What movie have you seen recently?

#742

Catwalk: Tales from the Catshow Circuit

★★★½

Catwalk is a comedy documentary following a couple of cats around cat shows in Canada. There are 4 to 6 judges per show, and a season-long points race to be crowned the top “altered” cat in the country. Oh, the drama.

Of course, it’s mostly about the owners of the cats. Their personalities really shine through, and the movie shows their lives beyond their obsession with cats and cat beauty contests.

I heard about it when if first came out on Netflix, but only got to it after another wave of recommendations on facebook and twitter. I’m glad I got to it! Highly recommended, even if you don’t think you need a documentary about cat shows in your life.

#743

Isn’t It Romantic 2019
★★½

Netflix thought I’d like to watch this movie. And because I’m ill and just want something stupid to cheer me up, I thought I’d give it a go.

It wasn’t very good, but at least it steered mostly clear of terrible. And I laughed plenty enough, so it did its job. One too many dance routines.

#744

Monsters, Inc.

★★★½

After the disappointment of not finishing Incredibles 2 due to wanting a kids movie and getting an old person movie about families and technology, it’s really refreshing to see old style Pixar when it was about silly slapstick, funny looking monsters, and a very cute toddler being very cute. More of this please?

#745

Captain Marve
★★★★

A solid entry into the MCU. Not as funny as a lot of the recent movies, but super competently made. And that’s really what I want from the movie that sets up the final instalment in a 20+ movie arc leading to whatever the last Avengers movie is called.

It’s a massive step up from Black Panther, which for me was let down by inconsistent plotting and story, and the worst special effects of any MCU movie I can remember.

It reminded me that my least favourite moment in any MCU movie is when they decide we want aerial dogfighting in planes or spaceships. Turns out… nope! It’s always the same kind of thing. Inexplicably good pilots being chased by bad guys, lots of shots fired, lots of close misses and swooping under things. It’s the weakest part of Guardians of the Galaxy and Black Panther had to shoehorn in the fact that Bilbo Baggins was once a pilot, just so they could do some silly plane action at the end.

But in this movie, it made sense right from the start! The person doing the flying is a pilot! The pilot training was a huge deal, and the fact she couldn’t fly combat missions. And then she flew around places she had previously flown, in an almost one-to-one homage of Independence Day. And so I’m cool with it! The dog fight MEANT something.

Anyway, it’s fun to see a movie which knows that it means something, and give those things the care it needs to make them work on screen.

A few scenes didn’t work, and some of the more humorous moments didn’t land, but I’m fine with that when the rest of the movie is so well done.

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#746

I found Captain Marvel to be pretty underwhelming. Acting across the board was great with some pretty awesome character moments/interactions. There’s some neat changes to the continuity. Other than that, the action (when it wasn’t a dogfight) was some of the worst in the entire MCU. Everything was staged so dimly and in shadow that you couldn’t see what was going on. Even the opening 15 minutes where the fight on a planet is so covered by fog then flashing beam lights that it’s painful to the eyes.

You really need a deft hand to load all your character development and storybeats on a series of flashbacks and amnesia plot. This intentional broken plot robs Carol from some of her own development and emotion just so they can deliver a revelation that the audience already knows. I actually forgot the name of the villain despite his constant presence. The movie was at it’s best when it was intimate and quiet. All the scenes at the Louisiana House were great.

I would say most of the indie directors who were hired to their first blockbuster in the MCU did a really good job bringing their own vision and working with the new budget. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck made everything look so drab and hollow. I don’t think they were really taking any risks to make this a standout in our current crop of great superhero films other than using a cat and 90s nostalgia.

I’m thinking Captain Marvel/Brie Larson will work better in her upcoming movies. I’m looking forward to her in Endgame but this is not a movie I’ll be rewatching anytime soon.

#747

Having recently read several Volumes of Captain Marvel and older Ms. Marvel trades. Amnesia is a thing that has happened to her at least twice. Once when she had her fight with Rogue and once after she took up the Captain Marvel mantle and fought Yon-Rogg. So it makes sense that the MCU pulls on that heavily.

#748

I don’t think it’s for anyone here, but The Further Adventures of Walt’s Frozen Head is a fantastic little love letter to the Disney parks. The pitch is that Walt Disney’s head was frozen in 1966, and is brought out to see the park once a year for three days. The depiction of Walt can get a bit rosy, and Roy is never mentioned, but they do get some good jabs in about unions and lemmings. You can watch it on YouTube now!

#749

The Best of Enemies is about the people / events around school integration in Durham NC (where I live). I thought it was pretty good overall and various people that were actually around at the time have said that it was fairly accurate.

It’s not surprising that they mostly focus on the white guy because Hollywood, but he’s also the person with a clear narrative arc that doesn’t require the writers to make stuff up. The one historical note that I feel like is missing is the city had just built a highway through the middle of a black neighborhood and maybe that should be brought up in a story about racial tensions.

#750

Jordan Peele’s Us is absolutely phenomenal. There’s no sophomore slump here as it’s a 2-hour ride of constant dread and tension. The acting is really amazing, especially Lupita Nyong’o who has the most depth out of everyone involved. The horror is more traditional cause it plays more so with shadows/lighting and the overall chase from the doppelgangers but the craftsmanship is impeccable. It’s also surprisingly funny at times. Where Get Out was primarily more focused on the writing and build-up, Us is more direction focused and about allegory.

I would say that if you have not seen it, see it as soon as possible cause current film discourse over it is very tiring. Lots of people are focusing too hard on the logistic and rules of how things in the movie work when the focus on the movie isn’t really about those things. Yet what’s incredible about this movie is that so many of the movie’s themes ranging from race, classism, the United States, the creative process are all there. Every theme I’ve seen people talk about from the movie has validity and I think that’s a rarity with films.

Get Out is a tighter film but I believe Us is going to be more rewarding with each additional watch. It’s easily the best movie of the year so.

1 Like
#751

Triple Frontier, minute 1 review: Charlie Hunnam still hasn’t figured out an American accent.

2 Likes
#752

The Shape of Water 2017

★★½

I’d been putting off watching this movie, as I didn’t have high expectations. A frog man and a mute lady fall in love. Sure, I get it. Like a fairy tale.

There’s some good acting and fun sets, but the story is too silly, relying on too many idiot plot moments, for me to take the drama seriously. Making the villain have all the flaws, like racism and sexism and sexual predatory motives, elevates him past “fairytale villain” and up to “cartoon villain”.

In the end I couldn’t suspend disbelief, and neither was I charmed enough by the main characters and romance. Which is a pity, because I think under all the layers of “symbolism” and “meaning” there’s a great movie trying to get out. It’s not bad, but it’s only about as good as a netflix tv show episode, except 45 minutes too long.

#753

I just noticed I didn’t share my thoughts on this movie I watched in February.

Bird Box 2018

★★★★

Se previous review of The Quiet Place. Actually, while these have a connected premise, they are very different in terms of tone and execution.

Bird Box comes out way ahead in terms of drama. The apocalyptic event is much closer, and allows for some great “lots of people in a single building against the odds” moments. When a movie reminds me of the better moments in The Mist, I’m happy.

The general threat is very scary. The situations are tense. The characters and their interactions are the strongest part of the moive. The journey down the river, as a framing device, works pretty great.

The ending is… fine. Like The Quiet Place, the ending holds up better if you try not to think about it too hard. But endings to horror movies like this are hard to pull off. You have three basic options:

  1. They all die/most die/are going to die soon.
  2. They defeat the threat for good, escape the situation for good, or are about to do so soon.
  3. They reach a place of safety or hope, but the threat still exists.

No matter which of these three the movie maker picks, I always feel like I want to see one of the other options. For the threat to be really credible, I want option one. Option three seems like the story hasn’t finished yet, but not defeating the threat make it still feel dangerous. Two is most satisfying story-wise, but if the last person remaining can defeat the big threat, then why wasn’t it defeated earlier by cleverer/more capable people?

The Mist is a rare horror movie that has another ending choice, and reveals true despair. It’s not fair to expect other movies to always live up to that. Usually you’re going to get one of the three basic endings, and you’ve got to be okay with it.

#754

Making the villain have all the flaws, like racism and sexism and sexual predatory motives, elevates him past “fairytale villain” and up to “cartoon villain”.

Motion to change highest level of absurd villainy to “Trump” because he’s all three of those things and an actual villain in our reality.

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#755

Bought Into the Spider Verse. Watched Into the Spider Verse. I love this movie.

#756

Watched Mary Poppins Returns. The frosting was very good but the cake itself left a lot to be desired.

#757

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

★★½

Not as good as the first movie, and not as funny as I remember from the first time I watched it a few years ago. I think after seeing what the same studio/producers/team have done since with Lego Movie and Spiderverse means this one really doesn’t hold up. Lord and Miller didn’t direct this one, and even though you can see their fingerprints on the script, it lacks the spark of the original movie and Lord and Miller’s other projects.

It’s still a lot better than many other movies, and still very very funny, but I’m going to have to put this down as an “okay” and not a “yup!”

Oh well.

#758

I was sitting down to watch a movie tonight, and I browsed through the available streaming services. And you know what I saw on Prime video for free? That old 1984 David Lynch Dune that is much talked about, usually negatively, yet I have not seen it. I figured hey, even if it sucks, it’s so infamous, I must see this at some point. Why not now? I got nothing better to do.

Yeah so, it’s not the worst movie ever, but is very flawed. There are some things about it that are ok-ish, especially in the earlier part of the film. But there are really just three major flaws with it in order. If these three things were fixed, I think it would level up from infamous to “not too shabby.”

First, Dune is a large book with a LOT of stuff happening in it. To turn it into a movie you either need to cut out a lot of shit, or make multiple movies or TV episodes or something. They chose to include lots and lots of stuff, but give almost none of it the time necessary to have any meaning or emotional impact. Especially the second half of the movie everything is super-rushed. It feels like someone is reading me a book and is just sick of it, but something is forcing them to finish so they are reading as fast as they can, and getting a lot of shit wrong.

Second, while they should have cut many things out in order to have a well paced impactful film, the one thing they did cut out pretty much completely is the ecological story of Dune. Other than saying “the worm is spice” they spent absolutely no time at all on what that actually means. This is the one thing that should not have been cut. It should have been the main focus.

Lastly, the obvious, the characters and aesthetic, especially of the Baron are just the worst in every way. A lot of these characters feel like villains from Power Rangers or some shit. A serious epic sci-fi is not the place for that kind of portrayal. Of course a lot of the material in the book is problematic to begin with, but this movie came out when I was 2, so…

I’m gonna say, the only reason to watch it is the reason I watched it. You watch it because you need to know what the deal is. If you don’t need to know, you don’t need to waste your time.

2 Likes
#759

If you enjoy Beyonce, marching bands, filmed versions of epic performances, or fantastic choreography, Beyonce’s Homecoming is for you. Based on the marching band feel, it may be right up @Rym’s alley.

1 Like
#760

Rewatching 8 Legged Freaks, one of my favorite movies from high school.

This movie is truly a love letter to creature features. It’s wacky and campy and it revels in it. The CGI is dated but charming. The practical effects, mostly big hairy spider legs, hold up. The writing isn’t perfect, but the acting sells it; just sincere enough to work for a horror comedy. If you liked Tremors, Mars Attacks, and Zombieland, you will like this film.

I legitimately forgot how diverse the cinematography in horror movies could be. The lighting is vibrant and sharp. Night scenes are fully illuminated with bright blue moonlight that hard contrasts with red neon. The Arizona desert is highly satured to make the scrub pop out and the spiders’ more subtle coloration show. I did not realize how sick I was of the drab, dark sets of modern horror movies.

Sound design is generally good, but gets too over the top in the second half of the film. The spiders all make ridiculous gremlin noises and explode into green goo when shot. when there’s one or two in a scene it works, but once all hell breaks loose and half the noises are zany gibberish it gets tiring. The music is so melodramatic; shitty 00s thrash metal plays during a motorcycle chase, Tim Burton-esque tunes are playing when spiders invade the city, completely inappropriate reprises sound when something heroic happens. But you know what, none of that garbage from modern horror where loud metal screeches tell you something scary is happening.

As I have made painfully clear, I have an unreasonable love for this film. If there’s any complaints I have, it’s that this movie should have been a soft R rating. There’s lots of spider guts, but with only PG-13 the human kills don’t have any impact. Don’t watch this for a cinematic experience, watch this movie with a big bowl of popcorn, a few beers, and friends for a grand ol’ time.

#761

It used to be back in the day when I had television I would watch The Ten Commandments, or at least some portion of it, every Passover when it aired. Hard to watch the whole thing, especially with commercials. After not seeing it in a long time, I pirated that Yul Brynner and watched it in 1080p for the first time.

Notes: Some of the 1956 special effects do not hold up while others hold up incredibly well. The plague of blood was really well done. The burning bush is rather uninspiring. The costumes and sets are really the most incredible. A+.

I never realized before that the master builder was played by Vincent Price. Pretty cool, and an appropriate casting decision.

Unlike other religious films it doesn’t come off as preachy. It’s got about the same amount of religiousness as A Christmas Carol. It’s just an adaptation of the story of Moses into an epic saga. Really good job of editing spending appropriate amounts of time on different parts of the story so that it doesn’t feel like a disjointed mess, like oh say, the actual old testament.

Overall, still good, and worth watching if you’ve got the time. But if you don’t have almost 4 hours to burn, just watch the vastly superior sequel, Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’s a lot more fun.