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Angel P

Films - Watched and thoughts 2018

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Caught Red Sparrow on the weekend. Good spy flick, more Le Carre than Bourne, not as good as either but worth a watch. I read the book it’s based on and it does a decent job with the source material.

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Did a little Oscar catch up, and a few others recently

 

Disaster Artist - It's funny, Franco is quite good in it, and gives us some more insight into the weirdness that is Tommy Wiseau. I liked it, but it's not essential viewing.

 

Goodbye Christopher Robin - My wife is a fan of Winnie the Pooh so that's why we watched this. It's a historical pic about A.A. Milne and his son, who is the "real" Christopher Robin. It's actually pretty good for this type of movie. Good cast. It has some light feels. I dunno what else to say really.

 

The Big Sick - I kind of expected to love this, from what I had heard and what I know I like. I didn't. It's good. It has a decent amount of humour, it's a pretty good story and I enjoyed learning a bit about Pakistan, and how it can be hard for people from other countries to hold on to their values and culture in a new land. Ultimately though I think I wasn't really cheering for Kumail so I couldn't be terribly happy or upset with what happens. 

 

The Shape of Water - I hadn't really even heard of this movie until it got all the Oscar noms. This is actually the first Del Torro film I've ever seen. I watched the trailer for it and thought it would be a movie I could really really like. Its another movie that I only liked it, and I feel like something is wrong with me because movies that so many people are expressing undying love for, I'm just kinda "meh" on. I love the look of this film, and I loved the score, and the performances, and I was even invested in the characters. The first 2/3 of the movie I was completely on board with. Something in the last third just didn't work for me. I'm actually a little surprised this won best picture.

 

Icarus - Wow. Now this is a movie that I love. I'm a sucker for a good doc to begin with, and this is a great one. I love how it completely shifts gears. I love how gripping and suspenseful it is. I hit play on this on a whim late one night and would not turn it off until it was done, even though I really needed to be in bed. 

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I took a bunch of movies yesterday. I was in no mood for gaming and had the day off so why not play some catch-up? I'm also including some films I saw over the weekend in the theater:

 

Veronica (Netflix) - Taut and well executed demonic possession thriller from the director that brought you REC and REC 2. It doesn't do anything new for the genre and its not "the scariest movie EVER!" as the hype is claiming but young actress in the lead completely carries the movie and there's plenty of creepy here to enjoy. It's very much in the mold of "The Conjuring" and its sequel. Though maybe not as effective and there's some hints that what's going on may not even be real up until the finale but its well worth a watch. Just don't let the hype balloon your expectations.

 

The Ritual (Netflix) - I heard some bad things about this one but its been sitting in my wait list for awhile and I was in the mood for some horror. It's just fine. It won't stay with you and it takes a bit too long to get to the point but the payoff is solid. There's some good build-up to the monster reveal and I dug the design of the thing - especially at the end. The underlying plot dealing with Luke's cowardice in watching his friend get murdered early on never really worked for me as a motivation and just ended up making him pretty unlikeable right off the bat. Not sure if it was the right call to go in that direction given how the movie never really justifies it.

 

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri - I heard a lot of great things about this one and they are mostly right. Though perhaps I wasn't as impressed with the overall narrative here so much as I was by Francis McDormands utterly stellar performance as Mildred. I think that's where I landed when the credits finally rolled - that Three Billboards is a good movie that's elevated to higher status by an actress putting her whole heart and soul into playing a truly multi-dimensional character. There's emotion to be felt, laughs to be had, anger to felt and a seriously underrated Sam Rockwell (why did he not get more attention for this?!) providing a surprising turn by the time the movie ends. Out of the Oscar nominees I've seen, I don't consider it the best film of the year but Francis McDormand earned every last bit of that best actress award.

 

Lady Bird - I loved this. I thought I would like it but I really just loved it by the end. As a person who grew up with a tough and very critical mother, a lot of it hit home with me which just proves how effective the film is seeing as how its message can easily cross the gender gap. Laurie Metcalf and Saoirse Ronan are both so damned good in this. The chemistry they have on-screen just demands your attention right from the get-go. They can be combative as hell but always with an undercurrent of caring that pays off so beautifully at the end. Specifically the airport scene which I'll admit had the right emotional effect on me.  Highly recommended and one of my favorites in the nominated list.

 

Game Night - You know those movies that have a hilarious trailer and then when you're done seeing it in the theater you're disappointed to find that all of the funny bits were actually already in the trailer itself? This isn't one of those movies! I really had a great time with this one. It has a great balance of plausible and ridiculous and even when it maybe gets a little too surreal, you're having too much fun with it to be mad. Rachel McAdams is a damned knockout but she also has some pretty great comedic timing and it plays well with Jason Bateman who does the dry and witty act he's become known for to sheer perfection here. The supporting cast is hilarious (Gary!) and there's some surprises and twists you won't see coming along the way. If you want a good laugh, this is your movie!

 

Annihilation - I've personally been on an H.P. Lovecraft kick recently. Specifically I've been re-reading a number of his more well known novels but also some of his other short stories. Last night I started and finished a reading of "The Colour Out of Space". Imagine my amazement - literally days after seeing Annihilation -  that I never put two and two together and noticed the correlation! Now, Annihilation is *not* a carbon copy of Lovecraft's short story but Jeff Vandermeer (and by extension Alex Garland) are without question paying homage.

 

On the subject of the film, I absolutely loved it.  It's simple yet challenging and I can see why general audiences struggle with it so. I walked out feeling the same way I felt watching 2001 A Space Odyssey the first time. That's not to say the films are on equal footing (they are not) but the sense of discovery/wonder was alive and well. Did I also mention that the visuals on display are just superb? Oh and it has an incredible score. Oh and the finale is absolutely bonkers. Seriously, go see this damned movie now.

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You Were Never Really Here - It's been such a long wait for a new film from Lynne Ramsay, but it's been absolutely worth it. This is a very lean 90 minutes with such an emotionally raw, and near dialogue free, performance from Joaquin Phoenix that I'd unquestionably rank as one of his best to date. Superb sound design and a remarkable Jonny Greenwood score too. 

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1 hour ago, Angry the Clown said:

You Were Never Really Here

This wasn't on my radar.  Now it is.  Awesome tomato score and the trailer looks really good.

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April 6th is a crowded release date, should help make the wait for Infinity War more bearable.

 

You Were Never Really Here

Blockers

A Quiet Place

Chappaquiddick (Not reviewing great)

 

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I watched Annihilation last night. I enjoyed it, but it was uneven on various levels. The acting was decent, but not anything to write home about. Portman was quite good, which makes some of the weaker acting easier to take. Stylistically it's a cool looking film, although for a few scenes, I felt like I was watching a hipster t-shirt designer's work come to life.

 

Spoiler

Hackneyed concepts like flower-covered antlers and flowery vines twisted into human shapes... I swear I've seen these on Threadless.

 

Despite this, stylistically it still scores points and some scenes are breathtaking.

 

It follows a fairly standard minor-character-elimination plot, but I felt it pays off pretty well and in mostly unexpected ways.

 

If you like above average sci-fi with a mix of horror, it's probably worth your time.

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The Young Offenders, on Netflix streaming over here. 

 

Bloody brilliant. Adventures of two dumb chavs/neds/whatever, with a bunch of bite, a summer holiday, a bunch of laughs, a bit of heart, and the search for a bag of coke. I utterly loved this, and I'm going to have to track down the tv series that spun out of it. Really good. 

Ed, read the book series behind Annihilation - it's ridiculously good. Creepy & primal urge to run itchy in ways few books make me feel. All three are different, with the second being vastly different, but well worth reading. I need to catch the film while I can. 

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I can imagine how much more rich Annihilation would be in book form. I wonder if it suffered unduly when condensed into a 2-hour film. It felt almost perfunctory that certain characters had to go in a limited amount of time. On that point alone, a mini-series may have served the story better. 

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The book is utterly incredible. But the added “depth” to the characters almost entirely takes place through the biologist’s interior monologues so I don’t know how even a miniseries would do it. It’s a pretty short book; there’s not much more than a film’s worth of events in it, and Garland’s been loose with the adaptation anyway - it’s pretty different.

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Annihilation: well, I can see why they sold it to Netflix for the rest of the world. It managed to find a cinema audience in me anyway, thanks to a single showing at my nearest Everyman, and Garland has just made it for me, personally. 

 

I loved it. I’d managed to work my expectation levels to unreasonable levels with all the struggle to see it properly, and yet somehow it met them. The events of the film are so different to the novel they were still a big surprise to me, yet as a result they did a stunning job of recreating the feeling of despair, disorientation and wonder all bound together that I got from the novel. 

 

It was closer than I thought possible to experiencing Annihilation for the first time again; I can’t thank the makers enough.  

 

This might be the giddy afterglow speaking, but I may possibly prefer it to Ex Machina. I know. 

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Saw Ready Player One tonight - it was good but not great IMO. It’s sentimental in that way the Goonies is which is kinda sappy but loveable. Also, I forget where I read it but, it Really is a love letter to gaming specifically with all the retro games, references and stuff (I wanted to play VR the minute I left the cinema). So, without spoiling anything, seeing some great classic spaceships fly over some classic movie characters alongside some gaming classics characters was pretty nerdgasmic. It also has a great scene with an older film that was really well done. It has that kids-saving the day kind of vibe thing like the Goonies had but, just like the Goonies there is no real character development or anything; the good guys are the quirky band of misfits and are always good and the bad guys are sinister for no real reason and are always bad. None of that matters though - if you can suspend your disbelief it’s a fun movie that’s feels like it came straight from the 80’s.

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We saw Ready Player One at the Dolby Cinema - quite the visual spectacle and nostalgia trip... but ultimately forgettable. 

 

It's entertaining for sure but I was expecting some of that Spielberg "the feels" magic but it never came. There's quite a number of great sequences that would fit well in a trivia game. The CGI in display was great - I particularly liked how the Iron Giant was rendered. The Shining sequence was quite good as well.

 

I feel like you can make 2-3 rides at Universal with these sequences.

 

The last Spielberg film I saw at the cinema was "War of The Worlds". That was exhilarating on the theatre and left an impression on me. I remember thinking " Wow THAT's how you do an survival action movie".  I felt that was missing with Ready Player One. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I, Tonya - Entertaining movie for sure. Allison Janney is spectacular in it. I really like how they played with the “truth” based on different peoples version of what happened and the effective use of breaking the fourth wall. 

 

Darkest Hour - Also very entertaining. Gary Oldman is great in it. My knowledge of the details surrounding WW2 is not great, so this was quite gripping.

 

Dunkirk - Watched this the day after Darkest Hour. Probably missing quite a bit of the spectacle watching it at home on a TV, but still enjoyed it. It actually works quite well as a 1-2 with Darkest Hour. As my WW2 knowledge is not great, I wasn’t actually all that familiar with the Dunkirk evacuation, so seeing it from a number of different perspectives (from the numerous ones in this movie, as well as Darkest Hour) was quite interesting. The movie itself left me feeling a little “that’s it?” at the end, but I did enjoy what was there. I loved that Tom Hardy is in another Nolan movie talking from behind a mask the whole time. 

 

Watching both of these movies has gotten me a little more interested in WW2 history also. 

 

The House - I was more than pleasantly surprised by this movie. The premise is silly and quite improbable (but most comedies are), but it’s got some good laughs and a good supporting cast. 

 

Wonder Woman - It’s good. It’s well made (after a little shoddy CG work near the beginning), and it’s got some fun moments in it. It didn’t feel like anything special though. It felt like most super hero movies.  My wife really liked it though. She loves seeing women kick ass. 

 

Lady Bird - It’s ok. I don’t quite get the love this movie gets, but I guess I’m not really the person who is going to fully identify with Lady Bird (why would you choose that as your name?) and her mother.  

 

 

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2 hours ago, Graeme said:

Lady Bird - It’s ok. I don’t quite get the love this movie gets, but I guess I’m not really the person who is going to fully identify with Lady Bird (why would you choose that as your name?) and her mother.  

Glad I'm not the only one.  Preferred The Edge of Seventeen over this.

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2 hours ago, Angel P said:

Glad I'm not the only one.  Preferred The Edge of Seventeen over this.

 

Add me to that list as well.

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A Quiet Place - If you like Sci-Fi thrillers see this movie. It has a 10 Cloverfield vibe about it minus the ending. Really enjoyed it, solid throughout, and didn't find the thrills cheap. Blunt is wonderful as usual, Krasinski and the children were also good.

 
 
 
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On 4/4/2018 at 1:43 AM, Graeme said:

 

Watching both of these movies has gotten me a little more interested in WW2 history also. 

 

 

Well there are a ton of movies, and documentaries about every theater from WWII. Think I have seen most of them. It has always been a time I wanted to learn as much as I could about it.

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