What movie have you seen recently?


#1

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#2

I’ve thought for a while that I should write down more of my thoughts on movies here, whether they’re they’re long-winded or off-the-cuff. I love movies and I love sharing my thoughts on them with people, but when it comes to writing things down, I find myself more reluctant to do it unless I’ve had time to mull the movie over and really collect my thoughts about it. Writing seems more permanent to me, so my instinct is to want any of my written thoughts on a movie to be more permanent and polished as well. But very few movies jolt me so hard that I can write down a thorough description of what I got out of them right after seeing them, so very few of them get written down.

But I’ve loved reading the capsule reviews in this thread for years. Even the smallest ones are nice to see, just to see how people are receiving the latest blockbusters or what older movies people might be discovering/revisiting. So I figure why not let the forum’s rebirth be an impetus for me to start writing more about what I watch? Even if it’s just a short blurb or a not-fully-considered viewing, I want to contribute to this thread more often because I really do appreciate it a lot as a film fan. :heart:

Anyway, some movies I’ve seen recently!

Sicario: Even though I knew it would be about cartels before I went in, it somehow ended up being even more depressing than I figured it would be. Great movie though. Intense, gorgeously shot and hauntingly scored. Several images (both beautiful and ugly) were burned into my brain. Only thing I wasn’t sure how to feel about was the insinuation that women aren’t suited to the harshness of this kind of combat. Not sure if the film was actually saying that, but that’s the vibe I got with Emily Blunt’s character being the sole woman in the film and the direction her story arc leads.

Rogue One: I really wanted to like this one but it really fell flat for me. Had a tough time finding a satisfying character arc for Jyn despite my desperately wanting there to be one. I think she would have benefited from more flashbacks to the time in between what happens to her as a child and where she is in the present. Seeing her and Forrest Whittaker’s character just talk about what happened between them is classic “tell don’t show”. :confused:

I did enjoy Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen’s characters, but I think that came more from the way they played their characters vs. any actual character in the script for them. Same with Riz Ahmed’s character. Also, notice how I keep saying “so-and-so’s character”? The film did a really poor job of getting across anyone’s name that wasn’t either “Erso”, “K-2SO”, or a previously established character. Seriously, it took me over half the movie to realize that Cassian’s name wasn’t “Casio”. For a war movie where the core story is supposed to be about a band of fighters coming together and struggling against impossible odds, it sure would’ve been nice to feel like I actually knew and cared about the members of said band. Effective war movies tend to, y’know, do that.

(Also: CGI you-know-who. Fascinating technology! …does not necessarily make for good filmmaking. ~shudders~)

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping: I laughed real hard at a lot of things in this movie. Won’t spoil but there’s a gag involving A$AP Rocky where I felt like my gut was literally about to bust. Not much in-depth to say about this one. It’s a trifle, but a really funny trifle that was overlooked this year. Worth seeing if you’ve ever enjoyed The Lonely Island.

I Am a Ghost: Probably the best movie I saw over the holidays. This is an arthouse horror movie from 2013 and it just about literally blew my hair back (no joke: my brother and I were watching in the dark and after the movie was done, his fiancé opened the front door unexpectedly and made us both jump). It is a goddamn crime that it’s only rated 6.1/10 on IMDb because I honestly do feel like I could write a whole essay about why this movie is so good. I don’t have time to write one right now though, so I’ll just put a few bullet points here:

  • You can tell it’s low budget, but you’d never guess just how low budget. It was made for only $10,000 (peanuts in movie terms) and it looks goddamn beautiful. Takes place all in one location and they shot the hell out of it. A+ cinematography.

  • Director understands how to use repetition and duration in a way that few modern filmmakers do. I’d liken it to the way Revolutionary Girl Utena takes advantage of its budget constraints to create meaningful repetitions/cycles, emphasizing certain moments in order to twist their meaning in different ways as the story goes on.

  • Lots of horror movies and psychological thrillers do the “unreliable protagonist/narrator” thing, but few establish that unreliability from the beginning of the story. This creates a unique mood of discomfort and distrust throughout the whole film which is extremely effective.

  • Could compellingly be read as an argument against religion (or at least people who claim spiritual authority), as an allegory for being trans, as a straight-up horror story about living with an illness in one’s own head from which one can never escape, or as probably a lot of other things. It’s surreal and vague enough that the meaning is not set in stone, but also vivid and solid enough that it clearly is saying something.

  • Will avoid specific spoilers, but there is a thing in this movie which may be one of the most effective horror things I have experienced in my life. This includes the thing itself and the buildup to it.

  • The lead actress, who is the only person you see for most of the film, is Asian-American! Her name is Anna Ishida and she does a fantastic job. Her delivery is stilted but in a deliberate way (if that makes sense), which gives her an appropriately otherworldly presence. Yet she is also very sympathetic, which makes her character’s story all the more tragic. Great performance.


#3

Really enjoyed Fantastic Beasts. Great worldbuilding honestly.


#4

Tried watching Paranorman today, but that movie was just so damn ugly and uninteresting that I turned it off after 30 minutes. I mean I can understand what they were going for, the special loner who has a talent that nobody else can see or understand and who gets ostracized for it, but you can tell that story far more interestingly and in a far more engaging manner.

Instead I watched Lilo & Stitch, a Disney animated movie that came out when I was 16, in high school, and pretended to not be into animated movies anymore. I had never seen it before and it is a surprisingly fun and funny animated film in an off-beat setting. The character designs are a bit odd with the really wide noses but they are also kind of endearing in their way. I really enjoyed it.


#5

Rogue One exceeded my expectations.

I’ll save my full notes for the show (since for once @Apreche actually watched a movie that I also watched), but I have some specific thoughts.

Also, I was somehow able to avoid 100% of spoilers despite not seeing it until last night. I don’t know how you kids keep getting things spoiled for yourselves.


#6

I watched Max Max: Road Warrior again the other night. I found a copy on a hard drive when looking for something else, and Juliane hadn’t seen it before, so we checked it out.

I told Juliane that Fury Road mostly replaces the movie, as it surpasses Road Warrior in so many ways and is just all round a better movie. But she said it worked just fine, and stood up on its own merits. It does, but I still think you need to know the history of the movie, and not watch it as your first Mad Max viewing experience.


#7

Watched Deadpool last night. It was definitely a lot of fun and had some cool action beats, but the jokes started getting thin by the end since they all pretty much follow a single track. I’m hoping that the sequel has more characters to bring into it since it felt a bit shallow with only two X-Men to interact with. It’s the kind of movie that I won’t go out of my way to watch again, but will greatly enjoy again if it just happens to be on somewhere.


#8

I loved this film it had me laughing all the way through, the Kanye analogies were great. I’m a sucker for Andy Samberg comedy though.


#9

Bedknobs and Broomsticks isn’t very good.

My main memory of this movie as a child is that it was show on one of the last days of a school term when I was about 7 years old. My identical twin brother was in some kind of trouble with another student over some kind of bullying or bad behavior (can’t remember the details) and I was SO ANNOYED that I was also taken out of class, during the time the movie was playing, to have to talk about what happened. And it wasn’t as if I was involved in any way, I just happened to be his identical twin brother!

So I remembered most of the first half of the movie from my first and only viewing 29 years ago, but it was a bit fuzzy in the middle.

It’s not very good.


#10

Disney was desperately trying to recapture the magic of Mary Poppins with that flick. They recycled much of the cast and crew from that movie; it might as well be a “sequel.”


#11

Yeah, Bedknobs and Broomsticks has a lot of structural and pacing problems, but I still have a big old soft spot for it, especially the ending with all the ghost armor fighting off the Nazis. I also just really like Angela Lansbury and David Tomlinson and how they bounce off each other in that movie. Always liked Miss Price more than Mary Poppins as a character growing up just because of how much more Lansbury’s performance appealed to me.

Though, it should be stated for the record: I also have a big soft spot for the old Doctor Doolittle movie with Rex Harrison, which is another movie that tried to ape other more successful movies and failed in spectacularly messy fashion. So my opinions on old live-action children’s movies should probably be taken with a gigantic grain of salt. :stuck_out_tongue:


#12

See also: Disney trying to recapture the magic of Star Wars, also by recycling.


#13

Movies watched in 2016!

58 in total…

In order:
Back to the Future III
Coming to America
Armageddon (in German)
Ex Machina
Terminator: Genisys
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Gift
I’ll Be Me
The Martian
Mad Max 2: Road Warrior
Mad Max: Fury Road
Room
Zootopia
Bladerunner: The Final Cut
Kung Fury
RED
Tremors
Concussion
John Wick
Inside Out
Captain America: The First Avenger
Iron Man
Iron Man 2
Thor
The Incredible Hulk
Avengers
Iron Man 3
Real Steel
Hail, Ceasar!
Star Trek Beyond
Thor: The Dark World
Speed (in German)
Stargate
A.I. Artificial Intelligence
Godzilla (2014)
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
Ex Machina
Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Unchained (motocross documentary)
The Nightmare Before Christmas
10 Cloverfield Lane
The Jungle Book (2016)
Guardians of the Galaxy
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Doctor Strange
Ant Man
Ghost in the Shell (1995)
Django Unchained
Rogue One
Rogue One
Watchmen
Toy Story 1
Toy Story 2
Toy Story 3
Mad Max 2: Road Warrior
Bedknobs and Broomsticks

These movies I saw for the first time:
Ex Machina
Terminator: Genisys
The Gift
I’ll Be Me
Room
Zootopia
Kung Fury
RED
Concussion
John Wick
Inside Out
Iron Man 2
Hail, Ceasar!
Star Trek Beyond
A.I. Artificial Intelligence
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice
Unchained (motocross documentary)
10 Cloverfield Lane
The Jungle Book (2016)
Doctor Strange
Ant Man
Django Unchained
Rogue One
Watchmen

37 of these movies I enjoyed a lot. Others were just average. Some I didn’t even expect to enjoy, but were Anti-Disappointments:
The Gift
Iron Man 2
Thor: The Dark World
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
10 Cloverfield Lane
Watchmen

Two movies I guessed I wouldn’t like, and didn’t like:
Armageddon (in German)
Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice
Bedknobs and Broomsticks

And finally the Ultimate Disappointments, where I thought I wouldn’t like the movie, but it turned out worse than I could possibly imagine/remember:
The Incredible Hulk
A.I. Artificial Intelligence


#14

I just watched Foxcatcher and I’m not sure what to make of it. I mean, the movie is technically sound, well acted, well shot, etc. But I just can’t make heads or tails of John E. du Pont. I understand that it is based on real events, but the character is just so erratic. He just seemingly randomly has an outburst and all but throws out Mark from his wrestling compound, and at the end of the movie he just up and shoots Dave. The movie conveys no possible motivation for either action. As far as I read neither are really explained in the real events either and are largely attributed to du Pont having mental issues with nobody stepping in due to his wealth but still. Drugs being involved is also brought up in the movie. Maybe this is just me snobbishly demanding that something has to have some sort of sense or meaning where there is none to be had because there are actual crazy people out there who just randomly shoot somebody, but I can’t deny that from a point of storytelling this is deeply unsatisfying.

The movie also has a flaw in failing to convey the passage of time properly. The main part of the movie concludes after the 1988 Olympics, with the scene in which du Pont shoots Dave after a time skip which is illustrated by fall turning into winter and the landscape being covered in snow. At no point are we told 7 years passed and instead the movie makes it seem like only a couple of months. Something similar also happens about halfway through the movie when the movie skips a little bit of time, illustrated by Mark’s hairstyle changing, and at first it is really hard to tell how much time exactly passed (turns out only about 6 months at most). I mean neither really detracts from the movie because the first instance is resolved by paying attention and the second doesn’t exactly punch a problem, but it is kind of bad to omit this stuff when starting the movie off as based on real events. The timeline of events becomes kind of important in this and when familiar with the events from for example news reporting at the time you’d question why the filmmakers omitted this much time.


#15

Just saw Arrival. Pretty solid Sci-Fi. It did pull the third act “powers that solve everything” thing but otherwise good. 8/10. Recommend.


#16

Thor 2 is low-key one of the better Marvel movies. Only Marvel movies I’d put above it are Winter Soldier, 1st Avengers, and maybe Civil War.


#17

Yesterday I watched “The Bad Sleep Well.” It is one of the few Kurosawa/Mifune films I have not seen already. If I haven’t seen them all, I’m very close.

The opening of this movie is a wedding scene where reporters show up and comment on the action. This is a masterpiece of film making. It could have gone down as a legendary scene in cinema if the rest of the movie held up. It really lacks a lot of the majestic cinematography that you expect from Kurosawa.

Once it reaches a certain point, the film enters long periods of exposition that are too infrequently punctuated by incredible climaxes. The worst is that you don’t get any great climax near the end. The film fizzles for quite awhile, then suddenly rushes itself out the door in disappointing fashion.

I did appreciate what actually happens in the story. You rarely see such realism in fiction. In the real world, and in this movie, the bad do indeed sleep well.

TL;DR: If you aren’t looking to see every Kurosawa movie ever, watch “High and Low.” If you’re really curious, just watch the opening wedding scene of this one.


#18

Yeah, I don’t often watch movies, and I’m always happy when the plot is sci-fi, instead of just the setting.


#19

Just saw Moana yesterday. Have been listening to the soundtrack on repeat since then. Good movie. Probably the best implementation of the “classic” Disney princess formula I have seen recently. 9/10


#20

Storks
One of those Sony animated movies.
Andy Samberg type delivery with no assistance from the rest of the cast for the first 1/3 of the movie had me dismissing it but the final 2/3 brought it home strong due to the introduction of characters played by Key and Peele who saved this movie so bad. As soon as they were on screen it had me grinning or outright laughing with their control of a wolf pack (they were the animated alpha and beta males of this wolf pack).
Many stabs of humour at Amazon.
In the end reinforced the fable of storks delivering babies which makes little sense to take a kid to watch.
The arc which surrounded the family or more specifically the child that ordered a sibling from the storks was quite flat, boring and not great fun until the delivery.

Really the only reasons to watch are the Key and Peele scenes which must be on Youtube somewhere.

You can skip this for sure. Don’t pay more than $1 for it.