What movie have you seen recently?


#722

I wasn’t sure, but I suspected it was China only. Your confusion confirmed it.

EDIT: It was certainly effective, though. All the Chinese people in the theater were all, “Oh! QQ!”


#723

Ok so I saw that on opening night. Xmas eve 201X in the super duper wide screen. The edition I saw was apparently longer than the three hour one available on netflix or wherever. We went to the ritzy theatre in New Rochelle and my partner and I sort of combined our assigned recliners into one pseudo bed. I remember loving it. That said, that may have had something to do with the excellent circumstances I saw the movie under.


#724

Moana 2016 ★★★

Works okay in the second viewing, and after hearing the music a whole lot more. The opening song isn’t a very good opening song. Thankfully the songs get a lot better as it goes on. The coconut monster scene? Totally skippable in terms of plot. In the end it’s just a silly Mad Max knockoff with not a lot of payoff.

It looks gorgeous though, and Dwayne The Rock Johnson does some good voice work. The chicken steals the show.


#725

Die Hard 1988 ★★★★

Still a good movie. Every single line in the opening 40 minutes is paid off later, which makes it satisfying, but also those same lines are character-building, so it doesn’t feel too expositiony.

Also: weirdly out of focus a lot of the time. Not sure if that is due to the shooting or the transfer to the print.


#726

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2018 ★★★★★

Even with all the hype, this movie beat my expectations on so many levels. It’s hard not to come across as too taken with this movie, but it really shocked me by how well it was executed.

It felt like before I’d only seen black and white movies, and now I was watching a colour movie. Or I’d only seen hand drawn animation, and now I was watching a CG movie like Toy Story for the first time. Or I’d only seen 2D movies and now I was watching a 3D movie for the first time.

The style of animation is so different and refreshing, and with so many weird and creative choices, that it takes the brain a while to catch up. It’s clear there had to be 20 minutes of story before the first big action sequence, because if they had shown that right away, it would just be too difficult. I know my brain wouldn’t have been capable of parsing how the information was being conveyed without that early training.

My brain had to be rewired to understand the new language and grammar of visual information. Until now every 3D movie I’ve seen has had the foreground objects both closer AND out of focus, which is frustrating because being closer makes my eyes want to focus on them, but that they are out of focus means that is impossible. Also, if you don’t have the glasses on right or not at a good angle, the two different images both show up, and there’s a doubling of certain parts.

In Spiderverse, they did an end-run around this. The things in the foreground were doubled, to give the impression of two projections or two eyes not looking at it stereoscopically. It became a signal to the brain “This isn’t out of focus, but closer stereoscopically and doubled”.

Also with the differing frame rates of, on one hand, the background and camera movements and, on the other hand, the characters and their movement. Using frame rate to show what is important on screen is crazy, but my brain got used to it within 10 minutes.

All these things and more are all backed up by an actual good movie with good characters and story, which means it’s not just an experiment that worked, but a form of movie which, in my head, will be a true dividing line in how I think about movies. There were animations pre-Toy Story and then after they looked different. There was action effects pre-The Matrix and after. There was non-shaky camerawork before Saving Private Ryan and then camerawork after. It doesn’t feel like “A Scanner Darkly”, where it’s just an animation style pasted over the top of an existing movie.

I’m so pleased that now Lord and Millar are trusted movie makers, when given the money and power and freedom by a studio to produce a new movie, the result is something THIS GOOD. How many times has a director earned that much good will and then just laid a massive turd? Think about Peter Jackson making Lord of the Rings and following it up with King Kong. It’s crazy that a team of writers and directors can be this talented and have such a strong vision, and that a movie studio lets them make it. I want more of this in the world.

Sound wise, the movie has some major flaws. The visuals are so strong, but at times the sound mixing was so flat I actually thought there was something wrong in the theatre. Whoever was directing the foley work and effects mixing needs a stern talking to. I’m surprised that the movie excels in so many other ways, so it obviously has great talent behind it, and yet the dud sound mixing slipped by them and actually made it into the final cut.


#727

Cartoon Saloon, makers of The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea, continued to hit it out of the park with their 2017 movie The Breadwinner. It’s about a family’s life in Afghanistan under Taliban rule before the US invasion, whose youngest daughter is forced to live as a bacha posh (a pretending to be a boy for safety and practicality reasons) after her father, the only grown man in the family, is arrested.

A fantastic movie, but absolutely heartbreaking.


#728

Birdman

★★★½

The first time I watched this movie I was blown away by the audacity of the direction.

It was Juliane’s first time watching, and it was fun hearing her comments about it. Like “Is this based on a play? Because it is very theatrical-sounding” and a bit later “Is the soundtrack only drums?” and then 10 seconds later the drummer appears in the movie, providing the background music on-screen.

In that way it is so good to see a director working at the height of what is possible, and a first-time viewer noticing things mere moments before they are explicitly stated in the movie. I think that’s the line a movie should walk. Bring people up to the exact moment when they realise something, and then pay it off less than a minute later. It’s tedious for something to be obvious but the movie maker still thinks there is something to hold back. There rarely is!

This second watch (for me) it was still remarkable, but once you know what to look for the artifice shines through. But, of course, it’s a movie about the artifice of theatre blah blah blah.

My main problem is the main reason it won an Oscar. Which is: Oscar voters love movies about how great movies are. In this case, a washed up actor from movie-land goes to New York and shows everyone in theatre-land how to make theatre. And is hailed as a genius who invents a new for of theatre?!?! That’s just bullshit.

If the movie had made the triumphant ending ambiguous, like you’re not sure if the play’s success is real or just in his head, then I’d have found it believable. But as it is, I don’t think that is what the ending is about. It’s the kindest possible reading of the ending, but if that was what people were taking from it, it wouldn’t have won the Oscar. I think there is ambiguity at the end, but the play’s success is unambiguous.


#729

True Lies
1994
★★½

Some action movies age well, others not so much. This is a combination of the two. The movie-making is still solid, as is the action and the comedy. But the tone is weird compared to movies today. Islamic terrorists threatening to destroy cities is just all yuk-yuk-haw-haw pre-2001. The gender politics is… weird. The treatment of mental health issues? Weird. It all feels so strange that this was what movies could be like in 1994.

James Cameron’s sci-fi movies hold up way better than this, mainly because they aren’t about masculinity and America. His movies about maternity and humanity feel way more modern, despite being made in the same era or earlier.


#730

Went to the cinema today and watched Alita: Battle Angel in the only english language release within a two hour drive from me. The presentation was visually stunning with very well executed CGI, great combat scenes and excellent costuming. The performances by the actors are also very good. However, there are multiple points in the story where characters act very differently than what character motivation, reveals, or actions by other characters in the immediately prior scene would think they should act differently or at least have doubts. I am not sure if that is the fault of the writing team forcing the story in a direction or whether the same plot points are present in the source material, which I am as of yet unfamiliar with.

It’s still a decent movie though and I am glad that it was finally made after spending years (decades?) in development hell. It also got the approval of my friend who invited me to the showing, him being a longtime fan of the series.


#731

how uncanny are the anime eyes? I’ve seen a couple reviews that say they weren’t as offputting as they seem but since they are part of aniTube their bias is pretty apparent.


#732

The uncanny valley disappears almost completely after 10 minutes. The movie flew by for my sister, she still can’t believe the movie is almost 2.5hrs.
I personally loved it because it respects the source material, the movie is best described as a faithfull adaptation of both the 90’s OAVs, and the classic 2 volumes of the manga.
I hope it does well enough to warrant a second film. If not at least we have the original manga, it’s sequel (Alita: Last Order), and the ongoing Alita: Mars Chronicles.
9/10 Recommend.


#733

I realized I never posted my 2018 Movie List Here: https://letterboxd.com/nukerjsr/list/2018-list-of-films-top-to-bottom/

Quick Movie Reviews on Oscars Nominees: Black Panther > A Star is Born > BlackKklansman > The Favourite >>>>>> Roma > Green Book > Vice > (Every Other Best Oscar Nominee for the Past 20 Years) > Bohemian Rhapsody. The more I think about Bohemian Rhapsody, the more I legitimately hate it cause it’s validating a sexual predatory for making a mediocre biopic that people support just cause they love Queen’s music.

Doing some last minute catch-up, I can’t believe the stellar If Beale Street Could Talk was never nominated for Best Picture I believe anyone who watched Moonlight will also love this, it’s so intimate and enchanting the way it combines young love that is interrupted by systematic racism yet is ultimately hopeful. The score is haunting and beautiful. The performances are incredible and those POV shots are great. The most I’ve cried in a theater since seeing the Mr. Rogers documentary.

The other movie that rang very true to me was Can You Ever Forgive Me? Absolutely loved Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant, the later probably being my favorite male performance this year. It’s probably the best way you can do a story about horrible people who you still can sympathize with and perhaps what they go through is a way to make them better people. Plus it takes a very non-flashy story and makes it super compelling.


#734

They are weird at first, but you get used to them very quickly. Also they aren’t “uncanny” as the character isn’t meant to look human. The eyes are meant to indicate that she is fully cyborg and distinguishes her in that regard from the other characters.

That’s because the movie is only 122 minutes long :stuck_out_tongue:


#735

The Predator 2018

On a flight, not sure what to watch before trying to sleep, so why not a monster movie? Well, many good reasons, none which I guessed at the time, but in hindsight should have been obvious. For one, there’s only been one and two half good movies featuring the Predator, so why should this one take a turn for the better?

If this was just a movie about the escaped ex-military mental patients, then I’d be all up for it. That part was fun, if tonally a bit weird. But then mix in an alien subplot… come to think of it, the alien of the movie’s title shouldn’t feel like a subplot.

Anyway, I gave up after about 50 minutes when some alien dogs were utterly un-scary and ineffective at killing. Oh well.


#736

Incredibles 2

I was too tired going into this movie, and stopped watching half way through. That’s not to say it’s a terrible movie not worth watching, just that it didn’t provide what I was wanting at the time.

I wanted a kids movie. But increasingly some Pixar movies don’t feel like they are for kids. They are dealing with the issues of a man going through a mid-life crisis, or other old-man issues. Even though the first movie was shown from the point of view of Dad Incredible, the issues felt accessible, and the kids were a main part of the story. In this second movie, even the storyline of the daughter, and her love interest, is subsumed into the story of the father.

The whole outlook feels very baby-boomer-trying-to-come-to-terms-with-the-modern-world. That is not me. As an almost 40 year old guy, solidly Generation X, all I can ask is “why not make a movie for anyone else except 60 year old white guys?”

I’ll get back to this movie and watch the second half some time, but only when I’m more awake and in a better mood.


#737

Incredibles 2

I was too tired going into this movie, and stopped watching half way through. That’s not to say it’s a terrible movie not worth watching, just that it didn’t provide what I was wanting at the time.

I wanted a kids movie. But increasingly some Pixar movies don’t feel like they are for kids. They are dealing with the issues of a man going through a mid-life crisis, or other old man issues. Even though the first movie was shown from the point of view of Dad Incredible, the issues felt accessible, and the kids were a main part of the story. In this second movie, even the storyline of the daughter, and her love interest, is subsumed into the story of the father.

The whole outlook feels very baby-boomer-trying-to-come-to-terms-with-the-modern-world. That is not me. As an almost 40 year old guy, solidly Generation X, all I can ask is “why not make a movie for anyone else except 60 year old white guys?”

I’ll get back to this movie and watch the second half some time, but only when I’m more awake and in a better mood.


#738

Kong: Skull Island
★★★★

You know what? Sometimes you just want to see a big monkey punch a helicopter. And then punch some big lizards. I think I liked this better the second time round.


#739

Luke’s reviews highly dependent on his lack of sleep and how annoying the people around him on an airplane are haha.


#740

Pretty much this. The only thing distracting about them is that the eyes have that constant glass glare to them. Since there’s so many android or modified characters in universe I think it’s supposed to make Alita stand out more.

That being said I really dug Alita: Battle Angel. The first two-thirds I would say has everything people liked in early James Cameron films with the world building and set design. It’s a major step up for Robert Rodriguez as well cause the action is very fluid and has impact despite a lot happening on screening. The last third feels like it has three different climaxs from three different stories but it’s never not entertaining. The main girl who plays Alita is pretty fantastic as well, super expressive and game for any scene.


#741

I should’ve been doing more with this thread because I’ve been flying a ton the past month between Seattle and New York. You can easily get in two movies each way. So here is what I watched on the last roundtrip.

Flight of the Conchords: Live in London - Had no idea this was a thing, but I’ve enjoyed their material from time to time. It’s an okay set overall, some of their new stuff was great but most of it isn’t as good as their older stuff. So enjoyable, but not worth a second watch.

Bohemian Rhapsody - I’d heard bad things so I didn’t have high hopes going in, but I was hoping it would change my mind. It didn’t. Problems with the director aside, it just felt dull the whole time. I was really hoping the movie would focus more on the band and the music creation but it’s all rushed instead. The only legitimately good part of it is the recreation of the Live Aid concert. So really you might as well just watch the actual concert and skip the rest of the movie.

Predator (1987) - Yeah, I never saw this before, one of my biggest movie gaps. Turns out to be a fun movie even today. Obviously it will never mean the same to me as to peers who grew up with it, but I would enjoy watching it again.