The Official Review Thread of 2017

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Oct 08, 2017 4:40 am

VICTORIA & ABDUL
Cast: Judi Dench, Ali Fazal, Eddie Izzard, Michael Gambon, Adeel Akhtar, Tim Pigott-Smith, Olivia Williams, Paul Higgins, Fennella Woolgar.
Dir: Stephen Frears.

This film is based on a little known true story about the final years of Queen Victoria which has her forging a close friendship with an Indian Muslim manservant, Abdul Karim. This film is, well.....fine. Just fine. It features a really good performance from Judi Dench who has played Queen Victoria before and is therefore pretty much a pro at it. There is a healthy sprinkling of humor in it which was welcome and thankfully, it avoided being too heavy-handed on the more political and the religious aspects of the story. It is overall an okay movie and it held my attention but it feels like one of those Miramax productions from the 1990's designed to win Oscars. It's not bad, just fine.

Oscar Prospects: Judi Dench would be a slam-dunk for a nod in weaker years. Now, she probably has to fight for a Actress in a Musical/Comedy Globe nom. Costume Design, Production Design and Makeup & Hairstyling are possible.

Grade: B-

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Oct 07, 2017 11:25 am

BLADE RUNNER 2049
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Jared Leto, Ana De Armas, Robin Wright, Sylvia Hoeks, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Lennie James, Dave Bautista, Barkhad Abdi, David Dasmaltchian, Hiam Abbass, Wood Harris, Edward James Olmos, Sean Young.
Dir: Denis Villenueve.

The sequel to the 1982 cult science-fiction film takes place around 30 years after the original with a younger model Replicant police officer involving himself in something that could change the course of human history. Going into further detail is going into spoiler territory. I will say that even though this film doesn't quite out-do the original....it came very, very close. It is indeed a very worthy follow-up. It did literally everything a sequel of this nature is supposed to do: expound on the themes and philosophies touched upon by the original, deepen our understanding of this particular fictional world, make it relevant to today's world, etc. Director Denis Villenueve managed to make distinctly his film whilst still honoring the look and feel of the original. This features astounding visuals courtesy of the super production design, visual effects and of course Roger Deakins jaw-dropping cinematography. Yes, it is one of the best films of the year.

Oscar Prospects: This is a lock for Cinematography, Production Design, Visual Effects, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing. Deserves nominations for Best Picture, Director, Original Score.

Grade: A-

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby anonymous1980 » Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:00 am

I think I may have liked Logan a bit better than you and I also thought Mad Max: Fury Road deserved its Best Picture nomination and The Dark Knight definitely deserved to get nominated (at least over The Reader). But even I am baffled by a lot of the Best Picture and Best Actor talk Logan has been getting. I don't think it will get nominated for anything except maybe one or two technical awards.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby The Original BJ » Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:28 pm

My first screener arrived -- Logan. I'd skipped it in theaters, not feeling any special connection to this franchise (I've seen some of the X-Men movies but not all, and none of the Wolverine stand-alone films). But I do remember some "this should be a Picture nominee" talk from some (dubious) circles, and I always do my due diligence with those screeners, so I caught up with it.

I couldn't begin to tell you what this film's biggest partisans saw in it. I didn't think Wonder Woman or Spider-Man: Homecoming were anything special, but both of those films had reasonably engaging narratives (Spider-Man even had one pretty surprising plot turn), and maybe even more importantly, they both had a sense of humor. I found Logan's plot line pretty sluggish -- the story basically amounts to "Wolverine and the kid are being chased by the bad guys, and every half hour or so they all fight." And my god, the whole thing is so utterly humorless. I know this was the intended approach -- this is a "darker" take on a superhero movie -- but for me it wasn't anything bleaker in terms of thematic territory (the way I think The Dark Knight was, which by the way, STILL managed to have a sense of humor). Instead, it just seemed to rely on excessive amounts of violence, which I found pretty unpleasant, and even moreso in those moments when such extreme violence came at the hands of a young child.

Still, Hugh Jackman certainly commits to a more emotionally taxing role than has been typical for this character (from what I've seen). If The Greatest Showman ends up being a player, I could definitely see his Logan work factoring in to some "you had a good year" recognition.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Sep 30, 2017 11:27 am

GIRLS TRIP
Cast: Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Tiffany Haddish, Larenz Tate, Mike Colter, Kate Walsh.
Dir: Malcolm D. Lee

Four lifelong best friends reunite for a wild weekend. This time, it's black women. Yes, in a way, this is kind of a formulaic, R-rated "let's get drunk and have fun"-type of comedy that we've seen before in such films as The Hangover, Bridesmaids, etc. Only this time around, it's four black women. Sure, it's no masterpiece and in many ways, it's freaking predictable. You pretty much know where this is going plot-wise. It's even a bit too long. However, the cast is so appealing and there's so much genuinely funny stuff that you wouldn't care. When they go for genuine emotion, it even feels earned. Tiffany Haddish is hilarious and should be a big comedy star. I wasn't expecting to like this as much as I did. It's pretty darn good.

Oscar Prospects: It's a long shot but I think Tiffany Haddish wouldn't be out of place as a Supporting Actress candidate. I mean, if Melissa McCarthy could get in...

Grade: B+

THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE
Cast: Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Jackie Chan, Fred Armisen, Abbi Jacobson, Michael Pena, Kumail Nanjiani, Zach Woods, Olivia Munn (voices).
Dirs: Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher, Bob Logan.

The third of the LEGO movie franchises follows the adventures of five ninja warriors battling an evil warlord wanting to take over their city. This is easily my least favorite LEGO movie but I still think it's pretty good. The film sort of sends up various elements from martial arts movies, Japanese monster movies as well as stuff like Power Rangers and Voltron. It is very entertaining but a bit of a disappointment since it is not quite as successful as the first two LEGO movies. It does try. There is potential there but it's all kind of a mess. Nevertheless, I did have a good time with it and there some good moments along the way.

Oscar Prospects: The mixed reception of this probably torpedoed its chances at the Best Animated Feature race.

Grade: B.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby The Original BJ » Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:29 pm

I caught Stronger this weekend, and think it's mostly a movie of negative virtues (to borrow a phrase from Mister Tee). I can't say I was really eager to see another movie about a man who suffers a crippling tragedy, then must learn to adapt to his new body, and I don't think the film goes in any direction that's particularly unexpected. Actually, the movie doesn't go much of anywhere at all -- from a plot standpoint, there's remarkably little in the way of incident, and I frankly wondered why the filmmakers thought this "story" even needed to be a movie at all.

And yet... I can't deny that I was repeatedly moved, and think the filmmakers do a solid job of keeping the entire movie grounded in reality throughout. This isn't a movie that seeks to wring tears out of cloying sentiment -- it simply trusts that the accumulation of small, human moments will have an emotional effect on the audience, and it's successful on those terms.

The cast is an asset, too. Miranda Richardson is always welcome, Tatiana Maslany finds specificity in a fairly generic girlfriend part, and above all, Jake Gyllenhaal captures the emotional and physical torment of his character (as well as his appealing sense of humor) very movingly. I wouldn't rate this work at the level of inventiveness of Nightcrawler -- this is a much less original role -- but the actor commits just as fearlessly to the challenges of this part.

This isn't a movie that's particularly special, but it's on the decent enough end of the spectrum for this kind of effort.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Sep 23, 2017 7:48 pm

mother!
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfieffer. Ed Harris, Brian Gleeson, Domnhall Gleeson, Stephen McHattie, Kristen Wiig.
Dir: Darren Aronofsky

A young wife of a poet suffering from writer's block get some unwanted visitors in their large house in the middle of nowhere. Saying anything beyond that is spoiling it. Okay, so where do I stand in this highly controversial film which inspired some contentious and divided opinions all over the net and a Cinemascore of F? I...kind of dug it. Writer-director Darren Aronofsky takes the Bible, infuses it with the insanity of Roman Polansky and the surrealism of Luis Bunuel with some sprinkling of his own personal political statements and views (at least in my interpretation) and you get this weird baby. I think Aronofsky bit off more than he could chew and the film just goes off the rails but I have to admire his guts of going there and inspiring this much talk. I don't think the film is as affecting as he wanted it to be but I'm glad he tried.

Oscar Prospects: Cinematography and Sound Mixing seem possible. But the film's too divisive to make any headway in the major categories.

Grade: B+

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:45 pm

AMERICAN MADE
Cast: Tom Cruise, Domnhall Gleeson, Sarah Wright Olsen, Jesse Plemons, Caleb Landry Jones, Jayma Mays, Lola Kirke.
Dir: Doug Liman.

This is based on the true story of Barry Seal, a commercial airline pilot who was recruited by the CIA to fly reconnaissance missions to take pictures of South American communist rebels then is somehow roped into also smuggling drugs by the major drug cartels. This is the second collaboration between director Doug Liman and star Tom Cruise and if you ask me, they should keep collaborating because they somehow bring out the best in each other. This is an engaging absurdly funny film. I think the notion that this is even remotely true makes it even funnier and more twisted. Cruise is perfectly cast as Seal as his movie star persona actually makes you convince that he could pull something like this off. This is definitely one of the more pleasant surprises of 2017 so far.

Oscar Prospects: Doubtful but I think Cruise could sneak in at the Golden Globes Musical/Comedy Actor category.

Grade: B+

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:59 am

LOGAN LUCKY
Cast: Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Riley Keough, Seth MacFarlane, Hilary Swank, Katie Holmes, Katherine Waterston, Sebastian Stan, Dwight Yoakam, Jack Quaid, Brian Gleeson, Macon Blair, Farrah Mackenzie.
Dir: Steven Soderbergh.

This has been described quite aptly as a “redneck Ocean’s 11". And it pretty much is. Two former juvenile delinquent brothers and their sister along with some other characters decide to plan a heist on a NASCAR race track. After a few years away from directing theatrical features, director Steven Soderbergh is back and never lost his touch. He crafts a genuinely thrilling and really funny heist picture filled with really interesting characters. There is a tendency for films about these types of people to be condescending towards them but I didn’t feel it here. They mine the stereotypes for laughs but I do not feel condescension or cruelty in doing so. There was a danger of that happening but they didn’t fall for that trap thanks to the intelligent script by whoever wrote it. Haha. A truly solid picture.

Oscar Prospects: Original Screenplay long-shot nomination.

Grade: B+

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby Sabin » Sat Sep 16, 2017 5:09 am

Ingrid Goes West can't decide if it's a horror film or not. Or rather, it's a horror film when it's convenient. It's more a satire of a culture, but I still enjoyed it. It's a well-structured, brisk film led by strong performances by Aubrey Plaza and Elisabeth Olsen, despite the fact that I'm not sure if writer/director Matt Spicer ultimately decides who they are exactly. It's clear that he finds Olsen's Social Media Social Climber more damnable than Plaza's Instastalker. Promising for a first feature.
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Sep 10, 2017 5:45 am

IT
Cast: Bill Skarsgard, Jaeden Lieberher, Finn Wolfhard, Sophia Lillis, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Nicholas Hamilton, Owen Teague, Jackson Robert Scott.
Dir: Andy Muschietti.

This film adapts the first half or so of Stephen King’s coming of age horror novel about a group of outcast kids (The Losers Club) who take on terrifying entity known as IT which often takes the form of a creepy clown that preys mostly on children and teens. After watching probably one of the worst Stephen King film adaptations last week, now I view one of the BEST Stephen King adaptations of recent years. The excellent ensemble of young actors bring to life well-drawn and believable characters of outcast kids who must fight and face their fears. The film is scary, shocking and dark for sure but does not forget the humanity, humor and heart of the piece. I’m just afraid for Chapter Two. It would be difficult to match this.

Oscar Prospects: Picture and Adapted Screenplay would be longshots but not totally impossible. Makeup & Hairstyling seems like the most likely, if at all.

Grade: A-

THE BEGUILED
Cast: Colin Farell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, Oona Laurence, Angourie Rice, Emma Howard, Adison Riecke.
Dir: Sofia Coppola.

This is Sofia Coppola’s adaptation of Thomas Cullinan’s novel about an injured Union soldier who stumbles upon a Southern all-girls school during the American Civil War and the sexual and other types of tension arise. Though I haven’t read the novel, I’ve seen the Don Siegel-Clint Eastwood version which I’ve been told is a bit more faithful to the original material. The basic story is the same though they cut two vital elements which makes this a totally different film (the incest back story and more controversially, the female slave character). The result makes it focused almost strictly on the feminist themes and the sexual female gaze which is interesting in and of itself. However, it does feel like a missed opportunity to tackle the racism issue on top of it all, making it even more complex since it IS set during the American Civil War after all. I mean, they could have just reset it during other wars if Coppola didn’t wanna tackle that issue. But as it is, it is still a beautiful film and Coppola continues her fascinating oeuvre and features some of the best work from many members of the cast.

Oscar Prospects: Cinematography and Costume Design are possible. The controversy surrounding it will prevent it from the top-tier categories.

Grade: B.

SONG TO SONG
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Natalie Portman, Holly Hunter, Val Kilmer, Patti Smith, Cate Blanchett, Tom Sturridge.
Dir: Terrence Malick.

Terrence Malick's latest film is basically about a Jules and Jim type of love triangle involving a musician, his manager/agent and his manager/agent's personal assistant. That's about as close to a plot that I could describe this. Much like his previous film Knight of Cups, the film ditches practically all semblance of a conventional narrative in favor of visuals (stunning of course, courtesy of the great cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki) and explores the search for love and meaning in a materialistic, hedonistic world (this time, the music industry). This film though has more recognizable characters with Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, Natalie Portman and Rooney Mara actually acting rather than being used as part of the backdrop. The film is still interesting but I feel Malick is repeating himself already.

Oscar Prospects: Cinematography is a longshot.

Grade: B.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Sep 03, 2017 8:36 am

AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL: TRUTH TO POWER
Cast: Al Gore.
Dirs: Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk.

This is the sequel to Al Gore's Oscar-winning documentary on global warming. This film expounds and updates on the former U.S. vice-president's fight against global warming. As a film, I think it is well-made. It's clear on its points. It's also quite compelling and entertaining. Al Gore manages to be an interesting person to follow in this journey. However, it doesn't say anything much that I don't already know. I believe in global warming already and I support environmental causes whenever I can so this film feels like it is preaching to the choir. There's nothing here that will convince the hardcore skeptics. But it does try and that's something to be admired.

Oscar Prospects: Documentary Feature and Original Song ("Truth to Power").

Grade: B.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:57 am

THE DARK TOWER
Cast: Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Taylor, Jackie Earle Haley, Claudia Kim, Abbey Lee, Dennis Haysbert.
Dir: Nikolaj Arcel

Based on Stephen King’s epic fantasy series, this is about the evil Man in Black trying to destroy the titular Dark Tower, a structure that keeps much of the darkness and evil out of the known universe at bay, using the minds of special children. I’ve been hearing how great the original book series are and how difficult it is to adapt for a film. Watching it, I can definitely see why. It is a complex, epic mythology. To try and cram it in 90+ minutes is a mistake because you inundate people with so much stuff, they become confused, overwhelmed and frankly, stop caring. The frustrating thing about this film is there’s so much potential in there, but it’s all in a mess of a film. I think this would work better as a TV series where the mythology and characters can take their time to build.

Oscar Prospects: None.

Grade: C-

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby Big Magilla » Sun Aug 27, 2017 6:04 am

Columbus, Indiana is where Mike Pence grew up. I'm surprised the anything-Trump lovers haven't made it a big hit because of that, but then it's about different cultures, immigration and interracial romance so they probably wouldn't like it.
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2017

Postby Precious Doll » Sun Aug 27, 2017 3:46 am

dws1982 wrote:Has anyone seen Columbus? I keep hearing good things about it, not so much as an Oscar contender but just as a good indie. I was at a theatre showing it today, but after being subjected to another one of Kogonada's unbearable "visual essays" before the movie I was seeing, I decided it would be a no-go for me.

I'm way behind on 2017 releases in general though, so missing one more won't make much difference at this point.


I haven't seen Columbus but I did read a somewhat positive review in The Hollywood Reporter a couple of months ago.

There is so many films being made these days in some respects I am at a loss of what I should watch or not.
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