What movie have you seen recently?


#121

Doctor Strange
I was incredibly surprised and entertained by this film. It was very true to the spirit of the character and the movie was able to pull off magic without ending up appearing silly. The character arc of Strange was also pretty great. The antagonists through the movie felt a bit cookie cutter-ish but the big bad and how he was dealt with was a great payoff. Great use of special effects and surround sound.

Easily made it into my top 3 Marvel films.

Massive detraction for me were all the surgery scenes, due to silly inaccuracies which could have been avoided by Googling standard operating room procedures.


#122

Logan is an great film. It earns its R rating within the first 5 minutes. I enjoyed myself during its 2.5 hrs. Every moment was delicately used for character development and story progression. The action scenes are very well choreograph, and most importantly the film does not use shaky cam.
Also X-23 steals the show in every scene she is in.
If you have some time in the coming weeks, makes some time to check this movie out.


#123

I wanted to enjoy Logan. I tried really hard to like it. I just can’t. It was an interesting, but ultimately unsatisfying film that not only failed in most of its self-contained aims but also creates significant, unaddressed discontinuity with the previous films and, thus, creates an incredibly unsatisfactory ending for the franchise. As Mara Reinstein of Us Weekly noted, “Just because a comic book flick takes the dirt road less traveled doesn’t mean it’s a cinematic work of art.”

Spoilers ahead, but I am not going to create hidden text.

Logan was a unique treatment for a superhero movie with some wonderful acting, direction, editing, cinematography, fight choreography, and an attempt at a great score that was too on-the-nose to be truly great. However, I did not enjoy it. It lifted directly from classic Western film staples such as True Grit and the frequently referenced Shane without adding much in the way of its own voice beyond a disharmonious juxtaposition with a Marvel a la Netflix (i.e. gritty and hyper-violent) superhero. As Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune notes, “Logan is deadly serious, and while its gamer-style killing sprees are meant to be excitingly brutal, I found them numbing and, in the climax, borderline offensive.”

This video-game violence merged with a largely unexplained, unexplored, and plot-hole ridden post-Mutant world when combined with the core father-daughter relationship conjures images of James Mangold playing hours of The Last of Us. Sadly, where that game excels and this film fails is in creating believable character reactions and relationships in the face of continual threats to survival. Not only did this version of Logan seem to negate all of Logan/Wolverine’s character development in the previous films, but it also treated Laura like a convenient prop that could be molded into the shape of the story rather than an actual child with an independent personality or massive and consistent psychological issues. The treatment of Laura reminded me very much of Hit Girl in Kick-Ass, but with less development and even fewer references to the psychological toll of being trained and forced into becoming a child-soldier. To top this all off, Logan and Laura spend very little time communicating or even interacting beyond killing together, making the ending seem incredibly forced - it didn’t help that she is a native Spanish speaker but opts to call her father “Daddy” instead of “Papá.”

Beyond the relationships, the plot itself makes very little sense both within and without of the context of the previous movies. No one even attempts to explain what happened to the vast population of mutants (the Westchester incident is described and there were only seven deaths, so it clearly wasn’t just that) and it seems unlikely that no one caught on to the main villain’s plan given the large scale implementation, which would have taken place over decades and involved research, funding, testing, oversight, etc. Consider also that this is a world where telepaths exist and, if you think of previous movies, where mutants are involved in multiple industries and the government.

The villains themselves broke one out of the attempted gritty-Western semi-realism. Richard E. Grant’s underdeveloped sniveling, sneering Dr. Rice; the brainless, slick-haired X-24; model-come-‘actor’ Boyd Holbrook’s more design than character Pierce was little more than the prettiest (and therefore most capable?) thug; and the gang of largely inept yet stylized thugs brought some of the worst elements of comics/superhero movies to completely throw off the attempted tone and largely serve as a reason for watching a young girl commit violence so often that it numbs the audience as well as dilutes and confuses the repeatedly stated message of the film.

Beyond the three main characters, everyone else was disposable, including the Munsons who are brutally murdered as a device to prove how “bad” X-24 is, but who are never mourned on screen, let alone referenced or discussed throughout the remainder of the film. The one potential exception to the expend-ability of these non-central characters is Stephen Merchant’s Caliban. Caliban is possibly the most interesting, best developed, and even best acted character in the film (yes, he rivals Sir Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier in decline through the lens of Waiting for Godot). Merchant, who usually plays irredeemably unlikable characters, counter-intuitively brings the most realistic humanity this film offers while playing a mutant.

Sadly, this same complexity and nuance of writing was not afforded to most of the cast - including its title character who seems to go through the same development from self-interested, just getting by, damaged asshole turned father-figure, hero, and asshole-with-the-heart-of-gold that we saw in X-Men (2000), only this time Logan is even less redeemable, grayer, and dirtier. Logan stating that his nightmares consist of him “hurt[ing] people” would be more believable and sympathetic if we didn’t watch him show no concern for his fellow man throughout most of the film, such as not helping the nurse or leaving a child to die/be captured and tortured.

Edit: All this aside, the first scene with Charles is masterful, and it is f***ing awesome that the new superheros introduced in the film are a group of ethnically diverse, Hispanic, undocumented immigrant children.


#124

Inherent Vice: Extremely fun, kind of a Big Lebowski meets Fear and Loathing meets The Third Man drug-besotted detective mystery. Not sure what I’d call that, maybe film blanc?

Moonlight: Yep, definitely deserved best picture. So beautiful, poignant, I can’t really even muster words to describe it. One of the best films I’ve ever seen.


#125

Moonlight
Story telling, structure and acting were top notch. Distils the genres of life and times / coming of age films.
The writers made the excellent choice of removing all the bullshit in these types of movies that everyone does, like school scene or prison scene. They assume their viewers can put together what has happened to the protagonist through the different chapters of his life and concentrate almost hyper focus on the moments that defined the man.

I can’t see any other film that it was up against winning but was also surprised that a bunch of old white dudes voted for it.

A film that forces something of the audience who gets rewarded for the challenge. Kind of like reading good poetry or short stories which rely on the reader to fill in the blanks while extracting the most poignant parts of the tale.

There is no reason to be shocked between chapters because you know what is going to happen, your brain fills in the blanks and everything makes sense immediately as you start a new chapter.

I watched this movie with my parents and while my Mum got it my Dad had no clue what he had watched. (Dad isn’t as well read as Mum, he prefers his news papers over fiction.


#126

Saw Logan. I did love it, but I’m much sadder to see that we’ll lose Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier than Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Dafne Keen was an incredible find for X-23 and hope she gets to be in her own movies as this character but hopely in a non-Bryan Singer X-Men Universe. Great ending. Though I have three big knocks.

-Richard E. Grant is absolutely pointless. Just adds all this conspiracy/corporate nonsense to what could be seen as an easy to imagine anti-Mutant world. You already have Boyd as your central antagonist and that underlying genetic crop angle coming from the hicks who try to bully the Munson family. Easily the biggest flaw.

-Wolverine is tsuntsun to the fucking end. I could only deal with so many scenes of “This is all fake crap.” “Don’t help me.” “Don’t be like me.”

-I believe X-24 should have been a Sabertooth clone. Not only would it make sense and spare us from one of the more shocking twists done with the character, but he still represents everything in Wolverine’s central conflict of Man vs. Himself/Wolverine vs. his own savagery than make it so painfully obvious. Someone suggested to me this was done to not remind people of X-Men Origins: Wolverine but there’s already key mcguffins in Logan that refer to that movie already.

If you do like the actors, then see it.


#127

I saw The Girl on the Train on my flight to London. Thriller movie set on the Metro North train on which we used to commute.

It was better than I expected, but it’s still a whole lot of I WANT BABIES vs I CAN’T HAVE BABIES vs I DON’T ACTUALLY WANT BABIES upper middle class nonsense. The actual thriller/horror part wasn’t what I expected though.

Don’t go out of your way to see it. But if you really like these kind of basic thriller movies with their misdirection and twists, it’s far from the worst one out there. It wraps up in a much more straightforward fashion than I expected.


#128

I had two main gripes: one, at the end I felt lied to. I think there’s two groups of unreliable narrators - good ones have the “hiding in plain sight” feel - if only you had pieced together the evidence, you could have figured it out. Bad ones are, “surprise! The thing we’ve been telling you the whole time was a lie.”

And two, it was. so. slow. Its runtime is an hour fifty-two - before I looked it up I would have guessed like 2:20.


#129

Problem was the flashbacks. You can’t combine unreliable narrator with omniscient flashbacks to events said narrator never witnessed.


#130

The Girl on The Train was a very glossy Lifetime movie.


#131

If they’d cut the babies out, it would have been the right length and the right tone. The babies made it this way.


#132

You’re absolutely right. Double unreliability.


#133

Kong: Skull Island is suitably monstery and adventury for my taste, and I recommend it as a brainless IMAX movie experience.


#134

I thoroughly enjoyed Logan. As someone who doesn’t have any real interest in superheroes, I thought it worked as a solid action movie. Tonally, it felt about as grounded as a movie about super mutants can. Plus, sassy Patrick Stewart!


#135

I finally got around to watching the Extended Edition of Return of the King, on Saturday. It was amazing, and the movie definitely holds up pretty well from when it originally came out in 2002-2004?

The one thing that kind of struck me though, and I know other people have pointed it out before, despite it not being Tolkien’s intention, but the whole Men of the West, a bunch of white blonde Viking-looking dudes from Rhohan and Gondor, versus the People of the East, dark-skinned orcs and goblins, some very Middle Eastern looking guys riding big-ass elephants, etc, could be very easily interpreted as Tolkien promoting White Nationalism.

Especially in these times, with Rep. Steve King of Iowa talking about other people’s babies, Richard Spencer, Steve Bannon, whatever the heck is going on in Europe, the UK, Netherlands, France, etc, the movie’s emphasis that the white guys from the West have to save the world from the barbarians and savages from the East, is just too easy to interpret in nationalistic and racial overtones and ideology.


#136

On Sunday I took my niece and nephew to watch The Lego Batman Movie and it’s really, really good. On the same level as The Lego Movie. Very funny, poignant, wonderfully animated, and just beats the bricks out of any DC superhero movie of the last 30 years or so (yes, even better than the only really good one, The Dark Knight).


#137

Oh, I also watched “I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore” last night. It’s a Netflix original, dark comedy with Elijah Wood. It’s one of those movies where you spend the movie trying to figure out what’s going to go wrong next, which I enjoy.


#138

@jabrams007 Tolkien, and his contemporary and friend C.S. Lewis, have some not-so-subtle racism and quite a bit of sexism in their works. It may be easy to write this off as a product of their time, but consider that Tolkien himself admitted to basing the Dwarves of his works on Jews and that he published The Lord of the Rings in 1954, after having served as a code-breaker for the Brits in WWII. Here is an intelligent, highly educated man who was fully aware of what anti-Semitic sentiment could lead to and yet he chose to engage in it himself. Tolkien, for all his brilliance, was blatantly racist.


#139

Yeah I noticed this when I watched the films more than when reading the books. However it didn’t hit me as much as real life or America.


#140

T2 Trainspotting is pretty good, but mostly it made me want to rewatch Trainspotting.