Hmm. Wow. After watching all the Oscar nominations from last year I can confirm that there were only ever 2 options Midnight and Fences.
This movies freaking amazing because of the performances provided the actors and the delve into the psychology of humans. The portrayal of characters was great but the primary reason I think this movie fell short was that as soon as I finished watching the movie I really freaking wanted to watch the original play and see it in a play format which was clearly what it had been written for The translation was great but due to being a play originally the actors had to really carry huge portions of the plot and reveal it through dialogue, emotion, physicality and lighting. Things that are incredibly amplified in a play.
There’s minimalism in scenes but an incredible depth to each character due to the method of story telling. The audience is challenged to put everything together in their heads, you’re never spoon fed anything.
I was able to understand the perspective of each character throughout, that’s not something most literary pieces can do.
The reason that Midnight trumps this in my opinion is the originality of visual and movie expression rather than the translation of a play to a movie. While both bring up notions of “too real” discomfort, Midnight executes on innovative structure that worked very well.
It was exactly what I would want for this sort of movie. CW teen drama, nice characterisation especially of Billy/The Blue Ranger. Like with the TV Show it is 2/3s training/character set up before the action goes on till the end. The fact they managed to give a reasonable explanation for the geography of Angel Grove with the coast and the fighting quarry right next to town was amusing.
The Action was easy to follow but there was not much in suit Martial Arts action but I didn’t mind when the Zords rode out to the original guitar rift. Most of the movie was the right amount of campiness to the dialogue but Elizabeth Banks and Bryan Cranston were the only ones really hamming it up.
Saw a screening of the Ghost in the Shell remake last night. Compiling/expanding my reaction tweets into a post:
Welp. I kept an open mind. Watched it as its own thing, and it more or less is. Too bad its own thing is kinda meh.
I mean, there was clearly a lot of love in the design work at least, which was neat to see. Some cool imagery, especially during the deep dive sequence. The supporting cast was mostly enjoyable too! It’s always good to see Beat Takeshi, there was some good emotion from Juliette Binoche, and I even kinda liked the guy they got to play Batou.
But man, just the plot they went with is the most bland, predictable stuff, both themes-wise and villain-wise. Plus it felt like there was zero creativity in the camera work and blocking a lot of the time. Flat angles, uninteresting frame compositions, rushing past things it feels like the eye should be able to linger on – all stuff that made me feel like I was watching one of the more generic Netflix originals at several points. Most of the more creative shots were either lifted from the Oshii film or were already shown off extensively in the trailer. I almost kind of wondered if the point was to make this amazingly designed cyberpunk world feel as boring and unremarkable as the real world, but nope, mostly the flatness of everything seemed more like a product of workman-like filmmaking than considered artistic choices.
Also, there are a few parts where it’s pretty apparent that either something got cut or a plot point/scene was compressed in rewrites maybe. That lesbian scene in the trailer? Does feel like it might be leading to an interesting character moment for the Major. At the very least it was the start of a quiet, intimate moment between these two characters exploring differences in their humanity. But the scene cuts off super abruptly before it can actually do that. Really felt like there was supposed to be more after the cut. A later plot point leads Major to investigate her past, and the way she gets exposition in that scene is almost laughably convenient. So that too might have been a case of compressing some details of the scene for time too, either at the script level or elsewhere.
Oh! Also: Michael Pitt’s character… I think they were going for a voice that sounded like a text-to-speech synthesizer for him, but it also sounds kiiiiinda like he’s doing a Japanese accent which… Yeah that’s as uncomfortable coming out of a white actor’s mouth as it sounds. Related: I’m not even gonna touch the ScarJo whitewashing stuff at this point. It’s still fairly uncomfortable as expected. Lots has been said on this by people all over the internet and a lot of it is still justified. I will say at least, though, that the presence of the more diverse supporting cast did help that feeling a little. Again, Takeshi Kitano has screen presence for days.
Lastly, I will also say: there were a couple fan pandering moments that did get me. One is:
There is a giant Tachikoma, though it isn’t called that. It also doesn’t talk, but it does have a kinda cool industrial-looking redesign.
The other was the inclusion of a thing I’m sure made Oshii happy. If you know about things Oshii likes, you probably can guess what it is.
But yeah. Overall not unwatchable. Just also not very special. Very paint-by-numbers sci-fi thriller w/ a side of uncomfortable race issues.
On that note, Lindsay Ellis put out a really good video essay on this topic the other day!
The Discovery is a new movie on Netflix. I watched it because I follow the director on Facebook as he used to be the “Dear Girls Above Me” guy. And I liked his previous movie, The One I Love.
This movie is okay, but not much more than that. For a science fiction/fantasy mind-bending story, I found it sparked very little thought or debate between Juliane and I. Also it was weird tonally, but not in the intentional way that The One I Love was.
Every single person I have heard talk about Ghost in the Shell 2017 has said similar things to you but this is the first time I heard that the lesbian scene basically went nowhere. (Every single other other person didn’t even mention it.) I am disappointed because I keep hoping for a good queer main character in a Hollywood action movie.
Power Rangers also did almost nothing with Trini you only get 3 scenes of her on her own. I know with it being an ensemble film some characters have to take a back seat and Billy being such a good character and the secondary lead is it made up for this.
With the potential for the Green Ranger being cast with a female actor and with Trini being an outsider even in the rangers a relationship between them two is something to look forward to.
A very beautifully shot science fiction movie about astronauts on the ISS having to deal with a hostile Martian lifeform. It very much feels like the writers put gravity and Alien into the machine from the fly and this is what came out. With it being written by the same duo that did zombieland and Deadpool I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the creative process that was done with the script. Ryan Renelds is great in a serious role and the creature design is top notch.
Beauty and the Beast 2017: Not bad. Not good. Not offensive to the senses. Not memorable to them either. Mostly came out of it thinking “Why does this exist?” (cough besides money, obviously)
Power Rangers 2017: I’ve seen a lot of people saying “Oh this movie was actually pretty good!” No, you guys. It’s bad. It’s… puuuurrrrdy bad. I mean yeah, it’s entertaining! It has a good cast. And Elizabeth Banks is an absolute riot to watch. I did have a mostly good time overall. But man there are a lot of script, budget, tone, and lack-of-Rangers-with-masks-on issues throughout that really hold it back from being a “good” movie. I would more accurately call it a good movie struggling desperately to get out of a bad one. The cast and the decision to go mainly character-focused is the major saving grace of the movie and is what makes it enjoyable in spite of itself. I mean. Really REALLY in spite of itself.
Agreed heavily on Beauty and the Beast 2017. 75% of the new stuff they added was really bad including the additional backstory to Belle, the extra context for the Enchantress, and the new songs which were all blah. It’s really only worth seeing the new movie for Luke Evans’ Gaston and Josh Gad’s Lefou. They have a new dynamic going on because Lefou has a crush on him, but they add a lot more complexity in small ways to how Gaston is viewed in public and him being involved in war.
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them was a good plane movie. I like that is was Potterverse magic movie but without child actors or long running storylines. That said, there were a few character names and exposition bits that I’m sure I would have recognised from the books if I’d read them. Also nice to see what a movie with a Hufflepuff protagonist is like. I mean, he must be Hufflepuff, right?
Moana was really good fun. A bit long, but sooo beautiful. Why can’t all movies look that good? I’d listened to the soundtrack already, so knew the music, and it’s one of those times where the music works so much better in the movie than not, unlike, say, Lion King, where I’d now much rather listen to the Broadway cast album than watch the movie.
[quote=“lukeburrage, post:174, topic:73”]
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them was a good plane movie. I like that is was Potterverse magic movie but without child actors or long running storylines.
[/quote]It really was some nice touches and fresh new aspects to the universe. Since it was a movie dealing with experienced adult wizards, rather than children, we got a bunch of things that just didn’t fit in with the original books or movies - for example, apparating around willy-nilly, the rapid-fire (And often silent) spellcasting, the ability to touch on wider politics than just who gets to be house head this year, more varied spells than the things that are useful for schoolkids(magic cooking, yo! How cool was that?), magic being applied on a larger scale than seen before outside of things like great hall setpeices, we got to see a part of the magical world where people actually move in and interact with the muggle world rather than effectively denying it exists(Arthur, you’re in the misuse of muggle artifacts office, and you don’t seem to have the faintest clue how anything in the muggle world works, for god’s sake man.)
All in all, a very interesting expansion to the universe.[quote=“lukeburrage, post:174, topic:73”]
That said, there were a few character names and exposition bits that I’m sure I would have recognised from the books if I’d read them.
[/quote]Nah, mostly just things relating to Newt’s book(ie, that it exists, or rather, will) and that Grindelwald was basically Wizard Hitler who was mates with Dumbledore when they were basically magical uni students.
[quote=“lukeburrage, post:174, topic:73”]
Also nice to see what a movie with a Hufflepuff protagonist is like. I mean, he must be Hufflepuff, right?
[/quote]I looked it up, and he is.
I guess I knew the book existed, but that there is a Grindelwald reveal at the end meant literally nothing to me, as I don’t think I’ve ever heard the name before, nor guessed who he might be. In fact it was worse than nothing, because it suddenly detracted from the moment of someone who was otherwise an interesting maybe bad, maybe good good.
Spy is a a stupid comedy which had a lot of laughs, but those laughs were spread out over a waaaay too long movie. It could easily have been 40 minutes shorter. The main joke seemed to be “Hey, a spy, but what if it was a fat woman spy?” but I was laughing more when it wasn’t about that. Like the bragging of Jason Statham. Not sure why so many British people were working for the CIA.