a common phrase in day-to-day shenanigans with other human-folk and various life distractions. Am thinking the only criticism is when the main protagonist and accomplice occasionally use their "alternative" voice, the dubbing is entirely unconvincing, which appears to be an intentional decision for whatever reason, but was personally more distracting when I'm getting all immersed in the people's lives. It is only occasional however.
Would recommend for anybody except those with a deep hated of unions, PTSD from call centre work, or are trump voters.

First Man (0/10)

0/10. Does not show flag being planted on moon. Avoid this SJW/globalist/anti-American propaganda.

...

...

...are the snowflakes gone now? They are? Good. Now let's get on with the real review.

First Man (7/10)

So, this is a good film, but what elevates it from "okay" to "good" isn't what you might think.

Thing is, First Man is beginning its race with a broken ankle, because the story of Neil Armstrong isn't an obscure one. We know exactly how this story is going to end, or at least, anyone remotely familiar with the Apollo Program. By extension, as soon as I saw the Apollo 1 sequence...yeah. Knew it was going to end badly for those guys. And while I wasn't aware of Armstrong's role in the Gemini Program, when Gemini 8 barely avoids disaster, even then the audience knows that Armstrong is going to have to make it out just fine. Now, granted, this is a burden that every historical film has to bear, and even fictional ones to an extent (in that the protagonist will rarely be killed off)...well, it isn't exactly Apollo 13 levels of tension.

But be that as it may, let's look at the actual film. At 2hrs, 10 minutes, it's a long one, and yet, it kind of struggles. The film is trying to tell two stories - one of them is based on Armstrong joining NASA, becoming part of the Gemini Program, the Apollo Program, and then, landing on the moon. The other half deals with his home life - the stress with his family over the mission, and the death of his daughter Karen when he was still in the civilian sector. Problem is, even at the full length of the running time, neither story really feels as fleshed out as it could have been if they just focused on one aspect. Of course, that's kind of the film's dilemma - Armstrong's history at NASA is well documented, but a film solely focusing on home life probably wouldn't sell. Now, that's not to stay that these two sides of Armstrong's story are bereft of depth, but as the years go on, it feels at times that we're getting "Armstrong: The Cliffnotes." But on the other hand, I'm not sure if increasing the length would have solved this issue. That also raises the issue of Gosling's acting. Now, Gosling is a pretty good actor, and I've seen him be emotive in plenty of films, but here, he's very quiet, very subdued, and a lot of his acting is done with body language and facial expressions. So, on one hand, it's good acting. On the other, it's a very 'cold' feeling. Which is kind of the point, as it's shown to be how Armstrong is coping under the pressure of his work, and this especially comes across as his relationship with his wife and sons suffers, most tellingly when he has to acknowledge to his sons that he may not be coming back.

There's also the question of other characters. Now, I'm assuming it's true to life, but of the other astronauts in the program, we see Armstrong spending the most time with Gus Grissom, an astronaut who was among those on Apollo 1, and. y'know, died a very horrible death. Now, that's handled well - given the proper gravitas and emotional fallout - but in a film called "First Man," we see very little of Buzz Alrdrin and don't see Michael Collins until the actual Apollo 11 mission. Again, this is probably true to life, but, well, imagine if we have a protagonist and deutragonist, where the deutragonist dies 80% of the way through the story, then a tertiary character fills his spot. That's what it feels like. Again, can't really hold this against the film, but it is noticable. Also, Aldrin's kind of a jackass in this film. Dunno if that's true to form, but from what I understand, there was contention as to who would be the, ahem, "first man" (though that itself is never brought up).

So, yeah. These elements of the movie are decent. Not great, but decent. Judging the movie by these elements alone, it would warrant at least a 6/10. But it's a 7, and the reason why is down to its directing style.

If I had to draw comparisons here, it would be with two films set in space - 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Gravity. Now, I dislike the former, and adore the latter, but that aside, let's look at those influences. The influence from the first is in a few elements. First, the use of music and silence. There's a recurring tune in the movie (forget its name) that plays a similar role to The Blue Danube in 2001, when we see spacecraft in the vacuum of space and whatnot. Now, it doesn't work quite as well as 2001's iconic sequence (but what does in this regard), but that's not to say it doesn't work very well on its own. But more tellingly is how space is conveyed - the word "magnificent desolation" comes to mind. This is a film I'd actually reccomend seeing on the big screen purely because of the space shots. This includes the moon mind you, which again, has this feeling of "magnificent desolation." This sense of space is present in the film from the outset (when Armstrong flies into the upper atmosphere in the X-15, and actually 'bounces' off it), and remains as such right up until the end. There's a thing that Armstrong does on the moon that I won't spoil, but TBH, I think it would have been great if the film ended with this shot. Because it's a culmination of not only his emotional journey, but adds to the sense of desolation that space has.

Gravity is the second frame of reference, and this comes across in two key ways. Gravity, among other things, conveyed the sense of disorientation that space can have, and when Gemini 8 nearly ends in disaster, that really captures the chaos that can come from uncontrolled space flight. Similarly, there's the use of extreme close-ups. Like, a lot of them. Now, in a sense, I'm kind of reminded of Interstellar here, but thankfully First Man stays clear of that flying turd, and uses them to great effect. Again, the use of body language in space of dialogue, and it conveys just how primitive the spacecraft of the 1960s were in comparison to those of latter decades. Really makes you appreciate the level of skill astronauts at the time would have had to have demonstrated.

So, yeah. Film is good. Not great, but good - it's a case of what great directing can do to elevate a screenplay,

And in case you're wondering, while we don't see Armstrong plant the flag, we do see the flag having been planted, and there's plenty of USA/flag icons in the movie, so, go knock yourself out or something.

Hawki:
First Man (0/10)

0/10. Does not show flag being planted on moon. Avoid this SJW/globalist/anti-American propaganda.

...

...

...are the snowflakes gone now? They are? Good. Now let's get on with the real review.

First Man (7/10)

So, this is a good film, but what elevates it from "okay" to "good" isn't what you might think.

Thing is, First Man is beginning its race with a broken ankle, because the story of Neil Armstrong isn't an obscure one. We know exactly how this story is going to end, or at least, anyone remotely familiar with the Apollo Program. By extension, as soon as I saw the Apollo 1 sequence...yeah. Knew it was going to end badly for those guys. And while I wasn't aware of Armstrong's role in the Gemini Program, when Gemini 8 barely avoids disaster, even then the audience knows that Armstrong is going to have to make it out just fine. Now, granted, this is a burden that every historical film has to bear, and even fictional ones to an extent (in that the protagonist will rarely be killed off)...well, it isn't exactly Apollo 13 levels of tension.

But be that as it may, let's look at the actual film. At 2hrs, 10 minutes, it's a long one, and yet, it kind of struggles. The film is trying to tell two stories - one of them is based on Armstrong joining NASA, becoming part of the Gemini Program, the Apollo Program, and then, landing on the moon. The other half deals with his home life - the stress with his family over the mission, and the death of his daughter Karen when he was still in the civilian sector. Problem is, even at the full length of the running time, neither story really feels as fleshed out as it could have been if they just focused on one aspect. Of course, that's kind of the film's dilemma - Armstrong's history at NASA is well documented, but a film solely focusing on home life probably wouldn't sell. Now, that's not to stay that these two sides of Armstrong's story are bereft of depth, but as the years go on, it feels at times that we're getting "Armstrong: The Cliffnotes." But on the other hand, I'm not sure if increasing the length would have solved this issue. That also raises the issue of Gosling's acting. Now, Gosling is a pretty good actor, and I've seen him be emotive in plenty of films, but here, he's very quiet, very subdued, and a lot of his acting is done with body language and facial expressions. So, on one hand, it's good acting. On the other, it's a very 'cold' feeling. Which is kind of the point, as it's shown to be how Armstrong is coping under the pressure of his work, and this especially comes across as his relationship with his wife and sons suffers, most tellingly when he has to acknowledge to his sons that he may not be coming back.

There's also the question of other characters. Now, I'm assuming it's true to life, but of the other astronauts in the program, we see Armstrong spending the most time with Gus Grissom, an astronaut who was among those on Apollo 1, and. y'know, died a very horrible death. Now, that's handled well - given the proper gravitas and emotional fallout - but in a film called "First Man," we see very little of Buzz Alrdrin and don't see Michael Collins until the actual Apollo 11 mission. Again, this is probably true to life, but, well, imagine if we have a protagonist and deutragonist, where the deutragonist dies 80% of the way through the story, then a tertiary character fills his spot. That's what it feels like. Again, can't really hold this against the film, but it is noticable. Also, Aldrin's kind of a jackass in this film. Dunno if that's true to form, but from what I understand, there was contention as to who would be the, ahem, "first man" (though that itself is never brought up).

So, yeah. These elements of the movie are decent. Not great, but decent. Judging the movie by these elements alone, it would warrant at least a 6/10. But it's a 7, and the reason why is down to its directing style.

If I had to draw comparisons here, it would be with two films set in space - 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Gravity. Now, I dislike the former, and adore the latter, but that aside, let's look at those influences. The influence from the first is in a few elements. First, the use of music and silence. There's a recurring tune in the movie (forget its name) that plays a similar role to The Blue Danube in 2001, when we see spacecraft in the vacuum of space and whatnot. Now, it doesn't work quite as well as 2001's iconic sequence (but what does in this regard), but that's not to say it doesn't work very well on its own. But more tellingly is how space is conveyed - the word "magnificent desolation" comes to mind. This is a film I'd actually reccomend seeing on the big screen purely because of the space shots. This includes the moon mind you, which again, has this feeling of "magnificent desolation." This sense of space is present in the film from the outset (when Armstrong flies into the upper atmosphere in the X-15, and actually 'bounces' off it), and remains as such right up until the end. There's a thing that Armstrong does on the moon that I won't spoil, but TBH, I think it would have been great if the film ended with this shot. Because it's a culmination of not only his emotional journey, but adds to the sense of desolation that space has.

Gravity is the second frame of reference, and this comes across in two key ways. Gravity, among other things, conveyed the sense of disorientation that space can have, and when Gemini 8 nearly ends in disaster, that really captures the chaos that can come from uncontrolled space flight. Similarly, there's the use of extreme close-ups. Like, a lot of them. Now, in a sense, I'm kind of reminded of Interstellar here, but thankfully First Man stays clear of that flying turd, and uses them to great effect. Again, the use of body language in space of dialogue, and it conveys just how primitive the spacecraft of the 1960s were in comparison to those of latter decades. Really makes you appreciate the level of skill astronauts at the time would have had to have demonstrated.

So, yeah. Film is good. Not great, but good - it's a case of what great directing can do to elevate a screenplay,

And in case you're wondering, while we don't see Armstrong plant the flag, we do see the flag having been planted, and there's plenty of USA/flag icons in the movie, so, go knock yourself out or something.

I just saw First Man and yeah, pretty much felt the same.

Hawki:
First Man (0/10)... That also raises the issue of Gosling's acting. Now, Gosling is a pretty good actor, and I've seen him be emotive in plenty of films, but here, he's very quiet, very subdued, and a lot of his acting is done with body language and facial expressions. So, on one hand, it's good acting. On the other, it's a very 'cold' feeling. Which is kind of the point, as it's shown to be how Armstrong is coping under the pressure of his work, and this especially comes across as his relationship with his wife and sons suffers, most tellingly when he has to acknowledge to his sons that he may not be coming back.

from what i understand, people who knew Amstrong all say that it's actually a very good portrait of that man. Amstrong was a very secretive and cold man. His son when he talk about the night his mom drag his dad to the table to talk about the odds of not comming back is actually pretty cold about it. he call it a meeting. we had a meeting with our father. Maybe Goslin pushed it a bit far, but still.

There's also the question of other characters. Now, I'm assuming it's true to life, but of the other astronauts in the program, we see Armstrong spending the most time with Gus Grissom, an astronaut who was among those on Apollo 1, and. y'know, died a very horrible death. Now, that's handled well - given the proper gravitas and emotional fallout - but in a film called "First Man," we see very little of Buzz Alrdrin and don't see Michael Collins until the actual Apollo 11 mission. Again, this is probably true to life, but, well, imagine if we have a protagonist and deutragonist, where the deutragonist dies 80% of the way through the story, then a tertiary character fills his spot. That's what it feels like. Again, can't really hold this against the film, but it is noticable. Also, Aldrin's kind of a jackass in this film. Dunno if that's true to form, but from what I understand, there was contention as to who would be the, ahem, "first man" (though that itself is never brought up).

the thing is that movie is not a movie about Apollo 11, it's the story of Neil Amstrong. his relation with White and Grissom is more important than his relation with Aldrin and Collins. i also wonder if Aldrin was really a dick like he's showed in the movie.

This is a film I'd actually reccomend seeing on the big screen purely because of the space shots. This includes the moon mind you, which again, has this feeling of "magnificent desolation." This sense of space is present in the film from the outset (when Armstrong flies into the upper atmosphere in the X-15, and actually 'bounces' off it), and remains as such right up until the end. There's a thing that Armstrong does on the moon that I won't spoil, but TBH, I think it would have been great if the film ended with this shot. Because it's a culmination of not only his emotional journey, but adds to the sense of desolation that space has.

Gravity is the second frame of reference, and this comes across in two key ways. Gravity, among other things, conveyed the sense of disorientation that space can have, and when Gemini 8 nearly ends in disaster, that really captures the chaos that can come from uncontrolled space flight. Similarly, there's the use of extreme close-ups. Like, a lot of them. Now, in a sense, I'm kind of reminded of Interstellar here, but thankfully First Man stays clear of that flying turd, and uses them to great effect. Again, the use of body language in space of dialogue, and it conveys just how primitive the spacecraft of the 1960s were in comparison to those of latter decades. Really makes you appreciate the level of skill astronauts at the time would have had to have demonstrated

I've seen it in Imax, and it worth it a lot. the launches sequences are terrifying. It really showhow those craft were primitive and that we basically send three man on the moon in a thin can. the moon landing and the gemini 8 sequence are actually pretty tensefull even if you know how it end.

For the record, that thing he did on the moon is actually probably true. We know that he did spend some time alone near that crater, and even if there is no record of what he did, his family do think that i did something that might ressemble this.

I enjoyed this movie a lot. I think it was a very interresting take on space exploration showed in a very human way. for me it was an 8

I am watching Caligula 1979 with Malcolm Mcdowell. I guess his performance in A Clockwork Orange prepared him for this role and moive...

And fortunately for me, I have already been disensitised to porn and violence. I also wonder about its historical accuracy, but so far if there is anything I know about Caligula is that this is what happens to a man born unto such a position of power.

All the excess decedence, all the food, the women, the extravegance, and his family lineage at play and the role is supposed to assume knowing that he rules the entire known world.

This is what happens to men who are born into having everything. So of course they would see themselves as gods.

Basically, I am starting to understand where the High Sparrow is coming from:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCjL8YpndzQ

Venom (6/10)

So, this is a thing. There's me using the critic-fan divide for Venom in a different thread, then I go and watch the damn thing. So, the question must thus be asked, are the critics living in their ivory towers, disconnected from the tastes and desires of lesser mortals? Or are the critics right, and said mortals a bunch of uncultured swine that wouldn't know a good movie if it morphed into a symbiote and bit their head off? Drum roll please, as the answer is...neither.

Venom is, in one word, "okay." In two words, it's "dumb fun." Is it an enjoyable film? Yes. Is it "good?" Well, no...

Thing is, there's not that much to discuss here outside of the plot and characters. There's no interesting themes, no interesting directing, so that leaves us with stuff like plot, action, and characters. I will say on the action front that Venom definitely delivers. Characters are...okay. On one hand, the villain of this piece is "evil scientist guy," who arguably gets some depth, but that's like saying that drinking drops from a bucket will hydrate you. On the other, if we're looking at our protagonists, what this movie does very well is the 'buddy comedy' if you will between Eddie and Venom. Now, I can't comment on the comics too much, but when I've seen Venom in Spider-Man cartoons and movies, while he/it's always used "we," I've never really had much of a sense of Venom being a character of his (I'm going to use "his" for simplicity's sake) own. There's a bit in Spectacular Spider-Man where Peter converses with the symbiote directly, but even there, most of Venom's motives appear to come from Eddie himself. Here, Venom and Eddie are very much separate individuals. So on one hand, when Venom's doing his shit, it's more the sense of Eddie doing nothing and Venom being the one in control. But on the other, the banter between them is comedic gold...

...which is the flipside of the coin, because in this case we need to look at Venom's motives in isolation, and that's where we get into stuff like plotholes. Not enough to sink the proverbial ship, but enough to get you wet if you're paying attention. So, from here on out, spoilers, such as:

-What exactly is the symbiotes' plan? Apparently it wasn't us finding them, it was them finding us. But...how? Are they from outside the system, or have they been drifting in our own system? If the former, how'd they get here, and if they don't have FTL travel, how'd they know that anyone could find them? If the latter, how did they "find" anything? Bear in mind that fire is one of their weaknesses, so if their plan was to hitch a ride and enter the atmosphere via comet, well, good luck with that.

-Not too much a plothole, but it's established that Eddie's show has a popular following with the network before he's given the boot, so couldn't he turn to Patreon or something?

-The whole Venom/Eddie thing. Now, apparently, the film is missing 40 minutes, and given how quickly Venom's character changes, I suspect that at least some of those minutes were devoted to fleshing this out. So, on one hand, the relationship is good. On the other, it's rushed, as Venom decides, apparnently within the span of hours, that hey, Earth is pretty neat - maybe I should betray my entire race to be top dog. Oh, and it turns out that this host is a nice guy as well. Um...okay, I don't have an issue with the arc itself, but it's done so quickly, it feels underdone.

-On a related note, it's established that even if a symbiote achieves symbiosis with its host, it'll slowly eat away at the host until all that's left is the symbiote. This is an actual plot point when Eddie realizes that it's what Venom's doing to him. Venom protests, but it's removed. And when Venom bonds with Eddie, it's never brought up again. Now, it's kind of implied that the process might be staved off if Venom, um, keeps eating people, but again, feels underdone. At the least, if I was Eddie Brock and wanted to keep Venom around, I'd actually want to know more about this deal.

-The final battle makes no sense when you actually think about it. It's established that the symbiotes are vulnerable to high pitched sound, such as MRIs, or even an airplane (which, after flying over Venom, temporarily incapacitates it). Yet the final battle occurs around, wait for it...

A LAUNCHING ROCKET!

And this affects neither Venom nor Riot. And bear in mind Riot was going to fly this thing.

Also, why's a rocket launching just off the coast of San Francisco. I mean, if it should explode (which it does), that might have a bit of an issue for public safety? Just saying...

So, despite all this, Venom's at least fun. If I'm including it with all the other Spider-Man movies I've seen, it takes the #5 place. But it isn't "good." Like I said, dumb fun.

​​​​A Star is Born (4/10)

...what the fuck did I just watch?

Okay, bad opening line, about a week's passed between me seeing this film and writing the review, at which point I had to remind myself that it was a 4/10, not a 3/10. As in, much as I dislike this...thing...it's not so bad that it deserves a 3. But make no mistake, this is a bad film...

...which is an incredibly rare opinion I know by all indications, considering that it's apparently loved by both critics and audiences, but I...just don't get it. I admit that I'm the wrong audience for this film (no interest in rock/pop/pop stars), but that's never been an issue in the past. i have no interest in baseball, but I loved Moneyball. I know little about economics, but I've loved films like The Big Short, Margin Call, and Wolf of Wall Street. Sports films have entertained me (Little Giants for instance), even if I'm not a big follower of the sport. But this...bleh.

So, do I have to describe the plot? I shouldn't, because this is the same god damn plot that's been told a thousand times in some form or another. Boy meets girl. Girl's good at singing but is too shy. Girl gets on stage at boy's insistence. Girl breaks out, but lets fame get to her head. I...okay, should I go on? I mean, it's not as if there's any kind of moral here? I mean, the film kind of touches on it, that the female protagonist is basically selling herself out to what's trendy, boy and girl have this conversation, have a falling out...

...and it's resolved five minutes later, and never brought up again. So either the film is saying that it's fine to sell out, or that the protagonist isn't selling out (even though she never transitions away from the whole 'rock slut' angle her producer has going for her), or it simply didn't think this through.

Did I mention that Bradley Cooper wrote, directed, and starred? Should I question whether this was a vanity project? I mean, credit where credit is due, he and Lady Gaga can certainly sing/play quite well. Of course, this isn't a musical, where plot and/or character is developed with the music. With only a few exceptions, the music exists in isolation. As in, you could replace 90% of the music in this film, and as far as plot or character go, it wouldn't make a difference to plot or character. Now, is that unfair you ask, to judge this as a musical? Well, yeah, I guess, but my understanding was that this was a movie, not a music video.

Another key point is that Bradley Cooper mumbles his lines a lot. There's a line where his character exchanges something with his brother, and I found out what it was by chance on YouTube when people repeated it - I just couldn't make out what he said. I could tell it meant something based on how the brother reacts, but I could barely hear the damn words.

So, yeah. This film is a mess. It tries to tell two simultanious stories with Cooper's character dealing with alcoholism, and LG's character becoming a star, but neither of them are given enough time to, er, shine. Even when this film is about 2 hours long (didn't take me long to start looking at my watch). It's cliche, but doesn't have the time or inclination to follow up on those cliches. The music's good, but it exists in isolation from the film. The actors are fine, but they're given little to work with. Let's just say that if this is a star being born, it quickly entered its white dwarf phase.

Might not be the worst movie I've seen all year, but it might be my least favourite.

The House with a Clock in Its Walls (7/10)

This film has Cate Blanchett as a witch, dressed in lavender, wielding an umbrella-wand like a shotgun, shooting at carnivouros pumpkins, causing them to explode.

...If that doesn't earn at least one brownie point, you simply have no soul.

But that aside, let's got on with this - this is one of those rare movies that I went into having absolutely no idea what to expect. I'd never read (or before this, heard of) the book, and I've barely seen any advertising for it. I could guess that magic might play a role, but that was about it. Well, lucky me, because this film was a delight to watch. Basically a more macabre Harry Potter. Only unlike the Harry Potter films, I didn't have the baggage of the books, so I wasn't constantly thinking "why did you cut that?' or "the books are better."

What's funny is that this does have similarities with Harry Potter, even if it was written two days prior. Here we have our orphan boy, who loses his parents in a car crash, go to live with his uncle, only to learn that magic is a thing, and he can use it, and that there's this evil wizard guy. So...basically if Uncle Vernon wasn't a dick, and if Harry was home-schooled, and if Voldemort was even more of an evil bastard.

That said, the film does a good job of standing on its own regardless of Harry Potter, and it sets its own tone - far more macabre for starters. But I have to deal with the elephant in the room, and that's our main child actor protagonist. He's...not that good, to be honest. I really don't want to rag on his acting too much, but as the supposed protagonist, he falters a lot, either trying too hard, or acting too awkward. That said, it's made up for with Jack Black and Cate Blanchett, who throw themselves into their roles - good enough that they sink into them, but also with the sense that they're just having a blast with the whole thing. The chemistry is great, the banter is great, and both characters do get their moments of gravitas. I mean, this film is dark at times. Quite dark. Like, the antagonist selling his soul to the devil dark, and being so scarred by WWII that he seeks to build a device to wipe out humanity. That may be a cliche plot point, but like all things that transcend cliches, it's presented well enough that I don't mind.

I should also mention that there's some other kid actors. They're...okay, if a bit underdeveloped. I can't help but wonder if they had more of a role in the book. One of them is "I'm your friend when it suits me, but just kidding, I'm actually an asshole" (didn't this kid have a similar role in Wonder?), the other being "I'm the shy girl that pops in every so often, and it turns out I like you - let's be friends."​ Also, it kinda doesn't make much sense, as our protagonist wants to use a necromancy book to impress his ex-friend, to prove that magic exists, except by this stage he can already use magic. Now, he does elaborate on it later, that he thought he could bring back his parents, but this is only after him using the book in the first place. As if the writer or author suddenly remembered​ "oh wait, this kid can use magic."

But that aside, it's a fun, satisfying, slightly frightning (for kids) family film that has enough for the adults as well. I mean, it does have two poop jokes, and one of them is too many, but hey, you win some, you lose some.

And again, blasting pumpkins with a wand-umbrella shotgun.

Hagrid, eat your heart out.

The Big Sleep, 1946. What a movie.

Private Life 5/10

One of those movies in which nothing really happens. The two main characters are supposedly stressed out by their troubles, but it doesn't really show until near the end. Then again, the stress is what explains their poor communication between each other. Overall the movie gets boring past halfway, and I practically forgot most of it even though I just stopped watching.

Apostle
Apart from one scene that made me feel physically unwell, it's rather good. But that scene did achieve what it desired, it presented the appropriate humans as horrific and selfish as they can so often be. I find that horror far more convincing and effective than typical Halloween horror. I didn't feel it was a slow burn like others have said, but then am not the type of person to get bored by character drama and all that comes with it. There is something that mildly annoyed me, though it seems potentially an unavoidable crack of immersion depending on how the director approaches certain interactions, but I feel explaining it might ruin some of the effectiveness for others who don't notice these perhaps imagined details.

Samtemdo8:
I am watching Caligula 1979 with Malcolm Mcdowell. I guess his performance in A Clockwork Orange prepared him for this role and moive...

And fortunately for me, I have already been disensitised to porn and violence. I also wonder about its historical accuracy, but so far if there is anything I know about Caligula is that this is what happens to a man born unto such a position of power.

All the excess decedence, all the food, the women, the extravegance, and his family lineage at play and the role is supposed to assume knowing that he rules the entire known world.

This is what happens to men who are born into having everything. So of course they would see themselves as gods.

Basically, I am starting to understand where the High Sparrow is coming from:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCjL8YpndzQ

I dont remember much about this movie. Not much happens and it goes on for well over 2hrs.

trunkage:

Samtemdo8:
I am watching Caligula 1979 with Malcolm Mcdowell. I guess his performance in A Clockwork Orange prepared him for this role and moive...

And fortunately for me, I have already been disensitised to porn and violence. I also wonder about its historical accuracy, but so far if there is anything I know about Caligula is that this is what happens to a man born unto such a position of power.

All the excess decedence, all the food, the women, the extravegance, and his family lineage at play and the role is supposed to assume knowing that he rules the entire known world.

This is what happens to men who are born into having everything. So of course they would see themselves as gods.

Basically, I am starting to understand where the High Sparrow is coming from:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCjL8YpndzQ

I dont remember much about this movie. Not much happens and it goes on for well over 2hrs.

Are you prepared to see REAL oral with ejaculate?

Are you prepared to see cruelty and narcissism?

Are you prepared to see the brutality that was the ending?

Samtemdo8:

trunkage:

Samtemdo8:
I am watching Caligula 1979 with Malcolm Mcdowell. I guess his performance in A Clockwork Orange prepared him for this role and moive...

And fortunately for me, I have already been disensitised to porn and violence. I also wonder about its historical accuracy, but so far if there is anything I know about Caligula is that this is what happens to a man born unto such a position of power.

All the excess decedence, all the food, the women, the extravegance, and his family lineage at play and the role is supposed to assume knowing that he rules the entire known world.

This is what happens to men who are born into having everything. So of course they would see themselves as gods.

Basically, I am starting to understand where the High Sparrow is coming from:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCjL8YpndzQ

I dont remember much about this movie. Not much happens and it goes on for well over 2hrs.

Are you prepared to see REAL oral with ejaculate?

Are you prepared to see cruelty and narcissism?

Are you prepared to see the brutality that was the ending?

It was going through a 'watch those full on movies' kick during that time. Requiem for a Dream, Salo, Irreversible, Martyrs, that MK Ultra on, Antichrist etc. So the cruelty was fine. In fact, it felt so incessant, I Was getting bored. But I might have immunised myself by watching heaps at one time.

I felt like all the cruelty didn't have a point, like Irreversible did, it felt like it was cruel for cruel sake, like Salo. I like the former more.

So I probably had a way different experience to anyone else

​​Johnny English Strikes Again (5/10)

Without a doubt, easily the most average film I've seen this year (least in cinemas). It's not bad. It's not good. It's just plain average. It's a spy movie that parodies much better spy movies that have come before it, where the butt of the joke is "hey, this guy isn't actually that smart, and gets by on dumb luck, if he even gets by at all."

Course I knew what I was getting into. I saw the original Johnny English back in the day and enjoyed it, but it's hardly what I'd call a classic or anything. Never saw the second, but you're not missing out on any plot (not that I can tell at least). But regardless, it's more of the same. Johnny's still an idiot. Bough is the intelligent one that lets Johnny take all the credit - basically the Penny to Inspector Gadget. If anything, I've got to give Ben Miller credit, because turns out he's also the person who portrayed Richard Poole on Death in Paradise. Both of these characters are on opposite ends of the spectrum, and he portrays them expertly. Though the thing is, I think Bough knows that his boss is an idiot on some level, but it's also established that he does think highly of him. Is that funny, or tragic?

Y'know what IS funny? The VR sequence (if you've seen the trailer, you'll know what I'm talking about). Problem is, not much else in the film is. A lot of it is cringe humour, and I think I laughed out loud three, maybe four times? Certainly a lot less than the other people in the cinema. Now, it's not grating humour per se (e.g. Breaker Upperrers), but it's not funny. It's just...average. The type of humour that relies on the protagonist being an idiot. I.e. not the type of humour I'm fond of.

So, I can't complain too much - I knew what I was going to get. But this isn't a case where low expectations were exceeded, it's a case where low expectations were met.

Searching
5/10

A movie told entirely through cameras and feeds from phones and computers. John Cho gives a good performance as a Dad looking for his missing daughter, and the movie is at its best when the viewer makes discoveries at the same time Cho's character does. However, there are scenes that just feed exposition to the viewer and those just drag on, because it's just us watching and none of the characters. It's an experimental way to make a film hour and a half long, but the plot is really basic (though the presentation gives us a couple of "predictions" about the rest of the movie here and there), relying on some spectacular fumbles on the part of the characters, and lots of sentimentality.

Not worth a cinema visit in my opinion. After all, Searching is not very cinematic.

Mile 22
3/10

Boring. The only intentionally good parts are Iko Uwais' fight scenes and Mark Wahlberg's twisted rage. Those are overshadowed by unintentionally hilarious stuff which is plentiful. It's one of those movies which is made rather badly and then salvaged on the editing table to a somewhat watchable form. For example Ronda Rousey is in it, but since she's not a good actress we won't see that much of her. Also the rest of the action scenes are a damn mess, because we know that a more coherent view would make them look like incompetent garbage.

Bohemian Rhapsody - 6/10

Its shot okay, the editing is fine despite some odd moments and Rami Malek is great in the role. Though where it suffers is an incredibly by-the-numbers narrative and not much of depth to Freddie or the rest of the band members. Sure, we touch upon a lot of aspects from their career, but never given much development for the characters or get to know them very well.

The Live Aid concert recreation was alright despite the CGI in the crowd being really distracting. But I can just rewatch the Live Aid concert for free online.

Its a mixed bag with a good cast and the last 20 minutes feel the most alive, but the rest is so meh.

Ghost Stories
Well this is a fine example of a pretty good drama utterly ruined by bushy-tailed attempts at being a "movie horror."
Ok, first thing that should be said is that everything around the "horror" is engaging, well acted, shot effectively, all rather fine stuff indeed. But then the film thinks the only way to pay off suspense or, god forbid, too much silence, is a jump scare. It's almost like an exec demanded a precise peppering of what movie goers expect these days from their cliches on top of the original cut. There's even a sort of rhythm to the bastards! And there is another rhythmic cliche involving the age old "shot pans back to what was shown to be empty landscape environment only for there to be...*gasp!*...a mysterious hooded figure standing there!" Good Lord, what unforseen tomfoolery this film dares to dabble in!

Then there's the "Is that a female dead-looking figure at the end of a dark corridor stood still in a hunched lurch? It is! You're not going to do one of those sp...ohhh dear, you just did one of those sped-up 'rush towards the protag with aggressive arms outstretched' animations accompanied by the horror strings rising quickly in pitch ending on a crash as a type of 'wind-up' jump scare." At which point I crossed off the final line of my 'shite modern day horror cliches' bingo card and buried face into paws.
This is apparently based off a 2010 play, and my experience of plays may be a little limited here, but am going to make a half-educated guess that jump scares and the other movie cliche are not usually play material and that these were absent from the script. Could be wrong, would research it, but currently do not have the time to invest in such trivial appeasement.

The film does thankfully quit with all that bullshit just after halfway, two thirds of the way through and ends on a twist (or two) that, although not original, may be fresh enough to mainstream viewers to be surprising and appreciated. It's frustrating really, as a whole. It could've been something much greater if it had taken a different approach to the presentation of its' horror ambitions. Honestly I don't know whether it's worth recommending. Perhaps if you can ignore the first half's almost tourette's-like tendency towards rhythmic jump/hooded figure scares?

Venom 7/10

So...,sexy Venom is one of the most disturbing things I've seen this year. So is Michelle Williams trying to play someone from an Asian background. Especially that wig. And the bad guy's logic reminds me of Social Darwinism and every one of his subordinates, except Slate, is somehow okay with this? How does that make sense? They deserve to die based on that stupidity alone.

Too much focus on trying to make Brock and Michelle Williams a thing. If you screw up, wear your consequences, not destroy something else to get what you want. The final battle was a mess and hard to tell what went on.

But Eddie arguing with Vemon, and creative use of his powers certainly makes up for a lot. Like a LOT. Taking on a whole SWAT made him look badass, and helped underscore Riot's capabiloties. I don't know if making it R would have helped the story, so I'm fine with a PG13 rating.

The Other Side of the Wind

There's hardly a more surreal feeling than turning on your television, opening Netflix and knowing that you're about to see a new Orson Welles movie. But it's what I did and it's what I saw. Other Side of the Wind is a small miracle, Welless' posthumous masterpiece, a priceless are fact from the golden age of Hollywood, brought into the present by a dedicated group of people.

It's a darkly humorous meditation in filmmaking, on 70s Hollywood and on its people, about what it means to work in that environment and practice that craft. As usual for an Orson Welles movie, almost every single shot does something interesting, almost every single line of dialogue is utilized to great effect, almost every single actor turns in an incredible performance.

It's beyond any doubt the best movie that's come out this year and unless we're actually gonna see Gilliam's Man who Killed Don Quixote it'll probably stay that that way. It's fantastic and everyone should see it. I mean, it's a new Orson Welles movie. Right there on Netflix.

trunkage:
Venom 7/10

So...,sexy Venom is one of the most disturbing things I've seen this year.

But sexy Venom was sexy. :(

So is Michelle Williams trying to play someone from an Asian background.

Um, how? She looked white-American to me.

Especially that wig. And the bad guy's logic reminds me of Social Darwinism and every one of his subordinates, except Slate, is somehow okay with this? How does that make sense? They deserve to die based on that stupidity alone.

Eh, pay's good I guess? Besides, the whole "I'm fine working for an immoral company" is a well established trope - Weyland Yutani, the Umbrella Corporation, etc. By those metrics, the Life Foundation doesn't seem as bad.

The final battle was a mess and hard to tell what went on.

Y'know what else is hard to tell? Why a launching rocket doesn't seem to affect either symbiote when, spoilers, rockets are LOUD.

Bohemian Rhapsody (7/10)

Let me start by saying third things. First, this is only rated as high as it is because of objective analysis (well, objective as it can be at least) and the final leg of the film. Second, this really should have been called "Freddy Mercury" or somesuch. Third, how much you get out of this film will likely depend a lot on how invested you are in its subject matter

Let's get this out of the way - while the film is obstensibly about Queen, make no mistake - Freddy Mercury is the lead issue of the story. Oh sure, Queen's there, and its members are there, but this all plays second fiddle to Freddy. This isn't inherently a bad thing, but I could see people going into this film and getting disappointed that it didn't flesh out the history of Queen more. And the film does suffer for this at times, as we jump from to when the band first forms to them already being a hit. Likewise, it never really delves into WHY Queen is such a hit. Now, lots of people could give an explanation, but that's not their onus, the onus is on the film. Moneyball explained why base-point average was such a revolution. The Founder explained why McDonalds was such a hit. Queen doesn't get that treatment. And maybe that's not on the film - after all, Freddy Mercury is the subject. But the lack of attention on Queen itself is still noticable.

Still, y'know what is nice to see? The improv and recording sessions. Remember when I said that how much you like this film will depend on your infatuation with the subject matter? Well, this is an example. Not necessarily for Queen fans, but music fans - anyone who's interested in the process of composition and the improv that that goes with it. Now, this isn't some kind of in-depth examination or depiction, but it certainly is nice to see.

So, it's good. Not exactly my favourite movie, and I've seen this kind of movie be done better (least in concept, not so much in music), so, it does its job, and does it reasonably well.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
6/10

Pretty good. Looks damn good and with introductions out of the way (last movie) we get to the fun parts immediately. Though it's a bit grating when Holmes' Batman-like preparations for everything are always shown to us in hindsight and it's always "wear a disguise and spy about".

Hawki:

So is Michelle Williams trying to play someone from an Asian background.

Um, how? She looked white-American to me.

Her name is Anne Weying. I am assuming, but that's a relatively common Chinese last name, and that she was trying to play American- Asian?. I don't know what was going on there

trunkage:
Her name is Anne Weying. I am assuming, but that's a relatively common Chinese last name, and that she was trying to play American- Asian?. I don't know what was going on there

Anne Weying is a character in the comics. Afaik, never been anything other than white.

Also, Weying is not a Chinese name. Weiying or Wei-Ying is. The origins of Weying aren't very clear, but likely originated in late-medieval Germany or Netherlands.

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