Discuss and rate the last movie you watched

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Saw Bad Boys For Life. Easily the best out of the three films. Defintely better thsn II. BBII I've always had a love/hate relation for. The actions were the most over-the-top and fun, but too bad the non-exsistant story (even by action movie standards) brought it down. A lot of the humor I found unfunny in 2 and most scenes are pointless filler you can edit out and not miss anything. BB3 fixes all of these issues. Better action, thought not as Bay over-the-top (no over quick cut and shaky cam, than God), actual character, and nice twist on the story. The new cast does a good job, and it's obvious they will be taking over for Bad Boys 4 . This movie has actual better humor than the original or II. I give it a high full price.

1917 (8/10)

You can tell from the score that I thought very highly of this film (or if you can't, what the heck is wrong with you?). That said, I'm actually going to start with what I didn't like as much, because it's simply easier to do that. So, on that note:

-This isn't a movie that really has a message beyond "war is hell." That's not bad in of itself, but if you're looking for some kind of new insight into WWI, you're not going to get it here.

-Maybe I'm being overly sensitive, but while the movie does a great job of humanizing the soldiers on the Allied side, every German encountered is simply an enemy. The one time an enemy soldier is shown humanity, without spoilers, it doesn't end well for the protagonists. Again, I can't call this bad per se, but it's noticable that one side is being humanized while another isn't.

-The movie does slow down a few times. I'm not talking about times when there isn't action or anything like that - there's plenty of slow moments where the characters are just talking and moving that work excellently. However, there are also moments that don't work quite as well.

-The movie can be a bit 'actiony' at times, such as when the protagonist is running away from enemy soldiers who keep firing and just can't hit him, even though if they stopped running and reloaded their rifle, they probably could. Under normal circumstances, this wouldn't be an issue, but because the movie is committed to realism and is portraying war realistically, that the Krauts sometimes suffer Stormtrooper Syndrome is a bit telling. Or maybe WWI rifles are that difficult to aim, though if so, our protagonist does outshoot a sniper in something that could be out of 'Enemy at the Gates' (in a good way).

Right, now that I've gone through my minor gripes, I can get into what this film does well, namely:

-Cinematography/directing. Yes, the film is directed to make everything appear as one continuous take. If you're paying attention, you can probably spot the breaks, but that in no way subtracts from the experience. It isn't just a masterpiece of directing in of itself, it really adds to the intimacy of the main characters. Because the film takes place over 24 hours, and in an area of around 8 miles, the directing also benefits from the congruent geography.

-The characters themselves are very easy to get invested in. The film basically succeeds where Dunkirk failed. Granted, there's only two main characters, while Dunkirk was juggling between multiple characters without rhyme or reason, but what it does, it does really well. Furthermore, the dialogue is great. There's no big speeches, we simply learn about these two men by their interactions; by what they say/do, and what they don't.

-Minor note, all the officers are played by big name actors, such as Colin Firth (a colonel), Benedict Cumberbatch (a colonel), Mark Strong (a captain), and Richard Madden (an actor), while the two protagonists (corporals) are played by more obscure actors (least actors that I haven't heard of at least). I don't know if this is a meta choice, to have the "nobodies" played by obscure actors, but if so, I noticed it. And again, I actually mean that in a good way. The above actors, even though they don't get much screentime, do make an impression, Cumberbatch especially.

-I did mention that the message of the film is "war is hell," but here, I'm also going to mention it as a positive. War is hell, but it doesn't need any big speeches to convey that. Don't get me wrong, speeches have their place (see War Horse; the stage version), but this being a more intimate visual medium, it conveys everything it needs to. We see it when one of the characters breaks down, we see it in the city ruins, we see it in what I'm calling "the trench run." Why yes, I DID come close to tears during and after said run, thanks for asking. This also being a film that doesn't have much gore, but it doesn't deduct from the horror. Seeing the men going over the top, seeing them be terrified, seeing a captain outright weeping from terror/shellshock, seeing and hearing Cumberbatch's character talk near the end...yeah. War is hell. That isn't a new message, but the film delivers it without ever being preachy about it.

So, yeah. Very, very good film. If this film doesn't end up in my top ten list of 2020, I'd be very surprised. And if I did a top ten war films list, I'd be surprised if it doesn't end up there either. I know WWI is fading from memory and arguably, relevance as well (since the War to End All Wars did nothing of the sort), but even if you have no interest, the directing by itself is worth the price of admission.

Hawki:
-The movie can be a bit 'actiony' at times, such as when the protagonist is running away from enemy soldiers who keep firing and just can't hit him, even though if they stopped running and reloaded their rifle, they probably could. Under normal circumstances, this wouldn't be an issue, but because the movie is committed to realism and is portraying war realistically, that the Krauts sometimes suffer Stormtrooper Syndrome is a bit telling. Or maybe WWI rifles are that difficult to aim, though if so, our protagonist does outshoot a sniper in something that could be out of 'Enemy at the Gates' (in a good way).

Pre-WW1, British soldiers were expected to be trained to standard with 100 rounds each (though units had a little extra so people who were struggling could practice more). This was significantly more than what French or German conscripts got, and that was when there wasn't a war on and had time to fully train people. By 1917, they needed people to be trained quickly and massive numbers of people who'd been trained in peacetime weren't around anymore.

Because of all that, accuracy wasn't a big requirement of WW1 rifles (compared to more modern stuff). Though, the sights were calibrated up to 1000+ yards, but good luck at that range. Unless you had a good rifle and better trained than most, it was doable.

1917. Liked it but it's typical Dreamworks stuff. The war feels sterilized and the focus is mostly on the emotional experience of the protagonists to relay a positive message on human kindness and empathy(even if it had to dehumanize every German soldier to accomplish this making it also feel a bit insincere). While, if you figure the horror of the trenches and nearly an entire generation of young men decimated I can't imagine there being any moralistic considerations other than a desperate struggle to not let one's psychology fall apart. It looks more like the conflict was just non-stop perplexing chaos than anything to make sense of or reflect on. Even a century on there is still this impression let alone how soldiers at the frontline must have experienced this at the time it actually took place.

I understand a Hollywood production wouldn't zoom in on the unimaginable horrors of WW1 other than some safe props but even as a sappy drama I think it lacked nuance considering it's one-dimensional approach. Still, it's really well made and with a likeable cast and smooth progression it does a good job portraying a family friendly, if somewhat presumptuous, version of the war.

stroopwafel:

I understand a Hollywood production wouldn't zoom in on the unimaginable horrors of WW1 other than some safe props but even as a sappy drama I think it lacked nuance considering its one-dimensional approach.

1917 is a British film.

McElroy:

stroopwafel:

I understand a Hollywood production wouldn't zoom in on the unimaginable horrors of WW1 other than some safe props but even as a sappy drama I think it lacked nuance considering its one-dimensional approach.

1917 is a British film.

Yeah, produced by Dreamworks and distributed by Universal.

What Did Jack Do

David Lynch interrogates a talking monkey in a suit for about fifteen minutes. At one point, the monkey sings a song. If you don't think that sounds like quality entertainment then I don't know what's wrong with you.

Nah, seriously. It's a funny little skit. Is there a deeper meaning to it? Who knows, it does feel like a cheeky parody of film noir and detective fiction in general but I prefer to think of is a small nugget of absurdist comedy.

PsychedelicDiamond:
What Did Jack Do

David Lynch interrogates a talking monkey in a suit for about fifteen minutes. At one point, the monkey sings a song. If you don't think that sounds like quality entertainment then I don't know what's wrong with you.

Nah, seriously. It's a funny little skit. Is there a deeper meaning to it? Who knows, it does feel like a cheeky parody of film noir and detective fiction in general but I prefer to think of is a small nugget of absurdist comedy.

I think Lynch *really* likes playing the tough-talking, no-nonsense, chain-smoking archetype. The skit felt like just that, an opportunity to indulge himself and go through every conceivable clich? in an interrogation. He even gave the missus a role.

If it's any more than something he made just for the hell of it, I guess it's about how easy it is to create a mystery out of nothing. Perhaps a mocking response to the people who comb over the tiniest details in his more inscrutable work (like I'm doing now). Sometimes the monkey is just a monkey. Though now I'm thinking of the monkey in Fire Walk With Me. What's Jack's relationship to Judy? Did Gordon follow Coop's steps? Is this expressionistic black and white room annexed to the White Lodge? Are they in limbo, like the characters in Rabbits talking about hazy incidents while trading cliched one-liners with no sense of causality?

I wish he'd make a movie again. Not feature-length nonsense like Inland Empire, but an actual movie like he used to. Or at least continue Twin Peaks.

​Jojo Rabbit (6/10)

There's a scene in Jojo Rabbit that perfectly encapsulates the film's core problem. It's a scene that's in the trailer, so I won't spoil anything by sharing it with you. Specifically, it's the scene with Captain K and his subordinate officer, dressed up in flamboyant garb while firing guns at invading Allied forces while the subordinate is playing the trombone. In theory, the scene is meant to be humorous, showing visual absurdity that reflects the real-world absurdity of Germany continuing to fight a war that they had no chance of winning from a given point (when that point is is irrelevant), while also conveying the tragedy of the war. Unfortunately, this scene fails to do either. That's not to say that the film can't be funny at times (because it is), or that it can't be tragic at times either (which it is), but when the total package is looked up, what we have is a film that's trying to have it both ways and not really succeeding at either.

Let's get the obvious out of the way - this film as Waititi playing Hitler. Bad German accent aside, I like this, and wish we could see more of him. He disappears towards the end, and while that does arguably match Jojo's character development, still miss him. It's telling that as Jojo becomes less of a Nazi "Hitler" becomes more aggressive, and the very last time we see him is him as a dishelved man with a bullet wound in his head. Honestly, the Hitler stuff is pretty tame, as is the whole movie. I know, I know, there are certain sections of society that have accused the film of normalizing Nazism, or being too simplistic in its morality, but I really don't get this. Within the film, there's those dedicated to the regime (e.g. the Gestapo, who have a visit in one of the film's tensest moments), to those in the German Army who want nothing to do with the war but are compelled to fight, to children like Jojo who are too young to know any better. I've seen this line of thought pop up in recent years, but if one's going to argue that anyone who lives under a totalitarian regime is equally complicit within that regime, then you may as well start bombing Iran and North Korea, because obviously the people there are all Islamists and communists who are equally guilty as their leaders. I mean, that's just common sense, right?

Actually, in fairness, the film is arguably simplistic, namely how it represents prejudice. Again, as has been given away, Jojo's mother is hiding a Jewish girl in the attic. Jojo finds her, but can't turn her in because if he does so, his mother will be punished as well. Cue his "interrogation" of the girl, which turns to something more cordial. These scenes are good and bad. Good, because as simple as the message is, they do convey how prejudice can be overcome if you get to know the people you're prejudiced against, that they are indeed, just people. The film hammers this home and manages not to be preacy about it, nor does it fall into "true wuv" territory. On the other, it means that a lot of the film moves very slowly. Honestly, while the afforementioned scenes aren't bad, I found myself waiting to get back to Jojo's scenes with the Nazis, with Captain K and Rebel Wilson's character. Honestly, despite Jojo being the protagonist, Captain K is easily the best character in the movie. And while she isn't in it that much, ScarJo's character does a good job as well.

So, yeah. There's certainly individual elements I liked in this film. I laughed, and got the feels plenty of times. But as its own package? Less of a rabbit, and more of a bunny. If I had one piece of advice for Waititi (not that he needs it, granted), the film should have committed to being either a comedy or a tragedy, because it fails to combine the two together.

Doctor Sleep

This is a weird one, down to the very premise. A sequel to The Shining (and, in terms of presentation, very explicity to Kubrick's adaptation of The Shining, too) about Danny Torrance fighting a gang of psychic vampires that extend their lifes by feeding on the life essence of people they torture. My attitude watching it constantly fluctuated between "Well, this isn't bad, it's just different" to "No, actually, this is pretty bad." What to even make of this? First of all, Doctor Sleep is not really a horror movie. It has some horror movie iconography, for sure, but it's really more of an action movie about two groups of psychically gifted people fighting each other. It does call back, and eventually go back, to the Overlook Hotel but even when it does it serves mostly as a battleground between these two factions. There is some closure, I guess, if you ever wondered what became of Danny after the traumatic events of The Shining but was that atually ever something you wondered about? I mean, were you laying awake at night, pondering how his life might have turned out? Reaching out to Danny is the second protagonist of the movie, what else could it be, a spunky teenage girl named Abra, because of course there is.

I'm not gonna say that this is to The Shining what Aliens was to Alien because Aliens was a lot better, but it's very hard to think of another direct sequel that is following up the story of its predecessor, yet exists in a completely different genre. This is really more like the "Harry Potter-ization" of The Shining. The Shining isn't exactly my favourite Kubrick movie but the premise, about a man driven mad by the evil spirits inhabiting and old hotel, was vintage horror. The Overlook might very well be cinemas most iconic haunted house, a place where the past is feeding on the future, grabbing it by its ankles like an undead hand coming out of a grave.

The other thing is, Doctor Sleep feels weirdly ambitious. The Director's Cut is three hours long, split into multiple chapters and visually pretty sophisticated. The actors are mostly doing a pretty good job, Rebecca Ferguson as "Rose the Hat", leader of the vampiric cult and the movies main antagonist especially turning in a very charismatic and undeniably very sexy performance. Ewan McGregor as grown up Danny and Kyliegh Curran as Abra are pretty good too, most of the cast is, really, for having to work with some extremely clunky dialogue. "They took him and they ate him.", Abra tells Danny when they first meet, "They eat screams and drink pain." an apparition of Dick Hallorann says later and Rose's right hand man call her "The Queen Bitch of all time". It's not easy to make these lines work, and they don't, but god knows they try.

That's what makes Doctor Sleep charming, rather than irritating. The fact that no one involved in this 40 years late Shining sequel about Danny Torrance fighting the vampire Manson family seems to have realized how incredibly stupid all of this is. When Steven Spielbergs disastrous pop culture abortion "Ready Player One" did a sequence set in the Overlook Hotel I was annoyed, when Doctor Sleep returns there for its big, stupid, action movie climax I was ready to go along for whatever idiotic nonsense the movie was gonna throw at me. And it didn't dissapoint.

It was a really bad movie but it entertained me just fine all the way throughout. It's a dumb, self important, horror themed superhero action flick that actually thinks it can afford to compare itself to Kubrick. I'm not entirely sure it's worth three hours of your time but I can't say I regret spending them.

Underwater (4/10)

This is a film that takes place entirely underwater. And one might say that it's a bit, ahem, "sub-standard."

If you laughed at that joke, congratulations, you might enjoy the quality of writing for this movie. Or maybe not, since it's impossible to hear what the characters are saying half the time, to the point that I wasn't sure how they related to each other. I get that this is a movie where disorientating things happen, which means a lot of shouting and whispering, but when I can barely hear the dialogue half the time, something's gone very wrong. Just like pretty much everything with this movie.

Going wrong is the premise, granted. A deep sea mining operation in the Marianas Trench gets wrecked by a seaquake, and the survivours have to, um, survive to get to the surface. So basically it's the format that's existed at least as long as Alien. Only there's nothing engaging about these characters, and the movie tries to be more intelligent than it actually is. I'm just going to spoil things now, because why not, the drill's awoken not!C'thulu. Or maybe it actually really is not C'thulu, I don't know. Wikipedia lists it as such. But the big monster looks more like a kaiju than anything else, while its minions are more from the C'thulu mythos. Kind of like a mix of the Locust of Gears of War and the Faceless Ones of Warcraft (yes, I don't know that much about C'thulu, bite me). However, the reason I bring this up is that if the monster really is meant to be C'thulu, the film doesn't do any C'thulu stuff with it. That said, I have a "sinking" suspicion that that was the original plan. One of the first lines in the movie is "down here, you're either awake or you're dreaming," and there's two points that hint at a supernatural element. One where a character forgets the age of his daughter, and another where Kristen Stewart's character begins to lose her grip on reality (which, in fairness, involves some good editing - far removed from the prevalent jump scares). However, none of this really amounts to anything. Certainly not in the end, which involves an explosion and no doubt a TV tropes entry on "Did You Just Punch Out C'thulu?"

So what are we left with apart from aborted supernatural elements? Lacklustre survival horror with lacklustre characters. Y'know, Kristen Stewart gets a lot of flak, but whether that's justified or not, I don't see any actress making me more engaged in the protagonist, or really, any of the characters. Likewise, I don't know why this film even got a cinema release. Oh sure, the budget is big enough for it, but the script isn't. It's bargain bin survival horror fare that isn't stupid enough to be entertaining. In part, I'm reminded of The Meg, which also involved the Marianas Trench and an undersea facility, but that at least knew it was stupid (most of the time) and at least had fun with its premise. Underwater takes itself too seriously for that, as it doesn't have the writing quality to justify its attempts at pathos. So at the end of the day, best to stay dry with this one.

Hawki:
Underwater (4/10)

Aww, shoot. I saw a commercial for this one a few weeks ago and was looking forward to something Lovecraftian. I might still catch it, but I'm a little disappointed.

the December King:

Hawki:
Underwater (4/10)

Aww, shoot. I saw a commercial for this one a few weeks ago and was looking forward to something Lovecraftian. I might still catch it, but I'm a little disappointed.

Best I can say is that if you like Lovecraft for the monster designs, you might have fun. If you like Lovecraft for the psychological horror, you're not going to find it here.

I had a long weekend and over the course of 4 days I re-watched the Tremors franchise. The original movie and its 3 sequels... then a 5th and 6th movie that I didn't even know existed.

Tremors (7/10)

An interesting movie. Not scary in the least, but somehow unsettling. It manages fairly well to take the "you're out of your element and on their turf" element of water based horror movies... and make it apply to dry land. Somehow making the (uggh) Graboids better suited to humans environment than the humans are. So unsettling, but campy enough to be a comedy rather than straight horror. I recommend it, its fun but leaves you with an uneasy creepy feeling standing on loose soil. And as I worked on farms when the movie came out... its memorable.

Tremors 2: Aftershocks (5/10)

It captures the comedy element of its predecessor, and its funny enough. But they "evolve" the Graboids... into smaller and less threatening monsters that's only advantage is extremely rapid procreation. An advantage negated by the existence of machine guns really.

Tremors 3: Back to Perfection (3/10) Nope, even evolving them to flying creatures that they name Assblasters fails to make the Graboids more frightening. And the comedy is really failing as well at this point.

Tremors 4: The Legend Begins (5/10) A much needed change in the formula, a prequel set in the old west. A little of the fun is back. Plus they correctly namecheck my hometown newspaper, neat.

Tremors 5: Bloodlines (3/10) This one is dead. There's nothing new here, even less comedy. It just seemed like 0 effort made it to the finished product on the screen.

Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell (2/10) Its already dead. Why would you do this? STAHP, ITS ALREADY DEAAAAADDDD.

There is a new movie on the horizon as well. Everything has been wrung out of the 'Tremors' formula as it exists... for any slight hope of a return to mediocrity, they have to re-invent. Blow up the formula. That is the only effective way forward. But then, it loses its identity. So just stop, sometimes you have to pull the plug on a franchise. And that point was a couple of movies ago.

Bombshell (6/10)

So, fun fact, I thought that Bombshell was a film about three similar looking women who are stand-ins for a secret agent that go undercover or something. Yeah...honestly, I've no idea where I got that idea since that's, like, nothing about what the film was actually about. Luckilly I did find out before I saw the film. That said, I kind of like my idea better. Could have been more entertaining at least.

Okay, let's be fair, Bombshell isn't a film that's designed to entertain, it's a film that's meant to tell the story of the Roger Ailes sexual harassment scandal inside Fox News. Fair enough. However, it does have a structural shift within it, in that it starts off similar to The Big Short, where you have Charlize Theron's character reguarly breaking the fourth wall to address the viewer, educating them on how Fox News operates. There's also quirks inside the film, such as outtakes or visual gags. However, all these things just stop along the way, and the film becomes entirely conventional. You could argue that this is intentional, that the lack of quirkiness syncs up with the progression of the case and the effect it has on victims past and present, but I don't think it is. Again, The Big Short - it treated its subject matter seriously, but never changed its tone or directing style. So what we're left with is a film that sets itself up as one thing, both in terms of directing and subject. And truth be told, I prefer the first, in both subject and style, to the second. I know, I know, you're probably already typing "mysogonist" or "you're a man, you don't care about sexual harassment," but before you hit enter, I'm actually going to get back to the harassment stuff, because there are elements of this storyline that do leave an impact in a notable way. That said, I'm going to deal with the first one first. Because it doesn't completely fade away, even though the Ailes case takes centre stage fairly quickly.

So on the first subject, the film arguably has two messages. The first is "conservatives are people too!" while the other is "Fox News is a shitty place to work at." Neither of these messages are exclusionary towards each other, but it's an odd combination. Look, I know Fox News's reputation, and I admit that I consume news media that caters to my own biases, in addition to 'standard'/'centrist' sources. But on the other hand, these two messages do kind of bounce off each other, because no-one's forcing you to work at Fox. The only exception is a side character who, not only being a lesbian, describes herself as a "closeted Democract" while working at Fox, explaining that Fox was the only news network who accepted her application, and that now that she's worked at Fox, no other network wants to take her on. Also, Margot Robbie's character is shown to be an Evangelical Christian who describes herself as always wanting to work at Fox, but at the end, having suffered sexual harassment, leaves the network. So, on one hand, the film indites Fox, but can't (or won't) indite the people working there except for a handful. Heck, even Rupert Murdoch, fake Australian accent aside, is shown as being a morally sound individual who does the right thing when Ailes can no longer defend himself. Like I said, for me personally, a film exploring the ins and outs of Fox would be more interesting than the sexual harassment stuff.

But, the film wants to do its thing, so how does it do its thing? Well, in fairness, it does it decently. If you ever ask why people who suffer sexual harassment don't immediately come forth, the film does provide an answer of sorts. Likewise, Margot Robbie's character does a good job of showing the psychological effects, as she breaks down, describes herself as feeling dirty, wondering what she did, etc. Even Ailes himself is arguably humanized - obese man who's past his prime, surrounded by young, attractive women...this isn't to say that the film in any way justifies his actions, but it does give insight into why a man like him would do them. I mean, let's face it - Margot Robbie and Charlize Theron are attractive. Not that excuses any of Ailes's activities, but, well...

Yeah, let's stay clear of that. Minor points is that the film takes place during the 2016 election, so that's a barrel of "hah, irony!" moments right there when characters comment that Trump's never going to be elected and whatnot. Also, play a game of spot the celebrity. You'll have fun.

So, Bombshell. It's okay. It had potential to touch on a more interesting, wider story in my mind, but even going by the story it actually tells, it's simply okay.

Hawki:
So, fun fact, I thought that Bombshell was a film about three similar looking women who are stand-ins for a secret agent that go undercover or something. Yeah...honestly, I've no idea where I got that idea since that's, like, nothing about what the film was actually about. Luckilly I did find out before I saw the film. That said, I kind of like my idea better. Could have been more entertaining at least.

Me too, sorta. I think because Charlize Theron was also in Atomic Blonde, which also has a word beginning with B in it, and I've not seen anything beyond the trailers for either movie.

Speaking of movies that have a b in it, I've just watched the Hellboy Reboot.

Which was a confusing mess of throwing everything in it (including gratuitous gore) instead of developing anything in particular. But alright for all that.

Thaluikhain:
Speaking of movies that have a b in it, I've just watched the Hellboy Reboot.

Which was a confusing mess of throwing everything in it (including gratuitous gore) instead of developing anything in particular. But alright for all that.

Only scene in that movie I liked was the one with the demons near the end. It had some neat creature designs. Maybe the Baba Yaga one too. Could just be because those are the only ones I remember.

Highlander: The Search For Vengeance. Directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri. The same guy who did Ninja Scroll, Cyber City, Wicked City, and Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. Amazing! I wonder how did I not see this anime sooner! This came out in 2007 or 2008 (yet feels like an anime from the 90s), and the animation is gorgeous. They may have switched digital around this time frame, but almost everything is hand drawn aside from heavy machinery or robots. Honestly, the CG fits for the apocalyptic setting despite sticking out. Probably helps, that is the only CG is ever used. This is the best Highlander movie since the original. Nothing like all of those crappy sequels. If you're a Highlander fan, or anime fan (old school style), do not miss out; you won't regret it. Check out the opening (could not find a clip with the awesome English dub):

Neurotic Void Melody:

Lord knows I'm not the one to wax intellectual about most films, whether or not a film entertained me during the time it demanded my undivided attention normally being the one metric by which I determine a "good" or "bad" one, but as one who genuinely enjoyed Joker far more than I anticipated, I personally feel some people might have missed... not the point, but maybe it's intent?

I saw the movie as less a simple origin story of a well-document comic book villain to be watched and gauged from a firm third-person perspective and more a tragedy told more intimately and engaging from behind the eyes of Arthur. Traditional "Jokers" have always had a level of power and dark wit; that's well-tread territory (see every version of Joker since forever,) but Arthur WAS overtly unthreatening and incapable, and was pushed and ultimately fought back as someone unthreatening and incapable would, and it breathed a transformative energy into him. The world looked different when he, in his own mind, was able to stand above it and look down. The end of the movie WAS the "transformation into someone menacing and able to crack a dark joke." We weren't shown it because everyone knows what and who the Joker ultimately becomes; the movie wasn't about "who" the Joker is so much as it is "how" and "why" which, I, for one, found to be a much more interesting story than simply dropping another iteration of the cackling clown prince of crime in our laps.

Xprimentyl:
I saw the movie as less a simple origin story of a well-document comic book villain to be watched and gauged from a firm third-person perspective and more a tragedy told more intimately and engaging from behind the eyes of Arthur...

Well, that was rather the point of the movie. Arthur, for his disabilities and socioeconomic circumstances, had no meaningful sense of identity and was never allowed agency to define himself. The closest he came were his acts of self-defense, comparable to a toddler's "no" phase which we now understand as a critical moment in a child's sense of identity as they grow to understand they are individuals and seek to identify and differentiate themselves from others by way of negation. I don't think, in retrospect, he was searching for attention or validation, he was searching for an identity.

Even at the end after killing Murray, he still had no agency in constructing his own sense of identity. He had been made, by the media and protesters, into a symbol of violent revolution against the systemic inequities that shaped the movie's setting. The end wasn't a triumphal moment in which he chose of his own volition to become the Joker; it was a tragic moment in which he surrendered to the pressures against him, and conformed to the identity that had been forced upon him.

Also, "Gotham, not real world mode"? Oh, come on, the movie was set in late-'70s NYC at the peak of the bankruptcy crisis. It's only called Gotham because it's a Taxi Driver remake in clown makeup. NYC was that big of a shithole at the time.

Xprimentyl:
Lord knows I?m not the one to wax intellectual about most films, whether or not a film entertained me during the time it demanded my undivided attention normally being the one metric by which I determine a ?good? or ?bad? one, but as one who genuinely enjoyed Joker far more than I anticipated, I personally feel some people might have missed? not the point, but maybe it?s intent?

I saw the movie as less a simple origin story of a well-document comic book villain to be watched and gauged from a firm third-person perspective and more a tragedy told more intimately and engaging from behind the eyes of Arthur. Traditional ?Jokers? have always had a level of power and dark wit; that?s well-tread territory (see every version of Joker since forever,) but Arthur WAS overtly unthreatening and incapable, and was pushed and ultimately fought back as someone unthreatening and incapable would, and it breathed a transformative energy into him. The world looked different when he, in his own mind, was able to stand above it and look down. The end of the movie WAS the ?transformation into someone menacing and able to crack a dark joke.? We weren?t shown it because everyone knows what and who the Joker ultimately becomes; the movie wasn?t about ?who? the Joker is so much as it is ?how? and ?why? which, I, for one, found to be a much more interesting story than simply dropping another iteration of the cackling clown prince of crime in our laps.

That's completely understandable, and I do think the movie is great as a solo mood piece. I was trying to make it clear that my experience was based mostly on certain expectations that were built up beforehand, and that if they weren't there, it would've been less disappointment. It's kinda why I prefer going in to any film as blind as possible, for certain it would've been more closer to your experience then. Was also kinda hoping I wouldn't be taken that seriously for a simple comic book film opinion if it was worded ridiculously enough, but nevermind!
One thing I didn't mention, but probably should now, is that there are countless films exploring depths of insanity and depravity in lead characters which all fascinate me for various reasons, and I was hoping it would brush up close to the better examples of those. But the difference in what those achieve that this doesn't is a nuanced view of everyday other people caught up and contrasted to the main character's flaws so the observer can appreciate the actual weight of their actions amongst a morally varying population. The TV presenter didn't appear to have any charm or wit either, he was just a outwardly mean dumb-dumb, which is just weird and counter-productive for someone in that position who wants to keep the audience on their side. Yet again, this wouldn't be as much a disappointment if people weren't bigging up the movie as "a mature comic book film at last!" beforehand with all the 10/10s peppered around it. It happened with Undertale and Nier Automata too, it isn't just this film.

One last thing, the film seems to want to be seen as gritty and mature, yet despite the bad etiquette people portray towards Arthur, the real world is still way more horrific, ugly and sickening while managing to throw in the few heartwarming reliefs every now and then alongside some alright humans. There's not even any forced child prostitution! Then again, maybe that would draw too much comparison to Phoenix's other film, You Were Never Really There, also about him losing his mind and trying to find a sense of justice in a far grittier messed up world (and recommended btw) Shit, I never wanted to go on about this one so much, especially as the only difference of opinion is how great it is, as opposed to whether it is at all. It's only in trying to explain where expectations are sourced that has proven difficult to keep short and simple. Sorry about my shitty opinionated waffle. It's mainly cos my cat don't listen to me.

(Damnit, keep forgetting the quote option doesn't agree with your punctuation for some reason. Sorry again!)

Eacaraxe:

Also, "Gotham, not real world mode"? Oh, come on, the movie was set in late-'70s NYC at the peak of the bankruptcy crisis. It's only called Gotham because it's a Taxi Driver remake in clown makeup. NYC was that big of a shithole at the time.

Ah, nothing like a casual bit of condescension towards someone who isn't from America, never visited NY and wasn't even alive in the 70s, mister American. I will just have to take your word for it the film is a 1/1 representation where police were essentially absent, nobody was nice or even pretended to be nice and smiles were mostly a fading myth then.

Eacaraxe:

Xprimentyl:
Snip

Well, that was rather the point of the movie. Arthur, for his disabilities and socioeconomic circumstances, had no meaningful sense of identity and was never allowed agency to define himself. The closest he came were his acts of self-defense, comparable to a toddler's "no" phase which we now understand as a critical moment in a child's sense of identity as they grow to understand they are individuals and seek to identify and differentiate themselves from others by way of negation. I don't think, in retrospect, he was searching for attention or validation, he was searching for an identity.

Even at the end after killing Murray, he still had no agency in constructing his own sense of identity. He had been made, by the media and protesters, into a symbol of violent revolution against the systemic inequities that shaped the movie's setting. The end wasn't a triumphal moment in which he chose of his own volition to become the Joker; it was a tragic moment in which he surrendered to the pressures against him, and conformed to the identity that had been forced upon him.

Yeah, Neurotic Void Melody; what Eacaraxe said!

Neurotic Void Melody:

Xprimentyl:
Snip.

That's completely understandable, and I do think the movie is great as a solo mood piece. I was trying to make it clear that my experience was based mostly on certain expectations that were built up beforehand, and that if they weren't there, it would've been less disappointment. It's kinda why I prefer going in to any film as blind as possible, for certain it would've been more closer to your experience then. Was also kinda hoping I wouldn't be taken that seriously for a simple comic book film opinion if it was worded ridiculously enough, but nevermind!
One thing I didn't mention, but probably should now, is that there are countless films exploring depths of insanity and depravity in lead characters which all fascinate me for various reasons, and I was hoping it would brush up close to the better examples of those. But the difference in what those achieve that this doesn't is a nuanced view of everyday other people caught up and contrasted to the main character's flaws so the observer can appreciate the actual weight of their actions amongst a morally varying population. The TV presenter didn't appear to have any charm or wit either, he was just a outwardly mean dumb-dumb, which is just weird and counter-productive for someone in that position who wants to keep the audience on their side. Yet again, this wouldn't be as much a disappointment if people weren't bigging up the movie as "a mature comic book film at last!" beforehand with all the 10/10s peppered around it. It happened with Undertale and Nier Automata too, it isn't just this film.

One last thing, the film seems to want to be seen as gritty and mature, yet despite the bad etiquette people portray towards Arthur, the real world is still way more horrific, ugly and sickening while managing to throw in the few heartwarming reliefs every now and then alongside some alright humans. There's not even any forced child prostitution! Then again, maybe that would draw too much comparison to Phoenix's other film, You Were Never Really There, also about him losing his mind and trying to find a sense of justice in a far grittier messed up world (and recommended btw) Shit, I never wanted to go on about this one so much, especially as the only difference of opinion is how great it is, as opposed to whether it is at all. It's only in trying to explain where expectations are sourced that has proven difficult to keep short and simple. Sorry about my shitty opinionated waffle. It's mainly cos my cat don't listen to me.

(Damnit, keep forgetting the quote option doesn't agree with your punctuation for some reason. Sorry again!)

I know this is largely speculative, I'll even own it's my grasping at straws, but one of the movies many unanswered questions is how much of what we see is reality versus Arthur's delusion. I know the world seemed extra shitty towards Arthur painting his actions almost with a brush of justifiability and sympathy; is it possible he only perceived it as such and that's what we were shown? Some more lucid schizophrenics are able to articulate their delusions; I watched a TED Talk (cuz I'm cool like that) wherein a women suffering admitted to the audience that a clown that torments her was in the audience at the time, and you could almost feel the audience momentarily taken aback at such a raw admission. What if we were only privy to Arthur's perception without the benefit of knowing it was delusion? I.e.: What are the chances of three Wall Street types acting out a concerted act of violence against a helpless individual whilst singing "Send in the Clowns" with literally zero provocation? Then, what are the chances a severely delusional person might delude such a thing that so perfectly fits his personal narrative of victimization? Remember, he did delude a romantic relationship with his neighbor who barely knew his name.

I'm not refuting anything you're saying as right or wrong or trying to change or denigrate your opinion at all; I'm just advocating a potentially different perspective of one of very films of recent memory that was actually thought-provoking, plus it completely assuaged my assumptions that it was just going to be another "hero" movie, which was a more than welcome surprise.

The Raid Redemption - The movie just ages better and better. Raid 2 has better action sequences, but the pacing can feel a little off sometimes, and usually skip some scenes on the DVD. The Raid 1 has no pacing issues, because it moves at fast enough pace to keep things simple. The Raid has this partial survival horror element that is not in the 2nd film, which plays out more like a typical gangster flick.

The action scenes do shaky cam way better than all of the American action films from the late 2000s and 2010s.


It sucks we're never getting a 3rd movie. Garth Evans does not know how to top it, so he quit. I understand and respect his decision. Saddening as it is.

Xprimentyl:
I know this is largely speculative, I'll even own it's my grasping at straws, but one of the movies many unanswered questions is how much of what we see is reality versus Arthur's delusion. I know the world seemed extra shitty towards Arthur painting his actions almost with a brush of justifiability and sympathy; is it possible he only perceived it as such and that's what we were shown? Some more lucid schizophrenics are able to articulate their delusions; I watched a TED Talk (cuz I'm cool like that) wherein a women suffering admitted to the audience that a clown that torments her was in the audience at the time, and you could almost feel the audience momentarily taken aback at such a raw admission. What if we were only privy to Arthur's perception without the benefit of knowing it was delusion? I.e.: What are the chances of three Wall Street types acting out a concerted act of violence against a helpless individual whilst singing "Send in the Clowns" with literally zero provocation? Then, what are the chances a severely delusional person might delude such a thing that so perfectly fits his personal narrative of victimization? Remember, he did delude a romantic relationship with his neighbor who barely knew his name.

I'm not refuting anything you're saying as right or wrong or trying to change or denigrate your opinion at all; I'm just advocating a potentially different perspective of one of very films of recent memory that was actually thought-provoking, plus it completely assuaged my assumptions that it was just going to be another "hero" movie, which was a more than welcome surprise.

Pesky team-ups, outnumbered again!

That was actually something I'd considered somewhat, and it would've been great to have a little scene that begs the question to the audience as to how much shown is objective reality they're seeing. Unless there was a moment I missed; am planning on having a rewatch sometime soon anyway, due to the chatty person next to me being a bit distracting and a more grounded expectation going in. Not sure if you seen it before, but Arthur kinda reminded me of the old lady from Requiem for a Dream in some ways, except slightly more successful in his goals and less depressing an outcome. She definitely had issues with reality after a certain point, but the causes were more clear cut and narrowed down.

Haven't seen that Ted talk yet, sounds worth a looksie. Have a lot of them to catch up on, been slacking in that area lately.

(No worries about opinion objectivity, my opinion is always changing fairly rapidly as it is, which is why I could never be a professional reviewer and am a little anxious about stating anything with certainty and tend to try prioritising humour over serious business talk in these subjective aethers to attempt to limit later frustrations with the self. Bloody insecurities!)

Neurotic Void Melody:

Xprimentyl:
Snip

Pesky team-ups, outnumbered again!

That was actually something I'd considered somewhat, and it would've been great to have a little scene that begs the question to the audience as to how much shown is objective reality they're seeing. Unless there was a moment I missed; am planning on having a rewatch sometime soon anyway, due to the chatty person next to me being a bit distracting and a more grounded expectation going in. Not sure if you seen it before, but Arthur kinda reminded me of the old lady from Requiem for a Dream in some ways, except slightly more successful in his goals and less depressing an outcome. She definitely had issues with reality after a certain point, but the causes were more clear cut and narrowed down.

Haven't seen that Ted talk yet, sounds worth a looksie. Have a lot of them to catch up on, been slacking in that area lately.

(No worries about opinion objectivity, my opinion is always changing fairly rapidly as it is, which is why I could never be a professional reviewer and am a little anxious about stating anything with certainty and tend to try prioritising humour over serious business talk in these subjective aethers to attempt to limit later frustrations with the self. Bloody insecurities!)

I think the final scene where we see him in a mental institution leaving a trail of bloody footprints is the scene that hints that Arthur's reality and "ours" are two very different things, but that's all I can do; think it. *shrug* Question being at what point was he institutionalized? Where did reality end and the delusion begin?

And no, I've not seen Requiem for a Dream. Neither have I seen The Comedian and I've only seen Taxi Driver once about 15 years ago and remember very little about. I'm told Joker is basically a point-for-point rehash of them, so maybe that's what allowed my expectations to be as grounded as your chatty companion and enjoy the film as much as I did, but all three movies sound like they merit a watch/re-watch.

And I'll save you the search for the aforementioned TED Talk, buddy!

Birds of Prey (5/10)

It's the movie Suicide Squad wanted to be, I guess, all colorful and frantic and violently over-the-top and now starring the one good thing from Suicide Squad too - Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. It also doubles down on the comedy, which completely failed for me. What passes for humor here is Harley pointing out movie clich?s before playing through them straight, and narrating everything with an infuriatingly stop-and-start rhythm that I guess is meant to be kooky and representative of her ADD but in practice it means the first act takes up a full hour as the movie keeps getting interrupted with pointless segways and tangents. Scenes playing up Harley's sociopathy come across as forced and cringey. The movie is inconsistent over how stupid or intelligent she is - apparently in this version of Gotham she can storm the GCPD single-handed, but relies equally on dumb luck in other scenarios. The action's pretty good though. Flashy, well-choreographed, there's weight to it. Not that we're given a reason to care.

The other "birds of prey" are largely interchangeable (especially Huntress and Black Canary), sharing the same abusive origin stories, motivations and overall role in the story. Rosie Perez is the other MVP after Robbie. McGregor hams it up as Black Mask just fine but why should he be scary if nobody's scared by him? Zsasz is bland and forgettable. And I'm not sure about casting will-be Batgirl as a chubby Korean streetrat, but whatever. Points to Gryffindor.

Xprimentyl:
I.e.: What are the chances of three Wall Street types acting out a concerted act of violence against a helpless individual whilst singing ?Send in the Clowns? with literally zero provocation? Then, what are the chances a severely delusional person might delude such a thing that so perfectly fits his personal narrative of victimization? Remember, he did delude a romantic relationship with his neighbor who barely knew his name.

If you're going to go down the unreliable narrator/delusion rabbit hole, it's pretty clear in the movie this is one of the few things that absolutely did happen as it's verified in the movie by parties other than Arthur, which is continually reinforced and a running theme throughout.

Now, if you want to talk about the way it happened...is it really that unbelievable? Bear in mind Wolf of Wall Street is largely non-fiction save excerpts most agree are embellished (at least, the monograph is), and our current society is one of Brock Turners, Ethan Couches, Harvey Weinsteins, and Jeffrey Epsteins. The only reason we have such a spotlight on the depraved, violent, criminally sexual, and disturbing acts of the wealthy, connected, and famous today, is simply because in the age of social media they can't be easily covered up (not to mention, the occasional sacrifice to internet mob justice is simply good PR).

I don't find the idea three drunk, middle- to high-level businessmen, deciding apropos of nothing to kick the shit out of some weirdo in a subway, entirely confident their money and connections would allow them to get away with it scot-free, unbelievable at all. Hell, the most unbelievable part of that is they were on the subway to begin with.

Marriage Story (8/10)

Great performances from Driver and ScarJo and all the supporting players (Alda, Liotta, Dern) and great dialogue and direction from Baumbach, who obviously based it on his own divorce from his actress wife (the cheating with Gerwig barely factors into the story, and the Driver character doesn't really sell any of the excuses, but whatever). The movie gets the pain and desperation and absurdity of messy divorce proceeds, which turn everything into ammo while following downright nonsensical rules of engagement. I liked the movie, it felt visceral and emotional but never really went for low-punches or became the tear-jerker I thought it was going to be. Maybe I'm jaded from every other breakup movie ever but even if I was engaged I was never all that distraught about what was going on though. Driver is sensible and level-headed; ScarJo not so much, on top of letting her jackal lawyer get the worst of her, but the situation never felt all that dire. Kramer vs. Kramer at least gets you to like the kid, and the relationship between father and son flourishes so you care about them by the end. Here I just wanted the little brat to get hit by a car.

Eacaraxe:

If you're going to go down the unreliable narrator/delusion rabbit hole, it's pretty clear in the movie this is one of the few things that absolutely did happen as it's verified in the movie by parties other than Arthur, which is continually reinforced and a running theme throughout.

Was it verified that the Wall Street guys were beating the hell out of Arthur/man in a clown mask or was it merely verified that they were shot and killed while riding the subway and someone dressed as a clown was seen running away?
It is possible that Arthur deluded that they jumped him or thought that they were going to jump him and shot those guys. Maybe the Wall Street guys, being obnoxious drunks, crowded around him singing "Send in the Clowns" trying to be funny and Arthur killed them for 'making fun of him'.
The movie itself shows that Arthur has a very active/strong imagination and latent aggressive and violent tendencies so either interpretation is possible.

Just got back from Birds of Prey. Before I give you my thoughts, yes this movie is bombing. We were at the Galaxy's MegaScreen, a fucking huge screen in an auditorium that can seat 300+. Including my party of three, there were 9 people in the 9pm show, Saturday opening weekend. I would say tragic buuuuuuttttt.....

Silentpony:
Just got back from Birds of Prey. Before I give you my thoughts, yes this movie is bombing. We were at the Galaxy's MegaScreen, a fucking huge screen in an auditorium that can seat 300+. Including my party of three, there were 9 people in the 9pm show, Saturday opening weekend. I would say tragic buuuuuuttttt.....

I can't fathom why anyone thought making a follow-up to Suicide Squad, starring the worst aspect of Suicide Squad, was a good idea. Then again, they did dump this in February with minimal marketing.

Joker (5/10)

So I finally got round to seeing Joker. And having seen it, I'm left wondering what all the fuss is about. One view on the film is that it's promoting incels, promoting violence, deifying white men, is polemic to the alt-right, and all that. The other view is that Joker is an in-depth look of the costs of austerity, of society's treatment of the mentally ill, and is a polemic to more equal distribution of wealth. In the centre is me, stating that for either of these statements to be true, the film would actually have something to say. Which it does, kind of, but I'll get to that in a bit.

First off, I'm going to ask the question - why is this film called Joker, apart from brand recognition? Nothing in the movie is really dependent on Gotham, or anything to do with the Batman canon. You could swap some names around and you wouldn't miss anything. Even if the protagonist was dressed up as a clown, it would probably go under the radar. Also, I have to ask, does the Joker need an origin story? I know he's been given ones every so often, but IMO, Joker's at his strongest when he's presented as a force of nature and/or a madman - someone who tears into Gotham for shits and giggles. I'm no Batman affecionado, let alone purist, but when I think of the Joker in live action, Heath Ledger's version comes to mind, where, among other things, he mocks the very idea of there being some tragic backstory for him ("how I got these scars," with the story changing each time). Phoenix's Joker isn't the worst live action Joker I've seen (cough*Leto*cough), but he's still among the weakest in my mind. More of that later, but my view on the film is that it isn't really a Batman film per se, it's a film that happens to use names from the Batman mythos. Which isn't bad, technically - I've said many times that the faithfulness of adaptation isn't related to the work's quality, but the problem with Joker is that even if I treat the film entirely on its own terms, it comes up short.

I mentioned above the two views on this film, and the 'controversy' over it. Having seen it, I'm left to ask what the controversy is about. Joker has a message, sure, but it's a simple one - if society turns a blind eye to its most unfortunate citizens, it will eventually pay the price. This isn't a new message in fiction, it's a message that goes at least as far back as 'A Tale of Two Cities'. Heck, even with Batman it was done in Dark Knight Rises to an extent. Now, there's something to be said about Gotham inadvertently creating the person that will be its greatest threat in the future, but looking at the film, I don't think this goes far enough. Because actually ask this, how bad are things actually? There's reference to Gotham's supposed endemic poverty, but I dunno - we see garbage piling up, we see homeless people, we see the 1% enjoying vintage films, but none of this is stuff that can't be found in other cities. And what kickstarts the 'revolution' is a clown killing three businessmen. Yeah, Arthur acted in self-defence, but the people don't know that, they just read about a clown killing three businessmen and go "hell yeah, let's get in on the action," said action leading to riots, car burnings, police killings/beatings, and Thomas and Martha Wayne being assassinated (IMO, a targeted assassination is less impactful for Bats than a simple robbery, but whatever). I get the sense that the film wants me to sympathize with Gotham's people, and no doubt they have some grieviances, but I don't think the film really explores it enough, let alone in any detail. If Thomas Wayne was confirmed to be corrupt or something, then sure, maybe, but his greatest sin for average joe is being arrogant and calling them clowns. Oh the horror. It doesn't help that despite this film being set decades before the present, we have protesters carrying "resist" signs in reference to protests against Trump. So...Thomas Wayne is Donald Trump? I dunno - one of them is an absolute baffoon, and the other is a comic book character. Don't see the connection.

It also doesn't help is that it isn't just society that mistreats Arthur, it's individuals. Because not only does the system screw him over, it's his mum, his foster dad, potentially Thomas Wayne, his boss, his co-worker, and the subway businessmen. Frankly, it's laid on so thick that it gets to be too much. Yes, Arthur has a sympathetic backstory, and unfortunate circumstances, but honestly, I found myself agreeing with Thomas Wayne here - lots of people are in similar circumstances, they don't turn into murderers. When Arthur well and truly becomes the Joker (you know the moment), I got the sense that just before that we were meant to sympathize with him, but I had limited sympathy. A combination of so much trauma it became melodramatic, plus Arthur having passed the moral event horizon when he killed his co-worker, if not earlier (not on the subway mind you, not even when he executed the one trying to flee). Also, I don't feel enough time is given between pulling the trigger and him becoming a beacon to the disenfranchised. Which, taking it as writ, means that Batman is less a symbol of justice and more a tool of the 1%, if everyone who wears a clown mask in this film follows Joker in the gang I assume he'll form.

So, despite all this, is Joker a bad film? Well, no. There's certainly good individual moments, such as the stair dancing (got a smirk out of me), and at times it does a good job with atmosphere, but at the end of the day, it's simply average, and not worth the controversy. It doesn't say anything that hasn't been said before, and said better at that. And as a Joker origin story, it is, IMO, to the detriment of the character..

Hawki:
Joker (5/10)

It also doesn't help is that it isn't just society that mistreats Arthur, it's individuals. Because not only does the system screw him over, it's his mum, his foster dad, potentially Thomas Wayne, his boss, his co-worker, and the subway businessmen. Frankly, it's laid on so thick that it gets to be too much.

I would argue against his boss screwing him over, or at least he did not screw Arthur over deliberately or maliciously. Sure he chews Arthur out over the sign issue, but dialogue shows that Arthur is not the ideal employee (multiple complaints against him, seemingly wandering off of an assignment and not returning the sign). And even though his boss fired him, Arthur brought a loaded gun into a hospital. There was no way in hell Arthur, or anyone else, would have kept their job after that one.
I may be mistaken on this, but I think there was dialogue hinting or stating that Arthur had a history of lying to his boss.

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