The Official Review Thread of 2011

koook160
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2011

Postby koook160 » Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:02 pm

Warrior left me wanting a hell of a lot more. It felt like a cheap, overwrought knockoff of The Fighter, a much, much better film. I must of missed something involvinh Nolte, because, for me, he was blubbering Oscar-bait that the Academy fell for hook, line, and sinker. Edgerton, on the other hand, the least praised of the cast, was the true standout. He did more with just a glance than Nolte did with his drunken scenery chewing.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2011

Postby ITALIANO » Sun Feb 12, 2012 4:56 am

Well, Greek tragedies were a bit - just a bit - more profound honestly - and were and still are an endless source of hidden meanings, metaphors, symbols, psychoanalitic archetypes. Needless to say, Warrior doesn't provide any of this. Most importantly, Greek tragedies didn't have predictable comforting endings - quite the opposite actually!

Actually, there ARE metaphors in this movie, and I'm sure that someone who knows American society better than I do could write an interesting essay on the way Warrior (unintentionally, of course) mirrors - and easily solves - today's tensions and problems. In this sense, yes, it can be a very interesting movie.

Because Warrior undeniably addresses several issues - including the economical crisis. Too many issues probably. There's the war in Iraq, of course: one of the characters performs (again: obviously) an act of heroism and then leaves the battlefield when one day the American army by mistake throws bombs on American soldiers (had it been Iraqi people, he would have stayed).

And did I mention the Russian villain? Ok.

But can I be honest? What I personally found especially irritating is the subplot about the high school one of the characters teaches in - in the end, the students and the principal get together at the arena to root for their wrestling teacher. The old and the new generation (of past and future intellectuals) united in their admiration for this very American act of violence (they even hug each other at one point). Ok, the students didn't seem very bright to begin with, but why were they there? Why couldn't they stay at school and, why not, learn ancient Greek and translate tragedies? That would have been a positive message. But no - the students in this movie will grow up to write or direct bad movies like this, or, even worse, to fight for their beloved country in other senseless wars like Iraq.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2011

Postby Big Magilla » Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:34 am

I didn;t find it anywhere close to being the worst film of the year. It's not a boxing movie. It's about mixed martial arts, which has a completely different set of followers and it was not a big hit. It was, in fact, a major box office flop.

I went into it not expecting much, although I had very much liked Gavin O'Connor's police corruption film, Pride and Glory with Colin Farrell, Edward Norton and Jon Voight. I did not like Tumblewooeds, though, and I didn't like the trailer for this film so my expectations were low.

I was expecting more of a wrestling type film than the Greek tragedy the film really is. I liked all three leads and the conceit O'Connor brought to it by having Joel Edgerton fight his bouts at lenth as Edgerton, whose brother is Australian premier stuntman, has a background in martial arts, while Tom Hardy, who had to learn the sport, demolishes his oponents in quick succession to hide the fact that he can't really do much. Nick Nolte could have used another scene or two, but he's fine in the late career kind of role that usually brings renewed recognition to an actor's career. In a year when mos films delivered far less than they promised, this one delivered more, at least to me.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2011

Postby ITALIANO » Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:12 pm

Yes, it's probably the worst of the year. And, of course, I would have never seen it if it hadn't been Oscar-nominated - I would have happily ignored its existence.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2011

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:10 pm

Warrior remains the worst film I saw from 2011. After viewing the film I assumed it must have been based on or inspired by a true story as the whole scenario was completely unbelievable, and that true stories are often stranger then fiction. I was shocked to find that it an original screenplay based on a story by director Gavin O'Connor and Cliff Dorfman.

Ham-fisted in the extreme, and way too long. Tom Hardy & Nick Nolte seemed to be competing as to who could give the most overwrought performance in the film. And the fact that the managed to make Joel Edgerton, who has the charisma and screen appeal/presence of soggy potato peals, look reasonably good in the film, is a feat in itself.

Gavin O'Connor made the charming Tumbleweeds more then 10 years ago and showed some promises. Over that time he has failed to deliver on that promise. I'll be avoiding anything he is associated with in the future.
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2011

Postby ITALIANO » Sat Feb 11, 2012 5:19 pm

Warrior, which I would have never touched if I weren't an Oscar completist (and maybe a masochist, too), is an obviously expensive, extremely noisy movie about fighters; unlike the best movies about boxing (and Americans have made some great ones on this subject) it has no poetry, no depth - it's just a succession of "big scenes", emotional or violent or both, which may be effective for some (it was, I guess, a hit in the US) but left me more bored than excited. And it's very, very predictable, too. Once again, I was probably the wrong kind of audience - not only I'm not American, but I'm not a conservative American: the "bad", most dangerous wrestler in the movie comes directly from Russia - more than twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall! And there's an unnecessary (plot-wise - but, it seems, very necessary in this kind of movie) and honestly embarassing subplot about heroism in the Iraq war. At least it says interesting things about high schools - its students, its teachers, and its principals. But that's all, basically.
Oh, I almost forgot - there's Nick Nolte, too, in the thankless, unnecessary role of a former alcoholic father (so unnecessary that he seems to disappear in the second part of the movie). Nolte has, today, a great, impressive face, big, full of lines, scars, eye bags, all signs of a life intensely lived. And he has, of course, talent. Even if not too young anymore, he deserves better and more important roles than a small, cliched one in such a commercial film. One can be glad that he's nominated because he's an intelligent and very good actor; but this definitely isn't an Oscar-worthy turn.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2011

Postby Sabin » Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:53 pm

Margin Call (J.C. Chandor)

I shouldn't be surprised that Margin Call was nominated in a bit of a surprise for Best Original Screenplay over Win Win, Young Adult, and a few other scripts. It has all the trappings of THE surprise writing nominee: rising star writer-turned-director on his first script that got made by A) sending it to one of the stars, who B) believed in him and brought all of his friends, and also happened to tackle a crisis the first out of the gate to pretty glowing reviews. Who wouldn't want to be J.C Chandor? Right?

And why wouldn't this cast want to work with Chandor? What does every actor want? Crocodile tears and a munchy monologue. Margin Call has that in spades. Really all Chandor has to do is get his coverage and stay out of the way. And to his credit, these hambones are pretty scrupulous about their bounty. It's a well-acted film with no real prime offender, save for Demi Moore who just isn't very good. In his very brief role, I'd cite Stanley Tucci for one specific reason, and it's the reason that Margin Call, entertaining as it intermittently is, ultimately isn't that great: Chandor talks circles around the minutiae of the crisis, but he really doesn't know more than you or me, right? Maybe he knows less. This is a film of pseudo-Mamet dialogue, but if Chandor has done his homework on what exactly happened here more than any of us, he certainly wants to leave it up to the imagination. This is dialogue that could be used to describe any crisis. It's woefully unspecific. Enter Tucci, who in his brief few scenes excels at giving the precise impression that he knows what's going on even if he is not expressing it. He's very credible, and he's been one of cinema's quiet assassins for some time now.

Kevin Spacey is the proper leader of this ensemble. After over a decade in creative exile, he's found his Willy Loman. I also liked Jeremy Irons a great deal, it'd be nice if they tapped someone a bit less...I don't know...evil-looking?

And then there's that ending, and I must ask though I risk coming across as a hack-structure Nazi...why was there no third act? There should be what? Another twenty minutes? And what a gross decision to leave that sound scraping over the credits. Unearned and it left a foul taste in my mouth.

(On a related note, J.C. Chandor's near sweep of awards for Best First Filmmaker over Sean (Martha Marcy...) Durkin is a bit of a injustice, but the two filmmakers have more in common than one would think. What does Sean Durkin know about cults? A little. He knows enough. A lot of it feels as much swiped from other films, but he does an incredibly good job at concealing his tells. Chandor, not so much. And that's only one reason why Sean Durkin deserved to dominate.)
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2011

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Feb 04, 2012 7:22 am

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
Cast: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Christopher Plummer Stellan Skarsgaard, Steven Berkoff, Robin Wright, Joely Richardson, Yorick von Wageningen, Geraldine James, Goran Visnjic, Donald Sumpter.
Dir: David Fincher.

Having already read the book and seen the original Swedish adaptation, this English-language version of the same story holds very little surprises. Apart from the terrific opening titles sequence, David Fincher's filmmaking style actually does not do all that much to make this any more than just a solid thriller. Overall, i think the Swedish original film was better as an adaptation. I do however think that Rooney Mara made a better Lisabeth Salandar than Noomi Rapace. She is EXACTLY how I imagined the character to be when I read the book. It's not one of Fincher's best works.

Grade: B.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2011

Postby Mister Tee » Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:49 pm

Quick takes:

50/50 is well enough written that I can see why it was figuring in the original screenplay discussion -- there was a fair amount of memorable dialogue -- but also minor enough (with a movie-ish happy ending) that it makes sense it was omitted in the end. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is solid as usual; Seth Rogen less annoying than typically; and Anna Kendrick is strong enough that I may revise my generally bear-ish view of her future. (Though, I have to say, the film's willingness to dance past the ethical issues raised by her actions is a serious weakness)

Considering it combines two genres in which I have next to no interest -- ethnic family drama, and mixed martial arts -- Warrior had its virtues, especially in the film's first half. Though the family situation is, in the end, hackneyed, and the script didn't go very far with it (or in a very interesting direction), the slow reveal of details made for some well-written and acted scenes. It's a shame, though, the writer/director didn't seem to know how to satisfyingly end the film. I literally have no idea what the final scene is supposed to mean.

Nick Nolte I guess has a typically Oscar-y role, but within that standard framework he has one truly memorable scene: standing outside Edgerton's house, every cell in his body yearning to be invited inside (i.e., back into the family). He may have got the nomination for going off the wagon, but it's that scene for which I choose to believe he was cited.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2011

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:50 am

J. EDGAR
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, Naomi Watts, Judi Dench, Josh Lucas.
Dir: Clint Eastwood.

I usually really like Clint Eastwood's films. This one is probably the weakest I've seen from him in a long time. Granted his last few films were far from masterpieces, I really struggled with this one. The film is full of potential. Somewhere in there is a great film waiting to be made especially since the subject of this film is such a fascinating, complex character. It seemed to want to be so many things that it lost me. Leonardo DiCaprio is a bit miscast though he has moments of greatness, I can't help but feel a LOOK AT ME!!!! I'M AAAAACTINNNG!!! vibe from him from time to time. Armie Hammer was really good but I agree that his old age makeup was horrendous.

Grade: C

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2011

Postby bizarre » Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:37 pm

And if anyone is to win over Spencer it'll be Melissa McCarthy, who somehow has developed a humongous base of support for her obnoxious performance. She could easily win SAG - she's an Emmy winner, a likeable presence on the circuit and a hardworking TV actress whose story will strike a chord with the many television-based members of SAG. Octavia Spencer, of course, has a similar story, so it could go either way. Personally I'd prefer Spencer who gave a stock character depth and managed to give the most backstory to the most underwritten role in the film.

Chastain could get 'body of work' votes but I think it could seem in poor taste to vote for her over Spencer, and in any case the role is relatively small and tangential to the plot. It would make a strange winner. I'd count Bejo as closer to the gold if The Artist sweeps at the ceremony.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2011

Postby bizarre » Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:32 pm

A Better Life (2011, Chris Weitz ... C)

I'm not really an Oscar completist but because Demián Bichir's nomination came completely out of left field I thought I'd give this a shot. This is a pretty typical, if subdued, 'problem' weepie that doesn't necessarily do anything new thematically but redoes the old stuff mostly with taste. There are interesting visual and structural touches thrown amongst the more amateurish directorial flourishes - the intro to a tv show providing a setting cue for the main story, one take of Bichir sleeping simulating a whole night's worth by the use of intensifying lighting illuminating the windows, passenger-seat observations on a drive to work forming an index of immigrant experiences in Los Angeles. And - perhaps this is credit to the strong cast - the story unfolds in a way that seems realistic, given Carlos' sentimentality and desire to impress his son it doesn't seem unbelievable that he would [spoiler]seek to get the truck back from the car yard[/spoiler].

Bichir's nomination isn't the best surprise inclusion ever, but it is a strong, uncomplicated performance which is for the most part effective. His last scene probably got him votes more for its subject matter than for how he played it, but he's an identifiable and sensitive presence who accrues character detail without seeming to do much at all. The performance, and the nomination, reminded me of Richard Jenkins in The Visitor - similar acting styles in a similarly quiet immigration-themed film. Not upset with this nomination although there are surely better performances this year.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2011

Postby Big Magilla » Thu Jan 26, 2012 3:02 pm

ITALIANO wrote:
I actually didn't make fun of Big Magilla and his Extremely Loud obsession, because I know that in many ways he mirrors a specific, and not minor, part of the Academy. His reactions to some movies help me when I make MY predictions. And for example I think he's not wrong when he says that Max Von Sydow could "steal" Christopher Plummer's Oscar.

But of course when he considers even Vanessa Redgrave a young hopeful who's just starting now in movies... well... let's just say that he has his own perspective on life. Which is good.


Where did you get that from? Vanessa Redgrave is six years and nine months older than me!

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2011

Postby ITALIANO » Thu Jan 26, 2012 2:39 pm

Reza wrote:
ITALIANO wrote:
Big Magilla wrote:
They're both blonde.

They're both named Jessica.



Now you have convinced me. Jessica Chastain will win.


Hey let's not fuck with Big "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" Magilla!!



I actually didn't make fun of Big Magilla and his Extremely Loud obsession, because I know that in many ways he mirrors a specific, and not minor, part of the Academy. His reactions to some movies help me when I make MY predictions. And for example I think he's not wrong when he says that Max Von Sydow could "steal" Christopher Plummer's Oscar.

But of course when he considers even Vanessa Redgrave a young hopeful who's just starting now in movies... well... let's just say that he has his own perspective on life. Which is good.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2011

Postby Reza » Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:58 pm

ITALIANO wrote:
Big Magilla wrote:
They're both blonde.

They're both named Jessica.



Now you have convinced me. Jessica Chastain will win.


Hey let's not fuck with Big "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" Magilla!!


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