The Official Review Thread of 2019

anonymous1980
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2019

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Apr 20, 2019 9:08 am

GRETA
Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Chloe Grace Moretz, Maika Monroe, Colm Feore, Stephen Rea.
Dir: Neil Jordan.

A young woman finds a handbag belonging to a middle-aged French widow. They become friends and when she finds out this is not the first time she has done this, she tries to cut it off but the older woman soon begins stalking her. One of the major draws for me anyway is to get to see Isabelle Huppert let her hair down, doing a Hollywood-ish mainstream B-movie and she seems to have fun doing it. She's appropriately creepy as a woman with parental issues. It's far from director Neil Jordan's best work but it is an immensely entertaining B-movie with some appropriate thrills, if a little too long at parts. What can I say? I enjoyed it. It's a fun little thriller.

Oscar Prospects: None.

Grade: B-

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2019

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Apr 13, 2019 8:51 am

MISSING LINK
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Zoe Saldana, Zach Galifianakis, Stephen Fry, Timothy Olyphant, David Walliams, Emma Thompson, Amrita Acharia, Matt Lucas, Ching Valdez-Aran (voices).
Dir: Chris Butler.

An English explorer wanting to prove the existence of legendary creatures encounter and befriend a sasquatch who wants to see his cousins in the Himalayas. This is the latest from LAIKA, the stop-motion animation studio and I have loved everything they have put out so far. This, I'm very sad to report, is my least favorite one. No, it's not a bad film, far from it but it did not have as much fun and sense of wonder that the other films had. The script needed at least one more rewrite, I think. There are some really good laughs and some great visuals. It's still a very good movie. But it sorely lacked that quality the other films had.

Oscar Prospects: Animated Feature is a possibility as well as Original Score and Original Song.

Grade: B

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2019

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:46 am

PET SEMATARY
Cast: Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, John Lithgow, Jete Laurence, Hugo & Lucas Lavoie.
Dirs: Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmeyer.

The latest version of the popular Stephen King novel about a family that moves into a house in the country and not far off from their new home lies a burial ground that brings dead things to life. I haven't read the book but I think I have seen the first film version of this. I know this diverged a lot from both the book and the more faithful first film adaptation. It's got some really creepy moments and some really good performances but in general, it's standard horror stuff, decent enough for a cable viewing for the most part. One thing I did love is the ending. It's totally different from the original film and, I know this looking it up on Wikipedia, the book as well. I won't spoil it but I think it elevated the film.

Oscar Prospects: None.

Grade: B

SHAZAM!
Cast: Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Djimon Honsou, Adam Brody, Grace Fulton, Faithe Herman, Ian Chen, Jovan Armand, Marta Milans, Cooper Andrews, John Glover.
Dir: David F. Sandberg.

A teenage boy in a foster home encounters a wizard who gives him superpowers. I know there's been a real glut of superhero movies lately. One right after another. I happen to generally enjoy them. I don't know if this will change anyone tired of/hates/dislikes superhero movies but it is one of the more fun popcorn movies as of late and certainly one of the more fun of the DCEU movies. It is cheeky and a bit self-referential but at the same time grounds itself with enough character and heart that it doesn't overstep into full-on ironic self-parody. Jack Dylan Grazer, I must say, fulfills his promise he showed in It. He steals the movie. Zachary Levi was pretty great too, sort of channeling Tom Hanks in Big. It is indeed a lot of fun and sometimes we need that.

Oscar Prospects: Probably none but I think Zachary Levi could sneak in a Best Actor in a Comedy/Musical at the Golden Globes.

Grade: B+

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2019

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Mar 30, 2019 6:59 am

DUMBO
Cast: Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Eva Green, Alan Arkin, Nico Parker, Finlay Hobbins.
Dir: Tim Burton.

People who know me know that Dumbo is my very first favorite movie and still remains one of my favorite animated films of all time. Among the crop of unnecessary live-action Disney remakes, this is one of the most unnecessary but Tim Burton is directing and I like him even to this day, so it should at least be interesting. The plot is basically the same: A circus elephant gives birth to a baby with huge ears. The little elephant can fly. The film's first act is practically a remake of the first one. This film actually pads out and continues the story AFTER the world finds out that the little elephant can fly to fairly mixed results. Tim Burton makes the film as Tim Burton-y as it can (the production design is gorgeous) especially in those two acts but I found the human characters to be just "eh". It's not too bad but it won't be replacing the animated version any time soon.

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

Grade: C+

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2019

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:16 am

US
Cast: Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex, Madison Curry.
Dir: Jordan Peele.

A family is stalked by their murderous doppelgängers. That's all you need to know. Writer-director Jordan Peele's follow-up to his remarkable debut in Get Out proves he's not a one-hit wonder and with this film, he has firmly established himself as a great genre director. This film is a real thrill ride. It's scary without relying too much on jump scares. It's dark yet manages to sprinkle in some well-earned dark comedy. The third act has some issues and I kind of guessed the twist half-way through the film. But nevertheless, it's a terrific horror entry and featuring some great performances. Lupita Nyong'o is particularly outstanding here. My favorite film of 2019 so far.

Oscar Prospects: Toni Collette and Emily Blunt failed to get any awards traction for very well-received horror movie performances last year. Could Lupita Nyong'o manage it? She does deserve it and I hope she does get in!

Grade: A-

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2019

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:46 am

TRIPLE FRONTIER
Cast: Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, Pedro Pascal, Adria Arjona.
Dir: J.C. Chandor

Five former Special Forces officers get together and plan to take out and rob the fortune of a Colombian drug lord. But you know how these things go. Yes, they never go according to plan. It's a Netflix film. When I first heard about this film, the first thought in my mind was, "Wait, isn't this just Three Kings?" But having now seen it, it is, in fact, quite different from Three Kings. I have to say that this film could have used that other film's brand of black humor. It could have made it special. As it is, it's a solid enough heist thriller with some fine ensemble work by its cast but nothing special beyond though it seems to want to say something about something. This is writer-director J.C. Chandor's latest work and he's usually a very interesting writer-director. I think he falls a bit short in this one. It's still a good film though.

Oscar Prospects: None.

Grade: B.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2019

Postby dws1982 » Sat Mar 16, 2019 4:50 pm

Wrestle
Of the five 2019 US releases I've seen, they've all been documentaries. (Many years I've not even seen five documentaries in total, by the end of it.) This is a very good one, I think, similar in tone and theme to Minding the Gap. It follows four high school wrestlers at an economically disadvantaged high school in Huntsville, Alabama.

Which is probably as good a time as any to disclose a few things: The coach of the team, Chris Scribner, is someone who I know a little bit. We've met a time or two and communicated off-and-on via text about a potential (non-wrestling) collaboration that never got off the ground. He's a super-nice guy, truly passionate about doing good and making a difference, and from all indications was an excellent teacher (was Huntsville City Schools Teacher of the Year on something like his second year in the job), and I think his personality is pretty well-captured in the movie. One thing the movie only alludes to is his socioeconomic position compared to that of his students. He mentions at one point that he had gotten into trouble with drugs and alcohol as a teen, but was given several chances. If the last name "Scribner" rings a bell, it's because you probably have several books from the publishing company on your shelf. He is from that family. Not a problem at all that the movie doesn't explore that (it isn't his story), but it is an interesting piece of backstory.

Being from the Huntsville area, a few things bugged me that absolutely would not have if I didn't know the town: In one sequence, they're at their first big tournament, in Birmingham, one wrestler is struggling to make weight, and it's the night before the tournament. It shows him at Chipotle, getting a giant burrito. When he gets back to the hotel, the coach and teammates get him down to the hotel gym to start sweating that weight off. The sequence is cut to seem like it's all happening the same night, but that Chipotle scene was from another time and place entirely: It was the Huntsville Chipotle, I've eaten there, and I've sat in the exact seat he was sitting in. One of the time-passing montages showed a field of cotton, but wrestling is a winter sport, and it doesn't even start until at least a month after all of the cotton is harvested. They show the giant rocket at the Space & Rocket Center several times, and while it's definitely the most noticeable part of Huntsville's skyline, it's on the other side of town from where those guys lived, and they only would've passed it if they were on their way out of town or their way back in to town. Also, when one of the players is at the State tournament, it cuts to a scene of him in a hallway, with a wall full of large pictures of past state champions, but again, it's another time and place: I know that hallway, it's at the gym of the former Athens High School (now Athens Middle, where my niece and nephew attend), in my hometown, not at a State championship match.

Those are little things though. You're not going to notice them unless you know this area the way I do (well, unless I point them out for you). This is a very good documentary, as much about class and race as it is about wrestling, and one that really does manage to observe people do some dangerous, stupid, and hurtful things without ever feeling the need to editorialize on it or offer easy solutions.

Not sure what the release schedule for this is (it never would've played here without the local connection), but it's worth seeking out, especially if you're in NY or LA (where I think it's playing). It'll air on PBS in May.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2019

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Mar 09, 2019 9:43 am

CAPTAIN MARVEL
Cast: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Jude Law, Annette Bening, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Honsou, Lashana Lynch, Lee Pace, Gemma Chan, Clark Gregg.
Dirs: Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck.

The MCU's first solo female superhero movie details the origins of the titular character. First the bad news: If you don't like Marvel movies, MCU movies or superhero movies in general, this is highly unlikely to change your mind. It *should* work as a stand-alone film but people who are enthusiastic and even care about the MCU story lines will be fully engaged in this one. Most anyone else will check out early. However, Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson have fine chemistry and there are lots of fun moments (I love Goose the Cat!). Plus it's nice that they didn't waste Annette Bening. As someone who enjoys the MCU, I happen to think this is a solid, fine entry.

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

Grade: B+

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2019

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Feb 23, 2019 12:17 pm

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD
Cast: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, F. Murray Abraham, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill, Kit Harington, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kristen Wiig, Justin Rupple (voices).
Dir: Dean DeBlois.

The third film in the How to Train Your Dragon franchise has Hiccup and Toothless facing threats of a ruthless dragon hunter leading to them discovering the Hidden World that's a hidden oasis for dragons. This conclusion of the fantasy adventure series lacks the surprise and novelty of the first one and the surprising depth and complexity of the second one. It's just a plain, rollicking adventure that goes on a little too long. But the film manages to end the trilogy in both a narrative and emotionally satisfying way while the animation and visuals are still good and there still laughs and thrills to be had. Not as good as the first two, but fine overall.

Oscar Prospects: Animated Feature and Original Song.

Grade: B

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2019

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Feb 16, 2019 9:18 am

THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART
Cast: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Tiffany Haddish, Stephanie Beatriz, Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, Charlie Day, Will Ferrell (voices), Maya Rudolph, Jadon Sand, Brooklynn Prince.
Dir: Mike Mitchell.

The continuation of the first LEGO Movie has the continuation of the adventures of Emmett and his friends as they face another threat. The worst thing I can say about this film is that it's not as great or as surprising as the first one (then again, few things are) since the novelty has worn (and the other two LEGO movies in between even lessened the novelty). What it does get right is that it builds and expands on the themes of the first one, making it a worthy enough sequel. There's still a lot of meta and pop culture jokes but they are actually clever and funny and never wears out its welcome while at the same time it crafts a fun narrative that's surprisingly also sweet and a lot of fun. Don't expect it to be good as the original though.

Oscar Prospects: None of the LEGO movies have ever made a dent in the Animated Feature race. I don't expect this to either unless it's a lean year. But I would love it to have an Original Song nomination.

Grade: B+

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2019

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:47 am

ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL
Cast: Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Jackie Earle Haley, Keean Johnson, Ed Skrein, Eiza Gonzalez.
Dir: Robert Rodriguez.

Based on a manga, this one is about 300 year old female cyborg who is revived in a dystopian future and is hunted down by a mysterious tyrant. This is a collaboration between Robert Rodriguez and James Cameron and it is marvelous to look at and has some fun action scenes. However, I can't help but feel this story, as rich and dense the mythology of it is, is better served as a ten-episode Netflix series rather than as a two-hour film. Despite the efforts of those involved, the film feels rather rushed, especially certain plot elements which I won't spoil and as a result is a rather meh experience. I can see why this isn't catching on as well they would have hoped. It is, in fact, better than most Hollywood adaptations of manga but not by much.

Oscar Prospects: Visual Effects is possible.

Grade: C+

HIGH FLYING BIRD
Cast: Andre Holland, Zazie Beetz, Melvin Gregg, Kyle McLachlan, Sonja Sohn, Bill Duke, Zachary Quinto, Glenn Fleshler, Caleb McLaughlin.
Dir: Steven Soderbergh.

During an NBA lockout, a sports agent resorts to desperate measures to try and get his client on the court again. I hope I'm not over-selling or over-hyping it it but I think this just might be the best basketball-related film ever made. Shot, beautifully I might add, entirely on iPhones, this continues director Steven Soderbergh's apparent streak of really, really interesting comeback work this decade after "retiring". This script, written Tarrell Alvin McRaney, is intelligent, sharp and witty. You don't need to know all the ins and outs of basketball or the dirty behind-the-scenes dealings of agents and the corporate owners that run the NBA. You get swept up by it. The ensemble cast headed by Andre Holland is simply pitch perfect. I know the bar is kind of low but this is the best film of 2019 so far.

Oscar Prospects: If eligible, Actor (Andre Holland) and Original Screenplay wouldn't be out of the question.

Grade: A-

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2019

Postby Precious Doll » Wed Feb 06, 2019 7:21 am

I suppose Velvet Buzzsaw can go down as my first disappointment for 2019. Given that I very much liked Dan Gilroy's last two films and the premise of a film set in the art world, something we don't see too often, appealed to me. Jake Gyllenhaal & Rene Russo have characters that are interesting from the go-get but get lost as the silliness unfolds.

Word of warning. DO NOT watch the trailer if you are thinking of viewing the film. It gives so much away that what should have been surprises were utterly ruined. Whilst I don't think I would have thought the film would have been any better had I not seen the trailer at least it might have been a more entertaining ride.

The Square this ain't.
Last edited by Precious Doll on Mon Feb 25, 2019 6:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
“Those Koreans. They’re so suspicious, you know, ever since Hiroshima.” Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange) from American Horror Story: Season One

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2019

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:34 pm

VELVET BUZZSAW
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Zawe Ashton, John Malkovich, Toni Collette, Tom Sturridge, Daveed Diggs, Natalia Dyer, Billy Magnussen.
Dir: Dan Gilroy.

Set in the art world, an art agent and an art critic uncover some extraordinarily creepy paintings from a mysterious artist and weird things start to happen. The reunion of the Nightcrawler crew of writer-director Dan Gilroy and stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo is in itself an intriguing start. A horror film set in the world of art galleries is even more intriguing. Unfortunately, despite the promising set up, the film fails to deliver a truly satisfying pay-off despite the concept and the abundance of great ideas floating around. I saw this on Netflix and it is worth checking out. Extra points for making the main protagonist a bisexual male.

Oscar Prospects: None.

Grade: C+

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2019

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Jan 27, 2019 9:20 am

THE KID WHO WOULD BE KING
Cast: Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Tom Taylor, Dean Chaumoo, Rhianna Doris, Angus Imrie, Rebecca Ferguson, Patrick Stewart, Denise Gough, Genevieve O'Reilly.
Dir: Joe Cornish.

The first time I saw the trailer and they presented the premise, I rolled my eyes. I'm like, "Oh God, not another King Arthur riff." But then it started winning me over and it seemed it could be a fun movie. The same thing happened, sort of, in the actual film itself. Set in the modern era, a 12 year old boy pulls out a sword from the stone and is destined to save the world from Morgana, the evil sorceress. Directed by Joe Cornish who also did Attack the Block (this is kind of a family-friendly version of that film), the film though set in current times feels nostalgic in its genre trappings, pulling liberally from both Steven Spielberg and quite a bit of Terry Gilliam in the process. The result is a film which I think if I saw it in my pre-teen years would be something I would be watching again and again. The climactic scene, I must say, feels like pure childhood joy. It does nothing groundbreaking but it's very well-made fun for kids.

Oscar Prospects: None.

Grade: B

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The Official Review Thread of 2019

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Jan 19, 2019 11:54 am

GLASS
Cast: James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Sarah Paulson, Anya Taylor-Joy, Spencer Treat Clark, Charlayne Woodard.
Dir: M. Night Shyamalan.

The third in a trilogy of films by writer-director M. Night Shyamalan which sort of deconstructs comic book and superhero mythology by imagining them happening in a real-ish world. This is the sequel to both Unbreakable and Split. This time, David Dunn is sent to a mental institution alongside "The Horde" and the titular Mr. Glass. First off, this is not a perfect film. Far from it. The dialogue is at times pretty bad and filled with a bit too much exposition, the film feels overlong and the climactic action-fight scene is a bit disappointing and sadly not very well directed. But, still, I liked it. It's still a unique take on the superhero genre. There are a lot of good ideas here though and I, for one, would be very interested to see where Shyamalan takes this series next.

Oscar Prospects: None.

Grade: B-


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