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 Stu Presents 2017: My Year In Film! 
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Post Stu Presents 2017: My Year In Film!

Yes, it's a year in retrospective thread done by your's truly... Stu! I know I've been regularly posting lengthy-ish reviews on this site for a couple of years now, but last year was the the first full year when I was going to my local theaters fairly regularly and writing about brand new releases after only having seen them once, as opposed to beforehand, when I was just watching and writing about older movies at home exclusively, movies I had all already seen before. And, while this was a good way to cut my teeth on my film writing skills, and while I didn't completely abandon writing about older, rewatched releases this year, in the interests of focusing on more contemporarily relevant releases, I moved somewhat away from that, in favor of writing about as many 2017 movies as I could, resulting in the thread you now see before you.

Not that I'm trying to pass this thread off as a 100% comprehensive retrospective on the year in film, mind you, featuring my thoughts on EVERY single thing released last year that may have been of interest to anyone. Rather, it's simply "comprehensive" in a purely personal manner, since I currently live in a city that, at best, could be described as medium-sized (so we don't get any limited release films, unless they expanded nation-wide at some point), and, since I had to juggle working a full-time job in retail, everyday chores, and walking and taking care of two sometimes feisty (but loving) Australian Heeler dogs, I couldn't always easily travel to the theater, nor was I always in the mood nor I always have the energy to go see a movie and then fairly quickly afterward, write an in-depth review about it, which is something I was determined to do for (almost) everything I saw this year.

So yes, there are certain important, high-profile releases from this year that I still haven't seen, nor may I never get around to seeing, but, though sometimes I feel as though I could make a living of it if I tried, I am not currently interested in becoming some sort of a professional film critic, so this thread will have to do for now. Hopefully, next year I can go see more movies now that I'm going to try get a MoviePass subscription, but for now, this is an okay start. Quality over quantity, I say, though I have to make some last-minute additions/alterations to my list as it goes, depending on if any late-year, limited-release 2017 movies expand out to my city throughout January; who knows. Anyway, the way this will work is, I'll post some new, short-ish thoughts on the 20-something films I saw this year in reverse order, meaning from my worst to the best of the year, with the lengthier original reviews in spoilers so you can go revisit that if you wish to read even more of my writing on that particular film. I'll post my first (and least favorite) entry probably sometime early on New Year's Day, and then post at least one new entry per day here for the next couple of weeks, but in the meantime, get yourself hyped, and get ready to check out my year in film!!!

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Sun Dec 31, 2017 2:59 pm
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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*


Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:39 am
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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*

My biggest disappointment of the year. :rotten:


Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:43 am
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Post #22. Justice League (Zack Snyder/Joss Whedon)

Happy New Year!:

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Justice League wasn't a bad movie per se, but it is definitely the worst movie I saw all last year (not that I bothered to pay to see anything that was supposed to be truly bad, like The Emoji Movie or something, but still). It's another example of the "DC Extended Universe" continuing to struggle to get its feet on the ground, even when you don't do it the disservice of comparing it to its biggest competitor, the Marvelverse, movies that Justice League so desperate wants to remind you of. I mean, 2016's Batman Vs. Superman (or Hack Snider's Murderman V. Captain Hypocrite, as I prefer to call it) was technically the worse movie, but at least it was still fascinating to dissect in all its messy, misguided ambitions; Justice League is just dull, bland, and forgettable in comparison, as if they were trying to make the most generic superhero movie they possibly could. The main villain is boring, the story is simplistic, and the whole thing just goes through the motions as an excuse to team up all these different characters together (over half of whom still haven't been properly set up in their own solo movies yet). Not even bringing in the premier superhero team-up director Mr. Joss Whedon himself, stepping in for Snyder after he had to step down after a personal tragedy, could save this one. You may not be able to save the world alone, but you can save yourself a bit of money by not bothering to watch this one, anytime, anywhere.

Final Score: 6
Original Review:


Look in the dictionary for the definition of "Troubled Production", and you'll practically see the poster for Justice League next to it; after a planned production by (of all people) George Miller was sadly scrapped, the project gathered dust in production Hell for nearly a decade before the inception of the oft-troubled "DC Cinematic Universe" gave it a 2nd wind. Even then, however, it's been a rocky road, as the rather negative critical reception and (most importantly, of course) the underwhelming box office performance of Zack Snyder's ambitious but horribly misguided Batman V. Superman last year gave Warner Brothers execs cold feet about the direction of what was supposed to be their next flagship franchise, resulting in their more ambitious plans for a two-part duo of Justice League films to be scrapped, as well as a mandate for the film to be no longer than 2 hours no matter what, a tall order for what's the first official gathering of the "League" in this particular universe, especially when half of these characters still haven't been given their own solo outings yet, and hence, still haven't been properly introduced within this particular series (the shameless teasers rammed down our collective throat in Batman V. Superman shouldn't count, and you know it).

From there, things got even messier, as a family tragedy earlier this year forced Snyder to step down in order to emotionally recover, just before expensive and extensive reshoots were scheduled to begin (which pushed the film's budget up to a record-breaking $300 million), leading Warner Brothers to pick Mr. Avengers himself, Joss Whedon, of all people, to swoop in and direct whatever else was left to complete on Justice League (while one producer claimed Whedon "only" shot 20% of the final product at most, rumors abound that he shot much, much more). So, what we end up with here is one of the most problematic productions in cinema history, coming out of a "cinematic universe" that has produced mostly very mixed (at best) films so far, with material from two different directors who have two very different, almost diametrically-opposed sensibilities, all Frankenstein-ed together into one final mish-mash of a product, if you can call it that. So, knowing all this, Justice League should be an ever bigger disaster than Murderman V. Captain Hypocrite: Yawn Of Justass was, right? Well, actually, it isn't... but, it's a much less interesting film for that, surprisingly enough.

First off, while I'm not sure which aspects of Justice League were Snyder's doing, and what can be credited to the Whedon-helmed rewrites/reshoots, there's still surprisingly little stylistic clash between the two very disparate filmmakers apparent here, but that's because the movie is just so... generic on the whole. There are very few of Snyder's stylistic fingerprints visible here; the only scene here that really screamed "SNYDER!" to me was the unnecessarily dreary, slow-motion opening credits montage (because he's totally never done that in any other movies before) while, on the other hand, it feels like Whedon's primary contribution to the film is a hefty overdose of constant jokes, quippy one-liners, and otherwise forced bits of MCU-wannabe "fun", as what should be the flagship franchise of the DCEU attempts to compensate for the audiences who may have been turned off of this particular "cinematic universe" by the extremely grim, relentlessly dour tone of Batman Vs. Superman (I am not calling it "V Superman"), and in the process of doing so, grossly overcorrects, resulting in a film that is often rather fake and forced in its desperate attempts to be more "likeable", something that at least the Marvelverse can rarely be accused of.

Don't get me wrong, as about half of the lighter moments in Justice League actually do land, and totally worked for me (one early bit involving The Flash using his signature power to prank a rude, unsuspecting gentleman was particularly amusing), but the rest of the "comedic" moments here were just so obnoxiously unnecessary and forced in their attempts to fool you into thinking that the movie is actual, legitimate fun, that I was often just irritated by them instead. It seems as though the suits at DC wanted to be much more like Marvel/Whedon's work, but they forget to be careful what they wished for, apparently. And, after that, what you left with otherwise here is a very generic superhero team-up movie, one that not even bringing in the man who directed THE definitive superhero team-up movie of all time could salvage (then again, I never really liked the original Avengers in the first place, but it was at least better than this). The main plot is one of the most simplistic, rudimentary, cookie-cutter superhero stories you could imagine, with an astonishingly dull, horned helmet-wearing alien (remind you of anyone?) named Steppenwolf as the main buddie, played by Ciarán Hinds in one of the most thankless roles in a movie that's basically a series of thankless roles; I mean, I honestly don't think I could recall a single full line of dialogue Hinds uttered here if you held a knife to my throat and gave me until the count of "3".

Steppenwolf is not only given absolutely zero character development or backstory, but he also doesn't happen to do anything even remotely interesting in the course of his recovering of the 3 main plot MacGuffins, magical glowing cubes that hold a seemingly infinite power within (because, again, never seen that in a superhero movie before). His "grand scheme" is a plan to destroy the world as we know it by using the cubes to transform it into a version of his own Hellish homeworld, because, yet again, totally never seen that before. Of course, the basic building blocks aren't necessarily the main problem here, as, after all, the original Guardians Of The Galaxy has a rather forgettable story and main villian, and it's still one of my favorite entries in the MCU, but it's in the individual execution of the base elements that make and break any particular film, and is what ultimately breaks Justice League; for all the talk of its record-breaking budget, this is a shockingly cheap, ugly-looking film, with incredibly hokey-looking costumes, ridiculously artificial, unnecessarily greenscreened environments, and subpar CGI that was rushed out due to the small window of time between the end of reshoots the film's actual release, and, even by the relatively-low standards of a modern Hollywood blockbuster, it's is a disappointingly irrelevant, just-going-through-the-motions release.

It's basically just a series of random, generic, laughably low-stakes superhero scenes doing the bare minimum of establishing these characters and their relationships to each other, with the barest of excuses to get them all gathered together, and while I would go so far as to say it's a bad film (as I haven't actually bothered seeing any "bad" movies lately), it is the worst thing I've purchased a ticket for all year, and all in all, I wish I had saved the $10 for something more enjoyable, such as lighting it on fire; at least then, I'd get to watch some pretty flames dance for a few seconds.

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Mon Jan 01, 2018 2:59 pm
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Post Re: Stu Presents 2017: My Year In Film!

Do you generally like most movies you see?

If so, I'm the same way.

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Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:04 pm
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I read your review for Justice League and the bit about the troubled production. Not too often a director has to step down for reasons of personal tragedy and a new director with a completely different style takes over shooting most of the film over.


Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:21 pm
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Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Do you generally like most movies you see?

If so, I'm the same way.
Yeah, but that's less due to being easy to please, and more due to only really getting in the mood to watch one movie about every week-and-a-half, so when I am in that mood, I try to watch something that's supposed to be good; life's too short for crap, yo. I've never been a big watcher of "so bad that they're good movies" (although as a long-time fan of MST3K, I have seen my share of them that way), and movies that are only just "meh" are even worse, so you can count me out of most of those as well. What can I say, I'm a bit of a picky viewer...
ski petrol wrote:
I read your review for Justice League and the bit about the troubled production. Not too often a director has to step down for reasons of personal tragedy and a new director with a completely different style takes over shooting most of the film over.
Yeah, but Justice League ended up having far less stylistic/tonal clash between the Snyder/Whedon material than I expected it to. Although, that still didn't fix the film as a whole, as it was still just a big, meh pile of generic superhero BS anyway.

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Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:40 am
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Stu wrote:
Yeah, but that's less due to being easy to please, and more due to only really getting in the mood to watch one movie about every week-and-a-half, so when I am in that mood, I try to watch something that's supposed to be good; life's too short for crap, yo. I've never been a big watcher of "so bad that they're good movies" (although as a long-time fan of MST3K, I have seen my share of them that way), and movies that are only just "meh" are even worse, so you can count me out of most of those as well. What can I say, I'm a bit of a picky viewer...
I'm like that as well. I usually try to avoid watching bad movies whenever possible. The only types of bad movies I occasionally watch are the Sci-fi channel movies as some of them can be a blast to watch due to their stupidity.

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Tue Jan 02, 2018 5:00 am
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Post #21. Kong: Skull Island (Vogt-Roberts)/#20. Split (Shyamalan

I only saw these next two movies because it was April, I was bored, and nothing else was playing that I wanted to see more, and I imagine if they were coming out this year, I would skip it, since I've grown to be more comfortable just staying home in my apartment on my days off, so I'll just post them together:

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Kong: Skull Island has some admirable qualities to it; some of the setpieces are rather innovative and exciting, and visually, the effects are rather realistic and impressive. I can see how someone could like it. It's like if they never left the island in the original King Kong, and just battled Kong (and the other assorted monsters that inhabit it), which is a concept that holds promise. That being said, I didn't really enjoy it that much, as it was mostly just a matter of waiting for which disposable character would get gruesomely (for a PG-13) offed next, and it didn't have much to say thematically either, instead resorting to the same old "man is the real beast" cliche, with Sam Jackson being given a tired old Captain Ahab routine for his character. The rest of the cast were pretty thin, generic, blockbuster-standard characters, and besides the occasionally inspired moment, it was too much of a going-through-the-motions sort of monster mash. So, it's not bad, but just too ultimately forgettable to recommend.

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Split continues the current supposed "Shyamalance" with M. Knight's signature stylish visuals and directorial style, but I'm afraid I still didn't enjoy it very much; too much of its running time was taken up by somewhat tiresome, repetitive conversations between a certain two characters, while the rest of its story focused on fairly realistic abduction/sexual/child abuse horrors, which, combined with a ridiculous supernatural premise that only modern-day M. Knight Schlockalyn could've come up with, came off as just being exploitive, and in bad taste to me. The final twist was kind of cool this time (guess), but it wasn't enough to redeem the experience as a whole, and I can't help but wish that Knight had taken this concept in a different direction than he did, one that's alternatively less realistic AND less silly at the same time.

Final Scores: 7
Original Reviews:


Some fun monster spectacle and PG-13 gore, but ultimately, an overly broad, somewhat generic monster mash

I was rather er, SPLIT, by Split; I liked the fundamental style and atmosphere of Night's direction in it, but premise-wise, it was a rather uncomfortable blend of real-life kidnapping/child abuse horrors and M. Knight's schlocky, ridiculous writing tendencies and quack pop psychology, and the climax went on for too long as well. It was good enough to watch once I'd say, but not enough to recommend to anyone.

There was no good reason for Shyamalan to have taken the supernatural route with the story of Split besides him being unable to think outside the particular cinematic box he's determined to trap himself inside (and, well, also in order to shoehorn in the twist with its connection with Unbreakable, but that was nowhere near being a make-or-break decision for the film, so to speak). I mean, The Visit had nothing supernatural at all in it, so he has done it before recently, so there's little reason for him not to do it again; just make Split more of a real-world Silence Of The Lambs-style horror thriller with a "normal" case of split personalities where one of the personalities just so happens to be a kidnapper/serial killer, and the final product would've been much easier to swallow in terms of plausibility.

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Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:59 pm
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I still haven't seen Split, but I regret stumbling upon the spoiler. Will probably see it one of these days.

I saw Kong: Skull Island about a month or two ago and thought it was ok, but a bit lifeless. It has all the ingredients of a blockbuster, good effects, explosions, lots of action, but lacked the heart of its most well-known predecessors. I agree with your "going-through-the-motions" and "forgettable" assessment.

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Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:21 pm
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Thief wrote:
I still haven't seen Split, but I regret stumbling upon the spoiler. Will probably see it one of these days.

I saw Kong: Skull Island about a month or two ago and thought it was ok, but a bit lifeless. It has all the ingredients of a blockbuster, good effects, explosions, lots of action, but lacked the heart of its most well-known predecessors. I agree with your "going-through-the-motions" and "forgettable" assessment.
It's kind of a cool twist, I guess, but wasn't enough to make the overall film worth sitting through, even at less than 2 hours long; I'm still hoping that M. Knight continues his current, apparent recovery from his career nadir, so maybe he can give us another Sixth Sense someday.

And yeah about Skull Island, but I'm still hoping that WB can get the "Monsterverse" up and running, and finally give us a cinematic 'verse to possibly rival Marvel's someday. Their performance with the DCEU so far doesn't give me much hope, but one can always dream, can't he?

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Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:17 am
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To this day, I haven't seen a single DCU film, but like most of us, I'm familiar with all the production woes around that universe, and this "Monsterverse" seems to be as shoddily assembled, with little creative vision. If it continues like that, it will end up like the first two, okay but forgettable films.

(Note: When I saw Kong, I didn't even know it was tied up to Godzilla, which I had seen a couple of years ago. To this day, I can't remember anything about that film, beyond the opening scene. Like I said, okay but forgettable.)

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Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:55 am
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I didn't like Split because I thought it was just kind of boring. Can someone explain the twist to me? I didn't get that either. Just put it in spoilers.


Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:17 pm
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Post #19. Wonder Woman (Jenkins)

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Wonder Woman is a bit of split recommendation for me; on the one hand, a good deal of it was either just going through the superhero movie motions, or problematic in some other manner; the opening act on Themiscyra was pretty standard superhero origin/"call to adventure" material, the middle act had plenty of muddy, rather dreary DCEU-visuals, and the climax was yet another overlong, CGI-bloated battle, with a disappointing reaffirmation of a simplistic, old-school kind of comic book morality, something the film was already struggling with with its questionable characterization of there being "good" or "bad" sides during World War I, or all conflicts. I mean, it is notable for being the first female-led superhero film Hollywood's put out in a dozen years (and possibly the first one where the female hero is actually taken as seriously as her male counterparts), especially during the year of the Trump presidency and the "#metoo" movement, but that certainly isn't enough on its own to make the overall movie good. However, on the other hand, it's still certainly more competently executed than any other DCverse movie to date, and it did have some things I liked, like Gal Gadot's hopeful, shining performance as Wonder Woman, that awesome "taking back no man's land" sequence, and her chemistry with Chris Pine, which was fairly touching and romantic. So, not a perfect first film by any means, but still a somewhat solid platform for Patty Jenkins to create something more ambitious with the sequel, and a pretty decent first movie for Diana in its own right nonetheless.

Final Score: 7.5
Original Review:


[spoiler]There are things you can criticize about Wonder Woman; you could complain about its somewhat standard first act on the titular character's homeland of Themyscira, a vaguely "exotic" island of one-dimensional, Greek-ish women warriors who seem to do nothing but spar with each other all day, or tell prophetic, story-setting tales of a fabled Chosen One (though a certain "living storybook" sequence did impress me with its impressionistic visuals, to be fair). You could point out the sometimes uneasy contradiction of having intense, kickass superhero action set in the perpetually grey, muddy, grim no man's lands of World War I, or the rather simplistic, "good guys versus bad guys" mentality it applies to the participating​ armies of that war, which is especially ironic, considering the morally ambiguous, unheroic perception that particular conflict has had ever since its conclusion a century ago. And, you can gripe about the undeniably generic nature of its main villians, one of whom is basically just a red herring the film ludicrously tries to seem like a physical threat through a particularly ridiculous plot device, and the other one serving as a forgettable, completely unnecessary plot twist, as well as reaffirming a simplistic, old-school comic book morality of "defeat the big bad and the day is saved!", completely undermining the movie's previous attempt at dispelling such a mentality in a messier, morally grey real world, just so the movie can have yet another standard, overblown superhero movie climax.

All of these are valid critiques that I noticied as I watched Woman, and yet, I couldn't help keep myself from liking the film anyway, warts and all. Chief among the reasons why I enjoyed it despite of its flaws is Wonder Woman herself, aka "Diana Prince", portrayed by Israeli model-turned-actress Gal Gadot; while evidence of her previous profession does shine here through the occasional unconvincing line read, expression-wise, Gadot sells every single emotion beyond a shadow of a doubt, going from wide-eyed, genuine fish-out-water wonder at the various curiosities of the "real world", to steely determination and moral (and physical) opposition against the men who are currently ruining that world. Of course, Prince is written just as well she's performed here, with the kind of absolute agency of character and freedom of will we need to see more often from supposedly "independent" female characters in Hollywood, done in such a way that her gender, while still a factor at times, isn't her defining (or only) feature, as she isn't simply a token female character, but is a character who just so happens to be a woman as well... while also being an incredibly kickass superhero.

Part of how director Patty Jenkins achieves this three-dimensionality of character is by portraying Woman as refreshingly non-sexualized, never playing up the character's feminity unnecessarily or letting the camera leer at her too much (as hard as that is to avoid with the gorgeous Gadot wearing that iconic-but-revealing outfit), while also not overcompensating too far in the other direction by sterilizing the character either, through the budding, well-written romance she develops through Chris Pine's American spy Steve Trevor, with whom Gadot shares strong onscreen chemistry with. Despite her initial fascination and curiosity at meeting her first man from the outside world (or ever, actually), Diana doesn't have a whole lot of trust in Trevor's personal character, and absolutely no interest in him physically, at least that is, at first. However, when their first (and only) night of intimacy does finally take place, it proceeds refreshingly subtly and believable, despite one of the parties involved being a living Greek goddess, taking place the night after both of them have survived a literal trial by (gun)fire, and they realize that they share the same kind of kindred, heroic spirit that drove Diana to venture forth from Themyscira and into this dark new world in the first place.

It's the kind of rare, natural cinematic romance that never feels obligatory or forced, although the film also doesn't try too hard to focus the spotlight at Trevor, and focus on him as if we're supposed to find him as memorable as Diana is, but rather, sensibly treats him as the supporting character that he is, the kind of side love interest that would be played by yes, a woman, in a traditional, gender-reversed blockbuster. However, Trevor isn't sidelined here in some sort of obnoxious, "take that, manpig!" way, as the film simply remembers that the particular "hero" of the superhero film should usually be front-and-center, regardless of what their gender chromosomes may be. And boy oh boy, do we finally have a legitimate female hero here, more than capable of handling both herself, as well as handling her own franchise, at a time when pretty much all her male counterparts in the DC universe are currently floundering. While it's not quite as wonderful as it could've been, Wonder Woman is still a fine film overall, and a breath of fresh air in an industry that's still light on prominent superheroes of the XX chromosome persuasion; your move, Marvel.Best Moment: Wonder Woman Taking Back No Man's Land

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Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:03 pm
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Post Re: Stu Presents 2017: My Year In Film!

Thief wrote:
I still haven't seen Split, but I regret stumbling upon the spoiler. Will probably see it one of these days.
BTW Thief, I forgot to ask, speaking of Split, what do you think of
Unbreakable? Personally, while I respect the people who were turned off by its somewhat overly serious tone and disappointing twist ending, I've always liked it anyway, for its incredibly unique, one-of-a-kind visual style and overall haunting vibe. I'm way overdue for a rewatch/review of it soon, I thinks.

ski petrol wrote:
I didn't like Split because I thought it was just kind of boring. Can someone explain the twist to me? I didn't get that either. Just put it in spoilers.
Here you go.

8-)

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Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:16 pm
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Stu wrote:
BTW Thief, I forgot to ask, speaking of Split, what do you think of
Unbreakable? Personally, while I respect the people who were turned off by its somewhat overly serious tone and disappointing twist ending, I've always liked it anyway, for its incredibly unique, one-of-a-kind visual style and overall haunting vibe. I'm way overdue for a rewatch/review of it soon, I thinks.




Well, I think I've mentioned this on RT and/or other forums, but I've had a weird relationship with Shyamalan in that I didn't like Sixth Sense that much, while I absolutely love The Village. Unbreakable sits pretty much in the middle for me. I didn't think much of it, but I didn't hate it. I thought it was interesting and ok, but nothing that drew me back to it. That said, I am, like you, way overdue for a rewatch since I haven't seen it since it came out, so there's that as well.

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Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:49 am
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Post #18. Get Out (Peele)

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This pick will almost certainly be my most controversial choice on my list, but I really shouldn't need to reiterate yet again about how I found Get Out to be somewhat of a disappointment (my biggest one of the year, actually, relative to the generally strong critical/viewer reactions to it)... but, since it's on this list, I don't have a choice. Long story short, I wasn't particularly engaged by the first 2 acts of the film; they weren't bad, and they had some good material ("sink into the floor", anyone?), but for the most part, they were just a series of low-key scenes of people acting vaguely creepy, and as far as I'm concerned, Peele's directorial style and skills aren't yet atmospheric, vivid enough, or just generally strong enough to make a lot of the material here come alive the way that it should have. With that being said, I actually really enjoyed the 3rd act of Get Out anyway, as I feel that Peele excelled fairly well at making the more explicitly horrific events there rather intense and creepy, without devolving into cinematic mindlessness, as he introduces intriguing new story and characterization details alongside the almost non-stop bloodletting. I just wish the "quieter" material here could've been executed as effectively, but the climax alone was enough to make me not fully regret going to check out Get Out in theaters, and makes me look forward to Peele's future projects, my medium-level disappointment with the overall work here not withstanding.

Final Score: 7.5
Original Review:


For the first two acts of Get Out, first-time writer/director Jordan Peele (best known for the Comedy Central skit show Key & Peele) shows a decent amount of skill in creating a generally creepy, unsettling atmosphere, and instilling within us a genuine feeling of unease, as he sets up the story of Chris, a young black photographer meeting his white girlfriend's parents for the first time, as he spends a weekend at their large, seemingly idyllic suburban home. Some awkward, possibly unintentional racial tension happens between Chris, the family, and their stuffy, upper-class neighbors (almost all white themselves, of course), but nothing really out-and-out threatening happens during this part of the film, and save for the occasionally disconcerting moment, you could almost fool yourself into thinking that Get Out is basically just a 2017 remake of Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?.

That is, except for the continually odd behavior of all the other black people in the neighborhood, including Walter, the landscaper, Georgina, the family housekeeper, and Logan, a neighbor married to a white woman much, much older than himself, as all of them either act nothing like "black people", or just nothing like people, period. The two domestic servants behave like, well, a white person's idea of how a black servant should act, unfailingly chipper and docile towards everyone else, but in a way that's incredibly stiff and unnatural at the same time, as if there's something just underneath their surface just screaming to get out, which hints at a 3rd act twist that I genuinely didn't see coming at all whatsoever (hint: it's not the twist you guess at first, believe me).

Which brings me to the bonkers final act of the film, which is gory, over-the-top, B-Horror fun, and helps to retroactively justify everything that happened before it. Don't get me wrong, as, like I wrote earlier, Peele does do a pretty good job with the surprisingly subdued beginning and middle of the film, which, for basic story reasons, just wouldn't have worked in a more in-your-face style (an early jump scare involving an animal is more Peele awaringly mocking the tendency of Horror hacks to put such unnecessary scares in their films, rather than him being such a hack himself). That being said, even though the overall film is less than 2 hours, the pacing early on is still a bit too slow at times, with a reliance on a somewhat vague atmosphere of unease, with few concrete story developments happening, all of which are elements that could've contributed to a disappointing film if the finale didn't end up delivering on the overall potential of the experience.

However, like I said, the 3rd act of the film does end up delivering, throwing us a relatively novel story curveball that makes us reassess everything we've seen up to that point, while simultaneously balancing that out with the bloody, shocking jolts we've been waiting for, but in a way that prevents the movie from becoming mindless schlock, as the visceral horrors are happening side-by-side onscreen at the same time as the intriguing new story details are developing, sharing space with them and adding a whole new dimension to the overall experience. In the end, Get Out isn't a perfect film, as it obviously took a while to start clicking with me, and if you wanna nitpick, a certain comedy relief supporting character sticks out like he's a sore thumb left over from an unaired sketch on Peele's old show, but it's ultimately pretty skilled, scary material, and am now wondering who else in the TV skits world could possibly break out into Horror films; someone from SNL, start working on a ghost movie, ASAP!

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Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:00 pm
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it's pretty damn notable that a movie like Get Out can be made without compromising for the sake of a white audience and still be a mainstream hit. people say that you couldn't make Blazing Saddles in today's environment but I'm sure that if Get Out was made in 1974 it would still need a representative of white innocence (no offense to Brooks and Wilder, it was a different time after all).

also, I didn't mind the TSA guy. movie needed a bit of levity


Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:18 pm
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Oxnard Montalvo wrote:
it's pretty damn notable that a movie like Get Out can be made without compromising for the sake of a white audience and still be a mainstream hit. people say that you couldn't make Blazing Saddles in today's environment but I'm sure that if Get Out was made in 1974 it would still need a representative of white innocence (no offense to Brooks and Wilder, it was a different time after all).
Indeed; Alison Williams recently that a lot of white viewers of Get Out have actually approached her and refused to accept that her character was just pure evil, and insisted that her character must have been hypnotized or something, of all things:



/shakingmyhead

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Fri Jan 05, 2018 5:02 am
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Oxnard Montalvo wrote:
it's pretty damn notable that a movie like Get Out can be made without compromising for the sake of a white audience and still be a mainstream hit. people say that you couldn't make Blazing Saddles in today's environment but I'm sure that if Get Out was made in 1974 it would still need a representative of white innocence (no offense to Brooks and Wilder, it was a different time after all).

also, I didn't mind the TSA guy. movie needed a bit of levity


I liked the film, but didn't love it. Enjoyed the performances, particularly Kaaluya's, thought the direction was pretty good, but I feel that the film sorta lost momentum in the last act and ended more with a whimper than with a bang. Still thought it was good. Probably a B or B- for me.

As for the TSA guy, he didn't bother me as much as most people, but they could've reined him a little bit and I think the result would've been better.

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Fri Jan 05, 2018 6:15 am
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Careful Stu, if you say anything too harsh about Skull Island the director's going to compare you to POTUS in a 20 plus tweet tantrum - but don't worry, he won't be mad at all ;)

But yeah, it was entertaining but forgettable, often due to the lack of memorable characters aside from John C. Reilly's character and the fact that they showed literally every action sequence in the trailers.

Speaking as someone who thought Wonder Woman was a pleasant surprise I do feel that it may be among the more overrated films of the year (this applies to most of the comic book movies of last year too but oh well). It's a decent film but nowhere near awards worthy as people are claiming.

Split was alright but dragged in the middle. 10 Cloverfield Lane pulled that setting off better, though McAvoy and Taylor-Joy are both solid.


Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:34 am
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I think that Lil Rey's punchline...

I told you not to go in there


...is the cherry on top the film needed. I was also less impressed with the final act of the film, which I just found to be, from a technical standpoint, very messy and chaotic. Peele may not be a Raimi-style kinetic filmmaker.

I'm still amused at seeing Get Out topping so many year-end lists. I think it's a very clever film, but I still have a sneaking suspicion that much of the white liberal praise comprises the same kinds of folks who were bruising their backs patting themselves over voting for Obama - or exactly the kinds of white people that the film is making fun of. I think that shock of recognition, and the need to distance themselves from it, has something to do with the over-compensating praise. In that sense, it almost makes me admire the film even more for provoking it. It's worth seeing the film get an Oscar just to see the smug sanctimony, "My, aren't we so woke?!?" ("Woke is what they say, right? It's not fleek, is it?")

One reviewer I read mentioned how the film introduced "new ideas on race". Well, not really. I think I mentioned W.E.B. DuBois' Souls of Black Folk elsewhere, but the idea of the attempt to sever black skin from "blackness", to sanitize black faces as patronized tokens, is hardly a new idea at all (not even in film, as Bamboozled proved). The film's invention is how it molds this idea into the horror genre. But I wonder how many of these critics honestly find this idea itself to be new, to them, as their education in American social history may not run too deep. There's a lot of Americans, liberals as much as anyone, who would like to forget about this history, and, just like how voting for Obama was supposed to make us "post-racial", I'm curious if they think that giving this film an Oscar will be a sufficiently self-congratulatory penance. Kinda like Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, another good, but not great, film that was over-compensated in its time.


Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:59 am
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Have you seen Get Out more than once? I find it improved greatly on a rewatch, though I liked it more than you did.


Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:05 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Have you seen Get Out more than once? I find it improved greatly on a rewatch, though I liked it more than you did.

Me? I've seen it twice. And I like it a lot, btw. Just not superlatively.


Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:16 am
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Jinnistan wrote:
Me? I've seen it twice. And I like it a lot, btw. Just not superlatively.

I was asking Stu, as he said he didn't like the first two acts, which I consider to be the film's greatest strengths, as there is an insane amount of foreshadowing and set up that is handled in a very subtle, sophisticated manner.

In regard to your analysis, I think Paul Mooney's stand up in Bamboozled highlights my biggest problem with the racial subtext of Get Out and undercuts the entire premise. I'll paraphrase with "everybody wants to be a black man, but nobody wants to be a black man."

I think because of that, too much weight is placed on the throwaway line "I don't get out much," which strains the credulity of the concept, especially given how much attention is paid to racial dynamics.

While I do think some degree of guilt and needing to prove how woke one is does factor in, I don't think it's a particularly important or impressive amount. Most seem to agree it's just a damn good film with some very prescient social commentary within it. I'd lob the unearned praise award to Wonder Woman, if we're going to be suspicious of motivations.


Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:44 am
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Hollywood could very well be accommodating their own showboaty faux-progressivism by honoring Get Out (similar to their love for Crash back in the day), but it was my favorite flick of 2017, so... anyway.

[While you guys hit your not-quite-greats-of-the-year, I'll say that Logan didn't have much of an effect on me - its WGA nom is a surprise, as I thought its weakest element was its repetitive storytelling. Its best elements were its dusty, weathered production design and nuanced performances. If there's award attention it really merits, I'd say it's in Jackman and Stewart giving a symposium on how to look utterly beaten the fuck down by life.]

Hoping for some fun surprises toward the top.

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Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:40 pm
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Have you seen Get Out more than once? I find it improved greatly on a rewatch, though I liked it more than you did.
No, though I would love to enjoy it more on a future rewatch, if I ever get in the mood to do so. And thanks for contributing some superb new discussion in here, guys :fresh:

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DaMU wrote:
Hollywood could very well be accommodating their own showboaty faux-progressivism by honoring Get Out (similar to their love for Crash back in the day), but it was my favorite flick of 2017, so... anyway.

[While you guys hit your not-quite-greats-of-the-year, I'll say that Logan didn't have much of an effect on me - its WGA nom is a surprise, as I thought its weakest element was its repetitive storytelling. Its best elements were its dusty, weathered production design and nuanced performances. If there's award attention it really merits, I'd say it's in Jackman and Stewart giving a symposium on how to look utterly beaten the fuck down by life.
Repetitive how? :oops: I thought Logan was well-written all-around, not just in its smaller moments of character development, but also in its overall, well-oiled structure, which kept its story continually flowing forward while also knowing when to slow things down and take a well-deserved breath. It really was an epic journey, and not just in the number of miles its character traveled, either.

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Stu wrote:
Repetitive how? :oops: I thought Logan was well-written all-around, not just in its smaller moments of character development, but also in its overall, well-oiled structure, which kept its story continually flowing forward while also knowing when to slow things down and take a well-deserved breath. It really was an epic journey, and not just in the number of miles its character traveled, either.


Maybe we can table the discussion on that one, since I imagine it might be incoming on your list and I'd like to read your take. :)

[I will say that ebb and flow is important, for sure, tone as well, but I find convincing characterization/testing/choice-making to be more what I want. For example, I'm super-down with the clean development in the early-to-middle section of Wonder Woman as Diana starts out excited by the "new world" but grows more and more dispirited... but utterly indifferent to its late-breaking "Join me" sequence, where we as viewers can't even imagine her allying with the villain, because the film hasn't given her a meaningful crisis of faith, so it's non-dramatic.]

Also, that sequence was too loud and ugly.

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Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:56 pm
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A couple corrections. Wonder Woman rules. Get Out sucked.


Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:56 pm
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Post #17. It Comes At Night (Trey Edward Shults)

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It Comes At Night is the weakest movie from 2017 that I would give a "fresh" review to, if we were going by the strict binary system of the site this forum spun off from (may it "rot" in Hell for killing the forums, and with no warning to boot). Anyway, the problems with ICAN are a hacky usage of mostly pointless nightmare sequences, which seems to mostly be there so the film can pretend to be more of a Horror film than it really is, which, combined with the rather simplistic story, and its fundamental, grim sort of pointlessness, all but ensures that I'll never have any sort of interest or need to rewatch it ever again. However, that being said, I did enjoy it enough to recommend you to see it at least once, because of its vivid style and atmosphere; the ominously booming soundtrack, the slowly creeping cinematography, and the overall feel of imminent dread redeems its flaws enough to render it a memorable experience, even though it's one I'll probably never check out again. Hey, whatever; they can't all be "rewatch every day" experience, y'know.

Final Score: 8
Original Review:


A sick, elderly man, his body covered with bloody sores, his chest wheezing with a painful reluctance, sits hunched over on a bed inside a dim, depressing cabin, as indistinct figures wearing gloves, their faces and voices almost completely obscured by gasmasks, the sound of their filtered breathing seeming almost like a sick, twisted parody of the man's, load him onto a wheelbarrow as if he were a pile of rotten mulch, wheel him out to a shallow grave in the surrounding woods, place a pillow over the man's face, press a pistol against that, pull the trigger, and immediately pour gasoline over the fresh corpse, quickly immolating it. Who was the man in question you may ask? The family's grandfather.

This is the world of Trey Edward Shults' It Comes At Night, a small, hopeless world of fear, paranoia, and terrifying sicknesses, both physical and psychological. It takes place shortly after a new, unnamed plague has apparently wiped out civilization as we know it, as a family of (formerly) four takes refuge inside the aforementioned boarded-up cabin, hoping to eke out some sort of meager, tenuous continued existence in the woods, and desperately praying that the same hideous disease that destroyed the rest of humanity doesn't find its way into their bleak little corner of the world. All of that changes, however, when the family unexpectedly stumbles upon another family of survivors, whom they decide to let live with them in exchange for helping to maintain and protect their decrepit domicile, and... that's basically it as far as most of the major plot details go.

So yeah, not a particularly complicated film story-wise, but then again, It Comes At Night doesn't have to be; rather, it works well as an intensely atmospheric mood piece, getting us deep inside the mindset of people living out what they almost surely know are their last days in a middle of nowhere "refuge", with nothing but tiny electric lanterns providing a meager, hushed light at night, and even the days aren't very bright inside, with the boards covering most of the windows in the hope of blocking out the outside world.

It's a world that might as well have blinked right out of existence as far as we know, since, besides one quick excursion away from the cabin, we never see any real signs of a devastated humanity, just the dismal interiors of the cabin and the surrounding woods, but then again, we don't need to see anything more; like I said before, It Comes At Night is a movie that thrives on an intimately intense atmosphere. It's a film that slowly gets under your skin with its elegant, subtly creeping cinematography, unnerving, continually pounding ambient soundtrack, and its aura of a dark, twisted fear that ultimately consumes every single one of its characters. You can criticize it for being too simple or ambiguous, or say that most of its nightmare sequences are needless and shoehorned in to force the film into seeming more horrific (which is a fair point), but for an hour-and-a-half, I was deep inside of its dark, hopeless world, and all that's enough as far as I'm concerned.

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DaMU wrote:
Hollywood could very well be accommodating their own showboaty faux-progressivism by honoring Get Out (similar to their love for Crash back in the day), but it was my favorite flick of 2017, so... anyway.

Well, just try not to grab any brothers off the street on your way home, K? :P

I don't want to bespoil anyone of their pleasures in the film, but after marathoning about a hundred year-end best lists, and reading some of the rationales behind them, I start to get suspicions. Especially with a conducive crowd, I'm sure it was one of the more electric audience experiences of the year.


Fri Jan 05, 2018 3:03 pm
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It Comes At Night. Awesome.


Fri Jan 05, 2018 3:12 pm
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
In regard to your analysis, I think Paul Mooney's stand up in Bamboozled highlights my biggest problem with the racial subtext of Get Out and undercuts the entire premise. I'll paraphrase with "everybody wants to be a black man, but nobody wants to be a black man."

I think because of that, too much weight is placed on the throwaway line "I don't get out much," which strains the credulity of the concept, especially given how much attention is paid to racial dynamics.

I disagree that this undercuts the premise more generally, but that's a separate point than what I was making. I was surprised to see so many critics either claim that this idea of appropriating blackness (which that Mooney quote, as so many of his quotes, does perfectly encapsulate) is "new" or giving Peele credit for being brave enough to explore it in film, and usually both in tandem. Similar to The Witch, it's more that I'm criticizing the critics here more than the film itself. (Being one of maybe a handful of fans of Bamboozled probably doesn't help me much.)

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Most seem to agree it's just a damn good film with some very prescient social commentary within it.

I would absolutely agree with this pitch of praise, and I only resist the more transcendent estimates of its particular significance "of the moment" (probably the most common phrase I've seen in all of the reviews). Similar to Wonder Woman, where some fans tie it into the #metoo zeitgeist. I think these associations are more or less circumstantial. At least Get Out is more intelligent and subversive in its commentary.

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
I'd lob the unearned praise award to Wonder Woman, if we're going to be suspicious of motivations.

But the weird thing is that, I may have agreed a few months ago but, I actually haven't seen Wonder Woman on too many of these critics' lists that I plowed through. It was on several 'honorable mentions' lists. I think that once the glow "of the moment" wears off, people realize that things like Big Little Lies, Ladybird or Wonderstruck (much less mother! for cursed sake!) were far more substantial takes on femininity.


Fri Jan 05, 2018 3:30 pm
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There was probably a lot of relief too that Wonder Woman was a functional motion picture after the critical attacks on BvS and Suicide Squad. "Whoo!... didn't suck!"

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Fri Jan 05, 2018 4:00 pm
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Jinnistan wrote:
I disagree that this undercuts the premise more generally, but that's a separate point than what I was making. I was surprised to see so many critics either claim that this idea of appropriating blackness (which that Mooney quote, as so many of his quotes, does perfectly encapsulate) is "new" or giving Peele credit for being brave enough to explore it in film, and usually both in tandem. Similar to The Witch, it's more that I'm criticizing the critics here more than the film itself. (Being one of maybe a handful of fans of Bamboozled probably doesn't help me much.)


I would absolutely agree with this pitch of praise, and I only resist the more transcendent estimates of its particular significance "of the moment" (probably the most common phrase I've seen in all of the reviews). Similar to Wonder Woman, where some fans tie it into the #metoo zeitgeist. I think these associations are more or less circumstantial. At least Get Out is more intelligent and subversive in its commentary.


But the weird thing is that, I may have agreed a few months ago but, I actually haven't seen Wonder Woman on too many of these critics' lists that I plowed through. It was on several 'honorable mentions' lists. I think that once the glow "of the moment" wears off, people realize that things like Big Little Lies, Ladybird or Wonderstruck (much less mother! for cursed sake!) were far more substantial takes on femininity.


That's largely because film critics rarely seem to have any specialized knowledge of film. With the age of Rotten Tomatoes, that's become abundantly clear. I will give Get Out credit that it is perhaps the first truly mainstream film to explore these concepts in a meaningful and direct manner. Most that I've seen that deal with these concepts have been fairly niche, and that which breaks into the mainstream loudest is who gets the most credit.

I think the bar is so low with Wonder Woman's take on femininity that one need not even look at more artistically driven fare for superior competition. Even the more fetishistic Atomic Blonde didn't stoop to the lows of having a child like woman towed around by a man as she coos at babies and plays dress up. Reductive, sure, but I hate the characterization of WW and I think the praise of it reveals how desperate people were for a seemingly competent women led super hero film that they'd accept that mess as great.

I know it isn't being held to the same esteem as Get Out come award season but it also is a substantially worse film.


Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:12 am
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Stu wrote:
It Comes At Night is the weakest movie from 2017 that I would give a "fresh" review to

Boo!

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Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:59 am
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Jinnistan wrote:
Well, just try not to grab any brothers off the street on your way home, K? :P


I think now is an important time to clarify just how many black friends I have.

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Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:11 am
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DaMU wrote:
There was probably a lot of relief too that Wonder Woman was a functional motion picture after the critical attacks on BvS and Suicide Squad. "Whoo!... didn't suck!"

And my contention is that it wasn't functional, only perhaps had the appearance of functionality given the shockingly low bar the DCEU and women led super hero films had set before it.


Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:45 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
And my contention is that it wasn't functional, only perhaps had the appearance of functionality given the shockingly low bar the DCEU and women led super hero films had set before it.


I'd have to rewatch the film to be able to contribute in a more meaningful way, and I can't do that while my Last Jedi hot take remains stalled at ~7,000 words.

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Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:09 am
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Thief wrote:
I still haven't seen Split, but I regret stumbling upon the spoiler. Will probably see it one of these days.


Split has a real madcap charm to it. And I think that twists actually have very little to do with what makes it so enjoyable. I'd give it a solid B, despite some issues I had in regards to the handling of the main girl's character/actions.

Regarding Get Out, I loved it in the theater and loved it even more on a rewatch. I particularly love that the film isn't interested in stereotypical redneck/nazi backwoods racism--it goes after "progressive racism" and highlights the way that passive racism can be much harder to deal with than blatant racism. In particular I love that the girlfriend's
embarrassed anxiety is an effective trick to keep the main character from following his instincts to leave.


ThatDarnMKS wrote:
I think the bar is so low with Wonder Woman's take on femininity that one need not even look at more artistically driven fare for superior competition. Even the more fetishistic Atomic Blonde didn't stoop to the lows of having a child like woman towed around by a man as she coos at babies and plays dress up. Reductive, sure, but I hate the characterization of WW and I think the praise of it reveals how desperate people were for a seemingly competent women led super hero film that they'd accept that mess as great.


I went into Wonder Woman with relatively low expectations. And on one hand, a lot of the movie was a hot mess. But I cannot deny that especially for the first half of the movie I was kind of in love with it. I loved Godot's portrayal of the main character--not the least of which was due to the fact that she looked strong and fit, not like some waif in a push up bra. She never seemed childlike to me. I think there is a big contrast between the fish out of water element of Wonder Woman and movies that go for the Born Sexy Yesterday thing.

I think that the movie's last act is pretty awful (barely saved by the poignancy of Steve's actions at the end), and the film really suffers from a lack of a decent villain. In many ways, the most powerful element of the movie is the intersection between Wonder Woman's earnest integrity and the complicated messiness of war, and I wish the film had felt comfortable letting this be the main driver of the action instead of dissolving into yet another 15 minutes CGI mess of an action sequence with no real emotional center.

Despite its flaws, though, Wonder Woman was the most "hell yes!" I've felt about a female superhero/action protagonist since early Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I could have spent the entire film's running time watching the training sequence. I think about the movie sometimes when I'm at the gym. I don't know--the movie was inspiring to me and even though my rational self knows the movie is a C+ at best, my heart (and my biceps) gives it a B+.


Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:26 am
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DaMU wrote:

I think now is an important time to clarify just how many black friends I have.


Sure, sure.


Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:48 am
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For those people who are on the fence or haven't seen ICAN, I will agree for the large part with Ski Patrol's review. It combines parts of a film and a book that I felt were well done and puts a new spin on it.

The film reminded me of 10 Cloverfield Lane in that the threats inside the house were more pressing than the ones outside the house.
For example, what the kid was saying to the parents started to place doubts in their minds and started to drive wedges between them and the other family. Much like in 10CL how John Goodman's temper was the scariest thing in the house until she finally got outside. The book was The Last Town on Earth and how the whole film is about whether the father of the one family can trust the father of the other one, much like how a lot of the film was whether the older guard could trust this soldier with his story.


As for the ending:

If anything, I think Stults might have moved a tad quickly. But it was definitely foreshadowed earlier in the film during a conversation he had with his parents. And in its own way, the last shot reminded me a lot of The Invitation and its final shot.


Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:56 am
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Apex Predator wrote:

Sure, sure.


No, I have a lot, for real. And I would've voted for Obama a third time if I could've.

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Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:16 am
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DaMU wrote:

No, I have a lot, for real. And I would've voted for Obama a third time if I could've.


Eh, I was hoping that was connected somehow to Get Out.

And yeah, Obama for a third time over the Presidential Apprentice. I'd have done it as well.


Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:47 am
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Post Re: Stu Presents 2017: My Year In Film!

Takoma1 wrote:

Despite its flaws, though, Wonder Woman was the most "hell yes!" I've felt about a female superhero/action protagonist since early Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I could have spent the entire film's running time watching the training sequence. I think about the movie sometimes when I'm at the gym. I don't know--the movie was inspiring to me and even though my rational self knows the movie is a C+ at best, my heart (and my biceps) gives it a B+.


For me the no-mans-land sequence was the most "Hell yes" moment of any superhero I've seen in a while (maybe ever). Everybody I know has had to listen to my spiel about how the Hulk has been wasted in movies because nobody has mined the cathartic joy of watching the Hulk get angry and smash things. We see the Hulk smash things, but so far we haven't really gotten that glorious buildup of frustration that precedes the smashing, and makes the smashing so much more rewarding to watch. This scene in WW comes close to that for me. Punch-fests are only interesting if you care about who's being punched and why they're punching in the first place. This is one of the rare superhero moments that seems to get it. The final punch-fest is exactly the wrong kind of punch-fest I'm talking about, so I kind of zoned out at the end there, but the glory of that one earlier scene was enough to leave me with a positive view of the film and the reason I'll buy the BluRay one day.

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Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:38 pm
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Post Re: Stu Presents 2017: My Year In Film!

Captain Terror wrote:
so far we haven't really gotten that glorious buildup of frustration that precedes the smashing, and makes the smashing so much more rewarding to watch. This scene in WW comes close to that for me. Punch-fests are only interesting if you care about who's being punched and why they're punching in the first place. This is one of the rare superhero moments that seems to get it. The final punch-fest is exactly the wrong kind of punch-fest I'm talking about, so I kind of zoned out at the end there.


Agreed. My main frustration with the film was that it was so successful when it fused emotion and action, only to basically discard its emotional anchor in the last act.


Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:05 pm
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Post Re: Stu Presents 2017: My Year In Film!

DaMU wrote:
Maybe we can table the discussion on that one, since I imagine it might be incoming on your list and I'd like to read your take. :)

[I will say that ebb and flow is important, for sure, tone as well, but I find convincing characterization/testing/choice-making to be more what I want. For example, I'm super-down with the clean development in the early-to-middle section of Wonder Woman as Diana starts out excited by the "new world" but grows more and more dispirited... but utterly indifferent to its late-breaking "Join me" sequence, where we as viewers can't even imagine her allying with the villain, because the film hasn't given her a meaningful crisis of faith, so it's non-dramatic.]
Just to play Devil's advocate for Wonder Woman for just a moment...
...were the scenes where Diana lost faith in Steve after he stopped her from killing LuddenSteveDorf and she witnessed the gassed-out town/the one were she lost faith in humanity after they continued to fight after she killed "Ares" not significant enough crises enough for you?

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Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:06 pm
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Post Re: Stu Presents 2017: My Year In Film!

DaMU wrote:

I think now is an important time to clarify just how many black friends I have.

I hope they appreciate all of the Justin Timberlake you've been playing today.


Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:15 pm
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Post Re: Stu Presents 2017: My Year In Film!

Takoma1 wrote:
I think that the movie's last act is pretty awful (barely saved by the poignancy of Steve's actions at the end), and the film really suffers from a lack of a decent villain. In many ways, the most powerful element of the movie is the intersection between Wonder Woman's earnest integrity and the complicated messiness of war, and I wish the film had felt comfortable letting this be the main driver of the action instead of dissolving into yet another 15 minutes CGI mess of an action sequence with no real emotional center.
Absolutely; the film definitely would've been better if there had been no Ares at all (along with no ridiculous plot device to force Luddendorf into being any sort of credible physical threat to Diana), and the film had just continued to reaffirm the messy, muddy morality of the real world that Steve had tried to convey to her, instead of pulling a ridiculous "gotcha; there really is just one big baddie responsible for (most of) the evil in the world, and the day really will be saved if you just defeat him!". It really regressed into the sort of simplistic writing that gives comic-based movies a bad name in that moment, and really took the movie down a notch for me.
Captain Terror wrote:
For me the no-mans-land sequence was the most "Hell yes" moment of any superhero I've seen in a while (maybe ever). Everybody I know has had to listen to my spiel about how the Hulk has been wasted in movies because nobody has mined the cathartic joy of watching the Hulk get angry and smash things. We see the Hulk smash things, but so far we haven't really gotten that glorious buildup of frustration that precedes the smashing, and makes the smashing so much more rewarding to watch. This scene in WW comes close to that for me. Punch-fests are only interesting if you care about who's being punched and why they're punching in the first place. This is one of the rare superhero moments that seems to get it. The final punch-fest is exactly the wrong kind of punch-fest I'm talking about, so I kind of zoned out at the end there, but the glory of that one earlier scene was enough to leave me with a positive view of the film and the reason I'll buy the BluRay one day.
Despite the tonal incongruity of placing a badass, kickass superhero action scene in the middle of World War fucking I, the entire "no man's land" sequence was indeed, the best scene of the entire movie; if the rest of WW had been able to live up to that standard, female superhero movies would have their very own Dark Knight-caliber film, easily.

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