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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Posted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 1:34 pm
by Sabin
Reza wrote
anonymous1980 wrote
Oscar Prospects: Too bad it's not doing too well at the box-office. It does deserve at least Adapted Screenplay, Actress, Supporting Actress (Debicki & Rodriguez) and Film Editing.

Rodriguez has the same glum expression throughout as in all the Fast & Furious films.

Agreed. Rodriguez is not in the discussion nor does she deserve to be at all. She was disappointing in this overall very disappointing film.

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Posted: Sun Dec 09, 2018 2:56 pm
by Reza
anonymous1980 wrote:WIDOWS

Oscar Prospects: Too bad it's not doing too well at the box-office. It does deserve at least Adapted Screenplay, Actress, Supporting Actress (Debicki & Rodriguez) and Film Editing.

Grade: A-


Rodriguez has the same glum expression throughout as in all the Fast & Furious films.

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Posted: Sun Dec 09, 2018 6:53 am
by anonymous1980
WIDOWS
Cast: Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Colin Farrell, Liam Neeson, Robert Duvall, Daniel Kaluuya, Brian Tyree Henry, Garrett Dillahunt, Carrie Coon, Jon Bernthal, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Jacki Weaver, Lukas Haas, Kevin J. O'Connor.
Dir: Steve McQueen.

After their criminal husbands die in a botched heist, three women decide to finish the jobs themselves to pay off their debts and make some money. Based on a British TV series by Lynda LaPlante, on the surface, this appears to be just another heist thriller. But under the direction of Steve McQueen, it becomes much, much more. He layers in themes of race, class, gender, politics and bakes them into the narrative, making it more thought-provoking and rich. Unlike most other heist movies, the film is far more interested in character rather than plot or action. Yes, you do get a few action sequences (McQueen actually does it well) but the film is more interested in something else. There is a large ensemble cast here headed by Viola Davis and McQueen does not waste any of them, they're all uniformly great. Yes, this is a superb piece of work.

Oscar Prospects: Too bad it's not doing too well at the box-office. It does deserve at least Adapted Screenplay, Actress, Supporting Actress (Debicki & Rodriguez) and Film Editing.

Grade: A-

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Posted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:12 am
by anonymous1980
EIGHTH GRADE
Cast: Elsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton, Emily Robinson, Jake Ryan, Daniel Zholgadri.
Dir: Bo Burnham.

Man, this film was painful to watch. But it's still one of the best films of the year. Thirteen year old Kayla is about to go to high school and is struggling to fit in. Even though the main protagonist is female and a full generation younger than I am, I still found this to hit close to home on my personal experience at this stage of life. It's appropriate that internet personality Bo Burnham makes his feature writing and directing debut to be about the YouTube/Snapchat generation and he does it with flying colors. Thankfully, it seems he seems to lean more towards Linklater and Truffaut than John Hughes. The performances are fantastic. Elsie Fisher is wonderful and I also loved Josh Hamilton as her dad (rivals Michael Stuhlbargh as Best Movie Dad of 2010's) and Jake Ryan almost steals the movie as Kayla's quirky friend.

Oscar Prospects: A strong contender for Original Screenplay though it's also deserving of Picture, Director, Actress and Supporting Actor.

Grade: A-

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Posted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 9:06 am
by anonymous1980
A PRIVATE WAR
Cast: Rosamund Pike, Jamie Dornan, Stanley Tucci, Tom Hollander, Faye Marsay, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Corey Johnson.
Dir: Matthew Heineman.

This is documentary filmmaker Matthew Heineman's feature narrative debut and it's a very good one. It tells the true story of Marie Colvin, the war correspondent for the Sunday Times who puts her own life on the line to break stories about the human casualties in war-torn areas. I can't help but wonder Rosamund Pike isn't being talked up more as a Best Actress Oscar candidate (as of this writing). She is amazing as Marie Colvin, a passionate, driven, ambitious yet deeply flawed human being who wishes to shine the light on the voiceless victims of war. It is a very compelling story and a very human story as well. It does at times hit the notes too hard but its heart is mostly in the right place. Plus it was brilliantly shot by Robert Richardson.

Oscar Prospects: Rosamund Pike deserves a Best Actress nomination.

Grade: B+

CREED II
Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Dolph Lundgren, Wood Harris, Russell Hornsby, Phylicia Rashad, Florian "Big Nasty" Munteanu, Brigitte Nielsen, Milo Ventimiglia.
Dir: Steven Caple Jr.

The sequel to Creed which gave new life to the Rocky franchise has Creed facing off against his father's and Rocky's old Russian nemesis Ivan Drago and his son. Though it is far from a bad film, Ryan Coogler's creative presence as both a writer and a director is sorely missed but to be fair, they did try their darndest to recreate the magic. Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone are both wonderful. The film's biggest flaw and a wasted opportunity is the depiction of the Drago's since I think it would've been a far more compelling story had they've been a bit more sympathetic. There was a little bit at the end but I think it was too little, too late. Tessa Thompson is, as usual, awesome. I think this will play better to true Rocky fans.

Oscar Prospects: Original Song, maybe.

Grade: B-

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 10:56 am
by anonymous1980
BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, Chris Hemsworth, Jon Hamm, Lewis Pullman, Cailee Spaeney, Nick Offerman.
Dir: Drew Goddard.

Seven strangers find themselves checked in at the El Royale, a hotel-casino located in the border of California and Nevada and of course strange and criminal things start to go on. Though it's a tad too long and at times poorly paced, this is a refreshing original and grown-up piece of filmmaking that we hardly see anymore. The excellent ensemble cast was simply game at bringing to life this excellent piece of neo-noir. It's twisted and occasionally wickedly funny with a cool soundtrack. Now that makes it sounds like a '90s Tarantino rip-off and in a way, it kind of is but it's so much more than that. It's also a surprisingly thought-provoking and moving meditation on spirituality, religion and redemption as well, something I did not expect. It's not perfect but it's a gem of a film.

Oscar Prospects: It will be overlooked mostly.

Grade: B+

RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET
Cast: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot, Jane Lynch, Jack McBrayer, Alan Tudyk, Ed O'Neill, Bill Hader, Alfred Molina (voices).
Dirs: Rich Moore, Phil Johnston.

The sequel to Wreck It Ralph has best friends Ralph and Vanellope going to the Internet to help buy the part needed to repair her arcade game. The plot seems simplistic but there's more, which I won't spoil, and it's surprisingly moving, intelligent and fantastic. The rest of the film is of course a laugh fest filled with some of the best internet and pop culture related jokes and sight gags. Yes, there's a lot of shameless cross-promotion of the Disney brand and Disney properties but kind of like The LEGO Movie, the film embraces it and makes it a shit-ton of fun and a lot of imagination. It is probably the best internet-film since The Social Network. Although personally, I fear this might become dated in a few years, no matter how clever it is (in fact, I'm kind of impressed it didn't feel dated now since a film like this does take a few years to make.)

Oscar Prospects: I think it could WIN Animated Feature since the original did not. It's also a contender for Original Song ("Zero" and "A Place Called Slaughter")

Grade: A-

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2018 5:40 pm
by Sabin
Big Magilla wrote
Rich people falling in love and marrying at the end of the movie, royal or otherwise, are a staple of the Hallmark movie channel. You're thinking of the Hallmark specials which used to air on network TV and were of a much classier nature.

There were no royal wedding films from Hollywood outside of the early operettas in the late 20s and early 30s except for the Jeanette McDonald-Nelson Eddy films which fell out of fasion by the late 30s although one or two may have sputttered through the early 40s.

Fair enough. Dumb thought. Disregard that point.

OscarGuy wrote
The film is about the Americanization of foreign cultures, specifically Asian. The symbiosis of a very traditional mindset with that of a more liberal, and sometimes more enlightened, American one. It's also about traditionalism being corrupted by wealth and power.

Simple narratively, sure. I would definitely not say generic. There are some very gorgeous scenes and that closing bit in the Mah Jongg parlor is one of the best scenes of the year. I'd even consider some elements, such as Cinematography and Production Design, superb for a modern-set film.

The film is only about the Americanization of foreign cultures in that it is a gross film. I don’t think the film says anything about it at all. Both sides are “Americanized.” The Americanized plucky young woman wins out over the Americanized wealthy family, which by definitive favors the MORE Americanized young woman who is further away from both identities — at least existing in this film, maybe not the book. It’s not saying anything specific for one reason: this is an American crowd-pleaser.

It’s a good-looking film that deserves mention for Production and Costume Design.

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2018 9:42 am
by OscarGuy
The film is about the Americanization of foreign cultures, specifically Asian. The symbiosis of a very traditional mindset with that of a more liberal, and sometimes more enlightened, American one. It's also about traditionalism being corrupted by wealth and power.

Simple narratively, sure. I would definitely not say generic. There are some very gorgeous scenes and that closing bit in the Mah Jongg parlor is one of the best scenes of the year. I'd even consider some elements, such as Cinematography and Production Design, superb for a modern-set film.

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2018 8:18 am
by Big Magilla
Sabin wrote:
Big Magilla wrote
Why would this show up on TCM (Turner Classic Movies)? There is nothing classic about this thing. It's more a movie for the Hallmark Channel, if that.

The plot feels like any number of generc royal wedding films plucked from the 30’s or 40’s, minus any trace of wit or insight. It doesn’t feel Hallmark to me. It just feels old and not very memorable.

Rich people falling in love and marrying at the end of the movie, royal or otherwise, are a staple of the Hallmark movie channel. You're thinking of the Hallmark specials which used to air on network TV and were of a much classier nature.

There were no royal wedding films from Hollywood outside of the early operettas in the late 20s and early 30s except for the Jeanette McDonald-Nelson Eddy films which fell out of fasion by the late 30s although one or two may have sputttered through the early 40s.

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2018 1:40 am
by Sabin
Big Magilla wrote
Why would this show up on TCM (Turner Classic Movies)? There is nothing classic about this thing. It's more a movie for the Hallmark Channel, if that.

The plot feels like any number of generc royal wedding films plucked from the 30’s or 40’s, minus any trace of wit or insight. It doesn’t feel Hallmark to me. It just feels old and not very memorable.

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2018 12:47 am
by Big Magilla
Crazy Rich Asians is a celebration of the worship of money and bling. A more appropriate title would be The Kardashians of the Orient. It's about a small segment of the ultra-rich Chinese population in Singapore. It has nothing to do with the lives of most Asians any more than the Kardashians have to do with the lives of most Americans.

Why would this show up on TCM (Turner Classic Movies)? There is nothing classic about this thing. It's more a movie for the Hallmark Channel, if that.

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 7:53 pm
by Sabin
It wasn’t until I got to the opening credits that I realized it wasn’t Crazy, Rich Asians but rather Crazy Rich Asians. That comma matters and essentially sums up my reaction to the film: why do I care then? If they’re not dysfunctional or neurotic in an interesting way, then why do I want this bland Econ Prof to end up with this rich heir, especially when the most interesting thing about this film (they keep secrets) is left underdeveloped? This is one of the most generic meaningful films I’ve ever seen — It might as well already start playing on TCM — and by any metric besides quality it is a meaningful film in this country. A small game-changer. An all-Asian cast, a modest budget, over-performance at the box office. I don’t expect studios to dive all in on several Asian films a year, but they will be less reticent to do so. Let’s hope they’re better than this two hour slice of lifestyle porn.

I enjoyed Awkwafina and Mateo from Superstore.

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Posted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 3:03 pm
by The Original BJ
Everyone’s going to have their individual reactions to this year’s crop of films, but in answer to Mister Tee’s question — I think there’s a big split between the question “are the contenders this year good?” and “are the contenders this year WINNERS?” Because I’ve liked a lot of what I’ve seen so far (with Vice and Mary, Queen of Scots unseen by me but receiving strong early notices, and of course an Eastwood film always at least has potential to be special). It just seems like many of them are failing at some combo of not mainstream enough/not financially successful enough to feel like Best Picture winners. (Though of course, as I said, if Moonlight and The Hurt Locker were part of this year’s crop, we’d say the same about them at this point.) So, I guess it depends on your rubric, if a series of strong films that remain mostly niche items makes it a weak year in Oscar terms. (Although if that’s the rubric, we’re headed for a lot more “weak” years up ahead, as the divide between blockbusters and indies just gets larger and larger, and more movies like Crazy Rich Asians get included in the discussion out of sheer desperation to recognize something that wasn’t a franchise that made cultural/box office impact.)

Anonymous, your favorite Buster Scruggs segment is my least favorite, and vice versa, hahahaha.

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Posted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 12:00 pm
by anonymous1980
THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS
Cast: Tim Blake Nelson, David Krumholtz, Clancy Brown, Willie Watson, James Franco, Stephen Root, Liam Neeson, Harry Melling, Tom Waits, Zoe Kazan, Bill Heck, Grainger Hines, Jefferson Mays, Tyne Daly, Brendan Gleeson, Jonjo O'Neill, Saul Rubinek, Chelcie Ross.
Dirs: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen.

It's the latest from the Coen brothers and it's on Netflix. This is actually an anthology film consisting of six short films which focuses on various elements of the Western genre through the distinctive Coen brothers lens thereby blending black comedy, absurdity and surprisingly dark moments. As such, the six films are of varied quality. My personal favorite is the fourth one, "All Gold Canyon" which features Tom Waits as a prospector looking for gold. The opening titular segment is pretty freakin' hilarious too and sucks you right into the mood of the piece. The fourth segment with Zoe Kazan goes on for a bit too long and is my least favorite. Overall, it's a pretty solid entry into the Coen brothers filmography. Is it their masterpiece? No. But they made so many good movies, it's sad to call this mid-tier.

Oscar Prospects: Don't know if any of the songs are Original. Cinematography could be competitive.

Grade: B+

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2018

Posted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 11:23 am
by OscarGuy
The problem for Widows is that it got a B CinemaScore, which means audiences were lukewarm to it in general, which means word of mouth isn't likely. If Beale Street Could Talk could be a player, but what about Mary Queen of Scots? The reviews are good and the film, although period, could make a run the way say a Braveheart or Gladiator did? As for the Academy, it IS the kind of film they used to go gaga over...

That said, there are also films like Mary Poppins Returns and Welcome to Marwen that haven't been seen yet. I could see a cast for the latter more than the former all depending on how it's received. Zemeckis' last two films were duds, but the success of Flight, Beowulf, Polar Express, Cast Away, What Lies Beneath, Contact, and earlier show he can command box office pretty easily. If Marwen ends up being as fascinating as it looks and critics respond, perhaps it could come out of nowhere to become the prime contender.

Let's also not forget that Crazy Rich Asians charmed a lot of audiences earlier this year, though if WB focuses on one campaign over another, A Star Is Born will win out, so I wouldn't imagine they would cannibalize themselves, though a Best Picture nomination might become more plausible.

I think part of what hurt Green Book's chances was the controversy over Viggo Mortensen's out-of-character use of the "N" word at a press conference. While Mahershala Ali accepted his apology, it wasn't like he said that the use wasn't a big deal. I think that in itself might hamper the film's chances a bit. Plus, if the Driving Miss Daisy comparison were to hold, it would need to be a huge box office success. In today's dollars, DMD made over $230 million at the box office, which is pretty frickin' huge. It was #8 for the year at the box office, which is also significant. BTW, DMD's opening weekend on 3 screens was $24,581. Today, that would be roughly $55,293.