The Official Review Thread of 2016

Sabin
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby Sabin » Fri May 27, 2016 1:35 am

Mister Tee wrote
I also acquired a copy of The Lobster, which is a mostly nifty, inventive parallel-universe story where unmarrieds either find a mate quickly or are (SORT OF SPOILER, THOUGH IT'S EXPLAINED PRETTY EARLY IN THE FILM). There's a lot of deadpan humor in the premise, and a number of inventive details. Colin Farrell makes for a solid (if muted) protagonist, and Rachel Weisz, John C. Reilly, Ben Whisaw and Olivia Colman are all memorable. A good film; by default one of the best of the year so far.

This is easily my favorite film this year thus far even though I have a few problems with it. The first half plays like Jim Jarmusch directing a Charlie Kaufman script in the new future world of Her. It's wonderfully written with set-ups and payoffs I couldn't see coming and it goes into incredibly dark territory. Writer/director Yorgos Lanthimos wants to treat the second half of the movie with more or less the same seriousness and he just finds fewer ideas to explore in the relationship between Farrell and Weisz. It could've been half as long and I wouldn't have missed much. But I admire the film's dedication. This is fantastic work for Colin Farrell who is just excellent as playing a touch out of key in an already disconnected world, and Rachel Weisz proves once again to me that her strength is in off-beat comedies like this and The Brothers Bloom. She bores me most elsewhere.
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby Big Magilla » Thu May 26, 2016 10:55 pm

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.
“‎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 Okri » Thu May 26, 2016 10:11 pm

I saw Sing Street the other day. It's charming. It's got great music (I presume at least one of the songs will be oscar nominated). Modest in aim, modest in achievement, but very watchable and will probably get multiple viewings.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby Mister Tee » Wed May 25, 2016 7:42 pm

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.

Anyway, what I saw was A Bigger Splash. My feeling about Guadagnino, based on I Am Love, was that this is a guy who has the talent and imagination for great film-making but who doesn't seem able to match up his stories -- his content -- to his film-making skills. A Bigger Splash underlined all of this. For the first hour or so, I was taken away by his images, the scene-to-scene dialogue, and the performances (especially that of Ralph Fiennes, who's burst through in the past several years to become a hugely entertaining, extroverted actor). But the story started to meander, and it took a turn toward the end for which I was utterly unprepared...for which I think the film had not adequately paved the way. (The film is adapted from a French film I'd never seen; when I looked that film up, I saw it genre-classified in a way that made sense for that plot-turn...but that wasn't the genre in which this film appeared to be taking place for the first hour-plus.) In the end, I came out of the film frustrated it wasn't better/more coherent than it was, though I admired much of it.

I also acquired a copy of The Lobster, which is a mostly nifty, inventive parallel-universe story where unmarrieds either find a mate quickly or are (SORT OF SPOILER, THOUGH IT'S EXPLAINED PRETTY EARLY IN THE FILM). There's a lot of deadpan humor in the premise, and a number of inventive details. Colin Farrell makes for a solid (if muted) protagonist, and Rachel Weisz, John C. Reilly, Ben Whisaw and Olivia Colman are all memorable. A good film; by default one of the best of the year so far.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat May 21, 2016 10:52 am

X-MEN: APOCALYPSE
Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne, Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner, Olivia Munn, Evan Peters, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Lucas Till, Alexandra Shipp, Josh Helman, Ben Hardy, Lana Condor, Hugh Jackman.
Dir: Bryan Singer.

A powerful ancient mutant rises up from his burial ground and recruits four "horsemen" to bring about the end of humankind. I've read reviews of this saying it's worse than X-Men: The Last Stand. I say, aww hell no. It's nowhere near that bad. Sure, it is the weakest of the "prequel" trilogy and it's showing signs of franchise fatigue but it's still a pretty entertaining superhero movie. There are some elements here to be enjoyed: Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner and Kodi Smit-McPhee all nail their roles. I'd love to see solo films concentrating on their characters. However, Oscar Isaac is very disappointing as the main villain Apocalypse. He's neither frightening nor is he a fun villain. He's lost under all that makeup and just a big bag of blah. It's not a masterpiece but it's not bad.

Oscar Prospects: Visual Effects and Makeup & Hairstyling.

Grade: B-

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby anonymous1980 » Thu May 19, 2016 10:34 am

THE WITCH
Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Ellie Grainger, Lucas Dawson.
Dir: Robert Eggers.

A Puritan family from 1700's New England are kicked out of their village and they decide to settle on an isolated patch of land near the dark woods. After the baby of the family disappears, they begin to experience horrific goings-on that may be the work of someone sinister (the title character). Though generally well-received, this is a wildly divisive film among audiences. It's not a conventional horror movie by any stretch of the imagination. It's been described as a "slow burn" (as cinephile I've seen some really slow films, this ain't that slow) and may not satisfy those expecting a thrill ride. This is more of creepy heebie-jeebies type of ride. Count me as one of its admirers. Beautifully photographed and superbly acted by a fine ensemble of actors who actually sell the period dialogue. Robert Eggers is a promising young filmmaker whom I'm eager to see more from.

Oscar Prospects: This wouldn't be an embarrassing nominee for Cinematography and Original Score.

Grade: B+

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat May 14, 2016 4:15 am

THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE
Cast: Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader, Peter Dinklage, Keegan Michael Key, Sean Penn, Tony Hale, Kate McKinnon, Ike Barinholtz, Titus Burgess, Billy Eichner, Danielle Brooks. (voices).
Dirs: Clay Kaytiss, Fergal Reilly.

As The LEGO Movie once proved, you can pretty much make an excellent film based on anything. So when I heard that they were gonna make a movie based on a smart phone app, I had hopes that this would turn out that way. Unfortunately, this is not the case. It's pretty much what you would expect a movie based on Angry Birds would be. As soon as the Green Pigs show up, you pretty much know where it's headed. The film comes to life when the character voiced by Peter Dinklage shows up. He plays an eagle, the only bird (in that world) who could fly. He almost stole the entire film. The rest of the film however is pretty much like the app itself: It's a pleasant time-killer when you're bored.

Oscar Prospects: None.

Grade: C-

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby OscarGuy » Tue May 10, 2016 12:25 pm

Actually, I'm a pretty big MCU defender too. However, I found this to be only marginally better than the last Avengers film. I think I'm just tired of Iron Man in general. What they did with Winter Soldier (the franchise's true high water mark) is exactly what I expect from a comic book movie: taking a stance on an important modern social/political issue. This film really doesn't dig into any deep concepts the way the prior Captain America film did and most of what's on display here feels disjointed and loosely connected. Even the two post-credits stingers felt like they were tacked on with little relevance.
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby Sabin » Tue May 10, 2016 12:05 pm

...sigh...fine, I'll go...

I might be the biggest fan of the Marvel films on this board, which is ironic because I skew among the most level-headed of my friends. I can't tell you what a great time I had during Captain America: Civil War and how much it evaporated in the clear light of day. More than any Marvel film I can think of it, it brings up big ideas but ultimately is only concerned with using them to motivate characters into conflict. This film pays lip service to collateral damage but (not surprisingly) doesn't care. On the plus side, the conflict that the characters are thrust into is an incredibly entertaining thirty minute action set-pieces that I couldn't have enjoyed more. There are four or five action scenes in Captain America: Civil War (a better title would be Avengers: Schism) and all of them work because the Russo Brother's are excellent at action but also because every character (and there are quite a few) feels participatory and most are given a clear, personal stake in this fight. I fall somewhere in middle of those who view this as a high-water mark and those who see it as a weightless lark. To risk sounding like Armond White, the Russo's are expert at TV-investment, giving the appearance of drama but really just interested in moving it along -- but man, are they good with action! And I didn't really notice the film's flaws until after it was over. For summer fare, that's good work.

And then there's Tom Holland as Spider-Man, my favorite character ever. I could write about everything I love about this character for days. Spider-Man 2 (the Raimi, not the Webb, which I still haven't seen) is likely my favorite summer movie ever for its warmth, humor, emphasis on character, de-emphasis of villainry, and all around Jewiness. This kid is spot-on perfect as Peter Parker as we've never seen him before: as a goddamn child who is hurled into the line of danger. Irvin is right. He is immediately the best Spider-Man we've ever seen, utterly winning. Cocky, awkward, and totally out of his league. I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to Spider-Man: Homecoming.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby Mister Tee » Wed May 04, 2016 7:45 pm

Can I say how much I'm looking forward to BJ's "Duped again!" post about Captain America?

I can't recall a time, post-my wife's illness, that I felt less desire to go to the movies; what few things out there grab my attention seem like they can easily wait for home-viewing. But I did see Eye in the Sky a few weeks back, and I found it fairly engaging -- a cross between a military thriller and a satire of bureaucratic decision-making, with an almost over-qualified cast. In this desultory season, it passes for a high point.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Apr 30, 2016 8:11 am

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR
Cast: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlet Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Don Cheadle, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Daniel Bruhl, William Hurt, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Rudd, Jeremy Renner, Emily VanCamp, Tom Holland, Martin Freeman, Frank Grillo, Marisa Tomei, John Slattery, Alfre Woodard.
Dirs: Anthony Russo & Joe Russo.

Captain America and Iron Man have a difference of opinion in regards to how the world will utilize supeheroes and it escalates to a huge fight. Marvel never ceases to amaze me. Just when I thought I was experiencing superhero fatigue, they manage to find a way to invigorate their properties and win me back. This is an example of it. It's amazing that this film SHOULD be one big bloated mess with so many characters going around but it managed to tell a sharp straightforward story that's still distinctly a Captain America movie. It is funny when it needed to be and serious when it needed to be. The introductions of Black Panther and Spider-Man made me excited for both their solo movies. Tom Holland, in particular, steals the film and in his limited screen time, manages to be the best cinematic Spider-Man (no joke).

Oscar Prospects: Visual Effects, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing.

Grade: A-

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Apr 23, 2016 10:30 am

MIDNIGHT SPECIAL
Cast: Michael Shannon, Jaeden Lieberher, Joel Edgerton, Adam Driver, Kirsten Dunst, Sam Shepard.
Dir: Jeff Nichols.

A young boy with strange abilities along with his father and a state trooper (then later his mother) are on the run from both government agents and the religious cult that worships the boy as a new Messiah. Writer-director Jeff Nichols truly is one of the most talented young filmmakers today. This film is quite reminiscent of Spielberg films from the 1980's yet at the same time manages to produce something fresh and new with the genre. Is it perfect? Nope. I would say this is even Jeff Nichols' most flawed film at least from the ones I've seen. But one can't help but applaud him for trying to swing for the fences. It's definitely a film that you can at least admire. I liked it quite a bit, I must say. The performances are terrific.

Oscar Prospects: Maybe Visual Effects?

Grade: B+

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Apr 16, 2016 11:19 am

THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER'S WAR
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Jessica Chastain, Emily Blunt, Nick Frost, Rob Brydon, Sam Claflin.
Dir: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan.

This is both a prequel and a sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman, focusing on the Huntsman and does not feature Snow White at all. Though I'm no fan of Kristen Stewart in that film, it seems silly and unnecessary to have it without her around. This is about the Evil Queen's sister, the Ice Queen and how she trained an army of "Huntsmen" and fills the grief in her life with battles. Sort of like Frozen meets Game of Thrones. There are some admittedly cool visuals here (the visual effects and Colleen Atwood's costumes are eye-popping), a few fun moments and it employs an excellent cast who do try to give the material some heft. But ultimately, this seems like a cinematic product of a group of executives. This is the kind of film that won't be an offensive background noise when it's on cable.

Oscar Prospects: Probably none because its negative reviews will bury it.

Grade: C-

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby Sabin » Sat Apr 09, 2016 2:35 pm

Hail, Caesar! (Joel & Ethan Coen)

I wonder if the Coens went into this movie thinking they were making a hit. Inadvertently they ended up making their most audience-infuriating film to date. Audiences gave Joel & Ethan Coen's latest a Cinemascore of C-. That's crazy low! I can see how this happened. Inside Llewyn Davis went out of its way to give Llewyn a literal cat to save. Eddie Mannix may spend his time fixing problems but the narrative pivots between so many tangents that it's hard to really get a handle on who exactly he is, what exactly he's doing, and why it or he matters. He bounces between them in a noir pastiche that's treated as a throwaway gag which I didn't totally get and I think it's fairly misguided. He's an ultra-competent, gruff, low energy cipher where perhaps something a little more inspired (or at the very least urgent) was required. I honestly wonder if Alden Ehrenreich, easily the film's most endearing character, could've fit the bill entirely.

I think they're trying to say that Hollywood is a place of capitalism, and capitalism is a church just like any other. Within it there are faithfuls and cronies and dissidents and they all work together to spread a message to the people just like any mass gospel. Or it began in the Coens' minds as a tabloid panorama of old Hollywood tropes and subversions, and it ended up as a bunch of sketches strung together. If I were to describe a new upcoming Coen Brothers film as being about a Hollywood fixer who has to rescue an idiot movie star from the clutches of blacklisted communist writers, find a husband for a pregnant starlet, rebrand a hapless cowboy as a Lubitsch-ian sophisticate, all while keeping scandal from coming out and being courted for a new job, you might think two things: A) that sounds great!, and B) that also sounds like one too many things.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Apr 09, 2016 11:58 am

10 CLOVERFIELD LANE
Cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman, John Gallagher Jr., voice of Bradley Cooper.
Dir: Dan Trachtenberg.

Produced by JJ Abrams and featuring a screenplay co-written by Damien Chazelle, the trailer of this plopped out of nowhere and it looked quite intriguing. It's a sequel of sorts (but only very vaguely a sequel) to the other JJ Abrams monster movie Cloverfield but this time, the action shifts to a doomsday bunker where a young woman is being held by a man who may or may not be telling the truth about "an attack". I was fortunate enough to not be spoiled by the secrets of this film and I'm glad. Part of its appeal is that it keeps you guessing and on your toes at all times with your allegiances shifting. John Goodman is simply amazing as the owner of the doomsday bunker. A solid genre effort all throughout.

Oscar Prospects: I'm not kidding when I say that John Goodman probably deserves an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for this. This also wouldn't be an embarrassing nominee for Best Original Screenplay.

Grade: B+

THE JUNGLE BOOK
Cast: Neel Sethi, voices of Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong'o, Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo Esposito, Christopher Walken, Garry Shandling.
Dir: Jon Favreau.

Did a live-action remake of the Disney adaptation of The Jungle Book needed to happen? Absolutely not. Is this still a pretty darn good movie? Yes. Both can be true. The film has the same basic story. A "man-cub" named Mowgli is raised by wolves in the jungles of India and has adventures with a bear named Baloo and a panther named Bagheera and so on and so forth. Even if you know (and love) the Disney version, this still manages to feel fresh and fun. The CGI talking animals are quite convincing with a fine supporting voice cast. It won't replace the original Disney version but as an adaptation of the original Rudyard Kipling stories, it's a very good one.

Oscar Prospects: Strong contender for Visual Effects. Sound Mixing, Sound Editing and Production Design are also possible.

Grade: B+


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