The Official Review Thread of 2016

anonymous1980
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby anonymous1980 » Wed Jul 06, 2016 10:09 am

MA'ROSA
Cast: Jaclyn Jose, Julio Diaz, Andi Eigenmann, Felix Roco, Jomari Angeles, Baron Geisler, Mark Anthony Fernandez, Mon Confiado, Mercedes Cabral, Allan Paule, Maria Isabel Lopez.
Dir: Brillante Mendoza.

A woman from the poor district of Manila who owns a small convenience store make ends meet by selling drugs. She and her husband get busted by some corrupt cops who demand a 200,000 peso "bail". Their children each try to raise the money. This film won veteran Filipino actress Jaclyn Jose the Best Actress prize in Cannes. She's actually known here for her more restrained, subtle type of acting in an industry which tends to favor the big, emotional scenery chewing type. That's why she's such a good fit for Brillante Mendoza's films. She imbues a very lived-in, realistic quality to her performance. The film itself is kind of flawed. It's Brillante Mendoza going back to familiar territory and he did elements of this better in his previous films. It's not quite a masterpiece, I'd probably consider it mid-tier Mendoza at best, but it's still a very good film.

Oscar Prospects: You know, Brillante Mendoza has NEVER been submitted by the Philippines for the Oscars? Strange, I know. We might just do it this year.

Grade: B.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby Sabin » Tue Jul 05, 2016 1:50 pm

Swiss Army Man probably has more to offer than those who hate it but less than those who love it. I'll admit to being slightly tickled to see a movie this silly become a summer talk piece. Critics seem to be split down the middle between those who enjoyed it and those who think it's just childish. If I had to guess, I'd say most moviegoers are going to fall into the former camp, and judging from its weekend haul, this film is probably going to end up as one of the summer's indie hits -- and honestly, because this summer is so dire with blockbusters, that's almost enough to make me want to forgive everything that's wrong with it.

Basically, Paul Dano is about to hang himself on a desert island. Daniel Radcliffe washes ashore. He's a farting corpse. Radcliffe rides this farting corpse to a less deserted piece of land and they have to find civilization together -- and I find simply writing these sentences down to be pretty amusing.

What doesn't work about the movie is that it's twist (if you can call it that) doesn't make any sense. What does work is that the filmmakers don't care and neither should we. I'm going to go out on a limb and say this will be Armond White's worst film of the year. It flatters to millennial generational self-absorption like no film I've even seen in my life. Unlike Garden State for the previous generation, at least Swiss Army Man is consistently visually inspired (if fairly bombarding) and playful. The plotting is a total mess and they make a hash out of clarifying some very simple story elements, but I was charmed enough to give it a pass. On the one hand, it is every bit the lark that a farting corpse movie should be. But also there's a sweet idea at the core of it, that in your darkest moments, anything can become the dearest thing in the world to you.

And they totally fall in love.

This is probably the most "Paul Dano" Paul Dano role I've ever seen. He's always playing overly-sensitive men with inarticulate attachments and philosophies. In retrospect, it's kind of amazing he wasn't cast in Her. He's quite good here though. Daniel Radcliffe is hysterical. He has to be one of the most viewed actors of his generation, but like Kristen Stewart I've seen him in almost nothing that's gotten him attention. This might be the most I've seen him on-screen without a wizard's hat, but this role was a very good move for him.

Yeah, it's a farting corpse movie. In many ways, it's not much more than that. Not nearly as much as its hipster champions are making it out to be. But I have a really hard time not smiling when I think about it.
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Jul 02, 2016 9:30 am

THE LEGEND OF TARZAN
Cast: Alexander Skarsgaard, Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz, Margot Robbie, Djimon Hounsou, Jim Broadbent.
Dir: David Yates.

Do we really need another adaptation of Tarzan? The answer is of course no. But again, that doesn't mean you can't make another good Tarzan movie if you have a fresh idea. This one seemed to think that it did. It centers around Tarzan coming back to Africa after living as the earl of Greystoke in order to stop Belgian colonialists from using slavery. It's a potentially interesting idea and I like David Yates' work on the Harry Potter movies but I found this largely a dull generic slick Hollywood CGI fest which isn't even as good as the other jungle movie, The Jungle Book. Though it isn't godawful, it's still very competently made and very competently acted, it's all been there done that.

Oscar Prospects: None...well, maybe Original Song.

Grade: C.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Jun 25, 2016 7:55 am

INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE
Cast: Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldbum, Bill Pullman, Maika Monroe, Jessie T. Usher, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Sela Ward, William Fichtner, Travis Tope, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner, Angelababy, Vivica A. Fox, Robert Loggia, Nicholas Wright, DeObia Oparei, John Storey, Joey King, Chin Han.
Dir: Roland Emmerich.

The sequel to the 1996 blockbuster has of course the aliens coming back and wrecking havoc in ways that director Roland Emmerich can only do. I liked the original when it was first released and subsequent viewings show that it didn't hold up quite as well. The sequel is of a similar vein but not it's less fresh and the film doesn't really do anything new in this. Just like the first one, it basically rips off Alien and Star Wars and added spectacular disaster movie set pieces. However, it is not godawful like other of Roland Emmerich's recent films. I thought it was a pretty brisk two-hour distraction. I would call it "eeehhh-ntertaining". It's far from great. Not so awful that I'm mad. The fine ensemble cast (including Charlotte freakin' Gainsbourg who I was surprised would pick this as her first real blockbuster) merely play cardboard character tropes and it's only Judd Hirsch who comes off as an actual believable character.

Oscar Prospects: None.

Grade: C.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Jun 18, 2016 9:15 am

FINDING DORY
Cast: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O'Neill, Hayden Rolence, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Kaitlin Olson, Ty Burrell, Idris Elba, Dominic West, Sigourney Weaver, Bob Petersen, Alexander Gould (voices).
Dir: Andrew Stanton.

I thought Finding Nemo was a perfectly fine, perfectly superb animated film. It didn't need a sequel. But when I heard the concept of the sequel, I said, "OF COURSE!" It makes sense. This film centers more around Dory and her background and her journey to try to find her family. Personally, I didn't think it was better than Nemo as an overall film. But on its own, it's still a fine, fine animated film. One thing I do think this one does better is the supporting characters: Hank the Octopus, Destiny the whale shark and Bailey the beluga whale are superb creations that, quite frankly, could conceivably carry their own films. It's beautifully animated with plenty of laughs and lots of heart. It's not PIXAR's best but it's still better than most films out there.

Oscar Prospects: A Best Animated Feature nomination for sure. It's gonna be a tough fight between this and Zootopia.

Grade: B+

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby Precious Doll » Thu Jun 16, 2016 8:34 am

Paterson (2016) Jim Jarmusch

This lovely laid backed dog eared film is a charmer without ever feeling false or forced. Adam Driver gets to deliver his best performance to date as Paterson, a bus driver/poet, whose drives a bus around Paterson, New Jersey. Beautifully paced and understated Paterson is without a doubt the best film that Jim Jarmusch has made to date. I hope that it finds some traction with film critics come award time. Jim Jarmusch deserves some kind of award not just for this brilliance of this but for doing things his way for better or worse for over 30 years.

The Academy will probably not like it. Too discrete with no big scenes of 'look at me' to embrace for them. Film critics will likely be forthcoming in the praise and showering of prizes.

A real gem and the best film of 2016 so far.
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby Big Magilla » Sun Jun 12, 2016 3:18 pm

Mister Tee wrote:I might as well put it out there early: I found Fences on-stage to be one of the most over-praised things I've ever seen, so even the powerhouse Denzel/Viola combo is unlikely to win me over.


If you look at the predictions the four of us made on Cinemasight.com, you'll see that I was the only one not predicting Fences for anything. It's a one-set play that no matter how well it's opened up just doesn't seem substantial enough for Oscar. I think the big racial drama to beat will be Loving about the interracial couple in the landmark Loving vs. Virginia Supreme Court decision, especially in view of the focus there will be on the Court no matter who the next President is taking office around the time of the Oscar nominations.

In case you missed it, here are our way too early predictions:

http://www.cinemasight.com/2016-oscar-n ... it-begins/
“‎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 2016

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Jun 12, 2016 12:09 pm

NOW YOU SEE ME 2
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Lizzy Caplan, Dave Franco, Daniel Radcliffe, Sanaa Lathan, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Jay Chou, David Warshofsky, Tsai Chin.
Dir: Jon M. Chu

This is one of a series of sequels this year that no one really asked for. I barely remember the first and I only saw this at the inexpensive theater purely because I had nothing else better to do. The entire concept of magicians being Oceans 11-Robin Hood style thieves is intriguing but these two films really do test how much you can suspend your disbelief with their overly twisty, complex and contrived plots. Still, the talented cast who seem like they're having a good time make it somewhat entertaining and not completely terrible. Still there is no good reason for this film to exist. I'm still frustrated they didn't go for "Now You Don't" as a subtitle.

Oscar Prospects: None.

Grade: C.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby Mister Tee » Sat Jun 11, 2016 2:16 pm

Sabin wrote:Is it just me or is everybody on this board depressed about movies these days?

Far from just you. Right now I half-wonder why movies ever became a central part of my life. Not only is there nothing currently on the boards, the number of films even scheduled for release this year that pique my interest is punishingly small: Manchester by the Sea, Billy Lynn's Long Half-time Walk, Scorsese's The Silence if it's actually ready in time. I'm dreading the certain arguments over The Birth of a Nation (Sundance critics' reviews were mediocre at best, but it'll surely be elevated as response to OscarsSoWhite). And, I might as well put it out there early: I found Fences on-stage to be one of the most over-praised things I've ever seen, so even the powerhouse Denzel/Viola combo is unlikely to win me over.

To a few things I've seen:

Money Monster reached roughly the high end of my extremely low expectations. Any film like this is of course going to be unfavorably compared to Dog Day Afternoon, and it even pilfers from such copycats as Mad City. It also has one character (the producer with Viagra cream) who's buffoonishly drawn but then is give an unconvincing "serious" turn. And the whole unraveled mystery is strictly pulp stuff. But the film moves along briskly, and there are a number of fairly clever details. Totally forgettable, but generally painless and engaging.

Deadpool is junk food, and, as BJ notes, ultimately structured like most Marvel movies -- with a closing battle that goes on and on and on... However: funny is funny, and a lot of this movie is funny in truly surprising ways -- starting with the hilariously subversive opening credits, and continuing with what seem hundreds of throwaway jokes from, especially, Reynolds and his bartender sidekick. (Even Leslie Uggams is funny!) Disposable, certainly, and I have no doubt the already-filming sequel will drain away whatever freshness this effort provided. But, as I said, funny is funny, and I laughed an awful lot.

(POSSIBLE SPOILERS HERE) The most critically-endorsed thing I've see is the one that appealed to me least: The Witch. I'll give it credit for creating a hushed, vaguely spooky atmosphere with its recreation of the isolated colonial experience. But, once past the baby-snatching moment (which I'd seen in the trailer), I didn't find anything particularly memorable in the film-making. And I honestly didn't know where the film was taking me, narratively: it threw a lot of things out there as maybe the source of what was going on, but left them all vague. And then the climax, as far as I can tell, came pretty close to saying, Dammit, those Puritans were right: there were witches in Salem. It's of course possible all that's meant to be fantasy on the lead character's part, but the fact is, I didn't know that, based on the film. Nor, in fact, by the end, did I much care.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Jun 11, 2016 11:35 am

THE CONJURING 2
Cast: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Frances O'Connor, Madison Wolfe, Simon McBurney, Franka Potente, Lauren Esposito, Patrick McAuley, Benjamin Haigh, Sterling Jerins.
Dir: James Wan.

The original is probably one of my favorite horror films of recent years so I was really nervous that they made another one. Horror movie sequels are often complete crap. I'm glad to say this is not one of them. Is it as good as the first? No but it's pretty darn close. And it still manages to have a lot of really good scares and some genuinely creepy moments. This time the Warrens investigate a haunting in England where a lower-income family is tormented by the spirit of the former owner (again, based on a real-life case by the Warrens). I have to say James Wan is shaping to be one of the better genre directors out there. This is another feather in his cap. I love the fact that this film grounds itself with believable characters with good performers and makes it scarier. Overall, a really solid horror flick.

Oscar Prospects: None but I think the Sound branch ought to acknowledge this with Sound Mixing and Sound Editing nominations since the success of the film does depend on it.

Grade: B+

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby Sabin » Sun Jun 05, 2016 10:08 pm

There's not much that should be written about Bryan Singer's X-Men: Apocalypse. This is an example of terribly written film that could not be the fault of the writer. This is the work of a producer/director who had a lot of stuff he wanted to do, didn't care as to how it came together, and figured it out in the editing room. And it shows. This film isn't just a mess, it's an ugly mess. I quite enjoyed First Class and Days of Future Past for their alternate history take on the X-Men. X-Men: Apocalypse is so full of disconnected stuff that it doesn't have time to even be what it's about: a young group of inexperienced X-Men have to save Prof. Xavier from Apocalypse in the early 1980s. That is the story. The movie doesn't have time to develop them as characters or explore the era. Pretty much devoid of redeeming qualities.

Is it just me or is everybody on this board depressed about movies these days?
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Jun 04, 2016 9:34 am

THE NICE GUYS
Cast: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, Kim Basinger, Margaret Qualley, Yaya DaCosta, Keith David, Beau Knapp.
Dir: Shane Black.

After a porn star dies in a car crash, two rather ethically challenged and morally ambiguous private investigators team up to find a girl who could be involved in a web of conspiracy involving exposes of some corrupt politicians and the porn industry during the late 1970's. Though the script is flawed, the two stars Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling make it a better and it's so much fun to watch them both on-screen playing off each other. Gosling, in particular, is a surprisingly adept comic actor. If that's not enough, Angourie Rice who plays his daughter is also a wonderful scene stealer (I expect her to get more roles after this). The period details of L.A. during the '70s is impeccable without calling too much attention to itself. It's all often really funny with a lot of great moments.

Oscar Prospects: Maybe not but I do think it could get in Golden Globes in Musical/Comedy categories.

Grade: B+

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby Mister Tee » Fri Jun 03, 2016 1:48 pm

Love & Friendship is definitely worth seeing. It wouldn't have stood out during the Austen boom of the 90s, but at this point it's been long enough that its comic rhythms are welcome. The film starts out a bit confusingly -- a ton of characters get thrown at us almost simultaneously, and even explanatory title cards don't get us fully grounded. But, after a bit, things click, and it all moves along briskly and amusingly.

The cast is mostly fine without being outstanding, except for Tom Bennett. He has a broad edge, and if the part had been bigger, I'd probably have tired of him. But his opening scene is eye-wateringly funny.

This is the kind of movie that often gets nominated for costumes, and here it would be especially deserved: the longer the film goes on, the more vivid the colors seem.

In such a desultory film season, among the few things truly worth seeking out.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby Precious Doll » Sun May 29, 2016 7:09 am

Big Magilla wrote:
Mister Tee wrote:I've been almost movie-phobic since the Oscars -- every week, I look at the listings and can't work up enthusiasm for much of anything on offer. But I did finally go to the movies the other day...and the coming attractions almost turned me off for good. Is there really some universe where we need remakes of The Magnificent Seven and Ben-Hur? The studio moguls had their massive faults, but I think even they'd be embarrassed by the pathetic thing the mainstream movie business has become.


It's been that way for years. I can't remember the last time I went to see a movie that was released outside of Oscar season. Ten years ago? Five? If I got screeners I probably wouldn't go out to the movies any more at all. It's really distressing when I hear people my age and older who should know better talking about how much they love Johnny Depp and can't wait to see Alice Through the Looking Glass. On the other hand it's gratifying to hear how disappointed they were in the latest shrill Melissa McCarthy movie.

In an era where a lying, thieving, self-promoting egomaniacal reality TV star can win a major party nomination for President despite his almost daily obscenities and hateful rhetoric, and be considered neck-and-neck with a career stateswoman for the win, it may be not only what we expect, but what we deserve. It's all part of the dumbing down of the culture.


I must say I concur with much of what Big Magilla & Mister Tee have said. I am having less interest in going to the cinema that I ever had before. There is so much I am not interested in seeing and the overwhelming amount of stuff out there now would make it an impossible feat if I attempted to do such. I'm averaging 1 to 2 at the cinema a week, except when special events like a French or Italian film festival is playing and then I make an effort to see more films.

Truth be told, like Magilla, I would much rather watch everything at home now.
"I have no interest in all of that. I find that all tabloid stupidity" Woody Allen, The Guardian, 2014, in response to his adopted daughter's allegations.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat May 28, 2016 8:46 am

MONEY MONSTER
Cast: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O'Connell, Dominic West, Caitriona Balfe, Giancarlo Esposito, Lenny Venito.
Dir: Jodie Foster.

After losing a significant amount of money in the stocks of a big company, a desperate young man holds a Jim Cramer-type TV show hostage demanding for answers. The first two acts of this film, at least in my opinion, is a more effective Hollywood indictment of the financial crisis than the Oscar-winning The Big Short. Unfortunately, it drops the ball kind of significantly in its messy third act that's quite all over the place with its tone and what it wants to say. But still, it is overall a very interesting film with George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Jack O'Connell all giving excellent performances. Director Jodie Foster is able to mine suspense and humor out of the material.

Oscar Prospects. None.

Grade: B.


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