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Ace wrote:
Coco was wonderful. Also nice to see Pixar tackling more mature themes in their movies.
Yeah; I don't have as much to write about Coco as I have for most of what I've seen this year, but that's more due to my personal weakness when it comes to reviewing animated family fare than Coco itself being a weak example of that particular style of film... because it's not. It's quite good, as a matter of fact; it's an energetic, colorful, imaginative trip to a fully-imagined Mexican underworld, with a touch of the macabre ala The Nightmare Before Christmas in the form of the skeleton people that inhabit it, to give it some more personality (but not so disturbing as to upset the kids, of course). It's also a rather politically important film, whether it wants to be or not, not just due to having Pixar's first non-Caucasian protagonist, or being the most expensive all-Latino-cast film of all time, but by coming during a particularly dark, racially-divisive era of American history, in the way it's driven by Mexican history/culture, specifically, Day Of The Dead, which is a primary focus of the plot.

And, while a lesser film could've used this aspect to turn into a tedious, obnoxiously transparent cultural lesson trying to masquerade as a legitimate film, or even worse, devolve into thinly-veiled, borderline racist caricature of a rich, historic culture, the fundamental, underlying affection that the creators of Coco hold for Mexican culture shines throughout its entirety, while still being a genuinely creative and engaging fantasy adventure in its own right. It deals with some very adult themes of familial loyalty, forgiveness, and redemption in a weighty manner without actually getting weighed down, deals with some very adult themes of familial loyalty, forgiveness, and redemption in a weighty manner without actually getting weighed DOWN, along with some unexpected twists of story and character that I genuinely didn't see coming. And, while Coco isn't nearly as funny as a lot of other Pixars, it was still a surprisingly emotional experience nonetheless, with one of the most moving, tear-jerking moments in the company's entire long history, which is saying something. Long story short, whether you're young or old, I think just about everyone will find something of worth within Coco, and find it to be another strong addition to what is an already-historic canon of Pixar releases.

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Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:55 pm
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Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Are you referring to The Turin Horse?


That's the one.


Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:47 pm
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The Big Sick. Good. Charming without falling into twee. The two pairs of parents stole the show. The middle stretch where you meet Emily's parents through Kumail's eyes was the highlight for me. Showalter's direction felt too pat and indie-predictable. There was a scene where Kumail (who does fine work) was listening to Emily's voicemails, and I had trouble hearing her voice over the indie guitar-picking overlaid on the soundtrack.


Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:11 pm
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ski petrol wrote:

That's the one.

By any chance, are you lux from RT, because I remember him calling that film a masterpiece quite some time ago. If so, great to have you here.

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Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:27 pm
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I didn't mention it in my FB post or my review but yes it was nice to get some representation in film with Coco. We have had famous directors win Best Picture but it's been more of an afterthought. Not like this. Where it's our heritage right up and center.


Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:57 pm
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Some quick thoughts on the last two films I've seen...

Deepwater Horizon (2016) follows the real-life events of the explosion and fire in the titular oil rig. It manages to stay afloat (no pun intended) thanks to a tight direction and solid performances, despite being too two-dimensional. Mark Wahlberg is ok, Kurt Russell is always good, and John Malkovich is delicously hammy. Really enjoyed it a lot. Grade: B+

Nocturnal Animals (2016) Now this is one I wasn't prepared for. Was expecting something more thriller-like, but was surprised at how psychological and symbolical it was. Superbly acted and thought-provoking, it surely left an impression. One that I will probably write more about later. Grade: A-


Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:50 am
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The Circle - 5/10

I'm not sure whether the blame falls more on writer Dave Eggars or director James Ponsoldt, but since they're both insufferable hipsters we'll call it an even embarrassment. Having not read Eggars' book, I can't tell to what degree the pooch got screwed here, but it goes from the contemporarialy intriguing set-up of examing the Panopticism of our current "social" technology, and with sharp cult-parallels, to somehow doubling down on some kind of more egalitarian form of invisible social control, like an equal-opportunity surveillance tyranny, because the problem with such a system can't merely be its inherent corruptibility. In this way, the film tries to have its cake and eat it too. It shows, adequetely but not as well as The Conversation or The Lives of Others, the damages that such subtley coerced behavior can have on people, but then decides, like Pet Semetary, that the real problem is that we just haven't buried enough people into the program.

The philosophical flaw is the conflation of "secrecy" with "privacy", or the assumption that those seeking to safeguard the latter are invariably seeking to perpetuate the former, which is a useful technique in convincing people that privacy is somehow a shameful and sordid reflex, rather than a psychologically necessary form of decompressing the social stresses of one's day. This misundertanding of the inherently voluntary nature of intimacy, built on trust (consensual disclosure of personal knowledge), ignores how the uniform access of one's inner life and emotions to everyone indiscriminately erodes the value of such personal relationships which are based on earning trust through emotional accountability. That We Are The World shit may work well for Foxcomm, or in cults, but we don't need this "well-behaved society" at the expense of being meaningful individuals with inner lives worth more than taking for granted.

Plus, it's a super boring movie. Any random Black Mirror episode (but especially "Nosedive") provides a far more incisive and imaginative take on the way our technology can erode ourselves as authentic and feeling people.


Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:24 am
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Logan Lucky B


Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:24 am
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Jinnistan wrote:
The Circle - 5/10

I'm not sure whether the blame falls more on writer Dave Eggars or director James Ponsoldt, but since they're both insufferable hipsters we'll call it an even embarrassment. Having not read Eggars' book, I can't tell to what degree the pooch got screwed here, but it goes from the contemporarialy intriguing set-up of examing the Panopticism of our current "social" technology, and with sharp cult-parallels, to somehow doubling down on some kind of more egalitarian form of invisible social control, like an equal-opportunity surveillance tyranny, because the problem with such a system can't merely be its inherent corruptibility. In this way, the film tries to have its cake and eat it too. It shows, adequetely but not as well as The Conversation or The Lives of Others, the damages that such subtley coerced behavior can have on people, but then decides, like Pet Semetary, that the real problem is that we just haven't buried enough people into the program.

The philosophical flaw is the conflation of "secrecy" with "privacy", or the assumption that those seeking to safeguard the latter are invariably seeking to perpetuate the former, which is a useful technique in convincing people that privacy is somehow a shameful and sordid reflex, rather than a psychologically necessary form of decompressing the social stresses of one's day. This misundertanding of the inherently voluntary nature of intimacy, built on trust (consensual disclosure of personal knowledge), ignores how the uniform access of one's inner life and emotions to everyone indiscriminately erodes the value of such personal relationships which are based on earning trust through emotional accountability. That We Are The World shit may work well for Foxcomm, or in cults, but we don't need this "well-behaved society" at the expense of being meaningful individuals with inner lives worth more than taking for granted.

Plus, it's a super boring movie. Any random Black Mirror episode (but especially "Nosedive") provides a far more incisive and imaginative take on the way our technology can erode ourselves as authentic and feeling people.


In a Twitter exchange I had with film critic Alice Bishop, she called that one "a true stinker"

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Sun Dec 10, 2017 10:01 am
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Thief wrote:
In a Twitter exchange I had with film critic Alice Bishop, she called that one "a true stinker"

I was just fixing to click on that link.


Sun Dec 10, 2017 10:23 am
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Jinnistan wrote:
I was just fixing to click on that link.


I was just trying to post the tweet, didn't work.

https://twitter.com/RealAliceBishop/sta ... 8790056960

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Sun Dec 10, 2017 10:30 am
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Thief wrote:

I was just trying to post the tweet, didn't work.

https://twitter.com/RealAliceBishop/sta ... 8790056960

I agree with her overall assessment. But does she always rhyme her reviews?


Sun Dec 10, 2017 10:44 am
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Jinnistan wrote:
I agree with her overall assessment. But does she always rhyme her reviews?


I don't think so. I think that's part of the "Bad Movie Poetry" thing.

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Sun Dec 10, 2017 11:27 am
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Snow White and the Huntsman

Fine.

Uhh... what else, what else. Some remarkable art direction during key sequences in the forbidden forest and the Mononoke-ish fairy tale spot with the giant reindeer. Plot's played way too straight and declarative, both on the script and acting levels, although Theron cuts a memorable figure, and her devolutions at key moments repulse. My favorite bit was when she turned into a big ol' puddle of oil. It was pretty dumb to cast well-known actors as the dwarves and then cut around them.

I think I prefer Mirror Mirror for its more colorful visuals, although both are trapped in the boundaries of just-above-mediocre mass entertainment. Both are B- movies with brief A+ bursts of energy and invention.


Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:32 pm
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I watched The Disaster Artist thursday night and really enjoyed it. I'm about halfway through the book on CD and think they did a decent job of condensing so much detail into a film. My only gripe would be that they actually softened Tommy's persona a little, downplaying how manipulative and misogynistic he can be. Overall, I had a great time and honestly felt a little inspired afterward. I love the sentiment that gauging a reaction from an audience, even if it's one you didn't intend, is an accomplishment in its own right.


Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:16 pm
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Spencie Returns wrote:
I watched The Disaster Artist thursday night and really enjoyed it. I'm about halfway through the book on CD and think they did a decent job of condensing so much detail into a film. My only gripe would be that they actually softened Tommy's persona a little, downplaying how manipulative and misogynistic he can be. Overall, I had a great time and honestly felt a little inspired afterward. I love the sentiment that gauging a reaction from an audience, even if it's one you didn't intend, is an accomplishment in its own right.

Apparently it was made with Wiseau's blessing, so I guess Franco didn't want to be too hard on him. Although General Idi Amin Dada: A Self Portrait was made with Idi Amin's blessing but Barbet Schroeder didn't go easy on him. So I guess Franco is no Schroeder, but Wiseau just might be Amin.

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Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:22 pm
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Spencie Returns wrote:
I watched The Disaster Artist thursday night and really enjoyed it. I'm about halfway through the book on CD and think they did a decent job of condensing so much detail into a film. My only gripe would be that they actually softened Tommy's persona a little, downplaying how manipulative and misogynistic he can be. Overall, I had a great time and honestly felt a little inspired afterward. I love the sentiment that gauging a reaction from an audience, even if it's one you didn't intend, is an accomplishment in its own right.


I read a 4-page article on the movie earlier Sunday. It featured the Francos, Wiseau and a few others. They all seemed very game and it was an excellent read. Can't wait to see the movie. Word is it's gonna be a major awards contender this year along with Phantom Thread. They're already talking Oscar for James' performance.


Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:38 pm
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ski petrol wrote:
Logan Lucky B

So, uh, are you lux?

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Mon Dec 11, 2017 1:01 am
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Months ago I started on a mission to watch every Spielberg film starting with Night Gallery. Made it through to Private Ryan and took a break, but started it up again this weekend. (For some context, Spiels has made some of my favorite movies but for the most part his sensibilities are at odds with mine and he bugs me more often than not. One of my last posts at RT was about how much better Duel was than ET)

AI Artificial Intelligence: Saw this in theaters in '01, was bugged by it, and haven't seen it again till now. The parts that I expected to annoy did just that. Parts that I liked in '01 I liked less this time. Jude Law was more obnoxious this time around than I remembered. Completely forgot that there was a talking teddy bear character. To be specific, what really bothers me is that there are some issues raised that I think are really interesting, but are completely wasted or unexamined altogether. Also I can never watch this without the "what would Kubrick do" specter hanging overhead.

Catch Me If You Can: Was pleasantly surprised by this one. Had no prior interest at all, and never would have watched it if not for this self-imposed project, but found it very entertaining. Liked Leo's and Hanks' characters, and the film mostly avoided the sappy resolution that I was bracing myself for. Regarding "true stories" I'd generally prefer to watch a documentary, but this was a good one. Recommended.

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Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:40 am
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Rock wrote:
Apparently it was made with Wiseau's blessing, so I guess Franco didn't want to be too hard on him. Although General Idi Amin Dada: A Self Portrait was made with Idi Amin's blessing but Barbet Schroeder didn't go easy on him. So I guess Franco is no Schroeder, but Wiseau just might be Amin.

Yeah, I saw an interview with Franco and he mentions that he told Wiseau he would portray him in a good light, in order to get the rights.


Mon Dec 11, 2017 4:36 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
Months ago I started on a mission to watch every Spielberg film starting with Night Gallery. Made it through to Private Ryan and took a break, but started it up again this weekend. (For some context, Spiels has made some of my favorite movies but for the most part his sensibilities are at odds with mine and he bugs me more often than not. One of my last posts at RT was about how much better Duel was than ET)

AI Artificial Intelligence: Saw this in theaters in '01, was bugged by it, and haven't seen it again till now. The parts that I expected to annoy did just that. Parts that I liked in '01 I liked less this time. Jude Law was more obnoxious this time around than I remembered. Completely forgot that there was a talking teddy bear character. To be specific, what really bothers me is that there are some issues raised that I think are really interesting, but are completely wasted or unexamined altogether. Also I can never watch this without the "what would Kubrick do" specter hanging overhead.

Agree with you 100% on all this (including Duel vs. ET). I doubt I'll ever watch AI again.
Truth is I feel the same way about Minority Report which people around RT seemed to love.


Mon Dec 11, 2017 4:53 am
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Wooley wrote:
Agree with you 100% on all this (including Duel vs. ET). I doubt I'll ever watch AI again.
Truth is I feel the same way about Minority Report which people around RT seemed to love.


Minority Report is next on my list and for the life of me I can't remember if I've seen it.

One example of a wasted moment from AI---I think the idea of the Flesh Fair was an interesting one. If robots get to the point where they seem human to us, at what point is a normal person willing to watch them tortured/destroyed? And what does it say about those that do? That could've been an intriguing thing to explore, but Steve-O decided to give us a Chris Rock-Bot instead, to give us all a laugh.

PS--this project I've assigned for myself means that in the near future I will be watching Crystal Skull for the first time ever. Mercy!

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Mon Dec 11, 2017 5:57 am
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I'm a little late to the party, but yeah, Coco was fantastic. Catch it at the theaters while you still can.

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Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:35 am
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Captain Terror wrote:

Minority Report is next on my list and for the life of me I can't remember if I've seen it.

One example of a wasted moment from AI---I think the idea of the Flesh Fair was an interesting one. If robots get to the point where they seem human to us, at what point is a normal person willing to watch them tortured/destroyed? And what does it say about those that do? That could've been an intriguing thing to explore, but Steve-O decided to give us a Chris Rock-Bot instead, to give us all a laugh.

PS--this project I've assigned for myself means that in the near future I will be watching Crystal Skull for the first time ever. Mercy!

Exactly. Ugh.
People who argue that, no Spielberg did EXACTLY what Kubrick wanted are fucking kidding themselves.
Good luck on Crystal Skull.


Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:50 am
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Wooley wrote:
People who argue that, no Spielberg did EXACTLY what Kubrick wanted are fucking kidding themselves.

Well, technically Kubrick wanted Spielberg to make the film anyway, which is why he set it aside to do Eyes Wide Shut instead.

Incidently, at this time Kubrick also shelved his Aryan Papers project because he felt that Schindler's List had made it obsolete. I only point that out to remind that Kubrick was actually quite a fan of Spielberg's work.

Obviously they are very different filmmakers, and, you're right, anyone thinking that Spielberg would make a film exactly like Kubrick would have made it are foolish. One of the reasons why Kubrick gave the project to Spielberg was that he wanted that Spielberg touch to it, like E.T. or something, which Kubrick knew was impossible for himself to produce.


Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:29 am
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I liked AI as Spielberg's commentary on his own work i.e.
the robot kid doesn't want anything more than to be his mother's child and sacrifices his future for one last perfect day with her, like that sort of sentiment being the thing that saps him of the desire to be anything else (although iirc it was in his programming). I thought the ideas were expressed well-enough given that I expect any Spielberg movie to still have some of that mainstream glow and hand-holding that gets it from being too gritty.

maybe the Flesh Fair was some kind of parallel to how moviegoers get entertainment from watching characters get maimed and destroyed on screen. sure they're not "real" but they all look and sound like humans and as long as they aren't too "human" we're not gonna feel too too bad when they get it. I have no idea if that was running through anyone's mind when they were designing that sequence, might just be my impression.... after all Spielberg has made movies about the Holocaust and American slavery so that might have been more what he was trying to evoke.


Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:05 pm
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Did I mention I watched Death Ship again? I watched Death Ship again.


Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:17 pm
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Spotlight (2015)

Powerful, engrossing film about Boston reporters uncovering the higher-ups of the Catholic church hiding priest's sex abuse.

Stars the Hulk, Howard Stark, the Vulture, Dr. Strange's girlfriend and Sabretooth.

9/10

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Mon Dec 11, 2017 1:41 pm
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Oxnard Montalvo wrote:
I liked AI as Spielberg's commentary on his own work i.e.
the robot kid doesn't want anything more than to be his mother's child and sacrifices his future for one last perfect day with her, like that sort of sentiment being the thing that saps him of the desire to be anything else (although iirc it was in his programming). I thought the ideas were expressed well-enough given that I expect any Spielberg movie to still have some of that mainstream glow and hand-holding that gets it from being too gritty.

maybe the Flesh Fair was some kind of parallel to how moviegoers get entertainment from watching characters get maimed and destroyed on screen. sure they're not "real" but they all look and sound like humans and as long as they aren't too "human" we're not gonna feel too too bad when they get it. I have no idea if that was running through anyone's mind when they were designing that sequence, might just be my impression.... after all Spielberg has made movies about the Holocaust and American slavery so that might have been more what he was trying to evoke.

Obviously, it's "that mainstream glow and hand-holding" that is my and it sounds like Terror's problem with his films.


Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:01 pm
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Oxnard Montalvo wrote:

maybe the Flesh Fair was some kind of parallel to how moviegoers get entertainment from watching characters get maimed and destroyed on screen. sure they're not "real" but they all look and sound like humans and as long as they aren't too "human" we're not gonna feel too too bad when they get it. I have no idea if that was running through anyone's mind when they were designing that sequence, might just be my impression.... after all Spielberg has made movies about the Holocaust and American slavery so that might have been more what he was trying to evoke.[/spoiler]


Well, that was my issue. I thought that's what that scene could've been, but felt that Spielberg undermined it with the Chris Rock cameo and overall humorous tone. That was probably an intentional attempt at keeping things light, I'm not accusing SS of not knowing what he's doing. I only wish he didn't have that tendency.

I don't remember much about the behind-the-scenes stuff all these years later, so if this is the movie Stanley wanted SS to make, fair enough. What I meant was that I always wish SK had just made it himself.

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Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:47 pm
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Captain Terror wrote:

Well, that was my issue. I thought that's what that scene could've been, but felt that Spielberg undermined it with the Chris Rock cameo and overall humorous tone. That was probably an intentional attempt at keeping things light, I'm not accusing SS of not knowing what he's doing. I only wish he didn't have that tendency.

I don't remember much about the behind-the-scenes stuff all these years later, so if this is the movie Stanley wanted SS to make, fair enough. What I meant was that I always wish SK had just made it himself.

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Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:30 am
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The Flesh Fair wasnt in the original script. Spielberg added that.
Personally I really enjoy A.I. I loved most of the things that Wooley and Captain Terror liked.


Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:27 am
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I, Tonya - 6/10
I suspect everyone involved in the production here was so caught up in the bona fides of the story (Black List screenplay! Physically challenging lead role! Period detail!) that nobody bothered to demand another pass at the script. It's not that Steven Rogers' screenplay lacks insight, so much as the insight is conveyed too bluntly. We don't need Margot Robbie's Tonya Harding telling us point-black to the camera that a history of parental and spousal abuse left her with a poor sense of self-worth. We already know that from what's dramatized. And we sure as hell don't need to end the movie on a trite, cliché-riddled monologue about how "there is no truth" and "that's the truth." The whole thing is conveyed to the screen with a Scorsesean verve (Classic rock soundtrack! Whip pans! Slow motion!) without the very necessary Scorsesean precision, so despite all the gliding camerawork, the skating sequences never have the visceral punch they need. A little more subjective sound work, for instance, would have helped give us a better feeling of being in Tonya's skates, isolated there on the ice. And the soundtrack selection is often eye-rollingly on the nose. That being said, the movie has its merits. The acting is uniformly impressive, with the standouts being Allison Janney as Tonya's foul-mouthed mother and Paul Walter Hauser as Shawn Eckardt, a performance that seems so broadly buffoonish as to be unbelievable, until you remember just how big a buffoon Eckhart made of himself in interviews at the time. Overall, it's not a bad movie, but feels like a missed opportunity to do something a little more nuanced, which it is clearly aiming for.

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Tue Dec 12, 2017 3:23 am
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I'll echo Spencie's praise for The Disaster Artist. I'm still laughing about many parts, especially Wiseau's "audition" at the beginning. Regarding him, Franco gives a fair portrait of the man, i.e. you can empathize with him as well as laugh at him without feeling bad for doing so. Also, it thankfully maintains the mysteries of Wiseau's origins and the source of his exorbitant wealth.

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Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:25 am
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Post Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri (McDonagh, '17)

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What's the law on what you can and can't say on a billboard?

On a lonely, seldom-traveled road just outside of the quiet town of Ebbing, Missouri, three fresh, blood-red billboards read "Raped while dying/And still no arrests/How come, Chief Willoughby?". The victim the billboards in question are referring to is Angela Hayes, a teenage girl who was raped, murdered, and immolated seven months ago, a sadistic act that, in the ensuing half a year since, the local police have made virtually no progress in solving. Frustrated with the stagnation of Angela's case, her mother, Mildred, puts the signs up as a direct challenge to the local sheriff, igniting a controversy that will end up (literally) setting this small, Middle American town on fire in Martin McDonagh's Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, one of the best films of this year.

It's a film that's driven primarily by the theme of the inherently ugly nature and underlying tensions that are often bubbling underneath the smiling, "neighborly" facades of small American towns, hardly an original idea to put in a cinematic context, but one that McDonagh delivers potently here, not through putting any sort of novel spin on it, but simply through telling a strong story with his rude, battery acid-corrosive sense of humor, balanced with surprisingly genuine, heartfelt drama, and an emphasis on consistently sharp, insightful character development, even for some of the the supposed "bad guys" of this particular story.

Frances McDormand adds another unforgettable performance to what is already a film fan-favorite career in the starring role of Mildred Hayes, a borderline alcoholic divorcee who's obviously been weighed down by a long, hard life, and even harder current circumstances, but who refuses to buckle under the pressure, instead, rising to the occasion and shaking an entire town to its very core, at the same time, providing the film its core. Despite almost the entirety of Ebbing (including her own son, even) being dead-set against Mildred's billboards, she at no point shows any sign of wavering in her quest for justice, an aspect you see constantly McDormand's steely, determined embodiment of the character. It's a 100%, honest, fantastic performance any way you cut it, and come early March, not only would I not be surprised if she was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar, but it wouldn't surprise if she ended up taking one of the little gold men home with her, as memorable as her starring performance is here.

As for the rest of the rich ensemble of characters that McDonagh has assembled here, some of them are, admittedly, a bit broad in their characterizations, often being defined by one primary trait or aspect, which is a minor flaw with Billboards, but certainly enough not to ruin the film. After all, somewhat broad or not, the characters here are still well-developed regardless, as the film often shifts away Mildred in taking their particular perspective in the story, refusing to keep them at arm's length, even if they initially seem like the film's designated "antagonists", which they actually often aren't, not all of the time, anyway.

This sense of moral ambiguity extends to the way the film deals with the subjects of racism, police negligence and brutality, and other particular injustices we face in the world today, as McDonagh finds a way to be blatantly topical here without becoming preachy, rather, using the recurring themes to better tell a strong, individual story. Three Billboards is a film that presents many difficult questions, and provides us with no easy, pat moral conclusions to them, but it's this difficult aspect of the film that makes it so good, and what will almost certainly keep it near the top of my best of 2017 list come the end of this year. And, while I know it still hasn't received the widest of releases to date, if you can find this one still playing in a theater anywhere remotely near you, then you owe it to yourself to look at these Billboards, as soon as you possibly can.
Favorite Moment: Sheriff Willoughby's "letter" to his wife
Final Score: 8.5

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Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:57 am
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Caught the back 3/4 of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. There's one impressive long shot that has Spider-Man chase Electro, who at that point is all purple-blue-red lightning. The rest seemed pretty dumb. Gwen seemed all over the place, character-wise. Sitcom level stuff, to the point that you feel bad that DeHaan and Foxx are trying so hard. The film is so terrified that we won't understand Electro's motivations that it keeps making him repeat them verbally. The plotting is preposterous in that Orci/Kurtzman way, where doohickeys propel the plot. Someone finds the right video at the right moment, doors open to a robo-outfit at the precise moment a villain needs it. Throw away the calculator during the second-act low to suddenly get more information. Which leads to a computer with an infodump video.

That'd all be tolerable if the drama was there, but, nope.

Maybe the first 1/4 would've provided a better anchor, but I doubt it. And anyway, I was hopped up on wisdom tooth painkillers, which is probably the best way to view the flick.

EDIT: Another thing, sorta bullshit for Peter to make his big declaration of love to Gwen after she's trying to figure her own shit out and go to Oxford. Dude, be a supportive boyfriend and let her go to Oxford. You're in danger constantly and you'd bring it with you. There's more to life than your needs. I thought the whole point of this character was that he suffers because he cares about doing what's right.

Oddly, this is in exact opposition to Spider-Man 2, where Peter only chases the engaged Mary Jane after he's stopped being Spider-Man (aka, when we recognize that he's starting to head too far into selfishness). Once he realizes that he needs to be Spider-Man so he can help people in need, he tells MJ no. And even after Doc Ock dies, he still says they can never be. That's where the whole "hero" thing comes in.


Thu Dec 14, 2017 4:49 am
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DaMU wrote:
Maybe the first 1/4 would've provided a better anchor, but I doubt it.
Yeah, it doesn't. My primary memory of that movie is how hysterically bad the ADR is. Somehow, everybody manages to say their most crucial lines of dialogue in a rush while their backs are turned to the camera or they're exiting a room.

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Thu Dec 14, 2017 4:55 am
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I, on the other hand, have only ever watched the first 1/4 of Amazing 2, so maybe we can combine our collective opinions to form a full review of that film; let's see, I remember it having an obnoxiously shaky handheld-camera fight on a crashing airplane, an occasionally dumb moment or two (especially Paul Giamatti's ham-inhaling performance as the "Russian" baddie The Rhino), and it having nothing interesting enough in it for me to want to finish watching, and that's about it. Guess it really wasn't a good movie, after all!

In all seriousness though, I've never had much interest in the Amazing movies, or the original Raimi trilogy for that matter, with the sole exception of Spider-Man 2, which is one of my favorite superhero movies of all time. Homecoming though, while nowhere near as good as that one, was still a really good time, and refreshing in the way it kept Peter a more down-to-Earth hero than he was in the Sony iterations of the character, both in some of the smaller action setpieces we got (although we did get some cool big ones), and how it focused on him more in the context of being an overwhelmed high-schooler, struggling to balance his schoolwork, a budding, adolescent love life, and being a superhero as an "extracurricular" activity. It's funny how we've gone from Spider-Man being a character that arguably did the most to kickstart the current wave of superhero movies that's dominated Hollywood's summers for the last 15 years, to being just some super-powered kid who's a small part of a much larger "universe" of heroes, but damn me if Marvel didn't make that transition work for 'em.

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Thu Dec 14, 2017 7:44 am
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I know I've seen the entirety of The Amazing Spider-Man, but I don't remember anything after
Uncle Ben gets killed over three dollar milk or whatever it was.
Perhaps it's for the best.

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Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:18 pm
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Image

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Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:45 pm
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Image

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Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:13 pm
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:D

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Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:21 pm
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Somebody in my company had Dolan Duck as their Outlook profile picture. It was disheartening that I was the only person on my team to recognize it.

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Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:27 pm
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Also, I like Tom Holland's portrayal of Spider-Man and thought he was a highlight of Civil War, but found Homecoming to be disgustingly safe after the relatively ambitious recent Marvel movies. It felt like an outrageously-budgeted afterschool special.

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Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:31 pm
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They were going for that John Hughes vibe. And I liked that it was just "fight the villian" and not "save the world/existence"


Thu Dec 14, 2017 4:52 pm
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Yeah. The recent Spiderman was the best one yet because they gave him human problems and not the whole 'save the world' thing. It made it more grounded and fun to watch. Definitely one of the summer highlights.


Thu Dec 14, 2017 8:33 pm
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Yeah I'm glad Infinity War will have human problems and not a whole "save the world" cliché.

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Thu Dec 14, 2017 8:41 pm
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Rock wrote:
Also, I like Tom Holland's portrayal of Spider-Man and thought he was a highlight of Civil War, but found Homecoming to be disgustingly safe after the relatively ambitious recent Marvel movies. It felt like an outrageously-budgeted afterschool special.
Homecoming was a relatively safe outing for the MCU, but for me, that was balanced out by how sheerly exciting, energetic, and overall entertaining it was otherwise. While I've often complained about the MCU's reluctance so far to take many significant risks, and make a truly challenging film (ala Logan, for just one example), their more off-beat entries aren't always necessarily their best; Doctor Strange, for example, despite all the relatively heavy, grounded drama of its 1st act, and all the reality-warping gimmicks it showcased later on, still failed to engage me fully with Strange's rather familiar "hero's journey", and its somewhat one-dimensional villains and plot. Homecoming, for all its upbeat Marvel familiarty, was still the fundamentally more engaging, satisfying film, as far as I'm concerned.

Side-tangent:
As for the question of the recent MCU films getting more ambitious, I'm not sure how you're defining recent, but for me, the one-two punch in 2014 of the relatively more "realistic" darkness and grit of The Winter Soldier, along with the combination of the constantly flippant, irreverent humor, a sweet retro soundtrack, and actual, honest-to-blog heart and character development in the original Guardians Of The Galaxy (a risky comic to adapt at all in the first place, simply for its obscurity) combined to make that year the riskiest to date for the MCU. They've made some other, relatively non-generic entries since then, like Ant-Man & Thor: Ragnarok, but those have been balanced out by more straightforward entries like Ultron & Homecoming coming out the same year, in my opinion.

topherH wrote:
Yeah I'm glad Infinity War will have human problems and not a whole "save the world" cliché.
It's not an either/or dilemma (as shown by the original Guardians), and just because the fate of the world's supposedly at stake in a particular film doesn't inherently make it better; the story of Thor: The Dark World had not only the fate of the world at stake, but the fate of the entire universe, and that was still one of most forgettable MCU movies to date. There was just never any tension, desperation, or urgency to it, and little sense of the sky-high stakes that the plot was supposedly presenting us with. Rogue One, on the other hand, should have had zero tension to its particular struggle, as, if you're already seen A New Hope (and who hasn't, by this point?), you already know the outcome of its particular story, but it was still really, really exhilarating and rousing because of the specific storytelling style it had.

Don't get me wrong, as saving the Earth or the entire universe or whatever is an appropriate stake for an Avengers team-up (and something that the solo Marvel entries should really start staying away from), but the fate-of-the-Earth plot it's surely going to have doesn't inherently make it better than the high school shenanigans of Homecoming, or any other Marvel movie for that matter.

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Sat Dec 16, 2017 7:49 am
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