The Official Review Thread of 2017

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby Greg » Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:05 pm

The Original BJ wrote:DUPED AGAIN! #2017 Edition


Is this your reaction to Wonder Woman?
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby The Original BJ » Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:37 am

DUPED AGAIN! #2017 Edition

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby Sabin » Sun Jun 04, 2017 7:23 pm

Well, sure, it saves the DCEU from being total garbage, but it's not that good at all. In the plus column, I must admit that as a cultural event it has some value. Biggest opening weekend by a woman director, first summer superhero blockbuster by a woman, and a narrative that with a few small lapses aims at empowering the shit out of every girl in the audience. The first twenty minutes left me totally cold, like I was watching a distant idea of a mythology rather than an immersive one, but the imagery is important. A society of woman helping each other and teaching each other to be strong. Little girls have someone to look up to, and will be shouting SHIELD! at the top of their lungs as they play Amazons in the back yard.

The best thing I can say about it is that they make a smart choice to give Diana a Don Quixote-esque quest after Ares to end the war, which Chris Pine thinks is largely ludicrous and is played for laughs. The two of them have some very strong, charming moments, although I wish they didn't feel the need to have them consummate their relationship because the film was getting VERY close to saying something about a man and a woman who just respect the shit out of each other too much to risk losing it (let alone truly give something special for the young girls out there). And there's just something fool-proof to me about showing superheroes fighting in old wars. For good long stretches, Wonder Woman is the version of Captain America: The First Avenger that I wanted.

But there is something boringly protected about this character. At no point do you feel like she will do anything but win every moment of the film's running time. The film sort of gets away with it bc it's the story of her education...but it's not dramatic storytelling. Just powerful imagery. I like it when my superheroes have to pay rent like Spider-Man.
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Jun 03, 2017 1:03 pm

WONDER WOMAN
Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Elena Anaya, Ewen Bremner, Lucy Davis, Said Taghmaoui, Eugene Brave Rock.
Dir: Patty Jenkins.

FINALLY! This is indeed the film that saves the DCEU franchise from being total garbage. This film is actually....pretty good. Not just for a DCEU film but both as a superhero movie and as just plain movie. Of course, it's the women who are the saviors. Typical. Anyway, this is of course the first big-screen live-action solo adaptation of the most famous female superhero, Wonder Woman, pretty much her origin story. How she's basically a goddess coming from an island of women who comes to our world to save it. It is what a superhero movie should be. It's exciting, it's humorous, it's got a solid story and it's actually about being a hero. Director Patty Jenkins is of course a pretty darn good director. I hope this leads to her directing more stuff.

Oscar Prospects: Production Design, Costume Design, Visual Effects, Makeup & Hairstyling, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing are possible.

Grade: B+

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby Sabin » Sun May 28, 2017 9:16 pm

I don't think I wrote about Colossal on this board. I really enjoyed it, with one central issue at the center of it. What is it "about"? Initially, it seems like an on point metaphor for alcoholism. Then perhaps misogyny? When we are asked to take the problem seriously and presented with its origin, you won't see a less convincing scene all year...that said, I do prefer it when movies ultimately say "Whatever, it doesn't matter" and shuffle it to the side, especially for the sake of the ride. And this is a fun, strange mashup.

Nacho Vigalondo is a very good director, clearly a better director than a writer. One of the strongest images of the year is in the sandbox with Anne Hathaway's head on the ground, screaming in horror and weeping at the sight of Jason Sudeikis's foot landing in frame and stomping the yard. As for the two leads, Jason Sudeikis continues to expand his persona in new and interesting ways, and Anne Hathaway gives my favorite performance to date. She's a hilarious trainwreck.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat May 27, 2017 7:56 pm

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES
Cast: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Javier Bardem, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, Kevin R. McNally, Golshifteh Farahani, David Wenham, Orlando Bloom, Paul McCartney, Keira Knightley.
Dirs: Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg

Who asked for a fifth Pirates movie? No one. But then again, no one really asked for a fourth one either but here we are. Someone should give Johnny Depp an intervention for his drug habit which explains why he keeps doing these movies. This time Captain Jack Sparrow joins forces with Will Turner's son in order to battle undead Spanish navy officers to find Poseidon's Trident to break the latter's father's curse. The good news is that it is not as bad as the worst film in the series, the third one. The bad news is that it's not very good at all. There are a couple of pretty nifty action sequences (one in the first act and the one in the end). The new directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg know how to direct them. But the film is largely a chore to sit through, lacking in fun and imagination.

Oscar Prospects: Makeup & Hairstyling and Visual Effects are possible.

Grade: D+

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat May 20, 2017 11:38 am

COLOSSAL
Cast: Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Dan Stevens, Austin Stowell, Tim Blake Nelson.
Dir: Nacho Vigalondo.

A year after losing her job, a writer turns to booze and is kicked out by her boyfriend. She moves back to her hometown and reconnects with a childhood friend. Then a big giant monster suddenly wrecks terror in Seoul, South Korea. And the monster and herself are connected somehow. This is a weird amalgamation of both an indie dramedy and a kaiju movie and giving brand new twists on both genres. And somehow, I thought it worked. The wild originality and quirkiness of the premise could have easily have went off the rails but the film largely pulls it off delivering something that's funny in parts and even gets dark and serious with hardly missing a beat. Both Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis give some of their career best performances. Admittedly, it's not for all tastes but if you come in accepting and embracing its weirdness, you could get a kick out of it.

Oscar Prospects: None. Reviews aren't good enough for it to overcome its genre trappings for an Original Screenplay nomination. But Anne Hathaway could be a contender for a Golden Globe Musical/Comedy nomination.

Grade: B+

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby Sabin » Sat May 13, 2017 9:00 pm

Aaaaand my winning streak of good 2017 films comes to a close with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. I don't know what possessed James Gunn to tackle Gamora's relationship with Nebula AND Peter's relationship with his estranged father in the same film, but it was toxic. There's simultaneously no breathing room and only breathing room. All that's left is a series of strung together quips and set pieces, making it more kindred spirit to Iron Man 2 than the first Guardians, which I hold as the MCU's high water mark in that it's the only one that would approach a top ten list of mine.

Some good jokes. Some inspired visual effects and set pieces. But I'll never watch it again. My fear is that by the end of the summer, it will look so much better by comparison.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat May 13, 2017 12:21 pm

BLISS
Cast: Iza Calzado, Ian Veneracion, TJ Trinidad, Shamaine Buencamino, Audie Gemora, Adrienne Vergara, Michael de Mesa.
Dir: Jerrold Tarog.

After an actress injures herself on the set of her latest film, strange, disturbing start to happen in her life. To say more would be to spoil the film, and one of the joys of seeing this is watching it unfold. This is not only the best Filipino film of 2017 so far, it's one of the best films of the year so far period. After beautifully tackling a romantic drama (Sana Dati) and a historical epic (Heneral Luna), Jerrold Tarog gives probably his best work in this superb mind-bending psychosexual thriller. It is a narratively and stylistically ambitious film, drawing inspirations as varied as Ingmar Bergman and Satoshi Kon. And he pulls it off beautifully. The film keeps you guessing and puts you at the edge of your seats. Definitely a must-see.

Oscar Prospects: Uh, I don't know if we'll submit this for the Foreign Language Film Oscar. It's not the type Oscar usually goes for. But who knows?

Grade: A-

ALIEN: COVENANT
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Carmen Ejogo, Demian Bichir. Jussie Smollett, Callie Hernandez, Amy Seimetz, James Franco, Guy Pearce.
Dir: Ridley Scott.

The second of a prequel series by director Ridley Scott detailing the origins of the Xenomorph has a crew ship carrying human colonists investigating a mysterious signal, and of course, the horror begins. While this film is certainly well-made, well-acted and has some decent scares, one can't help but feel Ridley Scott has tapped into this well too many times. The stories have become a tad too derivative and pretty much lost the magic of at least the first two movies of this franchise. Still, this is a solid science-fiction horror thriller that simply feels a bit too familiar. Perhaps Mr. Scott should move on but whatever.

Oscar Prospects: Visual Effects is possible.

Grade: B-

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby anonymous1980 » Fri Apr 28, 2017 6:18 am

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2
Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Michael Rooker, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Kurt Russell, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Sylvester Stallone, Chris Sullivan, Elizabeth Debicki, Sean Gunn.
Dir: James Gunn.

This is the sequel to probably my favorite Marvel movie so far. This one continues the story of Peter Quill/Star Lord by introducing us to his father. Okay, this is not as good as the first one, let's get that out of the way. However, it is still a very enjoyable space opera with more of the elements that made the first one so good. The fact that it didn't top it but just came close to it is the main disappointment here. It definitely tried though. I'll give it that. It tried to build on it. But it doesn't quite get there. I will not go into detail because that would be spoiling it since we got it a week earlier here. (HAHA!) That said, if you enjoyed the first one, you'll enjoy this one too. I love Baby Groot.

Oscar Prospects: Possible for Production Design, Makeup & Hairstyling, Costume Design, Visual Effects, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing.

Grade: B

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby dws1982 » Sun Apr 23, 2017 8:09 am

I liked the book when I read it several years ago, but going into the movie I couldn't recall much about it beyond the very general "English explorer in the jungle" aspect.

I will say that I'm a big James Gray fan; Everything he's made from The Yards on (haven't seen Little Odessa) has made my top ten of its year, and this one will too unless it's the best movie year in decades. There may be some bias in favor of the movie on my part, but I think even someone who hasn't had strong feelings about Gray can find a lot to like about this one. Although I do think it's a personal film, the fact that it's (kind of) a general adventure story, rather than about New Yorkers of Eastern European descent like his other films, makes it more accessible than his other films.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby Okri » Sun Apr 23, 2017 1:16 am

Huh. The reviews for this one have been quite strong, but I thought the book was just average.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby dws1982 » Sat Apr 22, 2017 7:47 pm

The Lost City of Z is excellent. There are shades of several other films, ranging from Barry Lyndon to Apocalypse Now to The New World to The Man Who Would Be King, but to me it most evokes one of my favorites of the 1990's, Bob Rafelson's Mountains of the Moon. Not just in the basics of the plot--mapping out the source of a river--but in the overarching themes of contrast between "civilized" vs. "uncivilized" worlds, and in the idea of a person who is undone by his obsession for adventure. I've never been a particular fan of Charlie Hunnam, Sienna Miller, or Robert Pattinson, but they're all excellent here; Pattinson shows a great deal of potential for a future as a character actor. Khondji's cinematography is excellent; in a just world this would win all of the cinematography awards at the end of the year. The final shot is a stunner. The movie is a whole, at least in terms of plot, is a departure for Gray (his first movie without a New York setting), but it still feels as personal as anything he's done. If at all possible, see this on a big screen with a good sound system. It's so rich on so many levels.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Apr 16, 2017 12:09 pm

THE BOSS BABY
Cast: Alec Baldwin, Miles Bakshi, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, Steve Buscemi, Tobey Maguire (voices).
Dir: Tom McGrath.

This film aims to do with babies what Toy Story did with toys. And it's nowhere near as successful. A "boss baby" is sent down from BabyCorp in order to stop puppies from being the number one most beloved thing in the world. Alec Baldwin is amusing as the title character, even spoofing and referencing his "coffee is for closers" thing (a reference/joke which none of the kids and even some of their parents would get). But the film overly relies on juvenile poop jokes for laughs and its attempt at a message, going for the aww factor is predictable. It has its moments here and there and it is entertaining enough. It is ultimately disposable and forgettable.

Oscar Prospects: Long shot for Best Animated Feature.

Grade: C+

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Apr 15, 2017 12:19 pm

FAST & FURIOUS 8 (THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS)
Cast: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Charlize Theron, Kurt Russell, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Scott Eastwood, Nathalie Emanuel, Elsa Pataky, Kristofer Hivju, Luke Evans, Helen Mirren.
Dir: F. Gary Gray.

This is the EIGHTH installment of the long-running franchise (but only the fourth one I've seen) has Dominic Torretto going rogue and teaming up with a female cyberterrorist. The film, of course, ups the ante of ridiculousness with its outrageous and over-the-top action scenes (I mean, a car chase on the ice involving a freakin' nuclear submarine?!?) and I would be lying if I said I didn't have some fun with it. Its attempt to add some substance and build on the earnest "we're family" theme is kind of lame though. The last one only worked because of the real-life tragedy of Paul Walker's death. Here? Not so much. It's okay for what it is. (But I must say, if Helen Mirren is given a bigger part in the next installment, I could be tempted to see it.)

Oscar Prospects: Best Picture, of course. If Vin Diesel's ballot is the only ballot that counted. LOL.

Grade: C+


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