The Official Review Thread of 2018

anonymous1980
Laureate
Posts: 5267
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 10:03 pm
Location: Manila
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:49 am

HEREDITARY
Cast: Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Gabriel Byrne, Milly Shapiro, Ann Dowd, Mallory Bechtdel.
Dir: Ari Aster.

A matriarch of a family dies. Then strange, disturbing and horrific things start happening. That's all I'm gonna say. To say anything more would be spoiling it and yes, once again, part of what makes this film so effective is the fact that you really have no idea where it's going until it plays its cards. I was sitting uncomfortably all throughout, squirming in my seat. It's a slow-burn film, no jump scares. It's not really a thrill ride. It is true horror in its classic sense. At its heart, it's still a very human story despite the supernatural twists and turns it makes. The performances are great. Yes, Toni Collette is outstanding but I also want to cite how great Alex Wolff is in this one. I never thought about him as an actor much but he is a revelation here. It is definitely one of the better horror films of the decade and one of the best movies of the year. I'll be thinking about this one for a while.

Oscar Prospects: Horror films USUALLY don't do well. But Toni Collette is absolutely deserving of a Best Actress nomination. Also deserving of a nomination is Alex Wolff, who's kind of a co-lead but they'll probably push him for Supporting.

Grade: A-

dws1982
Tenured
Posts: 3011
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 9:28 pm
Location: AL
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby dws1982 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:22 pm

dws1982 wrote:
Mister Tee wrote:By the way, the hidden headline for me here is that you haven't see the film. You passed on an Eastwood movie? That rocks the foundation of my world.

I'm sure I'll get to it eventually, but I just couldn't bring myself to it after the reviews were so overwhelmingly negative.

I posted this in the morning, and what did I do this afternoon?

Went to see Gotti, of course.

Its 0% on Rotten Tomatoes makes The 15:17 to Paris seem well-received in comparison, so all I can really say is that curiosity got the best of me. Let's be honest, this is not good (any time you see over forty credited producers listed in the opening credits, beware), but it's also not bad in any unique or interesting way. (Well, one exception maybe, which I'll discuss later.) It mostly just suffers from a baseline incompetence and half-assedness. Lots of little, stupid things that take you out of the movie every time: The dialogue will mention a character who's present, for example, "That guy's name is Sammy Gravano. They call him The Bull", and then it cuts to him, with text on the screen labelling him "Sammy 'The Bull' Gravano". It does this with several characters, and with dates as well (which veer between oddly specific and maddeningly unclear).

Early in the film it shows a sick-and-dying Gotti meeting with his son John Jr. in prison. (Credit where it's due, Travolta's makeup in this sequence is pretty good, and there are some times where he does look generally like Gotti.) It then cuts back to Gotti in prison when he was in his thirties--his wife and four children (two boys, two girls and the boys look to be between the ages of 8 and 10) are visiting him. So, logically, you would assume that one of those boys is John Jr.. But then, a few scenes later, John Jr. appears, and it's the same actor from the meeting with dying Gotti. And, although this scene is set over 20 years before, the actor doesn't appear to be one day younger. He goes from roughly 15 to 45 over the course of the film, and never looks any older than mid-20's (which the actor--who isn't bad, all things considered--actually is). John Jr. also has basically the same exact shaved-on-sides, long-on-top hairstyle for the entire film, except for one blink and you miss it scene. Soon after John Jr. appears, one of the actors playing one of Gotti's younger sons completely disappears from the narrative. So I was thinking that maybe the second boy in the prison scene was just a neighbor or something, not a son. But then, after the death of Gotti's son Frank, he tells his wife that she "still has four kids", which means the kid was apparently still there, just out of the family narrative. Maybe the child actor was suddenly not available. It's just a lot of things like that through the whole movie. It feels like there was a longer movie that was either left on the cutting-room floor, or never filmed because they wanted to cut it the story down to its essence. I'm not sure that movie would've been a lot better, but it might've at least made more sense. So many storylines seems to come out of nowhere: Aniello Dellacroce's character announces he has cancer as abruptly and nonchalantly as that character in The Room; a mob war breaks out and ends so quickly that it's hard to figure out who's shooting at who; the Paul Castellano murder--Gotti's giant power grab--is woefully underdeveloped. (It's hurt by the fact that Paul Castellano only appears once before he's assassinated, and I don't remember him having any dialogue.) Sammy Gravano barely has any screen time before he takes the stand against--there's no sense of the betrayal that Gravano's testimony must have been for Gotti. Also some crazy use of music--who hasn't wanted to see a mob hit carried out to "Silent Night", or a funeral procession to "House of the Rising Sun", or Gotti walking out of court (after one of his acquittals) to "Walk Like and Egyptian"?

So maybe the one interesting thing about its badness is a really questionable moral stance it takes, but also doesn't develop very much: It uses what i assume is genuine newsreel footage from the time of Gotti's conviction and funeral, where people are arguing for Gotti as everything from a modern-day Robin Hood to some kind of secular saint. The movie never totally develops this idea fully--there's one scene of Gotti throwing a neighborhood block party, but nothing else really. If the people truly did love John Gotti, it might have been interesting to show why they loved him. It also bends over backwards to whitewash John Jr. (Not surprising, given that he was a consultant on the set) as a victim of government persecution. Ummm...not quite...He's believed to be responsible for something like eight murders, although the movie only links him to one (which it pawns off as a fistfight gone wrong). I don't know the merits of the racketeering cases, exactly, but it's pretty well-established that even in the 2009 trial, Gotti was trying to intimidate witnesses in the courtroom.

I've probably given this more thoughts and more words than it merits, so I'll stop.

dws1982
Tenured
Posts: 3011
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 9:28 pm
Location: AL
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby dws1982 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:11 am

Mister Tee wrote:By the way, the hidden headline for me here is that you haven't see the film. You passed on an Eastwood movie? That rocks the foundation of my world.

I'm sure I'll get to it eventually, but I just couldn't bring myself to it after the reviews were so overwhelmingly negative. Even the Eastwood auteurists over on Letterboxd weren't too convincing, despite their 4 and 5 star reviews. It might actually make an interesting companion to The Rider--another movie where much of the cast plays a semi-fictionalized version of themselves--but I can't say I'll go in with high expectations.

User avatar
OscarGuy
Site Admin
Posts: 12575
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 12:22 am
Location: Springfield, MO
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby OscarGuy » Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:28 pm

I don't think they were trying to hide Screenslaver's identity...if they were, they did a terrible job of it. It was a pretty easy guess.
Wesley Lovell
"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." - Benjamin Franklin

The Original BJ
Emeritus
Posts: 4252
Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2003 8:49 pm

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby The Original BJ » Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:11 pm

Anonymous, perhaps you should white out the spoiler section of your post? Just a quick cursory glance at your post easily reveals what you’re intending to hide, without giving anyone a chance to avert their eyes when seeing SPOILER.

anonymous1980
Laureate
Posts: 5267
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 10:03 pm
Location: Manila
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby anonymous1980 » Wed Jun 20, 2018 8:44 pm

The Original BJ wrote:. And the plot is a bit undercooked -- did ANYONE get much kick out of the reveal of Screenslaver's identity?


I predicted who it was almost right away. What I did find amusing about it is....SPOILER....this is the second movie Catherine Keener played a villain that uses hypnosis. :lol:
Last edited by anonymous1980 on Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Big Magilla
Site Admin
Posts: 15830
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 3:22 pm
Location: Jersey Shore

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby Big Magilla » Wed Jun 20, 2018 6:28 pm

I found it pretty harmless. It was certainly a lot better than the other film I reviewed at the same time.

Here's what I had to say in my 5/29 DVD review:

The 15:17 to Paris may be minor Clint Eastwood but it’s the 86-year-old director doing what he does best, bringing contemporary real-life heroes into a film world largely filled with movies about imaginary superheroes.

Ever since 2006’s back-to-back Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima, Eastwood has primarily focused on bringing real-life characters to the screen. His most recent films prior to this one, American Sniper and Sully, were like The 5:17 to Paris, about more recent real-life heroes.

Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos, and Anthony Sadler, who play themselves in the film based on their book, are ordinary, unpretentious guys who seized a moment and saved hundreds of lives one fateful afternoon in 2015 aboard the 15:17 from Amsterdam to Paris. The film takes its time getting there, with the first section of the film an examination of the childhood of the three misfits who have been friends since the age of 8. The middle section plays like a travelogue with the boys, one of them now a soldier, one a marine, and the other working for a private company, having come together for a European vacation. The film has been so laid back up to this point that once it gets on the train it grabs you with its startling intensity and doesn’t let go until the train has pulled into the station, the terrorist taken into custody, the wounded given medical attention, and our heroes have been awarded the French Legion of Honor medal before going home to Sacramento and a ticker tape parade in their honor.

Fellow passengers Mark and Isabelle Moogalian also play themselves while Judy Geer and Jenna Fischer play Stone and Skarlatos’ mothers.

Most critics were tough on the film, giving it less than stellar ratings chronicled on the Rotten Tomatoes and MetaCritic websites. Contrast that with the absurdly high ratings many of the same critics gave Game Night, an incredibly stupid movie about stupid people doing stupid things that reduces the talents of usually competent actors to the level of chimpanzees mugging for the camera. Ironically, both films have been released by Warner Brothers on Blu-ray and standard DVD on the same day. Sadly, I suspect most audiences will ignore The 15:17 to Paris and yuck it up with Game Night.
“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire

Mister Tee
Laureate
Posts: 6587
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby Mister Tee » Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:20 pm

dws1982 wrote:
Mister Tee wrote: There's also the tired "teachers want to medicate our boys; they don't understand they're just boisterous" hokum that right-wingers like to promote.

Uhhh...over-medication is actually a very serious problem facing adolescents (mostly boys) today. Haven't seen the movie, and don't know how it portrays the issue (in my experience teachers generally don't encourage medication, for ethical and liability reasons, although maybe it was different in the 90's when these protagonists were in school), but over-medication is a huge issue with negative side effects (both in the short term, and in the long term) that I see all the time in my job and out of it with friends/family members.


I don't at all mean to dismiss the issues of over-medication, but, as portrayed in the film, the boys' teacher doesn't pay a lick of attention to anything either mother says; she's bound and determined to get them medicated to ease her load. That, I think, is the rightist propaganda I've seen on the issue. (It's right up there with assuming women have abortions with no more regret than getting a manicure.) This portrayal of the teacher, by the way, is of a piece with how teachers are portrayed throughout that opening half-hour or so -- we're shown the boys are utterly blameless in all situations, but their teachers don't even deign to ask their side. I'd think you, as a teacher, would find this pretty offensive.

By the way, the hidden headline for me here is that you haven't see the film. You passed on an Eastwood movie? That rocks the foundation of my world.

Sabin
Laureate
Posts: 7495
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby Sabin » Wed Jun 20, 2018 2:09 pm

The Original BJ wrote
It's interesting how different a movie environment Incredibles 2 is entering than its predecessor.

Another way in which Incredibles 2 is in a different movie environment has less to do with superhero films and more to do with PIXAR. In 2004, PIXAR was in the middle of a fairly unprecedented run of quality and success. To go see a PIXAR movie was to watch something truly special. Today, that run is plainly over. This decade has brought more sequels than original stories. Had Incredibles 2 been released in, oh say, 2011 or 2012, I think I would be more disappointed. But I think it looks strong in comparison to Cars 3, Finding Dory, and Monsters University. I know what you're thinking: "That's a low bar." Welcome to 2018.
"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

The Original BJ
Emeritus
Posts: 4252
Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2003 8:49 pm

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby The Original BJ » Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:22 pm

A few thoughts on some recent releases:

I agree with Sabin that A Quiet Place is effectively mounted, and generates suspense in some smart ways -- the concept of creatures only being able to identify victims through sound feels fresh and leads to some very nerve-wracking sequences, the use of silence and sound throughout is extraordinary, and the film gets plenty of mileage out of classic tension generators (like that damn nail). The film also has a more solid than usual emotional core for this type of project -- I was pretty shocked just how swiftly the film went into dramatic territory within its opening moments. All of that said, I thought it had some derivative elements too. The look of the monsters wasn't all that inventive (they were basically a variation on the demagorgon from Stranger Things), the milieu had an obvious antecedent in Signs (aliens invade a farmhouse, complete with cornfield set pieces), and even the climax was basically lifted from Signs as well. So for me, this was a solid genre piece, but certainly not one that amounted to anything more than that.

I DID think Hereditary, for much of its running time at least, offered something a bit more complex and imaginative than your standard haunted house fare. (Go figure that it nabbed that D+ Cinemascore.) From the opening sequences, as the central family deals with the death of its matriarch, it explores some fairly interesting territory surrounding grief and how its characters process it, particularly in a situation where the deceased's relationship to the family she left behind was strained, at best. Then the film moves into pretty demented territory, as things just keep getting more horrifying for this family, and I found this easily the most compelling section of the story -- the supernatural elements are obviously present, but the plot is so grounded in emotionally charged, real-world familial dynamics that I was able to take even the more outrageous story beats fully seriously. (It also helps that the film knows just when to inject black humor into the proceedings, leaning into its more overly preposterous moments with a wink). And it must be said that the presence of Toni Collette is a gift to this movie -- she's terrific, in certainly her best film performance in ages, if not ever, in a role that provides her numerous meaty scenes to make a thoughtful, emotional impact. (Ann Dowd, though in a less challenging role, is of course always a gift to any movie in which she appears as well). And yet despite liking the film for much of its running time, I thought things went a bit south in the last reel, or rather, it turned into a much more typical horror film, a more stylish Paranormal Activity, if you will. It was here that whatever balance the film had between grounded drama and scares dissipated, and it became an affair that, however effectively chilling, became much more difficult for me to take seriously. It is, I think, very much a film worth checking out -- though with a warning to the squeamish -- even if I think it's not as completely successful as its best parts.

It's interesting how different a movie environment Incredibles 2 is entering than its predecessor. When the original opened in 2004, superhero movies were pretty rare -- a couple Spider-Man and X-Men movies over the previous years, with Batman basically on ice (no pun intended) after its last movie debacle. I hope I'd still find the original film a zippy, imaginative entertainment today, but I imagine part of what made it such a kick was that it felt like something fresh (even compared to the previous Pixar efforts). As Sabin says, Incredibles 2 doesn't lack for eye-popping animation, and I found it a pleasant enough watch, with some solid laughs (most of which involve Mr. Incredible trying to be a dad, and anything involving Baby Jack-Jack). But there's a degree to which this movie now feels like yet another cog in the superhero franchise machine -- the climactic action sequence, for instance, felt like something that could have just been lifted from your average Marvel movie. And the plot is a bit undercooked -- did ANYONE get much kick out of the reveal of Screenslaver's identity? The film is also strangely unemotional -- although the first Incredibles didn't have any rip-your-heart-out moments like in Up/Toy Story 3/Coco, the core family dynamic had some dramatic heft to it. This sequel feels more disposable -- not down there with a Cars sequel, but not achieving the increasingly moving heights of the Toy Story installments.

Sabin
Laureate
Posts: 7495
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby Sabin » Wed Jun 20, 2018 11:18 am

I have very little to say about The Incredibles 2, there is something entirely... not incredible about it. Part of it stems from the decision to launch this sequel immediately after the first one, but it can't help but come across as episodic. Fourteen years is a long time for something to feel like the next issue/episode of The Incredibles. It's an entirely entertaining couple of hours that I recommend on two fronts: 1) the animation is just superb. I could watch Brad Bird's vision of post-war America for hours, and his action scenes are a huge step up from last time. And 2) Bob being exhausted. Mr. Incredible has never been the most interesting character in this world. I found the scenes of Bob being overtired from being a stay at home parent to be endlessly funny, the joke of course being that here's a guy who is invincibly strong... and being a parent just wipes him out to the point of losing his sanity. Easy joke, very funny.

Preceding the film was an interview from the cast basically apologizing for why it took fourteen years to make the next film. Why apologize for making something special and not immediately cannibalize the legacy? I'm resigned to a new Incredibles film every few years now. The good news is, I believe they can be better than this one.
"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

User avatar
Precious Doll
Emeritus
Posts: 3609
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2003 2:20 am
Location: Sydney
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby Precious Doll » Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:14 am

The Kindergarten Teacher/Puzzle/The Wife

These three films are worth mentioning in a group simply because none of them are of any significance and all of their leading actresses (Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kelly Macdonald & Glenn Close) are in contention for a possible best actress nomination. Actually its more likely all three will miss out than even one of them winning and I think that depends on how things play out for their respective films and who else emerges.

My personal favourite of the three is Kelly Macdonald in Puzzle. Its a very conventional film, typical of American independent cinema about an ordinary American housewife that discovers she has a talent for putting jigsaw puzzles together in a timely manner and this gift leads to a widening of her world view. The film follows the usual trajectory of the genre, its competently directed but the big draw card is Macdonald. The supporting case are all fine.

Close is good in The Wife but nothing more. She's also the best thing about a generally high-minded cliched, I should have seen the twist coming but I really wasn't that invested in what what unfolding on the screen. Jonathan Pryce & Max Irons are handed thankless roles and Christian Slater lays on the sleaze in his usual reliable fashion. Directed by Björn Runge with a big serving of self importance, it's an empty vessel in search of soul.

Interestingly, Puzzle and The Wife are due to open within 3 weeks of each other by Sony Classics. It's good to see distributors opening more adult fare during the US summer and undoubtably their respective performances at the box office and with critics will determine any Oscar love.

The Kindergarten Teacher is for me a bit more problematic for me. I rewatched the original 2014 Israeli film a couple of weeks ago as I knew this was coming up and wanted to be able to make a fresh comparison as I hadn't seen the 2014 film since 2015. Whilst the basic plot remains intact much dialogue has been changed and the nuances of Nadav Lapid's film are lost in translation. Still, until the rather dramatic plot turning point later in the film, this film worked reasonably well on its on terms even if it tended to spell everything out, unlike Lapid's film which was somewhat elusive.

Maggie Gyllenhaal is not too bad in the role but she can't hold a candle to the work of Sarit Larry. The obsession with the child with a gift for poetry was so much better handled by Larry whose work is far more subtle than Gyllenhaal is even allowed. I understand that audiences and critics have been very taken with this American remake and I'm assuming that they haven't seen the original film, which is probably just as well. Netflix have the US rights to the film and it will be something of a coup for them if they can score Gyllenhaal a best actress nomination.

Must say I am very interested in how these three female led films play out critically and commercially and what, if any, impact that has on their respective actress chances.
“Those Koreans. They’re so suspicious, you know, ever since Hiroshima.” Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange) from American Horror Story: Season One

dws1982
Tenured
Posts: 3011
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 9:28 pm
Location: AL
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby dws1982 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:01 am

Mister Tee wrote: There's also the tired "teachers want to medicate our boys; they don't understand they're just boisterous" hokum that right-wingers like to promote.

Uhhh...over-medication is actually a very serious problem facing adolescents (mostly boys) today. Haven't seen the movie, and don't know how it portrays the issue (in my experience teachers generally don't encourage medication, for ethical and liability reasons, although maybe it was different in the 90's when these protagonists were in school), but over-medication is a huge issue with negative side effects (both in the short term, and in the long term) that I see all the time in my job and out of it with friends/family members.

Okri
Tenured
Posts: 2621
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 3:28 pm
Location: Edmonton, AB

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby Okri » Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:27 pm

Saw Hereditary to take a break from American politics. Very well done. The sound design is insanely good, as is Toni Collette.

anonymous1980
Laureate
Posts: 5267
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 10:03 pm
Location: Manila
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 5:00 am

OCEAN'S 8
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna, Akwafina, Richard Armitage, James Corden, Elliott Gould, Shaobo Qin, Dakota Fanning, Katie Holmes.
Dir: Gary Ross.

This is an all-female entry into the Ocean's 11 franchise has Danny Ocean's estranged sister Debbie rounding up a crew to rob the Met Gala of a $150 million diamond necklace. What else can I say? It's about as good as you may think it's gonna be. If you enjoyed the light, fluffy, fun guy Ocean's 11, there's no reason to suggest that this is any different. Yes, it's fun to see these fine actresses ham it up and have a good time with their roles (Anne Hathaway, in particular, is the standout) but that's really all there is there. Just a light fluffy heist film with a good amount of laughs and a fair amount of excitement. There's nothing wrong with that.

Oscar Prospects: Costume Design a remote possibility particularly the Met Gala sequence.

Grade: B


Return to “2018”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google Adsense [Bot] and 1 guest