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 Stu Presents 2017: My Year In Film! 
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Post #16. Thor: Ragnarok (Taika Waititi)

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Thor: Ragnarok comes after the first two cinematic adventures with the character firmly established him as one of (if not the) weakest series to date within the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fortunately for him (and us), however, Ragnarok finally gives us the good Thor movie we've been waiting over half a decade for; gone are the useless, Earthbound subplots, weak love interest (sorry Jane!), and obnoxious, unnecessary comic relief supporting characters that hampered the previous Thors, and in their places, a fun, colorful exile on a foreign planet that's like a cross between an intergalactic junkyard and a high-tech, alien version of the Roman Empire, an amusing buddy-comedy dynamic with a permanently enraged Hulk, of all characters, and a light, consistently irreverent sense of humor that finally feels natural for the most part, courtesy of New Zealand director Taikia Waititi. Granted, the converse of that is that the occasional dramatic moment tends to either be undercut by an inappropriate moment of levity, or not land with much impact (as I actually feel the previous Thors did a generally good job with their more serious moments), which is one of the weak spots of the film, along with an (admittedly fun) Cate Blanchett performance being somewhat wasted in her not-too-interesting subplot on Asgaard. Still, all of that isn't enough to cancel out the high points of Ragnarok, and, while this is still the weakest MCU entry of 2017 as far as I'm concerned, it's still saying something for the continued consistency of this Universe that such a 3rd place-finisher can still be a pretty good time at the movies, regardless.

Final Score: 8
Original Review:
Amongst the recurring Marvel franchises to date, the Thor series seems to have gotten a bit of the short end of the stick; the Iron Man movies got to kick off the whole MCU and were quite successful financially, the Captain America movies got a 2nd wind from the directorial duo of the Russo brothers after a bit of a forgettable origin movie, and the Guardians Of The Galaxy continue to delight critics and audiences alike with their signature style of fun, irreverent, 70's-tune fueled space adventures, but the Thor series, due to a combination of shoehorned-in subplots, painfully obnoxious comic "relief", and supporting characters that are either underutilized or just plain useless, never lived up to enough of its overall potential to truly satisfy...that is, until now. Don't get me wrong, as Thor: Ragnarok still isn't a perfect film by any stretch of the imagination, but it's still definitely a step in the right direction for this individual series, and another solid addition to the overall, ever-expanding "Marvel Cinematic Universe".

The primary reason for that is the unexpected addition of New Zealand director Taika Waititi, who, until now, has primarily been known for his comedies, like the small-scale mockumentary What We Do In The Shadows, which was basically like a This Is Spinal Tap for vampires. Such relatively humble work might make Waitit seem like a odd fit for the next Marvel blockbuster, but Waititi immediately proves that he's fit for task right from the opening scene of Ragnarok, as Thor continually mocks and interrupts the demon-god Surtur's generic-ass Villain Monologue about how he's going to destroy Asgaard and everyone and thing Thor knows and loves and yadayadayada, just before he breaks free of his chains as Led Zeppelin's classic "Immigrant Song" hits the soundtrack, just as Thor and Mjolner begin to hit Surtur's legions themselves.

It's an incredibly fun, wonderfully energetic opener to the film, and throughout Thor: Ragnarok, you'll find comparable examples of Waitit's sense of creativity and humor shining through the increasingly-dusty Marvel formula, such as a heroic but cliched proclamation by Thor being interrupted by a giant ball smacking him in the face at an inopportune moment, or the the rich, neon-Skittles colors of "Sakaar", the surreal, metropolis-planet that Thor spends the majority of the film washed up on (as the mostly-useless Earthbound sub-plots from the previous Thor films have finally, mercifully been jettisoned), or the equally colorful motley crew of supporting characters the film boasts, which includes "Scrapper 142", a tough, no-nonsense ex-Valkrie who can down a novelty-sized glass of alien booze before you can finish a sentence, or Korg, a casually silly CGI rock monster voiced by Waititi himself, who lends some down-to-Earth New Zealand flavor to the alien environments, or Jeff Goldblum in full Goldblum mode as the unapologetically hedonistic "Grandmaster", who's relentlessly quirky in that way that only Mr. Goldblum seems able to pull off.

And all of that isn't even mentioning the new-found Odd Couple/buddy comedy dynamic that Thor shares with an exiled Incredible Hulk on Sakaar, or the way the normally demure and reserved Cate Blanchett puts in a refreshingly campy, vampy performance as the sinister, deadly confident "Goddess Of Death" Hela... although, not mentioning her here might be for the best. Don't get me wrong, as Hela definitely is fun performance to watch, but the sub-plot surrounding her takeover of Asgaard generally feels like a perfunctory afterthought here, and often when the film cut back to her various schemings there, I found myself fairly unengaged, and eager to return to Sakaar to see what new sheninagans Thor and his merry band of side-players were getting into now.

That flaw, along with the occasional dramatic moments here lacking weight (Odin's death scene made me feel next to nothing, even with "Sir" Anthony Hopkins' regal performance) ultimately prevent Raganrok from living up to its full potential, and I can't help but find myself wishing that Waititi had tried harder for a more even balance between the light and heavy moments here. However, that being said, I still ultimately didn't regret paying to see this one in theaters, as, flaws and all, Thor: Ragarok is still a fun, creative, unusually colorful time at the movies, and it finally gives us the legitimately good Thor movie we've been waiting for for over half a decade now. Hammer Of The Gods, strike on!

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Sat Jan 06, 2018 2:10 pm
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Post Re: Stu Presents 2017: My Year In Film!

Thor: Ragnarok was a blast. I wish some of the emotional stuff had been more deftly handled, as Waititi proved he could do with Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Boy, but his comedic touch and energy added a ton of life to the stale series. He was also way better at spectacle than I anticipated.


Sun Jan 07, 2018 6:22 am
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Post Re: Stu Presents 2017: My Year In Film!

I liked Thor: Ragnarok much better than I expected. Logan is my favorite superhero film of 2017 though.

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Sun Jan 07, 2018 6:32 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Thor: Ragnarok was a blast. I wish some of the emotional stuff had been more deftly handled, as Waititi proved he could do with Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Boy, but his comedic touch and energy added a ton of life to the stale series. He was also way better at spectacle than I anticipated.
I know people who've criticized the more serious scenes in the original Thor as being overly melodramatic, but I actually felt they were the best parts of that film (man, that scene where Thor's crying after Loki tells him their mother still wishes him to be banished from Asgaard forever, and Loki says that he's sorry, and Thor says "No... I'm sorry"; so many feels!). Maybe if they had gotten Kenneth Brannagh to just direct the occasional dramatic moment in Ragnarok, and let Waititi do the rest as is, then maybe I would've actually felt something in the scene where
Odin is talking to his sons just before he's going to die.
But, like I said, it's still a pretty good time at the movies regardless.
Popcorn Reviews wrote:
I liked Thor: Ragnarok much better than I expected. Logan is my favorite superhero film of 2017 though.

Ditto, and di-toe, PR...

8-)

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Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:27 am
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Post #15. IT (Andy Muschetti)

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IT isn't a perfect film by any means, especially when judged purely as a Horror film; too many of its "scary" moments are overbearingly loud jumpscares, which probably would've been scarier if they hadn't tried so hard to be, well, scary, and the overall plot structure is a bit unfocused, with characters that sort of just float (no pun intended) in and out, and events that sometimes just happen essentially at random, without adding much focus to the film's overall arc (although maybe that's to be expected when attempting to adapt even just half of a 1,000+ page Stephen King tome). But, that being said, I still enjoyed some of its horrific imagery for how imaginatively creepy it was, and the more dramatic, coming-of-age moments were actually the much stronger aspect of the film, as we see the film's adolescent characters deal with the various real-life horrors of puberty, bullying, and child abuse, among others, and all this is delivered in a suprisingly effective, at times emotionally manner by director Andy Muschetti, who proves to be better at the dramatic moments than the scary ones. Flaws and all, IT is still a pretty good film on the whole, and one of the better adaptations in the ever-expanding world of Stephen King movies, if you ask me.

Final Score: 8
Original Review:
Like a demonic, shapeshifting clown popping his hideous head out of the sewers of Derry, a new adaptation of Stephen King's epic novel It has arisen, 27 years after its last go-round onscreen (specifically, on the small screen, as a 1990 ABC miniseries), after going through various rewrites, multiple directors, including Cary Fuganaga of True Detective fame (who sadly, wasn't allowed to direct the final project here), and what felt like an eternity in development hell. This time, only the childhood portion of the "Losers Club"'s decades-long struggle with Pennywise has been adapted, the film's timeframe has been bumped up from the 50's to the 80's, which seems like the hot new thing post-Stranger Things (which shares an actor with It, even!) and Andy Muschietti of Mama fame is the lucky one who ended up directing. But, I think that's enough background on a partial adaptation of a 31 year-old, 1,138 Stephen King novel don't you? The important thing here is, is It any good? Well, flaws aside, my answer to that question would have to be yes, but ironically enough, that result is due less to Pennywise's presence here than just about any other aspect, to be honest..

We're introduced to Pennywise (portrayed here by Stellan Skarsgård's other son, Bill) in the film's opening scene, where he lures 7 year-old "Georgie" to a sewer drain with promises of balloons, popcorn, and the boy's lost sailboat, before baring his fangs (literally) and dragging him down in the depths to a particularly gruesome demise. In this scene in particular, Skarsgård puts in a memorable performance that's somehow equal parts cheerful and predatorially creepy, and the idea that such an obviously evil figure could get away with both charming and preying upon the children of Derry for decades, like some sort of demonic Pied Piper, seems almost plausible due to the strength of his performance, which is unfortunate, since the film never lets the actor shine that much again.

Don't get me wrong, as I did enjoy It as a whole, but I was still somewhat disappointed with its treatment of Pennywise; I mean, Skarsgård was already somewhat buried as an actor underneath the hideous clown makeup that accompanies the role, but Muschetti doesn't do him any favors in further burying him and his various incarnations underneath a reliance on unnecessary special effects, repetitive, obnoxious jumpscares, and loud noises on the soundtrack to make sure you know that this is one of the scary parts. A lot of the moments in It that actually would've been creepier had they just been delivered with a lighter touch are grossly overblown instead (one scare involving a literally giant Pennywise popping out is pretty much just straight-up schlock), and the film's prologue was the only time where it felt like Skarsgård just got to play Pennywise, before the annoying modern horror gimmicks began to get in the way of his performance, which, based off his acting in the opening scene, is a real missed opportunity. I mean, say what you will about the miniseries, but at least it let Tim Curry just PLAY Pennywise a lot more, and let him put his own stamp as on actor on the part.

That being said, not every "horrific" moment in this movie was a complete waste, as, while I was never actually scared by any scene here, I was mildly disturbed by some of the twisted, imaginative imagery that It packed (one scene involving a sink and an old haircut coming back to haunt a character was particularly messed up), which kept me entertained enough during some of the "scary" moments to keep them from being a total waste, and made decent use of the film's R rating, an advantage it holds over the watered-down-for-TV content of the miniseries. And, what ultimately makes It worthwhile, despite its faults, is actually the various coming-of-age, innocense-lost dramas that the Losers Club experiences over the long, hard summer depicted in the film, whether it be Eddie discovering his mother has been feeding him placebo pills in order to make him believe that he's chronically ill, Beverly simultaneously dealing with the difficulties of puberty, the peer pressure of being unfairly slut-shamed by both the children and the adults of the community, or the molesting advances of her father, who's determined to keep her as his "little girl" for forever, or the way that Bill uses Pennywise's illusions of Georgie in order to say goodbye to his memories of the real Georgie, and finally move on from his death, a detail that, hacky jumpscares aside, nicely dovetails the fantastical horrors of the film with real-life traumas in a much more elegant manner than a certain other 2017 horror movie (coughSplitcough).

Anyway, like I said before, It is not a perfect film; in addition to its over-the-top jumpscares and silly, computer-generated effects, it has the occasional bit of tonal whiplash, and is rather loose structurally, generally going from scene to scene rather haphazardly, with certain characters just floating (no pun intended) in and out of the story seemingly at random. But, all of that being said, it's ultimately the film's sense of heart and soul, the way it cares enough about its young characters to take the time to develop almost every one of them (even one of the bullies!), that goes beyond not just what most horror films attempt in terms of character development, but what just a lot of movies have in general, that redeems It, and makes it a worthwhile cinematic experience. Warts and all, this is a fundamentally good movie, and if you see it, then I think that... you'll float too? I dunno, I just felt I had to shoehorn that into my review somewhere. Anyway, just go see It already!

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Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:27 am
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Post Re: Stu Presents 2017: My Year In Film!

Oxnard Montalvo wrote:
I hope this gives me another chance to bitch about the IT movie.

I'm a spooky clown. BOO! BOO! BOO! BOO! BOO! BOO! BOO! *roll credits*
Slentert wrote:
My biggest disappointment of the year. :rotten:
Sorry, guys :D IT wasn't great or anything, but the good parts were enough for me to still like it pretty well; whatever!

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Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:58 am
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Post #14. Coco (Lee Unkrich)

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I didn't write quite as much about Coco as I do a lot of the other films on this list, but chalk that up more to me not being huge on animated family films in general, rather than Coco itself not being a good animated family film, because it definitely is. It has a bit of a touch of dark fantasy in its Day Of The Dead-inspired skeleton-people that inhabit its colorful Mexican version of the afterlife, but not in a scary way, just to add some more visual personality to the film, is all. Really, the most "adult" aspect of Coco is its themes and emotions, as it deals with the nature of forgiveness, personal redemption, and the way the bonds of family hold us together for better or worse, all in surprisingly mature, emotional manner (well, it isn't that much a surprise if you're familiar with Pixar's general body of work, but that doesn't dilute the impact here). As far as Pixar goes, it isn't WALL-E or anything, (which I'm currently reviewing), but it is quite good nonetheless, as partly a touching love letter to Mexican culture in a political context when we could really use one in America, as well as just a touching, emotional journey for its various characters, and I won't soon forget the feelings that Coco made me, uh, feel.

Final Score: 8
Original Review:
; 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 Jan 08, 2018 3:08 pm
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Post Re: Stu Presents 2017: My Year In Film!

Man, I was a total sucker for Coco - but maybe that's because I love children/family films (well, the good ones), while you say you're less of a fan.

Glad you liked it, though! At the least, it feels like a good rebound after Good Dinosaur / Cars the Third.

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Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:59 pm
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Post #13. Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve)

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Blade Runner 2049 has a couple of flaws holding it back from greatness, such as a slightly bloated running time that's at least 15 minutes too long, along with a sometimes unnecessarily off-putting, alienating tone (something that I feel Villeneuve did a better job with in last year's Arrival), but on the whole, it's still rather epic, ambitious, and refreshingly thought-provoking sci-fi for adults, and it's no surprise that, like the original, it underwhelmed at the box office. Still, I'm grateful that it finally got made at all, and I actually prefer it to the original film, as its lead characters and its central love story are both easily more engaging than they were in the original. The journey that the new Blade Runner goes on, Ryan Gosling's replicant-hunting, er, replicant, "KD9-3.7", will make you wonder what it means to still be "human" when man has become virtually indistinguishable from his creations (although that doesn't stop K's colleagues at work from casually dropping high-tech racial slurs in his presence), and the relationship that develops between K and his holographic "girlfriend" Joi is one of the more touching romances in recent cinematic history, even though she isn't technically "real" (but then again, that's the whole point, isn't it?). The flipside of that is the antagonist, Jared Leto's pretentious blind(-ish) industrialist is much less interesting than Roy Batty was in the original, but that's a trade-off I can ultimately live with, and, various flaws aside, Blade Runner 2049 is still a cinematic experience I'm not likely to forget anytime soon.

Final Score: 8
Original Review:
The year is 2049; 30 years have passed since Blade Runner Rick Deckard "retired" his final skin job, and vanished into the non-existent sunset with the (fellow?) replicant Rachel. A wave of fugitive "reps" arise from the ashes of the Tyrell Corporation, as a different generation of replicants is given birth to, models that have been engineered to be obedient, even to the point of hunting down and killing their own kind, like Ryan Gosling's "K" (short for his serial number KD9-3.7, his "real name"). But, when a routine case leads to the discovery of the remains of a replicant who apparently died giving birth (something believed to be impossible), K will go on a world-shattering journey that will force him to question everything that he believed to be real, alongside a couple of ghosts from the past that haven't been seen in a long, long time.

So that's the basic pitch of Blade Runner 2049 on paper, Denis Villeneuve's unlikely, long-in-in-the-works sequel to Ridley Scott's original 1982 classic, but how does it play out on film? Well, for one thing, Villeneuve & company have more than stayed true to the world that Scott helped create over 3 decades ago, while still finding new, refreshing ways to expand on that vision; the massive cityscape of 2049 Los Angeles still feels just as monolithic and oppressive as it did in 1982, especially when lensed through the eye of modern cinematography icon Roger Deakins' epic, dizzying visuals, as hints of Vangelis's legendary original score wash through the soundtrack, and, while the Tyrell Corporation is no more, many real companies from the original that went bankrupt are still around in 2049, such as Atari and Pan Am (even the Soviet Union still exists in this timeline, to demonstrate the film's fidelity to Scott's canon). Writing-wise, Hampton Fancher and Michael Green find new ways to delve back into the original's signature themes of identity, just exactly what it means to have a soul and to be "human", and the ever-thinning line that supposedly still separates man from his creations, while stylistically, Villeneuve's direction strongly recalls the slow, leisurely pacing, and overall cryptic, alienating tone that keeps Scott's film such a haunting experience all these year later.

...recalls it a bit too much, if you ask me. Don't get me wrong, as 2049 is still a worthwhile film on the whole, and I didn't regret paying extra to see it in theaters at all, but I still couldn't help but feel it would've been better if Villeneuve hadn't tried so hard to exaggerate certain traits from the original as if to try to give us the ultimate Blade Runner experience; 2049's surreally slow pacing is sometimes pushed to the absolute breaking point, and I ended up feeling almost every single minute of the film's 2 & 1/2 hour-plus running time, and the inclusion of certain overly bizarre, dehumanized moments (especially with Jared Leto's reclusive blind industrialist Niander Wallace, who substituted creepy cataracts and pretentious, "poetic" ramblings in place of actual character development) just felt very forced and unnecessary, and was a bit of a cinematic turn off in the end.

Still, 2049 is at its best when Villeneuve allows its sense of humanity to shine through, like with the inner pain and utter confusion that Gosling's K displays as his entire world and very sense of self gets turned completely upside down as his investigation goes deeper and deeper, or with how surprisingly touching his relationship with his holographic "girlfriend" Joi is; the moment where she finally gets to go outside their cramped apartment after K gives her a portable emitter, and she gets to feel rain on her "skin" for the first time was simply beautiful to witness, and a scene where Joi synchronizes her movements with a real woman to give K a sort of one-on-one lovemaking session is one of the coolest sci-fi concepts I've seen in recent years. It even retroactively makes the memories of Deckard & Rachel's relationship more engaging to hear about than it was to witness in the original (classic film or not, that particular aspect of Blade Runner always struck me as rather obligatory and perfunctory), but I'll stop right there, at the risk of spoiling 2049 any further than I already have.

Anyway, like I said before, Blade Runner 2049 isn't a perfect film, and I can't help but feel like it could've been better with a shorter running time and a slightly more accessible tone on the whole, but I also can't help but find it a compelling cinematic experience anyway; the visuals are breathtaking, the concepts and themes are fascinating and genuinely thought-provoking, and it's the rare sequel to an iconic original that (mostly) avoids just coasting on nostalgia audiences may hold for the first film, but rather, actually does something to further develop the world created in the original, making for a "blade" that, flaws and all, I didn't regret running in the end.

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Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:58 pm
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Post Re: Stu Presents 2017: My Year In Film!

Nah. Blade Runner 2049 is great.


Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:52 am
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Post Re: #13. Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve)

Stu wrote:
high-tech racial slurs

Not gonna lie, I love this phrase.

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Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:15 am
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Post Re: Stu Presents 2017: My Year In Film!

I never even saw Blade Runner. Yeah, real film geek I am. :(

Villeneuve is supposedly taking on Dune as his next project. I don't know when it will start filming though. Sci-Fi seems to be his calling card these days.

PS - That's an awesome screenshot.


Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:46 pm
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Post #12. Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (James Gunn)

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I really don't get why Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 was so much less regarded than the original film, receiving a relatively paltry average score of 7.1 on RT, compared to the original's 7.8; sure, its particular combination of irreverent humor, genuine drama, and rockin' 70's tunes all in one big sci-fi adventure naturally isn't as fresh an experience as it was the first time around, but that's pretty much inevitable, and, at any rate, it can hardly just be called a rehash of the original. After all, not only is the main villain far, far more interesting this time around, but Guardians 2 continues the various character arcs from the original rather well, retaining director James Gunn's minor miracle of developing the colorful cast in meaty, substantive, emotionally moving ways, while also continuing to surround those dramatic moments with plenty of touches of the Guardians' signature space-adventuring and fun and silly (but lovable) humor, maintaining a solid balance between both tones here, resulting in a very satisfying, and (if you ask me), a rather underrated sequel, at that.

Final Score: 8
Original Review:
Let's cut to the chase here; Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 is... a good movie. It's definitely a good sequel to the original, an impressive feat, considering that film's almost one-of-a-kind tone, and the unexpected, lightning-in-a-bottle success it had upon its release. There are a couple of moments here that feel too much like just repeating notes from the original, for the most part, Vol. 2 does a good job of continuing in its same joyfully irreverant space adventure vein, without making the common sophomore mistake of merely doing exactly what the first film did, only "bigger". Returning director James Gunn manages to find ways to make this "volume" refreshingly different from the original, while still retaining the substantive, emotional characterizations from the first movie, while also managing to make numero dos here yes, undeniably bigger than the original at the same time.

...a little too big at times, if you ask me. Don't get me wrong, as the story of Guardians 2 is hardly as unfocused or unwieldy as something like (gulp) last year's Batman "V" Superman, but in general, it still bit off a bit more than it could chew, and I couldn't help but yearn for the relatively humble simplicity of the original at times. The storytelling is somewhat less focused here, as a "golden" race of constantly pestering antagonists feels like more of an excuse to keep the action running during potentially slow moments (and another element to figure into the film's somewhat bloated, overlong climax) rather than a necessary part of the film, and they should've just been forgotten about after their initial introduction. And, visually, I went back and forth between being awed by the colorful splendor some of the special effects held in presenting the film's often audacious imagery & concepts (supposedly, one planet in particular consisted of one trillion polygons), and being overwhelmed by how much the film relied on such artificial, computer-generated spectacle at times, as it occasionally lost a bit of touch with the character-centered heart & soul that has truly distinguished this series to date. Sometimes, watching Vol. 2 is sort of like experiencing a certain disorienting hyperspace jump sequence for yourself (believe me, you'll know what I mean when you see it).

That being said, at least those characters weren't bored while they were in hyperspace, and neither was I, and a film that's a sometimes-overwhelming embarrassment of riches is still far more preferable to being forgettable, right? Right, and what Guardians still gets right is its characters, as Gunn continues the strong arcs he created in the original and expands upon them here, and it seems as though almost every main and supporting character (new and returning alike!) getting at least one memorable scene where we delve deeper into their particular thoughts and feelings, letting us grow closer to the motley crew of losers that call the galaxy of Guardians home. I particularly enjoyed the development Karen Gillan's intimidating cyborg assassin Nebula received here, as the film gives us vital additional background on her tortured relationship with her adoptive sister Gamora, rendering a fairly flat character in the original far more 3-dimensional here, but it's hard to choose just one favorite arc from this one, as there's plenty of good character development going on constantly.

Finally, a particular way Vol. 2 keeps itself fresh is in the intriguing way it uses its main villian of Ego, "The Living Planet", who is vividly portrayed by a gracefully aging Kurt Russell here. Ego is a basically a Godlike celestial being who turns out to be Starlord's father, which satisfyingly pays off a tantilizing mystery that was set up in the original film, and is a refreshing contrast to main antagonist of the first film, Ronan, whose motivations and characterization couldn't have been any more generic (although this was arguably by James Gunn's design). But initially, for Ego, it doesn't seem like there's even a remote chance he could be the film's main baddie, as he first comes across as an imperfect but still affectionate father who had no choice but to abandon Peter and his mother on Earth all those years ago, as he seeks to be a true father to his son now, and reveal to Quill all the metaphysical, "universe-expanding" possibilities his parentage avails to him.

And, while the moment of his turn to heel in the story may happen a bit suddenly, his motivation to absorb the entirety of the known universe still makes sense in retrospect, as Russell's performance does give off an undercurrent of arrogant, above-it-all-ness thoughout, even if we didn't realize it at the time, and most importantly, is a refreshing change for the sometimes villian-challenged MCU. Factor in a certain Empire Strikes Back-style plot twist that genuinely shocked me in the theater, and you have a really strong, compelling antagonist, and also just a great character in general. All of this and more adds up to a sophomore effort that, while not quite as fresh or humbly enjoyable as the original Guardians, was still a welcome watch for me, and another worthwhile entry in Marvel's ever-expanding cinematic galaxy, as it were.

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Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:09 pm
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Post Re: Stu Presents 2017: My Year In Film!

I loved GOTG2. Kurt Russell was hilarious. And of course you gotta love Rocket Raccoon.


Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:31 pm
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Post Re: Stu Presents 2017: My Year In Film!

too much damn shtick in that one. no one in our theater laughed at the "Rocket needs tape!" stuff and I was feeling embarrassed for the movie.

Michael Rooker doesn't need any shtick though and that's why he's great.


Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:18 pm
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Post Re: Stu Presents 2017: My Year In Film!

I need to rewatch that one. Saw it a couple of months ago, but I have to admit I dozed off during the middle. Not necessarily the film's fault, though, since I started watching it late, with no power, about a week after Hurricane Maria, and I guess I wasn't in the right frame of mind. That said, from what I could gather, it felt a bit messier than the first one.

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Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:31 pm
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Oxnard Montalvo wrote:
too much damn shtick in that one. no one in our theater laughed at the "Rocket needs tape!" stuff and I was feeling embarrassed for the movie.

Michael Rooker doesn't need any shtick though and that's why he's great.


I agree on both counts. There were a lot of times where the humor felt forced and as if it had to be hand-waving and frenetic to keep the audiences attention. Rooker's captivating-but-controlled performance is really the heart of the movie to me, but his scenes threw the other "serious" scenes into unflattering relief.

There were plenty of times that the madcap, over-the-top stuff worked (I'm looking at you, Pac-Man), but I found the movie kind of tiring. I saw the film in the theater with a really enthusiastic audience, but you could feel the energy lagging around the middle. I don't like the David Bautista character (among other things, there are contradictory moments with him that just make no sense but are for a laugh and I don't care for that), and so his character's expanded screentime was a mild negative for me. On the flip side, I really liked the sister subplot and found it more emotionally compelling than the central Starlord emotional stuff.

Overall I'd give it a B. I actually liked it more than the first film.


Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:45 am
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Post Re: #13. Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve)

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Nah. Blade Runner 2049 is great.
Image

Only by a bit, though!
Rock wrote:
Not gonna lie, I love this phrase.
I feel a tad odd for being complimented for anything relating to "racial slurs", but thanks anyway :P I actually came up with that line when I was writing my initial full-length review of 2049, and I couldn't find a decent place to fit it into my review, so I saved it in the draft version of this thread I've been working on for the past few months, just in case; I thought I wasn't going to include it because I was having a hard time finding a place to include it in my write-up, but I decided to force it in at the last minute, just in case anyone appreciated it, so I guess I made the right call, heh.

Anyway, at the risk of rambling, that reminds me of one incredibly awkward experience I had with the theatrical cut of the original film, the one with that abysmal narration from Harrison Ford; for some reason, at work, someone had turned it on in the TV in the break room (real crowd-pleaser to watch at work, I know), and the moment where Deckard compared Bryant calling the replicants "skin jobs" to the 20th century police who called black men a certain other slur played. Me and two of my co-workers (one of whom was black) heard it, and one guy, who apparently hadn't been listening to the TV, realized all of a sudden what had just been said, looked up, and went "Whoa!". Needless to say, the atmosphere in the room got very awkward all of a sudden :-/
ski petrol wrote:
I never even saw Blade Runner. Yeah, real film geek I am. :(

Villeneuve is supposedly taking on Dune as his next project. I don't know when it will start filming though. Sci-Fi seems to be his calling card these days.

PS - That's an awesome screenshot.
My moderate issues with the film aside, it really was an amazing experience on the big screen, one of the better ones I've ever had in my life, even; you definitely missed out by not checking it out in the theater. Anyway, based off of his recent track record, if anyone could give us a good new adaptation of Dune, it would be the 'neuve, for sure. Can't wait. And thank you!

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Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:07 am
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Post Re: Stu Presents 2017: My Year In Film!

GOTG2 gets a lot of points from me for actually being fun and colourful, unlike the drab-ass first movie. Also, more Rooker is always welcome.

Can Chris Pratt please go away though? He's an awful leading man.

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Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:20 am
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Takoma1 wrote:

I agree on both counts. There were a lot of times where the humor felt forced and as if it had to be hand-waving and frenetic to keep the audiences attention.


Heck, I liked the movie, but one of my most distressing moments in cinema this year was when Star-Lord shouted, "You killed my mom! ...and destroyed my Walkman!"

Like... please, film directors, let the emotion stand on its own. If the viewers aren't with you at minute 100, they were never with you.

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Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:43 am
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DaMU wrote:

Heck, I liked the movie, but one of my most distressing moments in cinema this year was when Star-Lord shouted, "You killed my mom! ...and destroyed my Walkman!"

Like... please, film directors, let the emotion stand on its own. If the viewers aren't with you at minute 100, they were never with you.


Yup. Despite really enjoying Kurt Russel in the film, I felt like the central plot line never managed to find the right tone. And next to the almost pitch-perfect way that Rooker reveals his character's backstory and the high-emotion of the sisters' plot line, the jokey-but-also-brain-tumors central story just came across as weak. (And not helped by being yet another movie with a 20 minute--or so it felt--final action sequence). Michael Rooker walking in slow-motion through the chaos in the prison was more thrilling than anything in the finale.


Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:56 am
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Takoma1 wrote:

Yup. Despite really enjoying Kurt Russel in the film, I felt like the central plot line never managed to find the right tone. And next to the almost pitch-perfect way that Rooker reveals his character's backstory and the high-emotion of the sisters' plot line, the jokey-but-also-brain-tumors central story just came across as weak. (And not helped by being yet another movie with a 20 minute--or so it felt--final action sequence). Michael Rooker walking in slow-motion through the chaos in the prison was more thrilling than anything in the finale.


I really dug the sisters' plotline too! Surprised me how well the film could have you believe both that Nebula genuinely wants to murder Gamora (i.e. actively chase her down a cave with a ship and murder her), and that there's still space for reconciliation. Figuratively, this is a fair representation of having siblings.

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Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:11 pm
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Post Re: Stu Presents 2017: My Year In Film!

Seems like what we really need is a Michael Rooker space opera. Henry: Portrait of a Starkiller, anyone?

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Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:13 pm
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Post Re: Stu Presents 2017: My Year In Film!

Rock wrote:
Henry: Portrait of a Starkiller, anyone?

Motherfucker :up: 8-)


Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:29 pm
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Post Re: Stu Presents 2017: My Year In Film!

Doubling back on a comment on the previous page about the lack of a good villain in Wonder Woman, that may tie into the overall tendency of some more recent pop entertainments to play the villain as a mystery. The biggest example in my mind being the villain of Zootopia. A friend of mine was sad because she had a real fondness for the Disney villains of the Renaissance years. Your cleanly motivated and happily evil Scar, Jafar, Ursula, and the like. She wasn't really down with the enigma surrounding someone like the villain of Zootopia, and I wonder if that's part of why a lot of people didn't jive on Wonder Woman.

[Zootopia borrows from film noir, so it's a bit more excused, but even then...]

Because, while I really liked the reveal of who the villain was
(Professor Lupin! As though there was any doubt)
, and what his slightly more nuanced motivation was
(end the war to set up more conflicts down the road)
, it also means we suddenly have to develop a lot of strong feelings about a important character in a short amount of time. This would be one thing if we were watching a murder mystery, where the guessing along the way is the whole point and pleasure of such a story. It's really hard to do this in a superhero film without it becoming obscurantist and sort of lazy (because it turns into a game of peekaboo followed by a what's-my-motive monologue).

I mean, 90% of the fun of a Joker or Loki is that their villainy is right there and cleanly expressed and then escalated and tested by the hero.

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Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:40 pm
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DaMU wrote:
Doubling back on a comment on the previous page about the lack of a good villain in Wonder Woman, that may tie into the overall tendency of some more recent pop entertainments to play the villain as a mystery.

I mean, 90% of the fun of a Joker or Loki is that their villainy is right there and cleanly expressed and then escalated and tested by the hero.


Completely agree. By the time you get to the end of a superhero movie, the final confrontation should feel both deeply personal AND earth-shatteringly epic. A sign of disengagement for me with film is when I can't remember characters' names. I could not tell you the name (I mean, the character name--I remember the
Ares
part). Same thing for the villain in Captain America: Civil War.

Like you say: what's the point? A sense of mild surprise (and be real--did any of you not anticipate in GOTG that
the dad was evil
? Anyone?) is not worth creating an emotionally empty finale that has to be jazzed up with 15 minutes of effects and explosions to distract you from the fact that you don't really care about the bad guy.


Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:18 pm
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DaMU wrote:

Heck, I liked the movie, but one of my most distressing moments in cinema this year was when Star-Lord shouted, "You killed my mom! ...and destroyed my Walkman!"

Like... please, film directors, let the emotion stand on its own. If the viewers aren't with you at minute 100, they were never with you.


I let it slide since the Walkman was his last connection to his mom.

but I get what you're saying.


Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:05 pm
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Post #11. Detroit (Kathyrn Bigelow)

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Detroit didn't get much attention at the box office last August; maybe audiences are just tired of going to the theater that late in the summer, maybe it was the fact that this summer in particular was the weakest in a decade-and-a-half, or maybe it was the fact that it was a fairly disturbing, true events-based thriller, that reminded people a bit too much of the racial tensions that hit the country in the wake of the events at Charlottesville... whatever the reason was, it resulted in Detroit performing seriously underwhelmingly in a financial sense, which is a shame, since I felt it really was a good, compelling film. No, it isn't quite as good as director Kathyrn Bigelow's recent modern classic Zero Dark Thirty, as the setup for the 1967 Detroit Riot in its 1st act is a bit underwhelming, and the 3rd act is a bit overlong, and not quite as engaging as it could've been, but it's still fairly good on the whole, especially the middle act in particular, which depicts the racially-charged powderkeg where officers of the Detroit PD held people hostage at a local hotel, and Bigelow's intimately intense direction really makes us feel the fear of people who are sure that their lives are about to come to an end (and of course, a couple of them ended up being correct). It's pretty upsetting, powerful, and unfortunately, still relevant material, even half a century later, and while we haven't solved the problems portrayed in this film, and may never, the denoument of the film still gives me hope that life will always go on, somehow... some way.

Final Score: 8
Original Review:
50 years ago, race relations in the United States were undergoing what could be deemed a turbulent transitionary period; although the Civil Rights Movement had arguably achieved its greatest victory a few years earlier with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a law that dealt a significant blow to legalized discrimination nationwide, there was plenty of unofficial discrimination to be had, whether it be a lack of decent employment (or any unemployment at all), overcrowded, racially segregated neighborhoods, or local police forces made up of almost entirely white, often prejudiced officers who regularly went unpunished for exploiting and using brutal, excessive force against local African-American communities. These conditions turned dozens of cities nationwide into barely-contained powderkegs, powderkegs which blew up all across the country during what is now known as The Long Hot Summer of '67, resulting in over 100 riots occuring across the US, the biggest of which took place in Detroit from July 23rd to the 27th of that year, resulting in hundreds of injuries and arrests, thousands of buildings destroyed, millions of dollars in property damage, and the deaths of 43 people. To this day, it is still the 3rd biggest riot in US history, only surpassed by the New York Draft Riot of 1863, and the Los Angeles/Rodney King Riot of '92.

Kathryn Bigelow's Detroit is the story of this riot, although it's less about the general riot than you may expect, and more about the "Algiers Motel Incident" which occured in the middle of it all, and how this incident led to officers of the Detroit PD murdering three of their fellow citizens in cold blood. Of course, we get some background on the particularly egregious living conditions facing black Detroiters at that time (in a relatively daring, but still aesthetically incongruous animated intro), we get to witness the early-morning police raid of a mostly-black, unlicensed speakeasy that ended up serving served riot's inciting incident, and we're introduced to a number of characters who later end up playing a part in the film's central incident, but unfortunately, it feels as though Bigelow's directorial heart wasn't quite as much into this 1st act of the film as it should've been; a few too many of the film's early scenes feel as though they were treated as being just perfunctory, with the shots of rioting locals serving as rather small and underwhelming visually, failing to give us a sufficiently memorable portrayal of the Hell on Earth that visited the Motor City during those sweltering July days. In addition, the characters' dialogue was occasionally pretty clunky and unnatural in its nakedly expository manner, and finally, the film's denouement of the aftermath of the Algiers incident, while necessary, still went on for just slightly too long, taking out some of the punch Detroit managed to pack through its ever so important middle act.

However, Bigelow still portrays the incident at the motel with an unceasingly raw, intimate intensity, and this section of the film is what ends up redeeming the whole shebang and then some, even considering its various flaws. The horror begins when an occupant of the motel, a young man named Carl, decides to scare a nearby group of National Guardsmen by firing a harmless starter pistol in their direction. Naturally, in the midst of an ongoing city-wise riot, the Guardsmen can't know that this prank isn't coming from a legitimate sniper in the area, and so, after indiscriminately opening fire on the motel (killing Carl), they, along with a contingent of responding Detroit PD officers (the defacto leader of whom, Officer Phillip Krauss, was still on the streets even while facing murder charges for shooting a fleeing, unarmed citizen in the back earlier that day), storm inside, round every single ocupant up and lead them down into the main foyer of the building, and face them up against the wall during an extended, impormptu group "interrogation", in search of a shooter who doesn't even exist.

It's during this middle 3rd of the film that Bigelow's direction really hits its stride, crafting an unbearably tense and scary situation, with an intensity to rival even that of the nail-biting compound raid climax from 2012's superb Zero Dark Thirty. With Carl's fresh corpse lying right next to them in the dining room, the various tenants of the motel find themselves being held for what seems like an eternity up against a wall, simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time, as the crazed local policemen periodically throw racial slurs, browbeatings, and actual beatings their way, eventually taking a couple of them aside one at a time behind the closed doors of the motel rooms for a "game" of psychologically-devastating mock executions (which inevitably turns into real executions before the night's end), hoping to get someone in the group to tell them the location of a gun they're determined to believe must be there, no matter what. The "interrogations" also end up being unfortunately tailored by race and sex, as, while the two white women taking refuge at the Algiers are spared any sort of physical beating, due to the officers' grossly misplaced sense of white chivalry, they're still subject to various other denigrations, such as assumptions that the only reason they're at that motel is to be whored out by a black "pimp" they were initially discovered with (a pimp who turns out to be an Army vet home from Vietnam, trading one warzone for another), or the threat of a shotgun slowly being placed between their legs in order to lift the hems of their dresses, or one officer coming this close to raping one of them when he rips off her clothes in a fit of rage.

From start to finish, the entire sequence is a grueling nightmare of tension, dragging on and on in the best cinematic sense of the word, and if the entire film was as impressive as this segment, we would be looking at another overall modern masterpiece from a resurging Bigelow. Unfortunately, Detroit proves a bit unable to sustain this level of quality afterwards, although there's still certainly good material after this point regardless; we get to witness both the personal and legal aftermaths of the incident, as the officers put on trial end up being found "not guilty" by an all-white jury for their despicable actions, while a young Motown singer who lost his friend at the motel finds himself unable to move on with his once-promising career, and accept a record deal with a major label, due to the lingering trauma that the incident leaves with him. However, although Bigelow can't ignore the central miscarriage of justice that Detroit ends with, nor does she try to shoehorn in some message that, in the ensuing half a century since the riot, the national racial wounds that lead to the riot have somehow finally healed and ceased to fester (because, in the wake of Charlottesville, it's incredibly obvious they haven't), she still manages to slip in little moments of hope here and there, showing that, even the wake of such absolute horror, life still manages to goes on anyway, somehow... someway.

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Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:58 pm
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Post #10. Spider-Man: Homecoming (Jon Watts)

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Despite potential MCU/superhero/Spider-Man fatigue, Spider-Man: Homecoming was a likeable, refreshingly enjoyable time at the movies; this isn't really because it does much of anything inherently surprising as far as superhero movies in general go, but because it found a new cinematic spin to put on everyone's favorite friendly neighborhood web-slinger, as, instead of stretching him thin by constantly going full-scale with his solo adventures like back in his Sony days, Marvel Studios integrates Spidey fairly gracefully into the larger, pre-existing Marvel Cinematic Universe. No longer the only game in town (or the galaxy), Spider-Man is now one hero among dozens, a small fish in a very, very big pond, which befits his status here as a fresh-faced high-school, refusing to listen to his mentors and getting in over his head in his particular fight against crime. It's a side of the character we haven't seen all that much of on-screen before (maybe this particular incarnation should've been called Spider-Boy...?), but one that works quite well here. Figure that in with energetic storytelling courtesy of Jon Watts' direction, a consistently fun (and funny), light tone, and just enough substance here to ensure that Homecoming isn't just nothing but fluff, and you're looking at my favorite MCU movie of last year, buddy boy.

Final Score: 8
Original Review:
admit, I had almost negative interest in Spider-Man: Homecoming prior to it's release; I was never a big fan of the overly campy Sam Raimi trilogy (2 was the only one I really liked), I avoided the first Amazing Spiderman out of apathy for another origin story so soon, and everything I heard about Amazing 2 made me (and a lot of other people) stay far, far away. Fortunately, that film's failure had a silver lining, as it lead Sony to share the character's film rights back with Marvel in order to steer the franchise back on course, leading to the release of the Homecoming you see before you. Its title obviously refers to the fact that, despite playing a supporting role in 2016's strong Captain America: Civil War, this is the webbed one's very first solo film within the "Marvel Cinematic Universe", but, of course, despite the MCU never even coming close to releasing a bomb in 9 years and a whopping fifteen film's, that alone didn't guarantee the success of Homecoming, since I was never the biggest MCU fan (heck, I (I didn't even like the first Avengers). However, despite my inconsistent relationship with both the previous Spidermans and the Marvel films, and an overall fatigue with the superhero movies that have been dominating Hollywood in the decade & a half since the original film's release, director Jon Watts still managed to deliver a rather fresh and entertaining new start for your friendly neighbourhood Spiderman here, proving that you can teach an old spider new tricks... or something.

After a flashback to the backstory of the film's antagonist (Michael Keaton's The Vulture) and an amusing little recap of Spidey's involvement in the events of Civil War (done from the novel angle of Peter Parker filming Instagram-style selfie vids), the (Iron) man himself Tony Stark drops Peter back off in his home swinging grounds of Queens, with a shiny new suit, and an exhortation to just be a "friendly neighborhood Spiderman" for the time being, and not try to bite off more than he can chew. And refreshingly, both Peter and the film itself manages to do just that for the 1st half, "grounding" him in, well, his local neighborhood, showing Peter struggling to balance the duties of being just another high schooler who has to worry about studying, bullies, and how the girl of his dreams feels about him, alongside his "extracurricular activity" of being Spiderman after class, lifting up an entire row of lockers to access his stash of web fluid and webbing his backpacks up behind dumpsters (which still doesn't prevent them from getting stolen) as he apprehends petty bike thieves, use his plentiful downtime to send multiple, unresponded-to texts to Tony's assistant in the hope of being let inside the Avengers loop, and just generally try prove his worth as a hero to the (sometimes justifably) not-always appreciative locals.

And, instead of every action scenes here constantly taking place high up amongst the skyscrapers and cityscape that define Spiderman's hometown, Homecoming balances sort of the large-scale setpieces you've come to expect from Spiderman (such as him using his webs to steer a massive, crashing cargo plane, attempting to hold together the Staten Island Ferry as it splits in half, and a truly "spectacular" scene set all the while on top of a crumbling Washington Monument) alongside action beats set in far more domesticated, mundane locations, such as a robbery inside a small local ATM, a Ferris Buller-style chase in a sleepy residential neighborhood (a cinematic similarity the film itself acknowledges in an amusing little aside), and a fight that takes place on the bus parking lot of the local school while the film's titular 80's themed homecoming dance goes on inside, unaware of the chaos occuring outside.

It is this dichotomy, this contrast between Spiderman's larger, more typical superheroics and the unexpected, down-to-Earth relatablity of Peter's dilemmas, both in and out of the costume, that ultimately makes Homecoming successful, and a relative breath of fresh air in an overdone, incredibly overcrowded genre. Don't get me wrong, as this isn't a perfectly film or anything; at times, it overrelies on using its connections to the larger MCU as a story crutch, some of the characterizations were lacking (such as Peter's incredibly cliched, one-dimensional school bully, or Zendaya's annoyingly "ironic", pointlessly off-putting MJ), and the overall film can't help but help but have a general air of familiarity if you've seen any number of modern superhero movies, but despite all that, Spider-Man: Homecoming was still a fun, entertaining time at the local cinema, and one I wouldn't hesitate from recommending you swing on in to check out.

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Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:17 am
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Post Re: Stu Presents 2017: My Year In Film!

No mention of Keaton as Vulture, arguably the best MCU villain? For shame! I loved that one more than most.


Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:21 am
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Post Re: Stu Presents 2017: My Year In Film!

Thief wrote:
I need to rewatch that one. Saw it a couple of months ago, but I have to admit I dozed off during the middle. Not necessarily the film's fault, though, since I started watching it late, with no power, about a week after Hurricane Maria, and I guess I wasn't in the right frame of mind. That said, from what I could gather, it felt a bit messier than the first one.
The Guardians' recurring conflict with the "golden people" aliens often felt like an unnecessary complication, yes, but the film on the whole still worked quite well for me.
Takoma1 wrote:

I agree on both counts. There were a lot of times where the humor felt forced and as if it had to be hand-waving and frenetic to keep the audiences attention. Rooker's captivating-but-controlled performance is really the heart of the movie to me, but his scenes threw the other "serious" scenes into unflattering relief.

There were plenty of times that the madcap, over-the-top stuff worked (I'm looking at you, Pac-Man), but I found the movie kind of tiring. I saw the film in the theater with a really enthusiastic audience, but you could feel the energy lagging around the middle. I don't like the David Bautista character (among other things, there are contradictory moments with him that just make no sense but are for a laugh and I don't care for that), and so his character's expanded screentime was a mild negative for me. On the flip side, I really liked the sister subplot and found it more emotionally compelling than the central Starlord emotional stuff.
Funny that you should positively mention Rooker's performance, because I actually felt that Yondu's big, emotional rant at Rocket was one of the film's weaker dramatic moments (it was just so forced, and came out of complete nowhere), and it got on my nerves that, at the end of the film, the camera focused on Rocket tearing up over his death instead of Quill, who was the one who actually had a long, personal connection with him; now I know how the people who complained about Leia hugging Rey in Force Awakens felt! Still, that moment where Yondu said "He may have been your father, boy... but he wasn't your daddy"... just so, so good.
DaMU wrote:

Heck, I liked the movie, but one of my most distressing moments in cinema this year was when Star-Lord shouted, "You killed my mom! ...and destroyed my Walkman!"

Like... please, film directors, let the emotion stand on its own. If the viewers aren't with you at minute 100, they were never with you.
Yeah, that part got on my nerves too; it reminded me of that moment in Ragnarok when Surtur is in the process of destroying Asgaard, and Korg says something like "She's taken a lot of damage, but her foundations are strong... Asgaard will be rebuilt as our new home!", and then a moment later, when it gets completely destroyed (what should be a serious moment), he chimes back in with "Oh, the foundations are gone!". It's like... the worst moment in your film to have forced in a joke, Waititi.

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Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:01 am
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DaMU wrote:
Because, while I really liked the reveal of who the villain was
(Professor Lupin! As though there was any doubt)
, and what his slightly more nuanced motivation was
(end the war to set up more conflicts down the road)
, it also means we suddenly have to develop a lot of strong feelings about a important character in a short amount of time. This would be one thing if we were watching a murder mystery, where the guessing along the way is the whole point and pleasure of such a story. It's really hard to do this in a superhero film without it becoming obscurantist and sort of lazy (because it turns into a game of peekaboo followed by a what's-my-motive monologue).
Well, for me...
...there actually was doubt about if Prof. Lupin was the main baddie, because I actually didn't see that coming at all; the movie really did do an above-average job of not tipping its hand to that reveal, at least, compared to most blockbusters. That doesn't make that actual reveal an inherently good one, though, because it wasn't... like, at all. In one fell swoop, the movie managed to simultaneously undermine the point Steve had just been making about the world not being as black-&-white as Diana naively believed, and rendered the ridiculous plot device it used to make Luddendorf seem like a credible physical threat to her even more pointless than it already was; just... blech. I agree with everything else you wrote about Ares here, though.

Takoma1 wrote:
Completely agree. By the time you get to the end of a superhero movie, the final confrontation should feel both deeply personal AND earth-shatteringly epic. A sign of disengagement for me with film is when I can't remember characters' names. I could not tell you the name (I mean, the character name--I remember the
Ares
part). Same thing for the villain in Captain America: Civil War.

Like you say: what's the point? A sense of mild surprise (and be real--did any of you not anticipate in GOTG that
the dad was evil
? Anyone?) is not worth creating an emotionally empty finale that has to be jazzed up with 15 minutes of effects and explosions to distract you from the fact that you don't really care about the bad guy.
The name of the main baddie in Civil War was Colonel Zemo, and remember him because I felt he made for a pretty good villain, not just for his novelty of being the first non-superpowered baddie in the MCU, but also for his motivation for trying to get The Avengers to tear themselves apart being unusually personal, and emotional, especially for the antagonist of a superhero movie. Sure, we only get most of his character development towards the end of the film, but I feel it still worked there because the film's central conflict wasn't solely driven by him, but also by the internal tensions between Tony and Captain throughout the entirety of the film; Zemo was only one part of that particular puzzle, so the film really didn't need to focus on him any more than it already did.

Anyway, you guys must be a lot more suspicious of secret baddie reveals in movies than I am, because, again,
I didn't see Ego being the bad guy coming at all. Sure, maybe he seemed like too much of a nice guy, and the film didn't really have any central conflict developing before that point, but the relationship he developed with Quill in the short time they shared together seemed genuinely innocent, and I was so happy to see Peter finally get to meet his real father. The film, again, just didn't tip its hand hardly at all in that direction, I felt, so maybe I'm just too trusting of Hollywood these days...

:P

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Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:31 am
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Post #9. Logan Lucky (Steven Soderbergh)

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Logan Lucky is another release that didn't get see much business at the box office this past summer, and when you look at it, it really isn't all that hard to understand why; after all, a very small-scale, non-franchise, comedic heist pic coming out in August? It's no wonder then that this one didn't set the whole world on fire, though it is still a shame, seeing as how sheerly enjoyable the entire affair was. Stephen Soderbergh's tale of a gloriously unsophisticated, motley crew of blue-collar, rednecked Robin Hoods aiming to rip off Nascar during on of their biggest races of the year, is consistently light, casual, and breezy, but in a completely appropriate, enjoyable manner, with a couple of suprisingly convincing, completely-against-type performances from both Adam Driver and Mr. 007 himself, Daniel Craig, with enough compassion and sympathy for its colorful, salt-of-the-earth characters to keep them from becoming any kind of obnoxious caricatures. The entire thing's just so likeable and much fun on the whole, that it instantly became my sleeper surprise of the year, and it would be another shame if you missed the chance to check it out and appreciate it for the great time that it is, so, in all the the hype and hoopla over the end-of-year prestige pictures, don't let this one pass you by.

Final Score: 8
Original Review:
Even though the name of this movie is Logan Lucky, it could just as well have been called Logan UNLucky... okay, so that one was kind of lame, but just bear with me; the titular "Logan" is Channing Tatum's Jimmy Logan, a local, breakout football star in West Virginia, whose dreams of making it big in the NFL were dashed by an injury that left him with a permanent limp, a limp that leads to him losing his other, much less glamorous career of bulldozer operator, when his company's faceless, pencil-pushing "Human Resources Department" rats on him for concealing what they call a "pre-existing" condition (sound familiar?). Left unemployed, and with a young daughter to support (alongside an overbearing ex-wife who's about to move her across state lines, along with her new much-better-off car dealer husband), Jimmy assembles a motley crew of country bumpkins (almost half of which comprises of his own family) in an almost laughably audacious plan to rip off the last worksite he was working for his former company, that being the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Oh, and did I mention this low-rent heist will be taking place during the Coca-Cola 600, when security will be at its maximum for what is one of the biggest annual NASCAR events in the country? So, needless to say, there are complications.

But, like with any heist movie, the inevitable hiccups in the plan are half the fun, along with the pleasure of watching the plan actually get, er, planned and Logan Lucky is no exception; after convincing his hairdresser sister, Bobbi, and bartender brother Clyde (an amputee Iraq veteran, portrayed by a surprisingly earthy, convincingly against-type Adam Driver) to join in on his bold scheme, Jimmy has to find a way to break a currently "in-car-ce-rated" expert in "demolitions", Joe Bang (played by an also convincingly against-type Daniel Craig), out of prison, get him to the Speedway to aid in the heist without getting caught, and then break him back INTO prison with no one the wiser, an absolutely ridiculous plan-within-a-plan that, of course, provides plenty of complications of its own.

Fortunately, Lucky doesn't tip its hand too much to us when it comes to playing out its ceaselessly entertaining "Ocean's 7/11"-style heist (and no, I didn't come up with that gag myself, so you can stop chuckling at me and every other reviewer who quoted that line from the movie). Director Stephen Soderbergh, making a welcome return to theaters after a four year "retirement", wisely conceals at least half what exactly is going on in Jimmy's plan at all times here, a storytelling tactic that could've been overwhelming and confusing to witness in the moment, but under Soderbergh's steady hand, it becomes half the fun of the film, whether it be witnessing the way live cockroaches (of all things) play an integral role in the heist, or the way that impersonating a firefighter figures in, or one final, unexpected twist in the job that added one last little boost to the film, and left me with a grin sitting on my face in the same way that, well, most of the the movie did, to be frank.

Admittedly, a lot of that entertainment value here arises out of the natural comic relief provided by the, let's just say, "colorful" cast of characters that Lucky boasts, a silly, bumbling collection of people that most people would describe as "rednecks"... if they were being generous. These are the kind of people who play games of super-sized "Horseshoe" with stray toilet seats, apply artificial tanner to their beauty pageant daughters with spray paint guns, who improvise explosive devices with a bag of bleach pens, low-sodium "salt", and gummy bears all mixed together... okay, so that last one was a bit unusual, but you get the picture.

All of these little details result in characters which could've easily risked becoming stereotypical caricatures of the American South as a whole, if it wasn't for the ultimate, underlying affection Soderbergh shows for them over the course of Lucky, whether it be the way he takes some time away from the main story to show Jimmy running into an old highschool sweetheart he still has feelings for (a flame he manages to send a little "present" to after the heist), or the long unspoken, long-standing inadequacy Clyde felt growing up with his star athlete brother, or the emotional climax of the film, where, upon seeing her father making a late (but still welcome) arrival at her beauty pageant, Jimmy's daughter disregards her planned performance of Rihanna's "Umbrella" in favor of an off-key, but earnestly loving acappela rendition of John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Road", as the crowd unexpectedly joins in with her singing, and a warm smile blooms on Jimmy's face. It's this genuine love for its characters that gives Logan Lucky just enough substance, that, along with all the laughs and high-energy, white trash heist shenanigans that end up making a pretty well-rounded experience at the cinema, and, in my opinion, THE sleeper surprise of the summer; welcome back, Mr. Soderbergh, welcome back indeed.

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Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:59 pm
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I haven't seen any of those last three, but I'm most curious about Detroit.

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Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:52 pm
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
No mention of Keaton as Vulture, arguably the best MCU villain? For shame! I loved that one more than most.
I liked Keaton as The Vultu (even though the whole "MK plays a be-winged superhero" thing is getting a bit old now, haha), but a villain better than Loki, even?
Thief wrote:
I haven't seen any of those last three, but I'm most curious about Detroit.
While it wasn't as good as, Detroit still makes for a pretty good companion piece with her last effort, Zero Dark Thirty, if I don't say so myself.

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Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:49 pm
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Stu wrote:
I liked Keaton as The Vultu (even though the whole "MK plays a be-winged superhero" thing is getting a bit old now, haha), but a villain better than Loki, even?While it wasn't as good as, Detroit still makes for a pretty good companion piece with her last effort, Zero Dark Thirty, if I don't say so myself.

I think Loki is a great character played wonderfully by Hiddleston but I also think he's an extraordinarily weak villain. I don't think I've felt even a fraction of menace Vulture brought in the car scene when watching Loki. He's basically a joke. It works for Thor Ragnarok and, to a lesser extent, the Avengers and The Dark World, but it really derailed the drama of the original Thor.

But I vastly prefer Vulture, Winter Soldier and even Zemo, whom I feel is tremendously underappreciated. If we're talking TV, Kingpin may take the cake though.


Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:02 pm
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I really liked David Tennant as Rapey Purple Boy.

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Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:36 pm
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Post #8. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Rion Johnson)

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Despite its strong critical reactions, Star Wars: The Last Jedi seems to really be dividing SW fans so far, which, as far as I'm concerned, is perfectly fine (especially when you factor out all the alt-right/men's rights activist types who are still just sore that the hero is a woman now). After all, The Empire Strikes Back received a similarly polarized reaction upon its original release, and now we all know, the general consensus on it is that it's the best Star Wars ever made. Not that Last Jedi is as good as that series highwater mark, no; it's overlong, its storytelling doesn't always flow as smoothly as it could've, and certain scenes and subplots could've been dropped from the film entirely. But, all that being said, The Last Jedi is still a rather strong, exciting, and rousing experience nonetheless, with director Rion Johnson making the best of a "damned if he does, damned if he doesn't" type situation, with people getting upset if he frustrates their expectations too much (especially when it comes to his tragic characterization of Luke here), and others calling for his head if he doesn't flip the script enough. As far as I'm concerned, while I think he could've done somewhat more to differentiate Jedi from its fellow middle-chapter entry Empire, in the end, when comparing this to the much more slavish nostalgia of Force Awakens, I ultimately choose to be glass half-full, and call TLJ a very welcome step in the right direction, warts and all. Something something, Force be with you.

Final Score: 8.25
Original Review:
To say that expectations were space-high for Star Wars: The Last Jedi would be putting it mildly; as the 2nd episode of the new trilogy, everyone seemed to wonder, would director Rion Johnson continue with the fun but fundamentally play-it-safe nature of Force Awakens that was oh-so JJ, and be content to just trace over the outline of the ultimate trilogy middle chapters of all trilogy middle chapters, The Empire Strikes Back, and doom this particular trilogy to never truly outgrowing the original's iconic shadow, or would Johnson try for something more challenging, more daring, like Empire did back in its day? Well, while Last Jedi will inevitably draw comparisons to its equivalent in the OT (granted, sometimes to its detriment), I'm happy to say that, like its new generation of heroes and villains, it finds a way to honor and respect what its legendary predecessors created, while also forging more of its own path forward.

The Last Jedi follows parallel story threads, with the forces of The First Order launching an initially devastating assault on the vulnerable New Republic, and then pursuing the surviving forces for the rest of the film, a plot that's intercut with a young Jedi apprentice training with an old, sometimes-reluctant teacher in the mysterious, sometimes-frightening ways of The Force, just like in, well, Empire. However, Jedi distinguishes itself both from the often derivative elements of Force Awakens by telling a more subversive, surprising story, less reliant on pure nostalgia, as well as distinguishing itself from the overall Star Wars saga through its greater sense of moral ambiguity, especially through its demythologization of the last Jedi himself, Luke Skywalker.

When Rey (and we) first see him, Luke is a weary, grey-bearded, grizzled old man, living as a hermit near an ancient Jedi temple in the middle of space-nowhere, his only company being the local wildlife, and the aliens who look like a cross between a nun and giant toads that maintain the ancient structures there. He is a far cry from the beaming, triumphant hero we last saw onscreen 34 years ago, and when Rey finally hands him the lightsaber that belonged to his father, in the hopes of being trained as the first of a new generation of Jedi, Luke immediately throws it away like its yesterday's garbage, and tells her to leave his island immediately. And, while such reluctance is somewhat to be expected, as it would be narratively dull if Luke just immediately acquiesced to every one of Rey's wishes (and Yoda behaved similarly when he first met Luke in Empire), what I didn't expect was just how defeated and downtrodden Luke turned out here, as, even after he agrees to teach Rey, he only does it to try to show her why the Jedi must die as a way of life, which, combined with rather disturbing revelation that arises from his past here, really surprised (and pleased) me, just how dark Rion was willing to go with his arc.

It's a daring spin on a classic, iconic hero, one that seems to be splitting the Star Wars fanbase so far, but one that I appreciate for its unwillingness to coddle us as viewers, and let us not forget, Empire itself received a mixed reception from both fans critics upon its initial release, and now almost everyone agrees that it's the greatest Star Wars, so let's just wait and see the verdict that film history ends up passing on TLJ, shall we? Anyway, besides that, Rion Johnson continues the trend of Force Awakens in making The Force itself a more mysterious and ethereal, well, force, than the disappointingly literal treatment Lucas gave it in the Prequels, through a series of intriguing psychic conversations that occur between two certain characters here, as well as actually making The Force seem more accessible to the random "nobodies" of the galaxy, as you'll see, and that's all the detail I'll go into on those points, lest I spoil the film even further for you.

And, outside of the Force-related shenanigans here, the film's other main plot thread of the scant remnants of The New Republic in constant pursuit by The New Order, their numbers steadily dwindling as the film goes on, is, for the most part, tense, desperate, and above all exciting, with some of the better scenes of combat seen in any Star Wars to date, with a certain subplot involving a new, seemingly cowardly Rebel Admiral taking an unexpected turn, further reenforcing the film's overall ambiguity when it comes to its various characterizations. I mean, don't get me wrong or anything, as The Last Jedi is hardly a perfect film; it's overlong by at least 15 minutes, with one too many climactic battles, some of its comedic relief moments feel a bit forced and unnecessary, and its story doesn't always unfold as smoothly, as it should've, with a particular side-story during the middle act that could've easily been altered, or better yet, erased from the film entirely. However, all that being said, this still a very rousing, borderline mythic piece of pop-storytelling, a vital new continuation of what is surely the defining film series of all time, and a work that leaves me more hopeful than ever before for the future of these films; may The Force be with it, indeed

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Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:55 pm
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Post Re: Stu Presents 2017: My Year In Film!

DaMU wrote:
I really liked David Tennant as Rapey Purple Boy.

He was great but the finale of that show really tainted him for me. The show broke it's own rules and teased stuff it didn't need to which just irked the hell out of me.

Also, TLJ being above Br2049 is something I cannot abide.


Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:40 pm
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Post Re: Stu Presents 2017: My Year In Film!

Having not seen TLJ I can't comment. However I can say that I did not like The Force Awakens and liked but didn't love Rogue One.


Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:45 pm
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I've probably mentioned by general apathy to these movies multiple times BUT! going in with so few expectations means I can never really be completely disappointed. hell, I'll probably still find something in Young Han Solo to like.

although it's probably cooler to be against big-budget, franchise-driven movies from studios looking to monopolize their market reach. "The Man" and all that. if I bash Star Wars, will y'all think I'm cool?


Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:55 pm
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Also, TLJ being above Br2049 is something I cannot abide.


I can.

::shifty-eyes::

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Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:48 am
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DaMU wrote:

I can.

::shifty-eyes::


No! That's impossible!


Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:09 pm
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Oxnard Montalvo wrote:
if I bash Star Wars, will y'all think I'm cool?


Only if you bash the prequels.


Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:35 pm
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Post Re: Stu Presents 2017: My Year In Film!

Spider-Man over Blade Runner? Heresy.

I still want to check out Logan Lucky though.


Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:38 pm
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Logan Lucky was the surprise of the year for me. Soderbergh in breezy but top form.


Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:56 pm
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Post #7. Baby Driver (Edgar Wright)

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Baby Driver is a rather familiar "one last job" crime thriller, so familiar that it disappointed a number of its viewers, but definitely not me, as I never had a doubt that its use of the genre's cliches was anything but intentional; like just about every film that Edgar Wright's directed to date, Baby Driver is fundamentally a loving homage to an entire style or medium, but what differentiates it from the rest of Wright's body of work is how it's a much less light-hearted, comedic take on a certain genre, as the sense of there being serious, actual danger in the supposedly life-or-death situations presented in "The Cornetto Trilogy" & Scott Pilgrim never existed all that much. Instead, the moments of humor in BD are far more sparse, as its particular story is presented in a much more serious fashion, but not in such a manner so as to be overly serious, or forced. Rather, Wright brings the same visual energy and catchiness to Baby Driver that he's always had, putting a thrilling new spin on a familiar old genre, with what are, honestly, some of the best vehicular action scenes I've seen since Mad Max: Fury Road, resulting in a very welcome, exhilarating time at the movies; floor it, Baby!

Final Score: 8.25
Original Review:
While Edgar Wright is one of the most stylistically distinctive directors working today, as of late, it feels like he's been stuck in a bit of a creative rut. Yes, I enjoyed every entry in the so-called "Cornetto Trilogy", but by the time 2013's The World's End rolled around, and we got yet another quirky relationship comedy wrapped inside of a loving genre parody, I was starting to get a bit fatigued with the whole deal. Fortunately, while I'm still disappointed that the suits at Marvel refused to let Wright inject his undeniable personality into the rather homogenous "MCU" with AntMan, Baby Driver is still a strong consolation for that cinematic loss, and a welcome shake-up to Wright's still-young career.

The basic plot of Baby Driver should be familiar to anyone who's ever seen any "One Last Job" films; a criminal who's The Best At What He Does (the titular "Baby Driver") plans to ride into the sunset with his Designated Love Interest (Lily James's innocent, naive Girl Next Door Deborah) after he pulls off his OLJ (the robbery of an armored truck) for his local criminal boss (Kevin Spacey's superior, perpetually in control Doc), a boss who's in the habit of making people Offers They Can't Refuse. Of course, just when Baby Thought He Was Out, They Pull Him Back In, he quickly gets In Over His Head and absolutely Nothing Goes According To Plan, and he has to go on the run from both the fuzz and his fellow thieves as he discovers that Getting In's A Lot Harder Than Getting In, and blahblahblah yaddayaddayadda seen it all before.

But Wright obviously knows we've seen all this before, and doesn't try to pretend otherwise (at one point, Baby literally even says his next heist will be his "one last job"). Instead, Baby Driver displays a refreshing sense of self-awareness about the familiarity of its cliches, while also refusing to coast on them, injecting some new life into the ever reliable Crime Thriller both through its unique, unusual protagonist, as well as through applying Edgar Wright's hyperactive, idiosyncratically one-of-a-kind style to the genre, all while Wright takes steps to avoid simply repeating what's worked for him before. Ansel Elgort of The Fault in Our Stars and the Divergent series takes a much-needed break from the Young Adult adaptations to portray Baby, the painfully young but supernaturally-gifted driver, who uses his various IPod mixes as both the soundtrack to the heists he facilitates, as well as an escape from them, attempting to avoid seeing or hearing any innocents being harmed by his "coworkers" by just dancing in his seat to the beats in the hopes of keeping his hands clean (a hope we all very well know will be dashed by the end of the film).

Baby's relationships with the other characters form the heart of the film, whether it be the way he takes care of his deaf foster father who is far too old to look after him anymore, his uneasy, Stockholm Syndrome dynamic with Doc, or his love story with Deborah, the waitress at a local diner. Rather than just being the obligatory Girl Of The Film, Wright takes the time to properly, genuinely develop their relationship, whether it be showing the two of them bonding over their mutual love of music and a desire to just hit the road and leave it all behind, or the true sympathy she shows when she learns that his mother died in a car crash when he was a child (while he was in the car, with a 1st-generation IPod that he now carries with him as a memento), or the way she loyally waits for him at the diner all night, after he promises (futilely) to make one final getaway with her.

All these small (but essential) details results in BD easily having the best character development a Wright film has had since Shaun Of The Dead, which, along with the surprisingly complex, detailed plot, and unexpectedly serious tone here, helps to create the freshest work from this director since, well, that acclaimed debut. Don't get me wrong, there are still some moments of levity and comic relief here, but for the most part, Baby Driver can hardly be called a parody of anything, as it plays its Crime Thriller tropes rather straight, and, unlike most of Wright's previous material, when the characters are supposedly in life-or-death situations here, they actually act as if they are, resulting in a Crime film as legitimately thrilling as anything Michael Mann ever put his name on.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't praise Wright for retaining his signature directorial style and taking it in a different, more action-oriented direction here. Of course, his in-your-face, hyperactive-but-focused style, with its energetic, constantly active editing, cinematography, and neat little visual gimmicks, and his always perfect, mood-setting song choices do a lot to spice up the calmer scenes, but it really shines during the action, as the dusty story beats are brushed off by the musical ones, and it becomes harder & harder to tell if the last beat came out of Baby's ever-present IPod, or from a nearby gunshot. This movie really does have some of the finest action scenes (with all-practical stunts!) since Fury Road, and Wright simultaneously livens up both this tired old genre, and his own personal style, with what is one of the best movies of the year so far. Don't let this Baby drive away from you.

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Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:01 pm
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
I think Loki is a great character played wonderfully by Hiddleston but I also think he's an extraordinarily weak villain. I don't think I've felt even a fraction of menace Vulture brought in the car scene when watching Loki. He's basically a joke. It works for Thor Ragnarok and, to a lesser extent, the Avengers and The Dark World, but it really derailed the drama of the original Thor.

But I vastly prefer Vulture, Winter Soldier and even Zemo, whom I feel is tremendously underappreciated. If we're talking TV, Kingpin may take the cake though.
The confrontation in the car was indeed, a great bit of acting from Keaton, though his menace is undercut just a bit when you wonder why Peter didn't just do this during it. :D But in all seriousness, the scene in the car, while wonderful, was an outlier as far as memorable Vulture moments go, and there's really nothing else in the film from him that compares; the rest of the film, he just didn't make that big of an impression. I feel Loki is automatically the better villain simply because of Hiddleston's natural charisma and how much scenery-chewing fun he's obviously relishing his role with, even if he may not have any one scene in any of his films that's as memorable as the face-off in the car. And his relative lack of menace didn't derail the more dramatic moments of the original Thor for me, but I've already talked about that some earlier in this thread, so I'll just leave it at that for now, heh.

Anyway, I agree with you that the Winter Soldier was a good, conflicted MCU villain (even though his film felt like more of an excuse to show off a bunch of cool action scenes rather than tell an actual story), and Zemo was good with what development they gave him (and his film is actually my favorite MCU to date), and, while I quit using Netflix before I finished the 2nd season of Daredevil, based off S1, D'Onofrio's awkward, tortured depiction of Kingpin may indeed, make him the greatest villain in the Marvel multiverse to date.
ski petrol wrote:
Having not seen TLJ I can't comment. However I can say that I did not like The Force Awakens and liked but didn't love Rogue One.
I enjoyed Force Awakens just fine despite its shameless reliance on Original Trilogy nostalgia that inherently limited what it could do, but Rogue One is actually my favorite of all the new SW films to date, as, character issues aside, the overall experience of it was just so exciting and rousing on the whole, that I just couldn't help but by swept up in it.
Oxnard Montalvo wrote:
I've probably mentioned by general apathy to these movies multiple times BUT! going in with so few expectations means I can never really be completely disappointed. hell, I'll probably still find something in Young Han Solo to like.
The sudden change of directors from Lord & Miller to Ron Howard (of all people), and the general "lack of faith" that Disney's shown in Solo so far has got me nervous that it will be the first real disappointment of the still-young Disney/SWverse, but I imagine I'll end up checking it out no matter what, for sheer, morbid curiosity out of what they've done with that film icon if nothing else. Still pulling for it to be actually good, though!

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Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:25 am
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DaMU wrote:
I can.

::shifty-eyes::
Yay, the DaMUdude abides...
:oops:
ThatDarnMKS wrote:
No! That's impossible!
Say it with me now, everyone...

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOARGHBLEH...

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Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:28 am
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ski petrol wrote:

Only if you bash the prequels.


eh, there's enough prequel-bashing out there. what can I say that hasn't already been said?


Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:40 am
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