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Charles Longboat Jr. wrote:
Upon rewatch I feel comfortable saying that No Country for Old Men is essentially a perfect film.

I feel comfortable agreeing with you, and I've seen it 5 times.
When I saw it in the theater with a buddy of mine, he stood up at the end and said one word: "Masterpiece".


Thu Feb 01, 2018 1:38 am
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Marjorie Prime - 7.5

At first, this plays almost like an extended episode of minor-tier Black Mirror. The "Prime" units are artificial simulations of dead loved ones, who learn second-hand their personalities by interviewing the survivors who have chosen to keep them around. The limitations to this technology become immediately evident. Turns out, there's a lot of deception and duplicity in families, a lot of unspoken things taken for granted. Also, as in most social media, the particular emotional vulnerabilities that the tech is designed to arouse (connection, comfort, conciliation) are less likely than alienation and resentment.

Michael Almereyda is more restrained here than is his typical surrealistic bent, but his cool, clinical appraoch helps focus on the writing (adapted from a play) which is the film's strong suit. The problem, for me, is that I think Tim Robbins and Geena Davis are pretty awful in their supporting roles. Had there been a half hour cut out of it, maybe it would have made a favorable entry for BM, but the film gets pretty dreary with a fairly predictable outcome.


Thu Feb 01, 2018 8:20 am
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Patti Cake$ - 7/10. Like Hustle and Flow, this movie is about an aspiring rapper who lives in a poor, crime-ridden American town. Both of their protagonists hope to leverage music to improve their situations, but this movie is more interested in exploring the importance of not letting naysayers get in the way of your dreams. This is especially hard for Patti, who is surrounded by doubters, including her mother Barb (the good as always Bridget Everett), a bitter, failed glam-rock singer who doesn't consider rap to be music as well as local thugs who criticize her for her weight. Patti has supporters in her best friend and fellow aspiring rapper Jheri, mysterious anarchist Basterd and her ill grandmother, but her desires to meet expectations, financial obligations and various other life complications blur the lines between friend and foe. While I enjoyed it, especially for its endearing performances, music and for how it stresses the value of supportive people, its contrivances and fantasticality hold it back from being on par with the best rags to riches movies. Basterd, for example, is not only a prime example of a magical negro, but he conveniently has just the right amount of music production talent and equipment Patti and Jheri require to reach the next level. These and similar flourishes, especially ones involving Patti's real and imagined encounters with her musical idol O-Z, give the movie a overly stylized air that belie its grittiness. One reason why Hustle and Flow is so highly regarded is because Djay's struggle is so believable. Patti Cake$, on the other hand, often gives the impression that Patti could wake up from a dream at any moment.

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Fri Feb 02, 2018 5:22 am
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Absolutely Anything (2015) was absolutely not The World's End (2013).

No stars. Shame, too, because it had plenty of absurdist moments, which I generally like. I even chuckled a few times. But it was all slightly off kilter and ... meh.

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Fri Feb 02, 2018 11:09 am
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Slightly cross-posting from the horror thread, but I watched the Netflix movie The Open House last night.

I felt that it was a very mixed bag. There were some style and plot elements that I liked, but then there were quite a few things in the last act that I really disliked. In the end what I thought would be a solid B/B+ thriller ended up being a middling C/C- affair.


Fri Feb 02, 2018 11:13 am
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Black Narcissus

Is there a more beautiful Technicolor movie than this? Goddamn.

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Fri Feb 02, 2018 2:31 pm
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Macrology wrote:
Black Narcissus

Is there a more beautiful Technicolor movie than this?
Possibly not, but I remember feeling that it would've had a much more essential atmosphere if it hadn't been filmed almost entirely on such obvious soundstages, in addition to its overall story structure being rather flabby and shapeless. It has been a while, though, so maybe I should give it another chance sometime.
Torgo wrote:
Patti Cake$ - 7/10. Like Hustle and Flow, this movie is about an aspiring rapper who lives in a poor, crime-ridden American town.
How would you say it holds up when compared to 8 Mile though, a similar movie I remember enjoying a lot back in the day?

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Fri Feb 02, 2018 2:35 pm
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Stu wrote:
Possibly not, but I remember feeling that it would've had a much more essential atmosphere if it hadn't been filmed almost entirely on such obvious soundstages, in addition to its overall story structure being rather flabby and shapeless. It has been a while, though, so maybe I should give it another chance sometime.


But the obvious soundstages are integral to the taut and distinctive atmosphere that it builds! Actual locations would dilute the weird intensity of the film (not to mention the almost insurmountable difficulties behind location shooting at that time, especially in foreign locales). Plus they never could have achieved that quality of lighting anywhere but a studio.

I'd also argue that the structure, while not the film's primary concern, is fairly strong. The first half has a leisurely, meandering pace, but even then they're laying down the groundwork for the tension that slowly and masterfully builds over the second half of the film.

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Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:02 pm
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Macrology wrote:
Black Narcissus

Is there a more beautiful Technicolor movie than this? Goddamn.


Probably not, P&P were next-level, but some of Minnelli's musicals come close.


Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:20 pm
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Stu wrote:
How would you say it holds up when compared to 8 Mile though, a similar movie I remember enjoying a lot back in the day?
I haven't seen it, but my wife has, and she said that like Hustle and Flow, it's very similar, but not as good. I guess there's only one way to skin the aspiring rapper cat.

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Fri Feb 02, 2018 10:28 pm
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I love Phantom Thread more the more I think about it. The sound design and score were astounding and Daniel Day Lewis gave a great performance as Ralph Fiennes.


Sat Feb 03, 2018 9:08 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
I love Phantom Thread more the more I think about it. The sound design and score were astounding and Daniel Day Lewis gave a great performance as Ralph Fiennes.


This is the best review of the film that I've read yet.

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Sat Feb 03, 2018 9:12 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
I love Phantom Thread more the more I think about it. The sound design and score were astounding and Daniel Day Lewis gave a great performance as Ralph Fiennes.
This one is still holding up as my favorite of the year. And yeah, the Ralph Fiennes thing is something that occurred to me a couple times during the movie. There's something about his oral posture, the way he almost snarls some of the lines, that's very reminiscent of a peevish Fiennes.

I've been comparing it to Hitchcock's gothic romances like Rebecca and Suspicion, and I think it's actually better than either of them. I admired the way it
set up Cyril to be an overly controlling Mrs. Danvers type who would try to doom the central relationship, only to subvert that and have her actually warm to Alma and be crucial in having her stay.
I also liked how it followed through on teasing out the weird psychology of the poisoning without balking like Suspicion does in the end. It's one of the better depictions of co-dependency that I've seen in a movie.

Also, yes to the sound design. I hope never to hear toast as loudly as Reynold Woodcock does.

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Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:23 am
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I honestly don't think Fiennes could handle the competition, tbh.

Phantom Thread - 9.5

It seems so clearly the film of the year, miles ahead of its closest contemporaries. Naming all of its excellent aspects seems redundant.


Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:35 am
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BL wrote:
This one is still holding up as my favorite of the year. And yeah, the Ralph Fiennes thing is something that occurred to me a couple times during the movie. There's something about his oral posture, the way he almost snarls some of the lines, that's very reminiscent of a peevish Fiennes.

I've been comparing it to Hitchcock's gothic romances like Rebecca and Suspicion, and I think it's actually better than either of them.


There's such a thing as films that are as good as Rebecca, but there are no films that are better than Rebecca.

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Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:02 am
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BL wrote:
This one is still holding up as my favorite of the year. And yeah, the Ralph Fiennes thing is something that occurred to me a couple times during the movie. There's something about his oral posture, the way he almost snarls some of the lines, that's very reminiscent of a peevish Fiennes.

I've been comparing it to Hitchcock's gothic romances like Rebecca and Suspicion, and I think it's actually better than either of them. I admired the way it
set up Cyril to be an overly controlling Mrs. Danvers type who would try to doom the central relationship, only to subvert that and have her actually warm to Alma and be crucial in having her stay.
I also liked how it followed through on teasing out the weird psychology of the poisoning without balking like Suspicion does in the end. It's one of the better depictions of co-dependency that I've seen in a movie.

Also, yes to the sound design. I hope never to hear toast as loudly as Reynold Woodcock does.



It was easily the best depiction of misophonia ever put to the screen and I think that in and of itself is an accomplishment. My wife and a childhood friend suffer from it and I, being an apparently loud eater, has been the recipient of their disdain on more than one occasion. I truly empathize with their plight due to the intricate care put to mixing this film.

On a wholly separate note, Brawl in Cell Block 99 rather sucked and Zahler is quickly becoming my next Ti West. Hopefully he'll act in a horror film and take an arrow to the throat as well.


Sat Feb 03, 2018 4:55 pm
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
On a wholly separate note, Brawl in Cell Block 99 rather sucked and Zahler is quickly becoming my next Ti West. Hopefully he'll act in a horror film and take an arrow to the throat as well.


Oh, boo. It's been on my "maybe on a Friday night" radar for a few weeks now.


Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:53 pm
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Takoma1 wrote:

Oh, boo. It's been on my "maybe on a Friday night" radar for a few weeks now.


It's been added to Prime now so I won't try to dissuade you if you're interested. I thought Vaughn and the brawls themselves we're probably worth watching but the movie is an hour too long, inconsistent in tone, poorly written and contrived in plotting.

It's worth noting that I'm just about the only person that didn't like Bone Tomahawk either so if you were a fan of that, you may like this. My complaints and compliments for that one were nearly identical: great performances and solid violence. Trash everything else.


Sun Feb 04, 2018 12:02 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:

It's been added to Prime now so I won't try to dissuade you if you're interested. I thought Vaughn and the brawls themselves we're probably worth watching but the movie is an hour too long, inconsistent in tone, poorly written and contrived in plotting.

It's worth noting that I'm just about the only person that didn't like Bone Tomahawk either so if you were a fan of that, you may like this. My complaints and compliments for that one were nearly identical: great performances and solid violence. Trash everything else.


I'd still check it out. It has a 92% rating in Rotten Tomatoes, and I've read pretty good things on Letterboxd and other forums. I'm also one of those that really liked Bone Tomahawk.

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Sun Feb 04, 2018 12:25 am
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Thief wrote:

I'd still check it out. It has a 92% rating in Rotten Tomatoes, and I've read pretty good things on Letterboxd and other forums. I'm also one of those that really liked Bone Tomahawk.


That's why I didn't try to dissuade her and contextualized my sentiments as being unpopular. But both are close to garbage.


Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:29 am
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Braven C+

You don't want to mess with Joe Braven and his family. This film stars Jason Momoa and is in the vein of movies like Taken or Non-Stop. An everyman has to face baddies and take them out in multiple fashion. Worth seeing for a decent actioner.


Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:39 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:

That's why I didn't try to dissuade her and contextualized my sentiments as being unpopular. But both are close to garbage.

Bone Tomahawk is close to garbage?
Man, that is just a downright bizarre sentiment to me.
I didn't think it was some masterpiece, I did think it was a good movie, but I feel like it's technical merits alone (and by that I mean, writing, directing, cinematography, acting, etc.) take words like "garbage" completely off the table.


Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:39 am
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Wooley wrote:
Bone Tomahawk is close to garbage?
Man, that is just a downright bizarre sentiment to me.
I didn't think it was some masterpiece, I did think it was a good movie, but I feel like it's technical merits alone (and by that I mean, writing, directing, cinematography, acting, etc.) take words like "garbage" completely off the table.


I don't think Zahler knows how to construct a scene. He wants to make slow movies but they meander pointlessly. I can't outright throw his direction in the trash because he gets good performances, thought that may be casting more than anything. I think his cinematography is inconsistent, with the occasional well planned and framed shot, but typically falls into a 90s TV mid shot with shot reverse shot editing. BICB99 is aggressively ugly, with lazy, harsh color grading that doesn't match the 70s aesthetic it's going form His aversion to close ups to clarify action and emotion also damages the fluidity of his sequences.

His writing is wholly uncinematic as, once again, he doesn't convey things visually but rather through characters discussing them. Yet even with all the exposition in the world, he still has characters behave idiotically and bafflingly. Everything pertaining to the troglodytes in BT, from the throat flutes (especially the unearned decision to cut out and use said throat flutes) to the handwavy "we only have Zahn McClarnon here to prove we aren't racist when we send our white heroes to hunt these monsters" exposition drop is just the worst kind of B movie nonsense.

He's a lot like Ti West in that his talent in some areas only serve to highlight his utter ineptitude in almost all others. That they're both praised is downright bizarre to me.


Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:02 am
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I agree wholeheartedly with MKS. Bone Tomahawk is the only film I've seen by him, but it reeks of ineptitude and its violence smacks of juvenalia, like a film directed by a 15 year old trying prove how hardcore he is. It might have been the worst movie I watched last year. Certainly in the bottom five.

The fact that it's probably the most racist film made in the past decade doesn't really help either.

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Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:43 am
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The Post: C+

Hanks and Streep are solid but the film's script gives off the impression of inexperience with regards to the writers; the tendency it has to spell out ideas and heap on exposition feels mildly patronizing (for example, imagine if the scene where the WaPo employees hear the announcement of the Times getting their reporting halted was completely silent rather than peppering lines like "Jefferson's rolling in his grave!" from various cast members and extras. It would have been much more powerful). A lot of the supporting cast outside Odenkirk is wasted (especially Paulson and Alison Brie, who have a combined total of maybe five or six scenes together).

I sort of see why Kaminski's work in this film is getting some pushback. The meticulous long takes clash awkwardly with the film's weird editing decisions and some of the lighting has a bit too much studio polish in a couple scenes. I don't think it's an ugly looking film but it's not as dynamic as Spielberg and company we're probably hoping for.

Easily the weakest of the Best Picture nominees this year but hey, that sequel bait ending was pretty funny.


Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:32 am
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Hostiles - 6.5

The National Congress of American Indians issued a certification of this film's accurate portrayal of Native Americans - a political necessity that becomes immediately clear during an opening scene showing a Comanche rampage on a frontier family, the kind of hyperbolic brutality that would be sure to attract criticisms of racist caricature by those unfamiliar with the Comanche tribe. But my issue with the scene wasn't with its brutal realism, rather with its unreal stylized histrionics. In a nutshell, this disparity is why the film fails.

Moral ambiguity is not compatible with melodrama. Ambiguity requires a certain amount of dramatic restraint, characters keeping their cards to their chest and a director reluctant to tip the hat too early. There can be no ambiguity when every scene is emotionally telegraphed through unambiguous brooding, constantly dictated by elementary musical cues and saccharine dialogue. And this doesn't even begin to excuse the superfluous shots of private agony, like cutaways of Bale's lonely wailing and whatnot. The film requires subtlety, as unfashionable as that is in an era of Walking Dead hyperemoting. Instead, this film ends up as obvious, and as useless, as something like Crash. "We are all Hostiles" says the poster. Great. Watching the film will not add any greater insight into this observation.


Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:33 am
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Macrology wrote:
I agree wholeheartedly with MKS. Bone Tomahawk is the only film I've seen by him, but it reeks of ineptitude and its violence smacks of juvenalia, like a film directed by a 15 year old trying prove how hardcore he is. It might have been the worst movie I watched last year. Certainly in the bottom five.

The fact that it's probably the most racist film made in the past decade doesn't really help either.

There are two of us! Huzzah! I've gotten many down votes voicing such dissent on Reddit. I'll warn you, I've come to view Brawl as even worse, though not as racist.

Recent watches:

Nocturnal Animals- Very good. Held together by excellent performances and beautiful cinematography, the script stumbles a bit with dialogue and building equally interesting narratives in it's triptych structure. I found myself sometimes wishing that the film was solely the "story", due to how much more engaging those scenes were, but without the wrap around, the central theme of creating narratives for personal catharsis would be lost and I love that theme.

Each Dawn I Die- Cagney delivers a solid performance beside Raft, who gets the cooler character. It's one of the best classic prison films I've seen and has some very neat shot composition throughout. A much better prison film than Brawl.

Ladybird- We've seen this movie before. Many times. It echoes Truffaut, Linklater and, obviously Baumbach. Gerwig has a perfunctory style of direction that seems to consist of shot reverse shot conversations and a wide establishing shot that places the conversers on opposite sides of the screen. However, the performances are universally outstanding and the script does have a good feel for nostalgic authenticity that is sure to resonate with many.


Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:40 am
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I loved Nocturnal animals. Although the inspiration for the "story" didn't start to become too apparent to me until the argument in front the car. But yeah the story was way more interesting. Although my friend said that Michael Shannon's character was supposed to the father in real life? Was it cuz of the sickness?


Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:41 am
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Hit Celebrity Commercials. On Amazon Prime Video.

An hour and 32 minutes of TV commercials from the 1950s-1980s.

When you watch a compilation of commercials it's really hard to decide when to go to the bathroom. :shifty:

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YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread. Catalog Rounds 1-3
Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)
Images disappeared 14 Feb 2018 -- forever.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

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Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:28 pm
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The Chaser - 2008 - Passable as a dark dread generator but also sorta loathsome at times in that mode, prolonging a cranial attack for maximum suspense, creating a contrived coincidence leading into the final act, trying (with not much success) to draw parallels between the put-upon serial killer and the former cop chasing him down (hey, like the title). At some point, I really started to dislike how the film treated its women as objects - even a female police detective has no distinction and plays like tokenism, a belated attempt to even out all the scenes of young women and a young girl whose chief functions are to scream, snivel, and sob. Maybe it's actually not very good, but it evinces good movies just enough, through its plot points and techniques (a Memories of Murder police abuse here, a Seven single-frame flash there, touches of political satire) to stave off the realization that it's another damn film about vulnerable women who exist to suffer so that a violent detective sort can earn his decency wings.


Mon Feb 05, 2018 1:56 pm
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DaMU wrote:
The Chaser - 2008 - Passable as a dark dread generator but also sorta loathsome at times in that mode, prolonging a cranial attack for maximum suspense, creating a contrived coincidence leading into the final act, trying (with not much success) to draw parallels between the put-upon serial killer and the former cop chasing him down (hey, like the title). At some point, I really started to dislike how the film treated its women as objects - even a female police detective has no distinction and plays like tokenism, a belated attempt to even out all the scenes of young women and a young girl whose chief functions are to scream, snivel, and sob. Maybe it's actually not very good, but it evinces good movies just enough, through its plot points and techniques (a Memories of Murder police abuse here, a Seven single-frame flash there, touches of political satire) to stave off the realization that it's another damn film about vulnerable women who exist to suffer so that a violent detective sort can earn his decency wings.

I remember both liking the film and being frustrated with it's apparent willingness to be as cheap in it's manipulation as possible. All I really recall now in detail are the chase scenes, which I loved for their authenticity and willingness to show exhaustion. Best foot chases since the French Connection 2.


Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:20 pm
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The Cloverfield Paradox (2018) directed by Julius Onah


Although the theatrical release date is sometime in April, Netflix decided to throw this online after advertising it on the Superbowl.

An international team of scientists have spent over two years on a space station trying to test a hadron collider that will solve the world's energy crisis on the eve of a world war. But during their most recent test, something goes horribly wrong and the earth seemingly vanishes... leaving the crew wondering what happened and if they'll ever get home.

The cast and special effects are pretty good, but there's plenty of pseudoscience bullshit and occurences that create so many plot holes you'd think you're looking at a swiss cheese. This is the first feature length film by Julius Onah, who had only directed several short films before now. For a big budget production he does a good job his first time out, aside from a mediocre script. The cast does the best they can but Onah seems to concentrate more on making the movie look good and less on eliciting powerful performances from the actors. They seem to sleepwalk through many scenes to the point where I suspect Onah could be the second coming of George Lucas - concentrating on the visuals and less on good acting.

This is technically a prequel to the original Cloverfield movie, but it's a flimsy connection at best. It's insinuated that the alternate universe space station falling to the earth is what set off Clover (and possibly others like him - it's not clear if the creatures referred to are multiple Clovers or Clover and the mutated parasites attached to it.) The main character on the space station has a husband who is a doctor back on earth and finds himself rescuing and taking care of a young girl after Clover has destroyed the hospital where he works. We only get one shot of Clover at the very end. It's path of destruction is barely shown onscreen. What other, if any, connection The Cloverfield Paradox has to 10 Cloverfield Lane remains to be seen.

I was a little disappointed by this. Certainly the only movie in the "Cloververse" that I didn't really enjoy.



6/10 - not a bad watch but I'm glad I didn't pay to see it in theaters... although some of the space scenes probably will look impressive on the big screen.

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Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:21 pm
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DaMU wrote:
The Chaser - 2008 - it's another damn film about vulnerable women who exist to suffer so that a violent detective sort can earn his decency wings.


I was majorly disappointed in this one. It's probably an okay movie (in C+/B- territory), but it was recommended on the basis of "If you liked Memories of Murder . . ." and it totally pales in comparison.

I'm also really over the dynamic of "bad guy who sort of exploits and mistreats women facing down REALLY bad guy who REALLY mistreats women". Being a decent human being (and a decent man) is more than just not raping and murdering women. It's like that scene in Twilight where he is stalking the girl and ends up saving her from a rapist and you're supposed to be like "Awww!", but instead it's like "But . . . he was stalking her." It's just the movie's way of having its cake and eating it too. They want to have these rough and tumble "real" men but then also want them to be heroes.


Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:12 pm
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Death Proof wrote:
The Cloverfield Paradox (2018) directed by Julius Onah


Although the theatrical release date is sometime in April, Netflix decided to throw this online after advertising it on the Superbowl.

An international team of scientists have spent over two years on a space station trying to test a hadron collider that will solve the world's energy crisis on the eve of a world war. But during their most recent test, something goes horribly wrong and the earth seemingly vanishes... leaving the crew wondering what happened and if they'll ever get home.

The cast and special effects are pretty good, but there's plenty of pseudoscience bullshit and occurences that create so many plot holes you'd think you're looking at a swiss cheese. This is the first feature length film by Julius Onah, who had only directed several short films before now. For a big budget production he does a good job his first time out, aside from a mediocre script. The cast does the best they can but Onah seems to concentrate more on making the movie look good and less on eliciting powerful performances from the actors. They seem to sleepwalk through many scenes to the point where I suspect Onah could be the second coming of George Lucas - concentrating on the visuals and less on good acting.

This is technically a prequel to the original Cloverfield movie, but it's a flimsy connection at best. It's insinuated that the alternate universe space station falling to the earth is what set off Clover (and possibly others like him - it's not clear if the creatures referred to are multiple Clovers or Clover and the mutated parasites attached to it.) The main character on the space station has a husband who is a doctor back on earth and finds himself rescuing and taking care of a young girl after Clover has destroyed the hospital where he works. We only get one shot of Clover at the very end. It's path of destruction is barely shown onscreen. What other, if any, connection The Cloverfield Paradox has to 10 Cloverfield Lane remains to be seen.

I was a little disappointed by this. Certainly the only movie in the "Cloververse" that I didn't really enjoy.



6/10 - not a bad watch but I'm glad I didn't pay to see it in theaters... although some of the space scenes probably will look impressive on the big screen.


I thought it was okay. It's a bit like Prometheus, with contrived writing/characterization and a flimsy premise that allows the filmmaker to do whatever they feel like in the moment with complete disregard for logic or rules. However, I found the characters less insufferable and the more Sunshine-esque approach to the material to make it an enjoyable enough pulp watch.

It's probably the weakest of the Cloverfield films though I need to rewatch the original, as I feel it's novelty didn't quite make up for the insufferable characters and contrivances (something this film shared with it). Not nearly as good as 10 Cloverfield Lane.


Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:33 pm
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:

I thought it was okay. It's a bit like Prometheus, with contrived writing/characterization and a flimsy premise that allows the filmmaker to do whatever they feel like in the moment with complete disregard for logic or rules. However, I found the characters less insufferable and the more Sunshine-esque approach to the material to make it an enjoyable enough pulp watch.

It's probably the weakest of the Cloverfield films though I need to rewatch the original, as I feel it's novelty didn't quite make up for the insufferable characters and contrivances (something this film shared with it). Not nearly as good as 10 Cloverfield Lane.



Agree on all points.

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Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:35 am
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Takoma1 wrote:
I'm also really over the dynamic of "bad guy who sort of exploits and mistreats women facing down REALLY bad guy who REALLY mistreats women". Being a decent human being (and a decent man) is more than just not raping and murdering women.


Right? At least temper it some by either giving the women more agency or holding the hero's feet to the fire more. Something. That cheap stab at depth through relativism makes me less likely to take seriously the film's political asides or excursions into outside-the-law torture/confessions. Things become increasingly glib.


Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:47 am
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DaMU wrote:

Right? At least temper it some by either giving the women more agency or holding the hero's feet to the fire more. Something. That cheap stab at depth through relativism makes me less likely to take seriously the film's political asides or excursions into outside-the-law torture/confessions. Things become increasingly glib.


MKS mentioned the physical chase scenes, and I agree that they were really well done. But that element of competence almost highlighted even more the ways in which the character development was very simplistic and, as you said, just used the women characters as props.

And speaking of using people as props--I finally got to watch the rest of Bedlam (we're having a post-Superbowl da--I mean, we're having a snow day). Others in the horrorcram sort of mediated my expectations for it. I'm honestly having trouble separating my personal emotional reaction to it from the quality of the film itself.

This is the first year in teaching where I have students whose mental health I seriously worry about, and thus I think about how they (as teenagers or young adults) may interact with our mental health care system. I've been to the mental health hospital where our students go (one of my students was temporarily committed there and I brought her some birthday cards from her peers), and watching the movie really brought back the worries and anxieties I felt (and feel) for my students.

I thought that the movie wimped out a bit in what I thought was its most potent critique: not of the treatment of the mentally ill, but of the flawed and corrupt social system that allows the rich to do what they like and offers no humanity to the poor or disabled. The movie shifts its focus in the end to the romance between the two main characters and a cheery title card about the reform of Bedlam. But what the movie never addresses is that a party full of people (on both sides of the political spectrum) laughed and chatted while they watched a young man suffocate for their amusement. I know that the emphasis was on the character growth of the main character, but the treatment of the mentally ill is in direct line with the treatment of the poor. There was some beautiful imagery (the scene of her walking through the asylum at night and the moonlight on the curves of her dress was gorgeous), but I wanted more from this one than it delivered.


Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:16 am
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Takoma1 wrote:

I'm also really over the dynamic of "bad guy who sort of exploits and mistreats women facing down REALLY bad guy who REALLY mistreats women". Being a decent human being (and a decent man) is more than just not raping and murdering women. It's like that scene in Twilight where he is stalking the girl and ends up saving her from a rapist and you're supposed to be like "Awww!", but instead it's like "But . . . he was stalking her." It's just the movie's way of having its cake and eating it too. They want to have these rough and tumble "real" men but then also want them to be heroes.

Funny, I was going to address this very topic today. A local theater showed In a Lonely Place yesterday morning (Humphrey Bogart). Seen it? This was my first viewing, knew nothing about it in fact, and I was very impressed with the way that very topic was handled. Brief synopsis is that Bogey is a screenwriter with anger issues that is a person of interest regarding a murder. I thought they did a very good job of making Bogey seem very charming and charismatic while not letting him off the hook for his violent outbursts. Given the year (1950), I was expecting to be disappointed in 1 of 2 ways: A/ Bogey would have a last minute change of heart a la Cary Grant in Suspicion, and we'd be expected to just ignore his ex-girlfriend's broken nose, et al or B/ it would end with some sort of "Hey, it's Bogey! Gotta love 'im!" brush-off of his past pecadilloes, leaving us to just take him or leave him as is, a man's man. Without spoiling anything, I was pleased that they took neither route at all. Also impressed with Gloria Grahame's character and her "I know I should leave but I'm scared to" dilemma. I guess I should give the people of the 1950s more credit because this was handled way better than I was expecting. I recommend it if you haven't seen it.

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Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:22 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
Funny, I was going to address this very topic today. A local theater showed In a Lonely Place yesterday morning (Humphrey Bogart).

I guess I should give the people of the 1950s more credit because this was handled way better than I was expecting. I recommend it if you haven't seen it.


Yeah, I've seen it and really liked it. To me, the movie does an excellent job of conveying the way that a relationship can become completely toxic and it's about the behavior and not necessarily the situation. The movie does something very smart, in my opinion, in that the murder mystery asks the question "What did he do?", while the more critical question is "What is he doing?".

When you get to the end, we find out that
he didn't kill that specific woman. But that's not the same as saying that he isn't capable of killing a woman out of anger.
There's a nuance there that I think is important. The movie isn't interested in simply sorting people in to "guilty" or "innocent".

Today I watched I See a Dark Stranger. It took me a beat to adjust to the kind of movie it is. I was expecting a lot more drama/thriller, and it was more of a thriller/romance/comedy, kind of in the vein of The 39 Steps. Overall I liked it. Deborah Kerr is a young Irish woman whose hatred of the British makes her a good mark for a group of spies trying to break a Nazi conspirator out of jail. I liked the distinct three acts that it had and the evolution of the main character. There were some good thriller-y moments. I was less taken with the romance angle--Trevor Howard's character is sometimes irritating as a horndog (accusing the main character of being a tease and saying that she "owes" him another date) and as a rigid soldier type (the main character expresses concern that she might be executed and Howard literally shrugs and says "It's my job"). Overall I'd recommend it. It's not a title I'd heard of before.


Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:05 am
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I re-watched Inside Llewyn Davis recently, and I now believe that it's one of the Coens' best films to date along with No Country for Old Men and The Big Lebowski. It's a great film in terms of artistic interpretation. You know the period between the 2nd and the 3rd act where the protagonist tries to turn his life around after he reflects on his flaws? My interpretation for this film is that it extends that period throughout the entire film. The only difference between this movie and other films with this plot structure is that the protagonist is unable to change anything. There are numerous scenes which seem either random or don't make much sense, but actually compliment the film quite well once you think about them. In addition to this, I also liked the acting quite a bit, especially John Goodman.

9/10

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Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:42 am
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Takoma1 wrote:
The movie isn't interested in simply sorting people in to "guilty" or "innocent".

It's why I liked the choice to make him so witty and charming. Makes the women (and male friends) seem less pathetic for putting up with him. That moment with the agent was heartbreaking (when the agent forgives him after the punch). I'm not really a Bogey guy but I really liked this a lot. Thought about it all day.

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Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:24 pm
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Captain Terror wrote:
It's why I liked the choice to make him so witty and charming. Makes the women (and male friends) seem less pathetic for putting up with him. That moment with the agent was heartbreaking (when the agent forgives him after the punch). I'm not really a Bogey guy but I really liked this a lot. Thought about it all day.


I'm a pretty big Bogart fan and consider it among his top performances. Overall it's likely his best but it's hard to compare it to the sheer intensity of the short performance he did in Petrified Forest. What's most interesting is that his performance in In A Lonely Place is often remarked upon as being the most like him in real life.


Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:43 pm
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Haven't seen The Petrified Forest, so it'd be Lonely Place for me with Sierra Madre a very close second (for his work, not the overall film).


Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:53 pm
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Wooley wrote:
I feel comfortable agreeing with you, and I've seen it 5 times.
When I saw it in the theater with a buddy of mine, he stood up at the end and said one word: "Masterpiece".


I find it to be an average Coen Brothers film. Now A Serious Man. That's a masterwork.


Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:14 pm
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Ladybird- We've seen this movie before. Many times. It echoes Truffaut, Linklater and, obviously Baumbach. Gerwig has a perfunctory style of direction that seems to consist of shot reverse shot conversations and a wide establishing shot that places the conversers on opposite sides of the screen. However, the performances are universally outstanding and the script does have a good feel for nostalgic authenticity that is sure to resonate with many.
I felt similarly about it; it was a fairly likeable, enjoyable coming-of-age dramaedy, but still kind of a familiar, low-key cinematic experience on the whole. Put it alongside Phantom Thread as another 2017 film I liked, but still found kind of overrated, and not really deserving of a Best Picture nom at that.
DaMU wrote:
Maybe it's actually not very good, but it evinces good movies just enough, through its plot points and techniques (a Memories of Murder police abuse here, a Seven single-frame flash there, touches of political satire) to stave off the realization that it's another damn film about vulnerable women who exist to suffer so that a violent detective sort can earn his decency wings.
Haven't seen The Chaser, but that sounds similar to the way I feel about certain Taylor Sheridan-penned Thrillers, except it feels like I may be the only one who thinks that about him...

:shifty:

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Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:47 pm
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I love Taylor Sheridan's work.


Tue Feb 06, 2018 3:59 pm
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Popcorn Reviews wrote:
I re-watched Inside Llewyn Davis recently... I also liked the acting quite a bit, especially John Goodman.

More than ever, I feel like this can be said of every single film John Goodman is ever in.


Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:59 pm
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Don't let the middling reviews for Maps to the Stars fool you: it's top-tier Cronenberg. It's in the league of Mulholland Drive, Sunset Boulevard and other great movies that explore what's rotten in the state of Hollywood, and not only does Maps reference those movies, it also makes nods to Cronenberg's body of work. However, it's not quite like any of the director's other movies, especially for its Crash-like (the other Crash) hyperlink structure that to my knowledge he's never used before. The links in this web are Hollywood archetypes like a self-help guru (John Cusack), a fading basket case actress (Julianne Moore), a spoiled, amoral teen idol (Evan Bird) and a struggling actor/screenwriter (Robert Pattinson). Through their interactions, we not only see how trauma, enablement, deception, abuse and everything else that's been in the news lately is allowed to happen, but also how they persist: it's no coincidence that the "big project" in this movie is a remake or that the guru and idol are father and son. The movie isn't without its flaws: Cronenberg's clinical approach doesn't always do the movie favors and there's a special effect - you'll know it when you see it - that is laughable. All the same, it's exactly the kind of movie that needs to be seen now that Hollywood has reared its ugly head. Watch it after seeing George Clooney's 2005 Oscars speech for even more catharsis.

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Wed Feb 07, 2018 1:25 am
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Torgo wrote:
Don't let the middling reviews for Maps to the Stars fool you: it's top-tier Cronenberg. It's in the league of Mulholland Drive, Sunset Boulevard and other great movies that explore what's rotten in the state of Hollywood, and not only does Maps reference those movies, it also makes nods to Cronenberg's body of work. However, it's not quite like any of the director's other movies, especially for its Crash-like (the other Crash) hyperlink structure that to my knowledge he's never used before. The links in this web are Hollywood archetypes like a self-help guru (John Cusack), a fading basket case actress (Julianne Moore), a spoiled, amoral teen idol (Evan Bird) and a struggling actor/screenwriter (Robert Pattinson). Through their interactions, we not only see how trauma, enablement, deception, abuse and everything else that's been in the news lately is allowed to happen, but also how they persist: it's no coincidence that the "big project" in this movie is a remake or that the guru and idol are father and son. The movie isn't without its flaws: Cronenberg's clinical approach doesn't always do the movie favors and there's a special effect - you'll know it when you see it - that is laughable. All the same, it's exactly the kind of movie that needs to be seen now that Hollywood has reared its ugly head. Watch it after seeing George Clooney's 2005 Oscars speech for even more catharsis.


I've never been more baffled by a movie I loved. That was worse than an Asylum effect.


Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:13 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:

I've never been more baffled by a movie I loved. That was worse than an Asylum effect.
I like to think John Cusack was lying on the chair because it's so bad.

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