What's the Latest Thing You've Seen at the Cinema II

So far this season I enjoyed Hateful Eight for the acting and dialogue and Sicario for the action. For visuals and weirdness, although not my usual cup of tea, Youth was interesting. I found The Revenant to be visually impressive and quite intense but a bit long and agonizing.

Deadpool

This is a LOT of fun. Self referential, deprecatory and full of laughs, oh, and violence and swearing; definitely NOT one for the children.

The film walks a clever and successful line in being a parody but still engaging the viewer in the story it is telling. I thoroughly enjoyed this film and hope it is a huge hit.

M

The Big Short. Focused on the financial mechanisms involved in the 2008 US housing market collapse and subsequent banking failures. Good enough that the film presents a topical subject of natural interest to American adults, it gets excessive in hammering home the depravity of the banks. Good acting by Bale, Gosling and Carell, but I found their focus on the idiosyncrasies of the characters they were portraying a bit over the top. I guess theater goers expect superfluity in films these days, especially where no CGIs are involved. Pitt was unassumingly good in his role of the Wall Street guru that had consciously checked out of the system.

Mr Underhill posted:

Deadpool

This is a LOT of fun. Self referential, deprecatory and full of laughs, oh, and violence and swearing; definitely NOT one for the children.

The film walks a clever and successful line in being a parody but still engaging the viewer in the story it is telling. I thoroughly enjoyed this film and hope it is a huge hit.

M

I initially thought you were re-visiting Dirty Harry movies there, Mr Underhill 

Mike 

Last night

"The cigarette that bears a lipstick’s traces … the tinkling piano in the next apartment. Todd Haynes’s narcotic and delicious film Carol is in love with this kind of detail: the story of a forbidden love affair that makes no apology for always offering up exquisitely observed minutiae from the early 1950s."

- The Guardian

I haven't been out to see a movie in the theatre for a quite long time and yesterday I was again reminded that I should do it more often. The feeling really is so much more intense than watching anything at home regardless how good the home system is. 

osprey posted:

Last night

"The cigarette that bears a lipstick’s traces … the tinkling piano in the next apartment. Todd Haynes’s narcotic and delicious film Carol is in love with this kind of detail: the story of a forbidden love affair that makes no apology for always offering up exquisitely observed minutiae from the early 1950s."

- The Guardian

I haven't been out to see a movie in the theatre for a quite long time and yesterday I was again reminded that I should do it more often. The feeling really is so much more intense than watching anything at home regardless how good the home system is. 

I always have the same sentiment, but as I have to travel and as I can't see everything due to German Audio - I am not going often enough....

rackkit posted:

Admittedly it was a late showing (10:30pm) and i was pretty tired anyway but i kept falling asleep! I still say a good film gets your attention & wakes you up - this one didn't stand a chance. It's bloody mess! 

A well acted but narratively impotent advertisement of things to come (technically referred to as 'world building')

cheers,

EJ

I went to a special screening last night of Miles Ahead, a Davis biography starring, directed and co-written by Don Cheadle. It's set over a period of four days just before Miles' 1981 "comeback". It is mostly fiction. And the journalist character played by Ewan McGregor was really annoying. Some of the characters are just caricatures. The jazz buffs/miles freaks I was with all hated it.

That said, I rather enjoyed it. The fast cutting and flashbacks evoked the coke paranoia of the time, the film is good-looking, well-art directed and has a great soundtrack.

I don't think it'll get good reviews when it's released, but, subject matter aside, it's a decent picture.

Trailer here:

 

Batman vs Superman

A curate's egg.

The Good

The casting ....with one horrendous exception

Batman, Alfred and most of the choices.

The Bad

The putative kernel of discord between Batman and Superman

The fight resolution.

Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luther.

Spoilers

In common with many DC movies this was 'serious', but the plot was such that portentous line delivery did not paper over the cracks. The film opens with the destruction rained by Superman and Zod, and I could understand Bruce Wayne's anger .......but, ultimately Superman saved the Earth and billions of lives; so, while I could understand his intellectual need to rein Superman in I could NOT understand his rage. This was ultimately bought to a resolution by the fact that his Mummy had the same name as Superman's Mummy??!!

This then led onto a fight between the troll from the Mines of Moria and the heroes. As soon as I saw Doomsday I thought 'Weta being lazy', which is far from a good thing. I was glad that this led onto the death of Superman ....but, they couldn't even leave that alone.

Yes, there were many aspects that were good. However, ultimately it was overly long and wordy for a film that delivered no depth but can be summarised as:

Superheroes fight, then team up to solve a problem by pummelling it.

Frankly, this is the sort of film that will kill this genre for a generation.

M

I am just back from Taiwan and so had 32 hours flight time to catch up on some films:

Spotlight

Powerful film with some good performances, one to watch.

The Big Short

A film that should be seen, and does its best to be informative and watchable. Doesn't go far enough in hammering home the depravity of the banks, and lets the politicians completely off the hook. Greed is good?

The Revanent

I was disappointed. Glad Decaprio got his Oscar but, ultimately, I found this a long and painful journey for no insight into the human condition.

Black Mass

Good gangster movie. Great performance by Depp.

The Fantastic Four

Not a good film, but not the train wreck I was expecting. 

The Good Dinosaur

Meh.

Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Best film of the flights. Huston and Bogey and top form.

Sicario

Good movie. Disturbing, and not as fictional as I would like it to be.

M

The Jungle Book

A real life re-telling of one of the weaker Disney cartoons; weaker in animation detail and plot, although a good soundtrack with a couple of great songs. Real life in this case is a stretch as we are talking enormous amounts of CGI.

This film is a real step up from the cartoon and if you haven't lost contact with your inner child then I think you will enjoy this, but it is not in the same class as the major Pixar productions, it is far more squarely aimed at children. The film does a good job of delivering the central plot and provides some good action and adventure. The vocal talent do deliver, even Bill Murray who seems to have been dialling things in of late, however the true star of this film is the boy who plays Mowgli, being animated there is more pressure on him and he provides the foundations on which the film builds, a testament to him, the mocap actors and Jon Favereau.

The film does falter in the third act, which I discuss in the spoiler section below, however this does not greatly mar what is a good children's film, but one that I think will just miss becoming a classic.

 

<spoiler>

The end of the film is marred for me in two ways:

Mowgli in the denouement runs to the man-village and grabs a torch, he then manages to run back to the wolves in double quick time, a journey that took days in the other direction. I think that with a little thought this could easily have been solved in other ways.

And

At the end Mowgli is still in the jungle with his pals, this removes the bitter sweet ending of the cartoon, but also undermines the metaphor that the story represents; a poor choice IMO.

</spoiler>

M

Captain America: Civil War

This film shows the difference between having a good script and talent and having a poor script and talent, the latter being Batman vs Superman.

Ultimately this film cannot stand too much analysis, but the ride is enjoyable with laughs, action and drama.

If this is your sort of film you won't be disappointed.

M

X-Men Apocalypse

Not as bad as I expected. Time passed and I was reasonably entertained.

For me the issue is having a world dominating bad guy. It doesn't matter whether it is a super-hero film or Bond, having villain who wants to destroy/conquer the world just removes the film from having a connection to the audience. I feel that when things are done on a smaller scale, or done through a character with whom we can relate, the end result is just so much better. It felt like it was the latter plan they decided to follow, but it didn't really land. What we were left with was:

Supervillian is introduced;
Supervillian is temp disabled;Supervillian escapes and goes recruiting;
Good guys go recruiting;
Battle is joined.

It was OK, and certainly a field day for the digital artists, but the emotional core was MIA.

Better the Batman vs Superman, not as good as Captain America - Civil War.

M

 

Love & Relationships

Kate Beckinsale stars as Lady Susan in this film of the Jane Austen book, her only book that I haven't read but now will. I would describe Lady S as the antagonist of the film and as such my wife had a hard time watching as she ran out of sympathy with her. The film rather predictably resolved, but I  did enjoy the journey as 'events' occurred and had to be coped with.

Not a typical romantic story. I will read the book as I feel at least one character was portrayed rather more broadly than I would expect, a la the Firth version of Pride and Prejudice where subtlety was victim to caricature and broad brush-strokes.

Nice Guys

Enjoyable film by Shane Black. I laughed throughout but there is also violence by the bucketful. Some reviewers were upset by random background people being randomly shot, I found this simply realistic. The smartest of the main [pro]tagonists is the thirteen year old daughter of a private detective, she is a great character being intelligent but not overly worldly wise, a fine line to walk.

Recommended.

M

Star Trek Beyond

Bravo Mr Pegg. Now, I am not saying there aren't standard tropes and devices, BUT there aren't the major structural weaknesses of the first two films. The good groundwork laid in building the relationships is maintained and used to service an acceptable adventure that is in turn exciting and amusing.

I enjoyed it!

M

Mr Underhill posted:

Star Trek Beyond

Bravo Mr Pegg. Now, I am not saying there aren't standard tropes and devices, BUT there aren't the major structural weaknesses of the first two films. The good groundwork laid in building the relationships is maintained and used to service an acceptable adventure that is in turn exciting and amusing.

I enjoyed it!

M

I wouldn't count myself as a Trekkie but I've liked the films. Must see this one.  I particularly like the way they've cast the younger versions of Bones, Kirk and Spock.  It works for me. And though Pegg doesn't really work as a young Scottie, he is nonetheless funny. 

Star Trek:Beyond. IMAX 3D

We really enjoyed it, loved the way the charactes are begining to morph nto the OSST people.

We weren't to sure how Lin would direct this, but although there were some huge scenes, it wasn't F&F in space. 

Of course it won't be considerd for Academy Awards outside of the craft areas.

Pleased about the end credit acknowledgemnts to Leonard and Anton.

The Secret Life of Pets

Made me laugh, quiet a lot. Not original, but then as you get older that is a harder trick to pull off, but well executed.

I think you'll know whether this is the sort of thing that will appeal to you, if it does I don't think you will be disappointed.

M

Jason Bourne

In a word, disappointing.

I loved the first three films. I thought Greengrass did a great job of updating the novels and presenting something cinematic that knitted together very well.

This film was, for me, full of questionable choices:

<minor spoilers>
Why would a senior official communicate with a wet operative;
Why would communication of sensitive information happen with mobile phones;
Why would field operatives walk around in the in the open taking no action to cover the faces or disguise their identities;
</minor spoilers>

I could go on. The actions that lead to the film's climax for me defied logic.

Matt Damen did a good job but in a film that didn't deserve him.

Shame.

M

Mr Underhill posted:

The Jungle Book

A real life re-telling of one of the weaker Disney cartoons; weaker in animation detail and plot, although a good soundtrack with a couple of great songs. Real life in this case is a stretch as we are talking enormous amounts of CGI.

This film is a real step up from the cartoon and if you haven't lost contact with your inner child then I think you will enjoy this, but it is not in the same class as the major Pixar productions, it is far more squarely aimed at children. The film does a good job of delivering the central plot and provides some good action and adventure. The vocal talent do deliver, even Bill Murray who seems to have been dialling things in of late, however the true star of this film is the boy who plays Mowgli, being animated there is more pressure on him and he provides the foundations on which the film builds, a testament to him, the mocap actors and Jon Favereau.

The film does falter in the third act, which I discuss in the spoiler section below, however this does not greatly mar what is a good children's film, but one that I think will just miss becoming a classic.

 

<spoiler>

The end of the film is marred for me in two ways:

Mowgli in the denouement runs to the man-village and grabs a torch, he then manages to run back to the wolves in double quick time, a journey that took days in the other direction. I think that with a little thought this could easily have been solved in other ways.

And

At the end Mowgli is still in the jungle with his pals, this removes the bitter sweet ending of the cartoon, but also undermines the metaphor that the story represents; a poor choice IMO.

</spoiler>

M

I haven't been able to watch it all the way through. Unfortunately I saw an interview with the pretentious little prat that plays Mowgli. And I just can't get that out of my head and suspend disbelief in the manner required.

Star Trek: Beyond.

My son went with me, and it was fun.  I do wish movies in general would slow down the action scenes; particularly close quarter combat.  Very unrealistic to someone who has done it for real, though with MP5s, M4s, M9s, and the like as opposed to phasers. 

Mr Underhill posted:

Jason Bourne

In a word, disappointing.

I loved the first three films. I thought Greengrass did a great job of updating the novels and presenting something cinematic that knitted together very well.

This film was, for me, full of questionable choices:

<minor spoilers>
Why would a senior official communicate with a wet operative;
Why would communication of sensitive information happen with mobile phones;
Why would field operatives walk around in the in the open taking no action to cover the faces or disguise their identities;
</minor spoilers>

I could go on. The actions that lead to the film's climax for me defied logic.

Matt Damen did a good job but in a film that didn't deserve him.

Shame.

M

The leeway that Ms DNI got defied logic certainly, and the Deep Dream narrative wasn't as well integrated as it could have been and felt more vintage Greengrass sociopolitical commentary than essential plot device, but overall I thoroughly enjoyed this. The final scene was a hoot and surely made up for all the awkward bits that came before?

EJ

Mr Underhill posted:

Hi Ej,

Spectacular ....but WHY?

As a deep deeeeep undercover operative why not, perhaps, just walk away?

M

Hi M,

He does walk away, but not before giving Ava the message / middle finger. A bit of cinematic gratification perhaps, but useful to give Bourne back some of his cool factor, after the revelation of her motivation, and the implication he was being used.

More bothered by the referencing of 'Outcome' as one of the Black Ops programmes that Nicky hacks into. Does that mean that Bourne Legacy is now accepted as canon?

EJ

Suicide Squad

Better than I expected from some reviews, but also nothing to write home about. I feel that ALL these films could do with dialling things down. Just make the films smaller and more intimate. Bit like Bond, when the stakes are 'the end of the world' it just gets too remote and a bit by the numbers. Especially in a film where the movies protagonists are antagonists.

Ultimately I think the bits I enjoyed most were in the first 15 minutes. For the rest, pretty standard, mind numbing, violence without consequences stuff.

M

Star Trek Beyond

The sheer number of subtle and less subtle references to earlier things Star Trek alone make this a very appealing film for the Trekkie in me (I am from the generation that distinguished between Trekkers - fanatics - and Trekkies - enthusiasts - and necessarily being part of the latter because my heart was with Star Wars). Combine with a screenplay that doesn't make a lot of dramatic sense but is very friendly to the main cast, and the result is a science fiction feel good film, a genre rarity. I rate this as by far the best of the recent Star Trek films, and in terms of pure enjoyment, up there with Wrath of Khan and Search for Spock.

EJ

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