Monuments Men is a good premise but came off a little disjointed. I didn't always think the scenes had a good flow from one to the nest. It's still alright though.
@thesoutherndandy: I haven't read that run, but Cyclops is basically just whiny and kind of a baby. That, and the fact he treats women like shit. And generally just blames all of his problems on other people. Oh, and the whole killing Xavier thing. I don't think it's entirely the character's fault, because there's something to be said for a leader character who has to make the tough choices. The problem is, no one seems to be able to write his conflicted personality without making him come across as a dick.
Phew, didn't mean to derail anything there so back to the thread:
I recently got around to watching Amelie, the French romantic comedy. I haven't watched a lot of French cinema, but all French films seem to have a kind of quirky, stuck in the 30s-50s vibe that I really dig. I usually hate the excessively quirky romantic films, but something about this worked - probably because of Audrey Taotou's performance and some great directing work. Having said that, all of the problems I have with the rom-com genre are still present: the artificial lengthening of the film by contriving moments to keep the romantics apart, the grand gestures of love that require you to suspend your disbelief a bit too far etc. Probably would rate it lower if the soundtrack wasn't so fantastic, but I'd give it 4/5
...the great Marvel Cinematic Universe arc quest (or, at least, the on with the characters that Marvel Studios can use) begins...
Captain America: The First Avenger - 4/5. I love this movie so much. I'm not kidding either because I made it a double feature with:
The Rocketeer - 4/5. Which was made almost exactly 20 years before (by the same director) and is almost exactly the same movie (with a slightly more languid pace and less overwhelming sound design). I love me some extra cheeseball adventure movies and these are big fun.
Agent Carter - 3/5. Cute. Nice to see Hayley Atwell kick some ass.
Iron Man - 4/5. Snappy dialoge, snappy direction, snappy SFX (I like a movie that doesn't feel like it's all CGI). A good time was had by all.
Iron Man 2 - 4/5. Could have been tightened up a bit here and there but it's still right up there. I love the scenes with Pepper and Tony (the fact that I'm a giant fan of sharply written rat-a-tat dialogue found in so many films of the 30's and 40's makes me bounce around with glee when it all to rarely shows up in a modern film).
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer - 3/5. Cute. Nice to see Agent Coulson kick some ass.
Thor - 3/5 Meh. I'm also this close to giving it a 2 but I don't think that's fair. Five movies in two days is a lot (and coming off IM2 this one just felt... flat)... Thor is fine and Hemsworth brings the right feel to him. But the story, ugh. Thor has to grow up, yadda, yadda, fine, fine... but I hate (with the burning passion of a thousand suns) deus ex machina plotting. So... yeah.
...Up today: The Incredible Hulk, The Consultant and The Avengers...
12 Years a Slave: 5/5. Amazing direction, amazing acting. Side-by-side with Django Unchained both movies feel like incredibly essential American films, although this obviously captures the gravitas of the situation much more clearly. Those fucking long takes, man...I'll never forget them. Also, as someone who took a pair of classes on the Antebellum South, it was refreshing to see this film get so many details of the era correct. I'm glad the movie didn't portray the slaves purely as animals huddled in their shacks, because slaves did get to lead what little lives they could when the work was done, and many of them were properly educated prior to or during their enslavement which the film did a good job of showing. Granted there weren't enough purely emasculated/idiotic slaves, but this story wasn't about those people. It also hadn't dawned on me just how good Solomon's story is for a modern context; everyone can relate to it, from white people to young black people who're becoming far enough removed from the era that it feels like science fiction.
Dallas Buyer's Club: 3/5. Really good performances from the two leads prop up what is otherwise a pretty poorly edited film (two of the three deleted scenes on the blu-ray explain questions I had nearly the entire film so it's weird they're left out) with a real "well we ran out of ideas" ending and a kind of uncompelling script. How many times can one cast say AZT?
Godzilla: 3 / 5
I loved Gareth Evan's take on the monster fights but if Brian Cranston's character was the lead, it would have been a much better film, holy shit it would have been great.
The Wind Rises: 4.5 / 5
If it is Miyazaki's last film he's ended his career well. It was good to see a Studio Ghibli drama again, proving that animation is only a mere tool for storytelling and not just for kids. It is slow, but I somehow found myself much more engaged in it as a result.
I want to rate the last few, because they've all been great.
The Lego Movie: 5/5 - Saw this one at the cheap theater and loved it. Super smart and super funny. Had a weird, cool message about individuality and government/corporation surveillance and control... I think. Maybe I looked too much into it, but it was damn entertaining nonetheless.
Frozen: 5/5 - Saw this at the same cheap theater and also had a great experience. It looked awesome, it looked entertaining, and the music was great. I wouldn't be surprised if we see a Broadway production similar to the Lion King eventually.
Wet Hot American Summer: 5/5 - Jesus, how have I never seen this before. The ensemble cast was ridiculous, and I'm sure it would cost them a butt-ton to ever have all these people in the same low-budget comedy again. Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Elizabeth Banks, that dude from SVU, the brother from Frasier, Janeane Garofalo, fucking Bradley Cooper. It was dumb, and hilarious, and I want to watch it again.
What the hell happened? This entire movie was a study case for what happens when you make a movie based on what you thought was popular with the original and not getting what about it was funny in the first place.
Been a while since I was this disappointed. And that's even with a buddy of mine saying not to expect it to live up to the original at all.
Talk about understatement.
@pezen: I thought it was pretty great... I can't seem to recall a lot of it, I had a few drinks through out. Michael Swaim did a good job explaining why he thought it was better than the 1st one.
I watched for the 20th time or so. First time in a couple years, and first time with the wife. She's as far from the Kevin Smith-type as a person can get. So it was a special viewing.
I first started watching it in middle school, and I still get about the same out of it now as I did then, which is a good sign. This time though, for the first time, I noticed how Alyssa's sexuality is a hard sell because she says and does conflicting things. I've never thought about this movie as anything more than a boy-meets-girl romcom. I definitely never considered it as having any real commentary about the gay and lesbian community, or sexuality at all, besides the obvious. While I still think that's the right way to watch it(as it turns out, there's a few holes in some of the logic of her characterization), finding those flaws still led to an interesting conversation about it with my wife.
Also, I've never understood Holden's hang-ups about being with a person with more sexual experience. Silent Bob outright told him exactly what he was going through and what not to do next, and Holden still fucks it all up. I've chalked it up as Smith's portrayal of helpless 90's macho pride.
4.696485468 out of 5
EDIT: Wife hated it. But she's being hyperbolic. I hope.
Throne of Blood from 1957 and directed by Akira Kurasawa. Its one of Kurasawa'a adaptations of Shakespeare, in this case Macbeth, into historical Japanese context. I'm sucker for Shakespeare so I love it. The movie only suffers from one major flaw and that is it's length. It's less than hour and half so it feels a little too compact so something like the Lady Macbeth's decent into madness seems rushed and out of nowhere. Like a lot of foreign language films I can't really tell if the acting is good, but it seems to be. the adapting from a story in Scotland to feudal Japan is very well done. Samurai instead of knights, Japanese fortresses and instead of three witches we get on of the creepiest looking mother fuckers I've ever seen. It's a great movie and you can get it as part of the Criterion Collection.
Really? I thought bought Godzilla and X-Men DOFP had really cheesy dialogue parts. Which normally I wouldn't have minded but both the movies took themselves incredibly seriously so it lessened my enjoyment quite a bit. Godzilla's monsters scenes were great but it's like they weren't even trying in the drama parts. Crazy old conspiracy theorist who no one believes, sergeant who has a baby waiting back at home. Come on. X-Men though had the one scene that I would call the best in 2014 so far, where the fast kid clears everyone in the room, that was brilliant. I wish rest of the movie could hold up to that.
Just got around to watching X-Men: Days of Future Past last night, this pretty much sums up how I felt, absolutely loved the first half of the film, but the second part was overly cheesy and melodramatic... Wolverine shooting off like Team Rocket had me in stitches though.
Enjoyable, but sooooo much that had us scratching our collective heads when we left, 3/5 seems fair.
Lego Movie 4/5
I kinda feel old, because damn everything went so fast! But some good jokes, looks fantastic and in the end a pretty cool story.
I guess these kind of movies are just not for me. I know they can make cool CG creatures, but when is one ever going to be combined with an interesting story?
The last film I saw at the cinema was...
It was pretty good. But I can see why it probably won't stand among the highest pantheon of hypest Ghibli films for many people (I'm still not sure where I'd rank it, personally, yet). I thought it quite moving and poignant, and appreciated the move towards a heavier subject matter, such as what we saw with Isao Takahata's Grave of the Fireflies. I watched From Up on Poppy Hill in April, which I really enjoyed also, and it was a much better effort than Gorō Miyazaki's first film.
In fact, I think watching these three Ghibli films in order would be quite a good experience. All sharing thematic links to some degree, but also varying in core subject, overall message and tone.
- Porco Rosso
- The Wind Rises
- Grave of the Fireflies
I am going to see Godzilla (2014) tonight.
X-Men Days of Future Past
I am far from the worlds biggest X-men fan, i really enjoyed First Class but going into this it looked like it was going to be a huge mess based on the trailers but I have to say the last time I remember having such a nerd freak out of excitement was when Batman finally showed up in the tumbler in TDKR. I was crazy excited throughout nearly the entire film, had a massive shit eating grin on my face most of the time, the action was clever, with funny one liners and references, the cast was nearly pitch perfect, just a shame there wasn't more of Patrick Stewart and Ian Mc Kellan, and it was chock full of cameos. One of my most memorable cinema going experiences to in a while.
The last time a film made me so happy was The Grand Budapest Hotel, which made me feel almost euphoric about cinema and the potential that still exists for the medium, it was more than a 10/10 for me, contender for my favorite film of the year, its out on DVD this week I think so check it out!
The Frozen Ground
True story of search for proof by a brave detective in Achorage Alaska, on a serial rapist and murderer. Nick Cage plays the well meaning cop, and keeps it real which I liked. The film received fairly low scores from critics which I don't get. I recommend. 4/5
The Lego Movie - 5/5
Really, really enjoyed the movie. Extremely smart, funny, entertaining and a good message at the end. Just a really solid movie period. I know Lego Movie 2 is inevitable but wish they would keep it to one film, or at least do a different story entirely.
Perfect Blue. 4/5.
The main character needed to be a little better characterized before shit started happening, but the plot is still pretty interesting and suitably mindfucky. I think the ending is surprisingly clear for the kind of movie it was, but there's still a lot of ambiguity and what the fuckery throughout.
If anyone is wondering whether Maleficent is good or bad: it's bad.
I knew it was going to be just because of the heavy tone switch in the trailers, what at first seemed like a introspective story of a villain suddenly had Lord of the Rings battles and is she good or bad I knew it was going to be a mess.
Non-Stop - 4/5. I feel like I'm probably giving this a higher rating than most people, but I liked it. I went in knowing exactly what to expect which was a good, dumb Liam Neeson action movie. I think they did a great job at maintaining the tension and keeping you guessing, but the reveal, and the "message" that came with it, came so late (no seriously, the shit happens in like the last 10 minutes almost out of the blue) and felt so ham-handed, that spoiled what would otherwise have a been a 5/5 for me personally.
Persona 3: The Movie #1 Spring of Birth.
3/5. Maybe because I was spoiled of the Persona 4: The Animation and how that was paced, but Persona 3 movie went by really fast. It had all the plot points, but none of the interaction. Hopefully Midsummer Knight's Dream is better paced. That said though, I did enjoy the movie and maybe the rating will go up after another viewing now that I know how it's paced.
Frozen - Pretty boring and uneventful. I could chalk it up to "run up the hill, run down the hill" and be done. I think the biggest thing in the movie I appreciated was the general "women don't need prince charming to save them, they can do that themselves". But other than some fun joke here and there, it fell pretty flat for me. Also, that blond ice sister was a big sulking diva. Ugh.
Pacific Rim - 2/5
Boy was I dissapointed about that movie. It was very, VERY much because I expected way too much though, but still... Nice effects and designs and stuff, but that's the only cool thing IMO.
Godzilla - 3/5
Very cool when it comes to large scale fights, monsters and awesome effects. Nothing extremely amazing, but very cool
Lego Movie - 4/5
Very fun and unique! Not too much to say about it because I don't think this much into stuff, but yeah, really fun, unique and bright! Made me happy
Raising Arizona I thought this was kind of weird. I sort of felt like it didn't fit in with my sense of what a Coen brothers film is in a lot of ways - although maybe if I'd seen the films they were making in the late 90s/early 2000s I'd think differently? However you can also see definite links between the very general type of story that it is, and some of their other more well recognised films. It also has a fairly pervasive and easy to grasp allegorical quality to it which when you project it forward onto some of their other films, could help understand what they are all about. So I guess its not a film I thought was out of this world enjoyable, it was interesting and had some funny moments. 3/5
Shame In all honesty I think I found this slightly disappointing? I was really impressed by the quality of the direction in 12 Years a Slave but the narrative of the later film is a bit more robust. The story of this felt a little bit loose and frayed in a way that doesn't sit as well with the very composed way that Steve McQueen directs. With that said there's still a lot to be impressed by in this. I really do think that Fassbender is a really great actor - in the scene where he and Cary Mulligan cuddle on the sofa, he really manages to convey a lot just by his body language and the way he holds his shoulders, in a way that's really noticeable but also has just enough restraint to feel real. I watched this the day after Raising Arizona and it was interesting to contrast the ways they use metaphor; the Coens have metaphors that are both in your face and unbelievable, bordering on magical realism in some ways. McQueen uses set design and narrative in a way that has basically the same purpose narratively, and is probably just as in your face, but is more palatable because it is more embedded in the film's reality. 4/5
Grizzly Man, Encounters at the End of the World and My Best Fiend. I had a bit of a Werner Herzog documentary binge the other night. The first two I'd seen before, but it was actually really interesting to watch them together. It's really easy to see Grizzly Man as a sort of arthouse hatchet job of a nutter, but I think when you look at the sort of questions he's asking in Encounters it becomes easier to look at Timothy Treadwell as a more sympathetic character - even though everything we see of him is very hard to like at all! I came to view it almost as WH saying that his particular brand of madness was actually bringing Treadwell closer to nature than he realised; Herzog spends some time expressing (mild) approval of his skill as a film maker, and it seems like perhaps that is because he feels that his mania has allowed him to access some kind of "ecstatic truth" as Herzog would have it. Consequently it starts to look like he thinks that it is actually the human in Treadwell that prevents him from fully realising his connection, if you catch my meaning. Herzog often talks about people's "insipid" ideas about nature, as indeed he says of Treadwell, and I think it's an interesting choice because as well as having connotations of stupid or foolish, it also means weak, or timid.
Overall I much prefer Encounters... though, because it has more interest, and more vital information overall, really. I also think Herzog articulates a much clearer idea of his philosophy (which may not be a recommendation - I just happen to find his outlook magnetic!) and his ideas about how particular moments fit into the overall processes of the universe. It does get a little flabby towards the end, but it is held together by Herzog's eye for the weird and uncanny, as well as for beauty and interest. Some of my favourite parts are his talk with the guy studying foriminifera, because they seem to get on really well and the guy is very responsive to Herzog's questions. Conversely, there's the Penguin scientist who really doesn't respond well to his questions, but this section is also really interesting.
Finally My Best Fiend, which is his memoir about his collaboration with Klaus Kinski. I would have put this in a separate block but there are parallels between it and Grizzly Man, in that it has that same sense of looking at a type of mania that allows access to some talent - indeed in Grizzly Man Herzog basically explicitly makes this connection. He also says similar things of Kinski's attitude to nature as he says of Treadwell. The scale is rather more tipped in favour of respect in this case. Just as interesting is the insight it gives you into Herzog's own processes, and what he tries to do when he makes drama films. It's also just quite a touching exploration of a sort-of friendship with a really moving payoff. Of course, this sense is spoiled slightly when you see Herzog tell some of the same stories about Kinski, but with rather grimmer details. It makes me wonder whether he was holding back a bit. I'd give all three films 4/5 I suppose.
Anchorman 2 on a flight. Piece of shit movie. That's not to say I didn't laugh. It was amusing in a couple of places, but it's so tentatively strung together that it's more a series of stupid singular vignettes. Outside of the "mind-reading" psychologist, I can't think of a single joke in the film that wasn't revisited much later in the film. Mercifully the experience is at least short, but not before descending into stupid frat boy humor at the end with the inevitable who's who cameo.
Frozen - DO YOU WANT TO BUILD A SNOWMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaan
Score: 9.5/10. Easily the best film Disney has made since the start of the century. Great animation, great soundtrack, great script and even though it's really fucking predictable, it's still absolutely fantastic
Coming to America - People let their soul glow. It was fun
Score - 9/10. But you can dismiss that opinion because I like this more than Beverly Hill Cop and that probably means I'm an asshole who doesn't know anything about films :/
Insidious: Chapter 2. More like chapter poo. I didn't like the first one to be fair. I like my horror movies to subtlety, slowly build suspense and if there is a monster/creature/ghost/demon reveal I want it late in the movie. It seems like a lot of horror movies turn into action movies at some point and that is usually where sigh and roll my eyes. This movie shows the protagonist getting slapped in the face by a (shitty looking) ghost within 20 minutes or so and it only gets worse from there. Terrible. 2/10.
The Pirate Fairy (2014). Tinkerbell doing her shit, and there's an interesting secondary story... go watch!
@shortbreadtom: Amelie is very much defined by the directors art-style, and certainly does not define french cinema. On the romantic issue of Amelie, I personally see that movie as a fairytale. Everything falls into place and situations occur perfectly in relation to each other. This is normal for a movie, but the pureness of the romantic aspect definitely elevates it to a more fairytale-esque level. It's by the same director as The City of Lost Children, Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Its mise en scène is even more peculiar and unique, and stars the illustrious Ron Perlman.
Saw 22 Jump Street the other day. I'm a big fan of the first one, and I had high hopes for this one which were mostly met! The laugh density is high, the chemistry between Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill runs through it all, and although it leans far more heavily on meta-jokes about the process of Hollywood movie-making, which might come off as going for low-hanging fruit, those jokes are generally pretty on point. I also think that they were canny enough to make sure these jokes were generally moving the plot forward, so they never feel totally crowbarred in, or like they are being used to make up for a lack of material.
In every other way it has pretty much everything that I liked about the first film; It's loud and brash, its unsubtle - I really enjoyed a sort of running gag about using really obvious visual metaphors, but they work because they tie into the story well, so they end up being sort of like the dad jokes of cinema - but it's smart an absolutely hilarious. Hill and Tatum really know the roles, and seem to really effortlessly switch between the clown and straight man roles. Best of all it doesn't do what some comedy action type films do and drop the comedy in favour of the action towards the end. There's a sequence during the credits which is absolutely brilliant and well worth the price of admission on its own.
That said, there were a couple of missteps I thought. There's an increased role for Ice Cube which works really well up until they take it one step too far. There's a sequence which I thought was generally pretty funny, but is marred by an unnecessary bit of gross out humour. There are a couple of characters who don't exactly get dropped, but kind of fade into the background of the film without any proper resolution, and this is partly because they seem to really want to give characters from the first movie their cameo, which isn't always worthwhile. I also kind of think that even though it is something that they are deliberately poking fun at, there is one element of the plot that tracks just slightly too closely to the first film, without ever really being brought up.
But those are nitpicks really. I laughed pretty much constantly while I was watching the film. It's got great action sequences, great jokes, great acting and "great" music. I'd give it 9 shot of dicks out of 10.