Discuss and rate the last movie you watched

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Mulholland Dr. (2001) 10/10
This is probably my favorite movie ever made. It was a pleasure to finally see it on the big screen! And the audience was great as well - not a fucking peep throughout the whole 2 hours and a half.

Mad Max (6/10)


Okay, wrong film, and wrong comment - this isn't the first Mad Max film I've seen (saw some of Thunderdome at a friend's house), but this is the first Mad Max movie I've seen to completion. So, how does it fare?

Well, I will say that I have respect for Miller and co., being able to make what they did on a shoestring budget. That said, that doesn't make it "good." It doesn't change how stilted a lot of the acting is, let alone the basic camerawork. It also doesn't really sell the concept - "a few years from now" (according to the intro), the post-apocalyptic landscape of Australia will...look exactly like Australia does in the present. Apparently there's stuff like cities being divided into sectors, or new cities like "Sun City" (which sounds like a fancy name for the Goldcoast to be honest), but apart from some quirks, there isn't much to separate it from the actual Australia of the times. There's no mention of any kind of oil shortage in this film, and if you took out the MPF and replaced them with normal police, there wouldn't be much reason to think that this is take place in any other period than when it was made. I mean, sure, there is a scene where the bikies steal some fuel from a gas truck (using those giant pogo sticks - guess that tactic had to start somewhere), but is that because oil is really scarce, or are they just thieves?

Also, certain plot points - why is the bikies' plan to kill Goose so convoluted? They know where he is, but instead of taking him in, they do a number on his bike tyre, wait for him to get a tow truck, then throw a rock through its windscreen, and then set him on fire, and that doesn't even kill him, just lands him in an intensive care unit. Also, by the film's end, Max's wife is apparently still alive. Horribly maimed, but still alive. But Max has apparently "gone mad," so after getting his revenge, just apparently leaves her in the hospital. Speaking of her, it's never established that the bikies knew she was Max's wife when they first run into her at the beach, so if they do know, how? And if they don't know, why spend all this time tracking her down? And while not a plot point, it's nice to know that in the grim, dark future of Australia (what I'm guessing is Queensland), brands like BP, Solo, Honda, and Volvo will still be around for the camera to linger on.

That said, there is something to be said for this film, and that's its approach to violence. It's simultaniously both blase about it, but also impactful. As in, this is a world where life is kinda cheap, but not so cheap that you don't feel the impact of what that violence brings. For instance, Jessie. I knew going in that she and her son would end up dead by the end of it (thanks Internet), but even then, I felt deeply uncomfortable seeing the bikies run her down - even if it cuts away, it doesn't change how horrific an act it is, and credit where credit is due, Max's reaction (or Mel Gibson) is well done as far as raw emotion goes. Likewise, there's the couple the bikies chase from the town near the start, where they destroy their car, and are implied to have raped them. This isn't shown, but given how the girl acts around Goose, and how Goose immediately realizes the horror of what's just happened, that sells the implications excellently. There's also the character of "Dispatch" (if she can be called a character), in that her voice is constantly heard over the radio, but she's never seen. It does lend a 'dehumanizing touch' to the MPF, so to speak, the idea of crime being so common that it necessitates the need for constant dispatches, codes, and, um, political correctness? (MPF officers aren't meant to use the term "Bronze" as it's an "offensive term").

Still, when all's said and done, I don't think this is a good film. I can respect it, but it's too heavilly flawed for me to call "good" per se. At the end of the day, Mad Max is basically taking the formula of a Western and applying it to the highway. And TBH, if it wasn't for its sequels, I doubt it would have the place in pop culture it does today.

Cloverfield (7/10)

Okay, funny story - this is actually the last Cloverfield movie I've seen. I saw 10 Cloverfield Lane (yay) and Cloverfield Paradox (bleh) when they came out, but only just got round to this. Compared to the other two, it's not as good as 10CL, but much better than Paradox. And while it may be a moot point to compare the films since they're all effectively different genres with little to connect them (Paradox's hamfisted efforts aside), they do all bear the name of "Cloverfield," so, think it's fair to compare them.

Anyway, I'm actually going to give my thoughts in point form, so, um, yeah:

-If this video was recovered by the Department of Defence, and is being played by the Department of Defence, why is so much pre-monster stuff being watched by their staff? I mean, it makes sense for the story, but why would the military care?

-Bomb goes off, "terrorists?!" Damn, this movie was made in 2008. Ten years ago. How times have changed...

-Kudos for having the camera including clock shots, giving a timeframe of events.

-Like how the news copter says that "the city is under siege," even as the camera lingers on Clover. As if they can't process that yes, there is a monster on the loose.

-The monster attack lasts about six hours. This has to be one of the fastest military deployments ever. 0_0

-On Clover himself, I feel they simultaniously show too much of him, but also too little. As in, early on, we get some pretty good shots of him, even if the camera doesn't linger. But then he disappears for a long segment of the movie. It's like the filmakers were torn between "don't show the monster, keep up the suspense," and "show the monster, because that's what people are here for."

-Believe it or not, I can actually buy Hud carrying the camera around, makes sense someone would want to document this. That said, his infatuation with Marlena kinda goes nowhere. She dies, but he seems to take it okay.

-On the subject of character relationships, the RobxBeth thing doesn't cut it for me. Yes, Rob risks life and limb to save a girl he loves, but the backstory is told, not shown. I can't buy their relationship when so much of it is either implied or only talked about. That said, I do want to give the actor praise after seeing his brother die - just raw, numb shock conveyed entirely through facial acting.

-So, what's up with Hud's death anyway? Clover like, eats him but then spits him out? And then apparently stomps away from Rob and Beth, but they then go and get the camera back?

Anyway, I'd say the film is "good," if not "great." You're not going to get any in-depth character or story here, but if you want a kaiju monster movie with little creepy crawlies as well, then you'll probably have a good time.

In Cinema: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
Good shit. Awards well deserved, just the right mix of comedy and drama, great acting all around, with highlights on three main characters played by McDormand, Harrelson and Rockwell. Especially Rockwell - wished to see more of him since i saw MOON. Maybe two scenes that i didn't quite like, but nothing that would throw a shade on the movie overall.

On TV: Edge of Tomorrow
Groundhog Day meets Pacific Rim with a dash of Starship Troopers. Speaking of which, it made me realize that i missed the kind of 80s/90s sci-fi action romps like Troopers or Running Man etc. If you yearn for these kind of movies too, give it watch. Plus Tom Cruise in a role that's a bit different from his usual roster and F I T T Emily Blunt.


I also disliked Rises, btw. As someone who doesn't think of TDK as only good Nolan's Batman, and also likes Begins i got really hyped for it. A single one from the trilogy i went to watch in cinema, only to see it's a big letdown(for me).

Sword Master (China, 2016) - 7.5/10

I'm by no means a connoisseur of wuxia, though I have watched and enjoyed most of the films in the genre that made waves in the Western world (like, say, House of Flying Daggers, Hero or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon); but even for a genre fundamentally rooted in visual excess and stylization, I thought this one really overdoes it. I can't remember watching a movie so unapologetically comic-bookish and just plain cheesy since Le Pacte des loups (Brotherhood of the Wolf)... nor one that is just so damn enjoyable in spite (or perhaps, because) of those very characteristics.

I honestly, unironically had a blast with it.

Avengers: Infinity War
As much as I'm sick of Disney, Marvel, movie universes and superheroes in general I gotta say I had a fun time with this movie. Thing is it meant nothing to me. I didn't care about the characters and what's supposed to be the darkest chapter in the MCU saga didn't strike any emotional notes with me. There're supposedly a lot of bold choices regarding who lives and who dies (first time in a decade + 20 movies I think) and a ready-made downer ending, but status quo is so obviously set up to return by the next movie that I didn't much care in the end. Just look at Marvel's scheduled line-up for the next 5 years. Who can even take this movie seriously when that is out there?

The Grapes of Wrath (1940, John Ford, with Henry Fonda)

It was pretty good, about a struggling family during the Great Depression, and it looks great in HD, but I had trouble watching it and had to do it in three sittings. This is why I want a gigantic TV. Too many distractions on a computer and it's not immersive enough.

Johnny Novgorod:
There're supposedly a lot of bold choices regarding who lives and who dies (first time in a decade + 20 movies I think)

Oh, please...

There was Yinsen in the first Iron Man.


Johnny Novgorod:
There're supposedly a lot of bold choices regarding who lives and who dies (first time in a decade + 20 movies I think)

Oh, please...

There was Yinsen in the first Iron Man.

I know it's a joke but killing off mentors is routine in origin stories as part of their catalysts. Like I don't know how many action figures you can get from your Uncle Bens and your Martha Waynes. Gotta have Eyepatch Thor, Peroxide Widow and Bearded Steve though.

Johnny Novgorod:
Avengers: Infinity War
As much as I'm sick of Disney, Marvel, movie universes and superheroes in general I gotta say I had a fun time with this movie. Thing is it meant nothing to me. I didn't care about the characters and what's supposed to be the darkest chapter in the MCU saga didn't strike any emotional notes with me. There're supposedly a lot of bold choices regarding who lives and who dies (first time in a decade + 20 movies I think) and a ready-made downer ending, but status quo is so obviously set up to return by the next movie that I didn't much care in the end. Just look at Marvel's scheduled line-up for the next 5 years. Who can even take this movie seriously when that is out there?

This is just a pet peeve of mine, but if you want to convey a number of anything greater than a certain number (as in your case, more than 20), the proper form is 20+, not +20. This just rustles my jimmies as a tabletop gamer.


Bone Tomahawk, 6/10

A stripped-down, no-nonsense, straightforward and incredibly brutal western. Well, the western setting is mostly a backdrop, this could just as easily be set in medieval times, the Himalayas or any desolate area prior to the invention of telephones.

There's not really that much to say about it, since it is so stripped down. The amount of characters can be counted nearly on one hand and none of them are that special aside from Matthew Fox, the plot takes no special twists or turns and the story is as straightforward as movies get: save wife from bad guys. This movie is more about the atmosphere and the sense of place. This movie sells the roughness and difficulty of life in the old west like nobody's business, and the sense of dread is nearly on the level of movies like It Follows and It Comes at Night. The howl/horn sound the antagonists make is just spine-chilling when you realize what hearing it means. Towards the end it also has some of the nastiest violence I've ever seen in a movie. It was genuinely stomach-turning. What really helps sell it is the cinematography and lack of music. There's no frantic editing, changing of camera angles or even that many closeups in the movie, and the music is almost unnoticeable ambience on the rare occasion it shows up. So when the nasty stuff happens, you're looking at it from a sort of detached, matter-of-fact perspective, which makes it feel all the more real.

The movie is too long at around 2 hours. Take 20 minutes off, and you have a really lean and tight experience that wastes no time and gets from point A to B in a very straightforward fashion. As it is there is a tad too much sneaking around in shrubbery, looking at scenery, or talking. It's not that memorable either, for reasons already mentioned, but while watching it I was wholly immersed. A good watch if you like westerns, tense atmosphere and have a strong stomach.

The Avengers: Age of Ultron (5/10)

This film...ugh.

By the rating, you can tell I don't think this film is bad, but by no means is it good. It just...exists. It's a thing. Think I'm going to use point form:

-I love how the movie doesn't hide how the Avengers are all over the 'power scale.' Heck, even Hydra uses the strategy of "take out the weak ones."

-Why are the people of Sokovia against the Avengers from the start? And where do you get acid at the drop of a hat to damage a robot?

-Speaking of robots, Ultron. This guy is...frustrating, as in it feels like there's two versions of the character that are trying to break free. One is slow, serious, filled with malice - the type of guy that uses the church as a metaphor. The other is a wisecracking jackass, because damn it, this is an MCU film, and we've gotta have those wisecracks. I could give the film credit for playing against type for robots by giving him this degree of personality, but that's shot down by his origins. Wakes up, accesses human history, decides then and there that "I'm going to wipe humanity out for its own good (or the world's good, he seems to flip flop). It wants to give us the whole "robot decides that wiping out humanity is a greater good" thing, but can't (or won't) put in the legwork. And I get that Ultron is also a child (given how being compared to Stark irritates him a bit), but he's all over the place.

-Speaking of all over the place, the Maximoffs. So, they want revenge on Tony Stark because the shell that destroyed their home was labelled "Stark." Now, I can get being pissed off at that, but wouldn't you be more pissed off at the people who fired the shell? This is like me being pissed off at the people who made the gun who killed my family, more than the person who pulled the trigger (don't worry, family's still alive).

-Poor Rhody, he's sort of there, sort of not, just at the start, only to turn up again at the end. And Falcon gets cameos or something. Insert joke or something that it's because they're black.

-So, how many people died in Johanasburg thanks to Hulk being set off there? I'm kinda reminded of MoS, where people were put off by collateral damage there, but here, nup, all fine, let's hide from our problems and let the Stark Foundation deal with it.

-So now we get to farmhouse stuff and Thor's 'vision quest' because god damn it this movie needed more plot points.

-The stuff in Korea is where I feel Whedon was beginning to run out of steam. Up until now the film's at least been presented adequately, but the editing and pacing feel off, constantly jumping back and forth between Avengers. The whole train scene feels like a poor man's version of Spider-Man 2, TBH.

-So Stark activates FRIDAY to release Jarvis. So, if Jarvis never became Vision, would FRIDAY, like, never be activated? Would any of the programs? How might FRIDAY feel about that? Eh, don't have time for such questions, we have the finale.

-The finale is pretty lacking as well. While I'm not much of a fan of the original Avengers, it was at least well directed and well paced. The New York battle MOVED. The Sokovia one just doesn't have the same sense of momentum to it. I'll grant the film that the idea of levitating a city is interesting, but it doesn't change that this is still a city battle, where the heroes fight against waves of disposable enemies.

-Obvious foreshadowing of Thanos is obvious.

So, the film...it's popcorn. Popcorn that gave me a few chuckles, and some decent action, but popcorn all the same. I understand that people tend to group this as one of the lesser MCU films, and...yeah, I kinda get why. While it shares a lot of the issues I have with the MCU (simple villains, simplistic plots and themes, lack of consequences, etc.), all of those issues feel exacerbated here. Having now seen 13 MCU films, this one takes the #10 spot.

To be frank, I gots the subtle inclination this should've been viewed over Christmas.

Avengers: Infinity War -

Pretty good. It has some flaws here or there, it is a little too long in parts and a couple of characters are underused, but the rest holds up well.

Great effects, action scenes, solid performances and Thanos is a pretty compelling villain.

Bright -

Yeah, this isn't the worst film of 2017 as many proclaim it to be. But overall I found it to be just bland and forgettable. It is better than Ayer's last film Suicide Squad though it does suffer from some pretty poor storytelling, weak and confused political ideals as well as poor worldbuilding. Also I like Will Smith, but this just felt like he wasn't even trying. 5/10

Sorry for bumping your old post on Bright Natesmen, but I really wanted to add to one point you made about this movie and I think Poor-World building was the catalyst to why this movie failed.

What is going on here? Why are there orcs and elves and magic in real world earth yet history still progressed the same?

I know other similar fantasy settings that at least explained why these fantasy elements exists in real world earth.

Shadowrun, a Cyberpunk world with fantasy Orcs, Elves, and Dragons, mentions a cosmic event happening that resulted in magic and fantasy being introduced to earth, people spontaneously becoming Orcs and Goblins and human mothers birth Elven, Dwarven, and Halfling babies.

Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader establishes a sorcerer taking advantage of the 3rd Crusade by pitting Richard and Saladin in a place where this sorcerer worked his magic thus resulting in magic being introduced to this world and Richard and Saladin's forces joined together to counter the spread of magic and such in Earth.

And heck Harry Potter is the best example of comtemporary fantasy.

Predator 2 (6/10)

So, with this, I've now seen all of the "Xenopedia" films. But the question remains, how does this one stack up by itself, and in comparison with its counterparts?

Well, I'll come out and say it - it's very much an inferior product when compared to its predecessor. There's no single reason why this is the case, but I can feature in a few:

-There's some severe tonal whiplash in this film. At the start, it plays it as an over the top 90s movie (yes, I know this was released in 1990, so maybe it's really an 80s movie in terms of style) with characters broader than the side of the barn, over the top action, and racial stereotypes. By the end of it, it's gone full horror. Now, the first film kind of did something similar, selling itself as one movie, then veering into another, but if it was the intention here, it doesn't feel nearly as cohesive.

-The writing is really hookey in areas - often, the protagonist will say something that the audience can see for themselves. For instance, he gets a gun as a reward at the end for killing the City Predator that says 1714 on the side. We see it says 1714, so can therefore use our brains to understand that the yautja must have been on Earth then, that they killed someone in or after 1714, and that's how long they'v been coming to Earth to hunt humans, if not longer. However, the protagonist whispers "1714," as if we're not able to get the implications ourselves. There's numerous moments like that where he's just got to open his mouth to impart info we can get for ourselves.

-Effects aren't bad, but they're not as seemless. Likewise, the subway train editing/directing. It feels like it's trying to go for a Terminator vibe, with the yautja advancing, its armour shrugging off anything Lambert throws at it (2-3 clips of handgun ammo), but it just doesn't work as well. I also have to question how the yautja got from the graveyard to the subway in so short amount of time, and knew to hit that train car, and chose it on the basis that everyone in the car was armed.

-So, like, what were the other yautja doing all this time when the Jungle Hunter was having his fun? And how'd they get their spaceship underground like that anyway? Were they just watching TV, or taking bets?

So, yeah, this movie does have numerous issues holding it back. Still, I do believe it deserves some props. First is the choice of environment - it would have been tempting I imagine to just go back to the jungle again, but no, LA as an urban environment makes for a good change of scenery from Predator 1, and gives the film its own feel and obstacles. Likewise, the DEA's plan to track and capture the yautja - it isn't that bad actually. I mean, yeah, it realizes what they're up to and kills them all, but it isn't from lack of intelligence on their part. And while gore in of itself isn't really a turn-on for me, I will say that the gore in the film does feel appropriate for this kind of movie.

What I'm not sure is a pro or not is the film's approach to violence. In the first, we see Dutch and co. slaughter a group of rebels before the yautja starts hunting them. We can feel bad for them, but there is the sense that this is arguably a form of karma - they're used to being the top dogs, so is it so bad when an even bigger dog starts killing them in turn? Here, it doesn't work as well. The yautja here starts out by killing gang members (and we're not going to miss them), but relatively quickly starts killing police officers and civilians - people who most certainly don't deserve to be slaughtered. So, on one hand, if the film is trying to comment that "what goes around comes around," it doesn't work as well. On the other hand, it could be that this yautja really just is an absolute bastard. Not without a code (doesn't kill the child or Leona after discovering she's pregnant), but he's quite happy to kill indiscriminately, while the yautja of the first film was far more focused on its targets. So when the bastard finally goes down (I'd argue he's OP even for a yautja given how much punishment it takes, including rifle rounds in the stomach), it's all the more satisfying.

So, yeah. While the film is nowhere near as good as the first, I will say I enjoyed it, even if it's partly in guilty pleasure territory. Question is, is it better than Predators? It's close, but I'd say no. Predators doesn't have the same highs as Predator 2, but it's a far more cohesive movie with more sympathetic characters. But all I can do now I guess is wait for the fourth Predator film to come out.

Gerald's Game
A very tense thriller about a woman handcuffed to bed in the middle of fucking nowhere slowly losing her mind while trying to come up with a way to stay alive and escape. It's a good set up, Carla Gugino is awesome and I quite liked the raw, candid dialogue with the ghost of her dead husband (died of a stroke shortly after cuffing her up). There's a menacing dog prowling around the room as well which you're not sure if it's good, evil or just a hungry dog; the way the animal is shot reminded me of the dog from the beginning of The Thing. Halfway through the movie the flashbacks begin, which I think bring the thing to a sturdy halt. And the ending is a fucking mess though - just tonally awkward, completely out of the fucking blue turntables that lessens the effect of the rest of the movie considerably. Overally a good, intense, highly effective situational thriller that should've ended about 15 minutes earlier. I don't know whether to blame Stephen King or the director of Ouija.

Ready Player One (7/10)

If I had to describe this film in one word, it would be "fun."

Okay, let's get this out of the way - I don't like the book very much. But that doesn't matter too much, because this film takes extreme deviations from the novel. Mostly, that's a good thing, in that while it's choke full of references, most of them are visual only, so the story doesn't get bogged down. Bad side is that it doesn't incorporate the novel's best aspects, which means that the future's far more 'sanitized' than the novel. Apparently in our lifetime we have stuff like "bandwidth riots" to look forward to, as opposed to an oil crash and civilization standing on the brink. So, um, yay?

So, yeah, movie's fun. It takes itself seriously enough that you're invested in the stakes, but not so seriously that it forgets that most of it is taking place in a giant MMO that doesn't barely has any defined rules (seriously, how does a lot of this work - how do you code for it?) It's Spielberg getting in touch with his inner child, and it works. Of his films this year, 'The Post' is definitely the superior work, but if you want a fun adventure flick, then you could do a lot worse. Oh, and it's quite funny as well, even if it's easy to pick out plotholes if you think about things too much. Basically, the film's approach to how the OASIS functions is "eh, roll with it."

Saw Infinity War on the weekend, and I gotta say, it was definitely not as great as I thought it would be, yet still an enjoyable movie. The action was stunning... easily some of the best we've seen in a Marvel film. Any scene with Spidey in, and I'm onboard too. I read that Cap and Black Widow purposely didn't get that much screentime, but will be about a lot more in Avengers 4. I liked the strong focus on Thor, as he's always been a fav of mine. The ending was... interesting. A little bit moot, perhaps? When we know that a new movie is coming next year to explain all the answers. I'd like to rewatch it soon, as it was a lot to take it on the first attempt.


The Rain
Rating: Come on, even Z Nation got a second season / 10 (the first 3 episodes)


So far it's a little generic, but not too bad. Visually it's pretty much your standard 28 Days Later/The Walking Dead post-apocalypse minus the zombies and more danish people. The quarantine wall reminds me of Doomsday, where if I'm not mistaken they build a wall to protect England from the evil Scottish zombies. Some things here and there, like their clothes, don't make a lot of sense considering the premise of a killer rain or whatever, it's still a little unclear. I mean, sometimes it just starts to rain out of nowhere, right?, so what are they doing with regular clothes? Maybe generic end of the world clothes look cooler. Not to mention Denmark is full of bikes, so why walk everywhere? Again, I guess a post-apocalypse on bikes would look silly. Oh wait, no, it would look awesome:


I also disliked Rises, btw. As someone who doesn't think of TDK as only good Nolan's Batman, and also likes Begins i got really hyped for it. A single one from the trilogy i went to watch in cinema, only to see it's a big letdown(for me).

Because he's a big guy, obviously.

(Fun fact: he's actually not, clocks in at a very average 5'9. Just makes THAT scene a little bit better. I checked just for giggles and he's actually 3 cm smaller than Gillian, but YOU'RE A SMALL GUY doesn't quite have the same ring to it I guess.)


Good performances by Portman and Isaac. Lots of eerie visuals and I liked the theme of self-destruction. However, the journey into The Shimmer wasn't without contrivances and some baffling decisions by the characters. I know there were some creative differences between Paramount and director Alex Garland, but I believe the final cut ended up being what Garland and producer Scott Rudin wanted. 7/10

Also I couldn't help but laugh at two Star Wars actors who were bossed around by

Avengers Infinity War was my last movie and I liked it a whole lot.

Last movie I watched was David Cronenberg's first feature length film, Shivers. Very low budget, very 70's, but surprisingly effective nonetheless. The way Cronenberg films sex and lust in the movie was just immensely creepy. Honestly, I think early Cronenberg (like Shivers and Rabid) are super underrated compared to 80's and 90's Cronenberg.

To be frank, I gots the subtle inclination this should've been viewed over Christmas.

I thought it was pretty good, and I enjoyed seeing Meloni going a bit nuts.

Escape Plan, with Stallone and Schwarzenegger. 3/10 I guess. It's a bit shit. A no brainer if you just can't be arsed to find the remote.



5 is pushing it really, gets it for the visuals. I don't understand the praise. This is the second "recent" Nolan movie I've seen where I feel like I'm watching the least interesting part of the story. Theres also a plot hole big enough to drive a Hummer through that takes the tension out of the personal bits. Spoilers ahead...

So I dunno, maybe everyone was gushing because some of the visuals were impressive. Or maybe all of the scientific talk was really interesting and exciting to someone knowledgeable about that stuff. I doubt it but can't know for sure because my brain shuts off when someone says "We need to activate the gamma partical decelerator to slow the gravitational
wave distortion and get our superconducting microtransistor resonance oscillator working again!"

Heat -

I've never seen this before until now and shame I waited this long because its terrific. 9/10

Avengers: Infinity War 2/4

So whilst I've enjoyed a lot of the recent Marvel movies, I've never liked any of the Avengers. I find them having too much bathos, explodey, death of the universe stuff for me to really engage with. Infinity War is the best of the three movies, but it runs into the old X-Men type problem of having too many cooks. The movie does its best to try and divide these into groups and keep it from being too overwhelming, but inevitably there's too many people given too little time. There's a neat final twist, but it is undercut by the inevitability of it being undone in the next movie.


Cloverfield Paradox 1/4

Take the worst off-cuts of Prometheus, slap a Cloverfield monster cameo on it, and you have this movie. Its a sci-fi that treats its audience like morons, has a moronic plot, and the characters are all morons (who are yet somehow astronaut scientists). Horror movies ceases to be scary the second you stop relating to anyone on screen. In Paradox, you never even start relating.

I thought it was pretty good, and I enjoyed seeing Meloni going a bit nuts.

Yeah, agreed there. The original post had a couple of paragraphs of positive talk about it, but I quickly edited them out after hitting a sort of self-doubt mood that dislikes everything I types. Meloni's expressions are capable of really great charity work though.

Chappaquiddick (5/10)

...am I the only one who watched this and found myself seeing John Connor (through Jason Clarke) and Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara) in my mind's eye? Anyone?


Okay, fine. Let's talk about Chappaquiddick, a film based on the Chappaquiddick Incident, which prior to this film, I'd never heard of. I will say in my defence that it happened decades before I was born and that I don't live in the US, so there is that. For the sake of this review, I'd suggest looking it up, because this is more about the film itself than the historical context behind it. And as a film, I'm mixed.

For one thing, the film doesn't really hold your hand as far as context goes. Here's Ted Kennedy. Don't know who Ted Kennedy is? Too bad. Don't know the history and social dynamic of the Kennedy Family? Too bad. Don't know the status of 1960s America? Too bad. Some of this I did know, some of this I didn't, but the point is, the film has a cold open, and at least speaking personally, I think it could have benefitted from extra context. But even that aside, up until the point where Ted Kennedy drives off the pier, the film drags. A lot. I mean, it's not that long of its running time, but it didn't give me any reason to be invested. I don't think it's just the lack of context, it's the 'stillborn' dialogue and interactions as well. As sad as it is that Mary Jo's death due to Kenndy driving under influence is, I barely know her as a character, and the film doesn't focus on her. That isn't really a flaw in of itself (this is very much focused on Ted Kennedy), but in the context of the first act, it kinda is.

So, fine, let's see how Teddie deals with facing the fact that he's now guilty of manslaughter. It's...something doesn't work here. The film shows him to be both despicable and sympathetic, that while he fluctuates between covering up his actions and coming clean (while his advisors want to cover everything up), the film shows that he isn't the brightest bulb on the tree, and isn't really cut out for senatorial life. That he's living in the legacy of his brothers and overbearing father, but isn't the man they were. In theory, that's a sound idea, showing that good people can still do terrible things, and not always rise to the challenge (if you accidentally killed someone, would you not at least entertain the thought of running?), but something just doesn't work for me here. Hard to say why.

Might be part of the ending. The film doesn't state it outright, but if you pay attention, you can tell that this isn't a definitive account of events. It's effectively the words of Ted Kennedy (taken verbatim, I'm imagining) pitched against the film's take of what actually happened that night. Now, I have no real thoughts on the actual Ted Kennedy, but you can take liberties in a biopic film and make it a blast, regardless of how true they are (see The Social Network for instance). Chappaquiddick isn't The Social Network. It isn't even The Death of Stalin​. It's a film that arguably has good intentions, but it doesn't come together as well as I'd have liked.

The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (7/10)

Dare I say that this title is, ahem, a "mouthful?"

Okay, so the pun was horrible, but question is, is the film? Well, you can tell by the ranking that I don't think it is, but while this is a "good" film, there's caveats attached.

First, if you haven't seen the trailer for this film, watch it. Then, ask yourself, "wow, is our protagonist going to find 'true wuv' and all that by the end? If you said "yes," congratulations, you have a functioning brain. Y'know, credit where credit is due, the film doesn't leave it entirely unambiguous, but you can guess where it's going. If the film was solely based around this, it would still at least be average, but given its context, this film is really grappling with two themes - the effects of war on human society, and the idea of using books as an escape from real-world troubles.

Of the two, the first theme I mentioned is done quite well. The protagonist spends most of her time on Gurnsey, which was occupied by the Germans in WWII (film takes place almost entirely in 1946). When I say the effects of war, the film doesn't shy away from the fact that life under Nazi occupation isn't pleasant, when you have to deal with curfews, your property being confiscated (forcing you to subsist on a diet of potatoes because any better food has been taken away, such as pigs), and getting to see slaves brought in from the Eastern Front be brought in to work on coastal fortifications that include bunkers and mines. Oh, and those slaves are treated as sub-humans and none of them survive the war. And after that, you've got to live with the war experience. And while that does include the trauma you might expect (sort of - our protagonist is shown to have PTSD from the Blitz, but this is only brought up in a single scene and never referenced again), what the movie focusses on is how war can change the social fabric of a society. We have an informant who helped the occupiers, but now has to live with himself. We're informed of the "half German bastards" that are on Gurnsey now because some women "spread their legs," said woman being one of the society's members, with us seeing her child, from a man who's shown to be decent sort who is hardly a bloodthirsty invader, but unfortunately has been conscripted (not said, but implied) to fight for a repugnant cause). There's references to the Great War, and the sheer disbelief that another world war could have been fought in people's lifetimes. This isn't a theme that's inherently interwoven with the story, but it's a present one, and an interesting take on post-war Britain. There's the sense that for the older generation, their hatred for Germans will never go away, that the combined experiences has permenantly tainted them. That's not a theme I see explored too much - it's common for post-war experience to be examined in fiction, but usually it drifts more towards reconciliation.

The secondary theme is the idea of using books as a means of escaping from the vulgarities of reality. This theme is brought up, but never fully explored - the entire purpose of the society is a cover story to prevent imprisonment (since the members were caught breaking curfew, they needed a quick alibi, and as such, had to make good on it). "Literary society" is in the title, but this isn't a 'Book Thief 2.0." (granted, I haven't read or watched Book Thief, but I did write a short story* once that tried to express the same idea, so, um, yay). Plus, there's the mystery aspect of what happened to the missing member, of what she did (or didn't) do during the occupation, and why she isn't there in the present - a mystery that's slowly revealed through flashbacks, and given final confirmation of what you might suspect in the present. Good enough that you can guess at what's coming, but not so blatant that you can't entertain the idea that this might have a happy ending.

So, yeah. "Good," if not "great."

*See https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11041929/1/The-Book-Thief (shameless plug)

Deadpool 2 (7/10)

The first Deadpool movie was, to put it mildly...not good. Humour was bad, fights were bad, and it seemed to want to have it both ways, unable to decide whether it should go all out with its comedy, or ground itself. It was...well, kinda shit.

Deadpool 2 isn't.

That's not to say it doesn't have some of the same problems, namely that like the first, it wants to be both a comedy, but also have moments of emotional gravitas. And while these don't always work, it's alleviated by being done better, and the comedy being good enough that I can bear the points where it fails emotionally. Oh, and the action's pretty awesome. It helps that we get to fight people like Cable and Juggernaught rather than Ajax who...well, let's just forget about him and move on. Oh, and (spoiler) gets fridged. Yes, the intro credits (a good parody of James Bond in of itself) lampoons this, but even if you lampoon bad writing, that doesn't change the fact that it's bad writing. I'm not going to comment on the after-credits stuff (didn't stuck around for it, didn't know it existed until after I saw the film), but I also think the film kind of shoots itself in the foot by not permenantly killing (spoiler). You can still have an X-Force without (spoiler). And I think that would be fine, because while the ending does have problems, it does have some emotional resonance.

So, yeah. I enjoyed this film, even though I thought I wouldn't. Humour is good. Action is great. It's my #2 XCU film, second only to Logan (and of course Deadpool takes the piss out of that). It's movies like Deadpool that make me hope that the Fox-Disney deal doesn't go through, because the tone and style used in this film would never be implemented in the MCU.

Speaking of which...does that mean I have to talk about Infinity War next?


The Avengers: Infinity War (6/10)

...to be honest, I kind of detest this film.

That's not to say it's bad. Indeed, if you'd asked me what I thought about it as soon as I walked out of the cinema, I'd say it was pretty good. However, the more I thought about it, the more I disliked it, which is never a good sign. And while films can go down in my estimation upon reflection (Ready Player One is an example of this from this year), Infinity War dropped drastically in my ranking, going from my #5 MCU film (and a genuinely good one) to my #9 one, entering the realm of "meh." Maybe more than "meh," since like I said, I kind of detest this film, but, well, yeah. That's not to say that there isn't good moments in it (such as the ending, which is part of why I left with an initially positive impression), but they're just that - moments.

So, what can I say about Infinity War without getting down into a scene by scene deconstruction of why I dislike this film? Well, the ending of Ragnarok is made a waste of time, so there is that. I could say that Thanos's lackies are vapid and boring with no real personality, and by extension, I don't feel anything when our heroes trade punches with them. I could say that Star-Lord's character seems to have regressed from Guardians 2 (this isn't just when he stuffs up in the Titan fight, it's his entire character and how his team treats him). I could say that the movie teases us with Thanos's army being decked out in gold (which are a nice relief from the turgid greys the MCU uses for its cannon fodder), but no, we've got CGI slavering monsters. I could say that the movie at least kind of knows that Thanos's plan makes no sense to anyone with a basic understanding of biology, so there is that. I could say that the Wakanda siege is...okay, I guess, but pretty vapid, far removed from the likes of Helm's Deep or Minas Tirith (or heck, even Kingdom of Heaven). I could say that Thanos's gauntlet reminds me of that kid from school - the type of kid that plays cops and robbers, gets shot, and responds with "nuh-uh, I've got a shield." THAT KID. That he's wearing a DEM that even with the stones' properties explained, feels like a convolution for 'stuff' to happen. I could say that the movie does have a high mark with Gamora, Nebula, and Red Skull, who's more interesting in his one scene than in the entirety of Captain America. I could say that Thor restarting the star is absolutely rediculous, even by MCU standards (let alone surviving it, or apparently being able to breathe in space). I could say that the movie does have an interesting approach in a sense, in that the heroes don't really make any wrong moves (mostly), but are nonetheless defeated because Thanos has god mode (but unlike Last Jedi, failure isn't a theme here, and it's not executed nearly as adroitly). I could say that the ending is actually executed pretty damn well, least as far as directing goes - it's an ending that'll almost certainly be undone by Avengers 4, but the sins of the son don't have to transfer to the sins of the father. I could say that this would be an interesting ending to the MCU, to be an ultimate subversion, but then again, this is the MCU we're talking about. Given how many people look at Iron Man 3 for example (IMO, one of the best films in this franchise), it's that its fanbase doesn't like subversion, or anything remotely challenging.

So, I could say all of this, but I won't. Because everyone and their mother has seen this bloody film, and it's among the top grossing films of all time. I will admit that I'm kind of put off by this, because I'm kind of reminded of The Last Jedi, or rather, from my eyes, almost every complaint levelled against TLJ could be levelled against this film as well, but for whatever reason, Infinity War gets a free pass. But while both films get a 6/10 for me, TLJ endeared itself to me the more I thought about it. Infinity War makes me dislike it more the more I think about it. Doesnt help that I saw this back to back with Deadpool 2, which was...well, "better." Very different film, even if it's obstensibly in the same genre, but, well, yeah. I guess the worst thing I could say about this film is that for a lot of it, I was just bored. And given the fathers who'd brought their sons to the showing with me (one snoring, one looking at his phone through the film), it seems I wasn't the only one.

(Kids seemed to love it though - think I even heard some crying when Peter bit the bullet.)

So, yeah. Still don't like the MCU much. Still don't like this film much. But hey, what does that even matter now?

Deadpool 2 -


Okay, I enjoyed the first Deadpool when I first saw it, but it got weaker on rewatch. I think its fine these days, but suffers from a really subpar, bland story with hit and miss jokes, standard direction, weak editing and for a film that pokes fun at the tropes, adheres to those tropes.

As for the new film, director David Leitch managed to fix a lot of those problems. The direction is much better, the action is well done, the acting is solid, much better jokes and comedic timing and the story was actually interesting for me. Only flaws are a few jokes don't work and the first act is a bit uneven, but overall I really liked this. Actually felt like a real Deadpool film.

Avengers: Infinity War - 5/10. It was cool to see lots of talent on the field/stage but absolutely no coherent strategy or theme.

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