The Official Review Thread of 2018

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby Big Magilla » Thu Dec 27, 2018 2:54 am

anonymous1980 wrote:AQUAMANCast: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Temuera Morrison, Ludi Lin, Randall Park, voices of Julie Andrews, John Rhys-Davies, Djimon Honsou.
Dir: James Wan.


By virtue of her being in this film, Julie Andrews has once again accomplished something extraordinary thanks to whoever it was that cast her.

In 1963, as everyone knows, she was bypassed by Jack Warner for My Fair Lady because she wasn't a screen name and was then cast by Walt Disney in Mary Poppins for which she won her 1964 Oscar.

64 years later, the sequel to Mary Poppins opens on the same day as her latest film and that film doubles the box-office receipts of the Poppins sequel in its opening weekend. Yes, Mary Poppins Returns in the person of Emily Blunt but the original is still around and doing quite well for herself.
“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby ITALIANO » Wed Dec 26, 2018 3:24 pm

Sabin wrote:[ Like, when they are both in Paris and everything is gorgeous, they can't help but stagnate.


Here there is also the theme - not original, before and since "The Unbearable Lightness of Being", but always very interesting - of how those who used to live under a dictatorship feel confused and inadequate when they suddenly move to the "land of freedom", and how this can affect their relationships, too. It's an important subject, but, like others in the movie, not explored as it deserved to be.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby Sabin » Wed Dec 26, 2018 2:47 pm

Italiano wrote
For once, I wished this movie would be longer - more detailed in exploring the love story, less vague in dealing with minor but potentially interesting characters, like those played by Borys Szyc, Jeanne Balibar and especially the great Agata Kulesza - she has only a few scenes at the beginning, yet suggests a whole world behind her.

I spoke with a critic friend of mine who saw the movie at Cannes and while conceding that the film feels a bit too small, he loved it (his #2 of the year) and praised it as a work of narrative economy and spoke of how the central relationship can only really survive in conflict. Like, when they are both in Paris and everything is gorgeous, they can't help but stagnate. I think this is an interesting idea for sure, but certainly it is under-dramatized. I don't need explaining. I need exploration. The longer I've sat with Cold War, I've determined that much of the film feels like intentional fallout from the first act. They begin with this charged affair amidst uncertain future and the film sets them up so slowly (she doesn't appear for what feels like some time). Much of what follows feels like two people desperate to recreate what they initially had. The problem is it's not especially engaging recreation. It is at least a beautiful one and one that's lovely to reflect back on.

I'm reminded of the ending of Before Midnight, which was such a missed opportunity in its understanding of the lengths couples must go to to make love flourish again (truly, he is a Texan).
"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 2018

Postby ITALIANO » Wed Dec 26, 2018 2:01 pm

Sabin wrote:Cannes got it right by separating Paweł Pawlikowski's accomplishments as a director from the film itself. This is a stunning piece of moviemaking, gorgeous to look at, with a remarkable rhythm, giving the sense of a memory being lived before your eyes. There's no doubt that he had the entire movie in his head before he stepped on set. And that's the problem. The film is so concerned with its gorgeous construction that it doesn't find enough human moments to land in to make you connect with these two people. The best moment of the film arrives early when the troupe is essentially forced to ditch their dedication to authentic folk for pro-Stalin propaganda. Great moment. What follows really works because you're rooted in the how's and the why's of Zula's and Wiktor's love affair. But as it skips through time, his moody and her manic feel slightly arbitrary. It becomes slightly tiresome, arriving at an ending that might be personal but it doesn't feel earned. It either needed to give us more moments of these two as people or to ramp up the political backdrop to lend the affair more meaning.

There's much to like if not love in Cold War (and truly, this is a movie to linger in the moments), but this movie sets the bar extremely high and it doesn't quite clear.


I think this is all quite true. I am probably a bit kinder to the movie's potrayal of the central relationship, which at least tries to avoid that habit of over-explaining everything American movies too often fall into, and which Polish viewers may find less frustratingly elusive. But I have to agree that especially towards the end you feel that there's somehing missing - emotiobally even more than narratively - and a lack of a real sense of tragedy, of "building" tragedy. (This was more or less also true, by the way, of the same director's much praised Ida, which I found frankly worse than this one). For once, I wished this movie would be longer - more detailed in exploring the love story, less vague in dealing with minor but potentially interesting characters, like those played by Borys Szyc, Jeanne Balibar and especially the great Agata Kulesza - she has only a few scenes at the beginning, yet suggests a whole world behind her.
Which, of course, brings me to one of the good sides about this movie, which is the acting. Polish films are traditionally very well-acted, and Cold War is no exception. While they admittedly can't always overcome the problematic aspect of their too fragmented storyline, Tomasz Kot and Joanna Kulig are very, very good. She has the same radiance of those Central European stars of the 50s, the period most of the movie is set in - Maria Schell, for example, except that they often couldn't play bitterness very well while she can.
And as Sabin says, for all its flaws Cold War is extremely well shot and gorgeous to look at - a feast for the eyes, really, and not in the same, superficial way that for example Roma (also a black and white, carefully constructed movie) is. The look of the movie isn't "beautiful" in itself, and it's a pity that it can't always get to the dramatic effectiveness it clearly strives for.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby Sabin » Tue Dec 25, 2018 7:58 pm

dws1982 wrote
It was about as much pure fun as I've had at the movies all year, and I thought it was ultimately pretty moving in its portrayal of the leap of faith that everyone, not just a would-be Spider-Man, has to take in the growing-up process. And with that theme, it's probably the best family film of the year.

This is such a good point.
"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 2018

Postby anonymous1980 » Tue Dec 25, 2018 12:16 pm

MOWGLI: LEGEND OF THE JUNGLE
Cast: Rohan Chand, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Andy Serkis, Peter Mullan, Naomie Harris, Tom Hollander, Eddie Marsan, Matthew Rhys, Frieda Pinto, Jack Reynor, Louis Serkis.
Dir: Andy Serkis.

I saw this on Netflix. This is Andy Serkis' adaptation of the Jungle Book stories by Rudyard Kipling. It has basically the same story we're all familiar with: A man cub called Mowgli is orphaned and raised by wolves and Shere Khan is his mortal enemy. This time though director Andy Serkis decides to take the story into a darker territory than the Disney versions would dare go. The result? Well, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. The motion-capture work is impeccable and the central performance is quite good. Some of it felt like it bit off more than it could chew especially in the third act. I can see why they opted to go straight to Netflix instead of a theatrical release.

Oscar Prospects: None.

Grade: C+

FIRST REFORMED
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried, Cedric Kyles, Victoria Hill, Philip Ettinger.
Dir: Paul Schrader.

A reverend from a dwindling historic church called First Reformed who's alcoholic and suffering from both personal and health problems, meet a young couple and gets concerned about climate change. This is an excellent film After seeing it, I found that there is a lot to digest. Writer-director Paul Schrader is clearly revisiting a lot of familiar themes in the style only he could have done. The first half or so felt almost like a remake of Robert Bresson's The Diary of a Country Priest then it slowly becomes more and more Taxi Driver like. Ethan Hawke gives one of his career-best performances in this. This is a film that will definitely get people mad in more ways than one. The ending in particular is gonna stay with me for a while. I would place this as one of the best films of the year.

Oscar Prospects: Actor and Original Screenplay are very possible and deserved.

Grade: A-

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby Sabin » Sun Dec 23, 2018 9:03 pm

Cannes got it right by separating Paweł Pawlikowski's accomplishments as a director from the film itself. This is a stunning piece of moviemaking, gorgeous to look at, with a remarkable rhythm, giving the sense of a memory being lived before your eyes. There's no doubt that he had the entire movie in his head before he stepped on set. And that's the problem. The film is so concerned with its gorgeous construction that it doesn't find enough human moments to land in to make you connect with these two people. The best moment of the film arrives early when the troupe is essentially forced to ditch their dedication to authentic folk for pro-Stalin propaganda. Great moment. What follows really works because you're rooted in the how's and the why's of Zula's and Wiktor's love affair. But as it skips through time, his moody and her manic feel slightly arbitrary. It becomes slightly tiresome, arriving at an ending that might be personal but it doesn't feel earned. It either needed to give us more moments of these two as people or to ramp up the political backdrop to lend the affair more meaning.

There's much to like if not love in Cold War (and truly, this is a movie to linger in the moments), but this movie sets the bar extremely high and it doesn't quite clear.
"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 2018

Postby dws1982 » Sun Dec 23, 2018 9:08 am

Agree about Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

So many movies originate in comic books, but very very few of them seem to make any effort to convey that appeal in cinematic terms. Nolan did, kind of, not by embracing the comic-book aspect, but translating some of those darker Batman stories by finding an analogous cinematic form. I'm not as high on his Batman trilogy as many (haven't seen them in awhile though), but I do understand the appeal. Whereas, for the most part, I just don't with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Or rather, I don't understand why people who claim to love comics would feel like the MCU is an acceptable representation of these stories. I think BJ and Tee are right that these are essentially play-outs of the same story--How will our hero ever stop the bad guy from using his super-powerful weapon to destroy humanity? The DCEU--at least the films directed Snyder--I find fascinating in ways that don't have anything to do with how well they translate the comics to film, but they've always been love it or hate it (and most hate it) prospects. I think it's telling that the most critically successful DC film is the one that's closest to the Marvel playbook.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, in my mind, is the closest any movie has got to finding a cinematic approach to the comics that understands the form and understands how to translate it visually. But in my mind, it's not at all closed off from viewers who don't read comics or don't read Spider-Man comics (I've never been a Spider-Man reader; always been a DC or Vertigo guy). It was about as much pure fun as I've had at the movies all year, and I thought it was ultimately pretty moving in its portrayal of the leap of faith that everyone, not just a would-be Spider-Man, has to take in the growing-up process. And with that theme, it's probably the best family film of the year.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby Sabin » Mon Dec 17, 2018 2:58 pm

I’ve spent the past few days putting off how to write about Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and why exactly it was such a powerful experience for me. I think what I find so wonderful about this film is that for the first time I really think audiences are going to understand why Spider-Man is such a meaningful character. At least, I hope so.

I am absolutely confident that a summary of this film would inspire nobody on this board to go see this film. To sum up briefly, thefilm is about Miles Morales, a bright young African-American/Latinx kid in a Bronx that is patrolled by the benevolent vigilante, Spider-Man. Over the course of a few nights, he is bitten by a radioactive spider and develops powers of his own. The first, powerful question the film raises is how can there be two Spider-Men? Which, for Miles, means, “He’s special. I’m not.” This is a very relevant question in our country right now for anyone who isn’t a straight white man ingesting media. Over the course of this story (which involves the death of his Spider-Man, a plot by a grieving crime lord, and an interdimensional rift in the space-time continuum), Miles finds his own identity by encountering other Spider-Persons. It’s a statement of diversity that says we can all be Spider-Man.

That message doesn’t work as well for me because, well, of course we all can’t be Spider-Man. Right? That’s obvious. The reason why it tracks so strongly for me is because the Spider-Man origin story (which the film correctly understands we all know) is such a moral one. As we all know, Peter Parker is a loser who gets the powers of a spider, becomes strong, loses his sense of morality, and his uncle dies due to actions he could have prevented. Unlike Batman, he doesn’t wage a war on vigilantes. He simply vows to do everything he can to do as much good in the world. “With great power comes great responsibility.” What tracks about the film’s message is that we all have our own origin stories. There are no invisibles. I wish ultimately it landed a little bit more clearly. There is a grab-bag feel to this message but it certainly landed for me.

Another reason why Into the Spider-Verse packs such a visceral punch is it finds its voice as (finally) a feature-length Spider-Man origin story as well as being one that we haven’t already seen. Online, the debate has raged: Do we need Miles Morales? Do we need a black Spider-Man? Does he have a place? After Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, I’m convinced he’s the only one I ever need to see again.

And after watching this gorgeous animation style, I’m not sure I need to see a live-action anything again.

One of the pleasures of this film is how the film unfolds with surprises, involving identities and relationships. This is one of the keys to what has made Spider-Man the greatest comic book character in history. Everyone gets caught in his web of life, so to speak. Friends can be villains. Lovers can be enemies. His life is an endless juggling act and his true superpower is finding humor in it. He is truly a Jewish character. The world of Miles is a hip-hop one. If in the end, I felt slightly exhausted by an enormous final fight scene, I still found much to admire in its visual artistry, like how it all took place in a maelstrom of Kirby Dots or how Kingpin looked like a walking block with his head in his chest.

And it’s very funny. Jake Johnson gets MVP plaudits as an older, overweight Peter Parker who was sucked into “our” universe after taking some personal time to work on himself. But it’s full of memorable voices like Nicolas Cage as a hardboiled detective character and Bryan Tyree Henry, so warm, as Miles’ father.

How much did I dig this film? It made the unthinkable happen. I will be disappointed if Wes Anderson wins an Oscar this year.

Should you go see it? Well, if you’ve ever liked a Spider-Man movie, yes. If not, no.
"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 2018

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Dec 16, 2018 5:44 am

AQUAMAN
Cast: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Temuera Morrison, Ludi Lin, Randall Park, voices of Julie Andrews, John Rhys-Davies, Djimon Honsou.
Dir: James Wan.

"Just call me....OCEAN MASTER!" (actual dialogue from the film). Yes, two superhero movies in one weekend. One is definitely better than the other. This isn't the better one. This is Aquaman's solo film debut in which he must challenge his half-brother for the throne to save the world. This film is silly and dumb and that's not necessarily a negative but sometimes it is, in this case, it tows the line between silly-dumb negative and silly-dumb positive. To be fair, it is a silly premise and the character itself is tough to translate on the screen. But that's not to say it's not entertaining. It is quite entertaining and it is one of the better DCEU films so far. It's fun but if you are tired/dislike superhero movies, this will definitely confirm your bias.

Oscar Prospects: Visual Effects, Production Design and Costume Design are possible.

Grade: C+

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Dec 15, 2018 7:58 pm

The Original BJ wrote:
anonymous1980 wrote:The film is EVERYTHING anyone wants in a superhero movie.


Define anyone. :D


Maybe not you. :lol:

Well, did you at least like The Incredibles, BJ?

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby Mister Tee » Sat Dec 15, 2018 4:51 pm

I don't know how many of you saw the Richard Donner/Mel Gibson Maverick. My recollection of it is, the narrative basically went "we're doing a con -- no, actually, the conners are being conned -- no, wait, the second con is actually a reverse con"...till, at a certain point, I decided I didn't give one fuck about any of it.

I reached that point about 90 minutes into Mission Impossible: Fallout. There'd been so many groups of people showing up shouting "surprise", many of whose identities I was in the dark about (partly because I didn't have instant recall of every previous installment of the franchise), that I just grew weary of the bottomless twist. (And the allegedly big surprise became, conversely, almost completely predictable.)

Maverick, at least, was viewed as a mediocre-to-poor movie that summer. But critics this year told me that Mission Impossible: Fallout was the seasonal standout. This, evidently, was due to its many extensive action sequences. But do people really enjoy these endless, ever-more-outlandish physical/logical impossibilities? After a while, the set pieces felt to me like bumps of cocaine when you were already high -- trying desperately to push yourself higher, but really just a desperate attempt to feel that way without much physical result.

Overall, I had the reaction I do to so many summer movies when I watch them in winter: god, I'm glad I didn't pay theatre prices for that.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby The Original BJ » Sat Dec 15, 2018 2:07 pm

anonymous1980 wrote:The film is EVERYTHING anyone wants in a superhero movie.


Define anyone. :D

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Dec 15, 2018 11:22 am

BEN IS BACK
Cast: Julia Roberts, Lucas Hedges, Courtney B. Vance, Kathryn Newton, Rachel Bay Jones.
Dir: Peter Hedges.

A recovering drug addict returns home to the family for Christmas but trouble follows him everywhere he goes. I'm surprised this actually got a theatrical release here. It's very appropriate because of the subject matter (and hey, it's a Christmas movie). Personally, for me, the script is just a little better than a Lifetime movie and/or an after-school special and the direction is just okay. But what makes this film work is the truly magnificent performances of both Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges. I must say, I think this is one of Julia Roberts' career-best performances. I don't think I've quite seen this side of her much. This is a pretty solid drama overall. Though it doesn't break new ground when it comes to its subject matter, its heart is in the right place.

Oscar Prospects: Roberts and Hedges wouldn't make embarrassing Best Actress and Actor nominees respectively.

Grade: B.

SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE
Cast: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Nicolas Cage, Liev Schreiber, Kathryn Hahn, Brian Tyree Henry, John Mulaney, Kimiko Glenn, Lily Tomlin, Luna Lauren Velez, Zoe Kravitz, Chris Pine (voices).
Dirs: Peter Ramsey, Bob Persichetti, Rodney Rothman.

Okay, I can't wait to see this movie again. This is indeed the best cinematic reincarnation of Spider-Man and I liked/loved a lot of the past ones. This time, it focuses on Miles Morales, an African-American teenage boy who gets bitten by a radioactive spider and becomes a Spider-Man and he finds various incarnations of other Spider-People in his world as they must stop Kingpin from using a particle accelerator to open alternate parallel universes to resurrect his family. The film is EVERYTHING anyone wants in a superhero movie. It is hilarious. It's just enough meta but not obnoxious. It has some eye-candy action sequences. Yet it still manages to be a really sweet, touching coming-of-age film. There's been a glut of superhero movies lately. Some of them have been really good. Some have them were meh. But this managed to surprise and excite me, someone who generally enjoys them. Yes, it's one of the best films of the year.

Oscar Prospects: Yes, this should be a worthy Animated Feature nominee.

Grade: A.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Postby Precious Doll » Thu Dec 13, 2018 8:29 am

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

I only went to this for two reasons:

1) Its being widely tipped as a possible Oscar nominee for animated feature and will have finished its run by the time the nominations are announced;

2) All the raves did get me curious enough.

I have scant knowledge of comic books and am only familiar with Spiderman via the animated TV show when I was a child, the Spiderman TV movie with Nicholas Hammond from the very lates 1970s and the Spiderman films directed by Sam Raimi - I've avoided the subsequent films in the series.

This appears to be taking Spiderman into new territory (for me anyway) and to be honest I found this a rather tedious effort for the most part - its basically a superhero coming of age film. A couple of the minor characters are amusing and it has a few good moments. The Stan Lee cameo is terrific but I left this very perplexed by the level of acclaim. The animation itself is fresh and different - always a plus to see these films expanding looks and designs.

I've seen very little in the way of animation this year. Only Incredibles 2, Isle of Dogs, Mirai and a little known film from Switzerland appropriately called Chris the Swiss which does not appear to have picked up barely any distribution details - shame as it is the best of all of these.

Anyway, I have no doubt that fans of Spiderman & Marvel will get a real kick out of the film and thoroughly enjoy themselves - and power to them for that. The reality is this film is not intended for me and I could never get into its grove.
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