Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

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Thief
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:17 pm

Some quickies on the last 5 watches...

Metropolis (1927) Amazing film, particularly the first half. I think the last act loses a bit of momentum, but it's still a remarkable film.

Hidden Figures (2016) Competent and crowd-pleasing film, but far from spectacular. Not sure I will remember it a week from now.

Spring (2014) Pretty solid film. The chemistry between the two leads is pretty good and the story takes some nice twists. I think there might've been a bit too much over-explanation, but it still worked.

Clerks II (2006) *sigh* what to say? I'm a huge fan of the original, but this wasn't very good. There were some scattered good moments, but overall, Smith overdoes everything and fails to deliver with the romantic subplot, despite the solid chemistry between the leads.

Interview with the Vampire (1994, rewatch) I've been a huge fan of this ever since it came out. I'm a bit more aware of its flaws now, but it's still a great film; great performances, gorgeous direction, and an engrossing story.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Slentert » Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:39 pm

Thief wrote: Worst? Between Clerks II and Triple Frontier
Man, Triple Frontier was such a boring slump of a movie. Netflix has not been great this year so far.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:41 pm

Slentert wrote: Man, Triple Frontier was such a boring slump of a movie. Netflix has not been great this year so far.
One of the most generic wastes of talent I can remember.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Slentert » Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:44 pm

Thief wrote: Metropolis (1927) Amazing film, particularly the first half. I think the last act loses a bit of momentum, but it's still a remarkable film.
I think I already mentioned this on twitter, but I saw Metropolis on 35mm last month, and I was severely impressed by it.
Seeing that movie was a weird experience, btw. Because of public transport, I arrived an hour too soon at the theater, yet almost missed the screening because a kind but vaguely anti-semitic homeless lady kept talking to me and wouldn't let me go.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Charles » Mon Apr 01, 2019 7:24 pm

Slentert wrote: Man, Triple Frontier was such a boring slump of a movie. Netflix has not been great this year so far.
Isn't Netflix always bad though? So much underwritten high-concept garbage.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Mon Apr 01, 2019 7:38 pm

New categories for April are up!...

A film with the number 4 (Four, Fourth, etc.) in its title (not a sequel):
A film with a title that starts with the letters G or H:
A film from the current IMDb 250 whose ranking includes the #4 (i.e. 14, 24, 42): (see list here)
A film from the 1930s:
A drama:
A B-movie:
A Biblical film:
A film from Iran (Iran Independence, April 1):
A film featuring robots prominently (Nat'l Robotics Week, April 6-14):
A film based on a book/novel (Nat'l Library Week, April 7-13):
A film prominently featuring siblings (Siblings Day, April 10):
A film set in the American Revolutionary War (Patriots' Day, April 15):
A film mostly set on a boat (Titanic Remembrance Day, April 15):
A film from Harold Lloyd (born April 20):
A film about the environment or related themes (Earth Day, April 22):

Recommendations!! :D
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Charles » Mon Apr 01, 2019 8:03 pm

Thief wrote: A film featuring robots prominently (Nat'l Robotics Week, April 6-14):
I'll look around for which movies to watch later, but lemme recommend right now Colossus: The Forbin Project if you haven't seen it. An outstanding movie about AI gone rogue, and one of the smartest of the genre, if not the smartest.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Mon Apr 01, 2019 8:08 pm

Charles wrote:
I'll look around for which movies to watch later, but lemme recommend right now Colossus: The Forbin Project if you haven't seen it. An outstanding movie about AI gone rogue, and one of the smartest of the genre, if not the smartest.
I'll add that to my watchlist, see if it fits any other criteria, but that's one category I have pretty much reserved for Avengers: Age of Ultron, since I want to move on with the MCU.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Charles » Mon Apr 01, 2019 8:12 pm

Thief wrote:
I'll add that to my watchlist, see if it fits any other criteria, but that's one category I have pretty much reserved for Avengers: Age of Ultron, since I want to move on with the MCU.
Well, it's based on a book. It might also be related to the environment, but that's a huge stretch.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Mon Apr 01, 2019 8:15 pm

Charles wrote:
Well, it's based on a book. It might also be related to the environment, but that's a huge stretch.
Nice! Then I'll see if I can find it. Thanks.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Death Proof » Mon Apr 01, 2019 8:38 pm

A film with the number 4 (Four, Fourth, etc.) in its title (not a sequel): Four Rooms
A film with a title that starts with the letters G or H: Genltemen Prefer Blondes
A film from the current IMDb 250 whose ranking includes the #4 (i.e. 14, 24, 42): Princess Mononoke (64)
A film from the 1930s: It Happened One Night (1934)
A drama: In Cold Blood
A B-movie: The Tingler
A Biblical film: Wholly Moses!
A film from Iran: The Report (1977)
A film featuring robots prominently: Heartbeeps
A film based on a book/novel: Stephen King's Christine
A film prominently featuring siblings: The Skeleton Twins
A film set in the American Revolutionary War: John Paul Jones (1959)
A film mostly set on a boat: The Perfect Storm
A film from Harold Lloyd: Safety Last (1923)
A film about the environment or related themes: Chasing Ice (2012)

Recommendations!!:
A Fred Ward triple feature:
Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann
Tremors
Remo Williams

Shepherds we shall be, for thee, my Lord, for thee.
Power hath descended forth from Thy hand, our feet may swiftly carry out Thy commands.
So we shall flow a river forth to Thee and teeming with souls shall it ever be.
In Nomeni Patri Et Fili Spiritus Sancti.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Charles » Mon Apr 01, 2019 8:45 pm

Death Proof wrote: A B-movie: The Tingler
Good choice. I don't know that I'd call it good, but it's very worthwhile.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Tue Apr 02, 2019 2:56 am

I added a link with suggestions for the American Revolution film on the first post.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Wooley » Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:28 pm

Man, there's a lot of good "4" options:

4D Man
4 For The Apocalypse
Four Feathers
Four Flies On Grey Velvet
The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse
The Four Seasons
Four Weddings And A Funeral
The 4th Man
The Fourth Protocol
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:32 pm

Wooley wrote:Man, there's a lot of good "4" options:

4D Man
4 For The Apocalypse
Four Feathers
Four Flies On Grey Velvet
The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse
The Four Seasons
Four Weddings And A Funeral
The 4th Man
The Fourth Protocol
I haven't seen any of those, so noted!
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Apex Predator » Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:43 pm

Charles wrote:
Good choice. I don't know that I'd call it good, but it's very worthwhile.
Hmm. I thought it was top flight Castle myself.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Apex Predator » Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:59 pm

I'm only halfway through with my picks for April. Thoughts so far:

A film with the number 4 (Four, Fourth, etc.) in its title (not a sequel): Options are available, just a matter of picking the right one...
A film with a title that starts with the letters G or H: Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) 121 C
A film from the current IMDb 250 whose ranking includes the #4 (i.e. 14, 24, 42): Whiplash (2014) 107 Crackle or The Intouchables (2012) 112 ?
A film from the 1930s: The Milky Way (1936)
A drama: A Separation (2011)
A B-movie: I'm sure I have some options...
A Biblical film: Perhaps Risen (2016) 107 ? or Samson (2018) 110 Netflix
A film from Iran (Iran Independence, April 1): A Separation (2011) 123 Netflix
A film featuring robots prominently (Nat'l Robotics Week, April 6-14): Robot Overlords (2015) 90 Prime
A film based on a book/novel (Nat'l Library Week, April 7-13): Silver Linings Playbook (2012) 122 Netflix
A film prominently featuring siblings (Siblings Day, April 10): I bet I have some options to play with...
A film set in the American Revolutionary War (Patriots' Day, April 15): This could be tough, even with the list (it's a matter of finding something I've not seen before)
A film mostly set on a boat (Titanic Remembrance Day, April 15): Like Father (2018) 103 Netflix
A film from Harold Lloyd (born April 20): The Milky Way (1936) 87 Prime
A film about the environment or related themes (Earth Day, April 22): An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (2017) 97 Prime
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Tue Apr 02, 2019 5:13 pm

Apex Predator wrote: A film based on a book/novel (Nat'l Library Week, April 7-13): Silver Linings Playbook (2012) 122 Netflix
NOOOOOOOOOOO!!

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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Wooley » Tue Apr 02, 2019 7:01 pm

Thief wrote:
I haven't seen any of those, so noted!
Of those, I have only seen Four Feathers and The Fourth Protocol, so I may participate in this as well as these all interest me to some degree or another.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Charles » Tue Apr 02, 2019 7:25 pm

A film with the number 4 (Four, Fourth, etc.) in its title (not a sequel): Four Flies on Grey Velvet
A film with a title that starts with the letters G or H: Gozu
A film from the current IMDb 250 whose ranking includes the #4 (i.e. 14, 24, 42): The Seventh Seal
A film from the 1930s: Kongo
A drama: Exterminating Angel
A B-movie: Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women
A Biblical film: I'll look for something on Pureflix for that one Edit: It's gonna be Full of Grace, a movie about Mary. Mary's actress doesn't have top billing on the website, funny enough.
A film from Iran (Iran Independence, April 1): About Elly
A film featuring robots prominently (Nat'l Robotics Week, April 6-14): Bumblebee (I feel like I've watched every well-rated movies about robots)
A film based on a book/novel (Nat'l Library Week, April 7-13): Journey to the Center of the Earth
A film prominently featuring siblings (Siblings Day, April 10): Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf
A film set in the American Revolutionary War (Patriots' Day, April 15): Drums along the Mohawk, I think
A film mostly set on a boat (Titanic Remembrance Day, April 15): K-19: The Widowmaker, if that counts, or another go for Triangle
A film from Harold Lloyd (born April 20): Oh that's old stuff. Whichever one I can find will have to do.
A film about the environment or related themes (Earth Day, April 22): Save the Green Planet
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Apex Predator » Tue Apr 02, 2019 11:27 pm

Charles wrote: A film featuring robots prominently (Nat'l Robotics Week, April 6-14): Bumblebee (I feel like I've watched every well-rated movies about robots)
A film mostly set on a boat (Titanic Remembrance Day, April 15): K-19: The Widowmaker, if that counts, or another go for Triangle
A film from Harold Lloyd (born April 20): Oh that's old stuff. Whichever one I can find will have to do.
Heard good things about Bumblebee, perhaps the best in that long franchise's history.

Having seen K-19, I found myself underwhelmed despite this being based on a true story.

If you have Prime, The Milky Way is available. Was able to find The Freshman on YouTube.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Apex Predator » Wed Apr 03, 2019 12:15 am

The reason I chose Silver Linings Playbook is because I've seen part of it on Netflix, but couldn't finish it before it departed. Now it's back and I feel like I need to finish it (even though what I've seen might garner only a C- so far).

Alright, what are some movies based on books that I should consider instead? Keep in mind, I largely have Prime and Netflix to play with. Just some recommendations.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Wed Apr 03, 2019 12:31 am

Apex Predator wrote:The reason I chose Silver Linings Playbook is because I've seen part of it on Netflix, but couldn't finish it before it departed. Now it's back and I feel like I need to finish it (even though what I've seen might garner only a C- so far).

Alright, what are some movies based on books that I should consider instead? Keep in mind, I largely have Prime and Netflix to play with. Just some recommendations.
Nah, I'm just playing with you. Sure, I disliked it, but I know a lot of people that enjoyed it.

But still, here are a few good adaptations that are not mentioned as much as others...

Fried Green Tomatoes
Dolores Claiborne
Empire of the Sun
Sense and Sensibility
October Sky
Bridge to Terabithia
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Wed Apr 03, 2019 1:12 am

A film with the number 4 (Four, Fourth, etc.) in its title (not a sequel): 4th Man Out (a sweet and funny comedy about a guy who comes out as gay to his best friends and how it shifts their group dynamic) (Netflix)
A film with a title that starts with the letters G or H: Gaslight, Ginger Snaps; He Walked by Night; Heathers; Hellbent; Homicidal; Hoop Dreams; House on Haunted Hill (Amazon Prime)
A film from the current IMDb 250 whose ranking includes the #4 (i.e. 14, 24, 42): Gosh. I'm sure you guys have seen most of these, and they're hard to find streaming. It's a Wonderful Life, I might rent Into the Spider-verse
A film from the 1930s: The 39 Steps; The Most Dangerous Game; White Zombie (Amazon Prime)
A drama: All is Lost; Ballast; Beckett; Beyond the Lights; Breakfast on Pluto; Catch Me Daddy; Dead Ringers; First Reformed (Amazon Prime)
A B-movie: Basket Case; Body Melt; Dementia 13
A Biblical film: I dunno. Maybe David and Goliath? Not really my preferred genre.
A film from Iran (Iran Independence, April 1): The Salesman
A film featuring robots prominently (Nat'l Robotics Week, April 6-14): Robot and Frank
A film based on a book/novel (Nat'l Library Week, April 7-13): Temple Grandin; I am Not Your Negro; You Were Never Really Here; The Handmaiden; The Last Unicorn; Night of the Hunter; Citizen X; The Minus Man; Burn, Witch, Burn
A film prominently featuring siblings (Siblings Day, April 10): Erik the Conqueror
A film set in the American Revolutionary War (Patriots' Day, April 15): The Last Sharknado(!!!!)
A film mostly set on a boat (Titanic Remembrance Day, April 15): All is Lost
A film from Harold Lloyd (born April 20): Her Painted Hero
A film about the environment or related themes (Earth Day, April 22): Samsara

All of these are on Amazon Prime unless otherwise noted.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Charles » Wed Apr 03, 2019 1:21 am

Apex Predator wrote:

Having seen K-19, I found myself underwhelmed despite this being based on a true story.

If you have Prime, The Milky Way is available. Was able to find The Freshman on YouTube.
Well the big reason for K-19 is that I want to see everything Bigelow. She's so good! Now if only I could find The Loveless.

I'll grab The Freshman off youtube, I don't have Prime.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Wed Apr 03, 2019 1:28 am

Charles wrote: I don't have Prime.
What services do you have?
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Charles » Wed Apr 03, 2019 1:33 am

Takoma1 wrote:
What services do you have?
None really. Nothing in Canada is worth it.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Wooley » Wed Apr 03, 2019 3:38 am

Charles wrote:
Well the big reason for K-19 is that I want to see everything Bigelow. She's so good! Now if only I could find The Loveless.
I had less than zero interest in K-19 until I recently discovered it was by Bigelow. Now I will watch it, period.
I just watched The Loveless on Amazon, posted it in my thread.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by crumbsroom » Wed Apr 03, 2019 3:55 am

Loveless, Near Dark, Point Break, Blue Steel. Nothing more needs to be said about Bigelow's greatness in the standing of American cinema of the last 30 years.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Wed Apr 03, 2019 1:13 pm

I haven't seen K-19 since it was released, but I remember thinking it was ok. My lack of solid memories of whatever happens in it probably means it was competent, but forgettable perhaps.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Charles » Wed Apr 03, 2019 7:35 pm

A film featuring robots prominently: Bumblebee (D)

So this was a disappointment. Honestly, the rotten tomatoes rating is probably due to people not liking Michael Bay's movies, because this movie sure as fuck doesn't call for a 93%. And full disclosure, I love Michael Bay, especially for Transformers. And this movie is in no way more mature or sophisticated than his movies, it's just done in a child-friendlier way.

First off, the special effects are a solid downgrade. The robots feel weird and they're just not as impressive as what you got even back in 2007. They're clunky and cartoonish and they don't really fit in with the rest of the world. The action is also pretty bad and makes no sense. Anyone either can or can't disintegrate or slice someone in twain depending on what the scene calls for or whether or not the character has played its part. There's one memorable shot near the end, but that's about it. Nothing feels like it has weight and it's very difficult to not compare it to Bay's movies in terms of flair and intensity. This is just dull.

A solid chunk of the movie, however, doesn't really revolve around the robots. The movie revolves around a family that, believe it or not, is at least as annoying than the Witwickys. There's a shitty mother and Hailee Seinfeld's shitty step father who just don't get their daughter, until the end, because that arc had to be resolved no matter what. How or why was it resolved? Who knows.

Bumblebee spends most of his time as a car, except to interact with Hailee, and for one scene where we see his wacky hijinks throughout the house, complete with 2002 uh-oh! music.

Overall, I'd say go watch a Michael Bay Transformers. It'll at least give you something to remember. This feels like studio calendar filler. So much of it is stock plot lines and generic events and characters, the worst offender being John Cena's character, a generic army grunt who speaks in generic army grunt one-liners (Drive! Shoot him! Are you out of your mind?!)
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Charles » Wed Apr 03, 2019 7:38 pm

Wooley wrote: I just watched The Loveless on Amazon, posted it in my thread.
I know! That's what reminded me that I couldn't find it years back when I looked. I'll see if I can find it, it sounds pretty interesting.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Thu Apr 04, 2019 2:59 pm

I know, I know. Still catching up with old reviews... :shifty:

A film from Australia


An Accidental Soldier (2013)
"Do you think this is a love story? That's not what this is. It can't be that."
H.L. Mencken once said "love is like war: easy to begin, but very hard to stop". The truth is that, more often than not, both war and love take most people by surprise. They come unexpected, creep unto us sometimes in moments when we're not looking for them. It just happens, and we have to deal with it, one way or the other. That is part of the underlying theme in this Australian television film released in 2013.

An Accidental Soldier follows Harry (Dan Spielman), a shy and introverted baker that feels pressured to join the Australian Army in the advent of World War I. Not really looking forward to war, Harry takes a chance fleeing his post and seeks refuge in the country home of Colombe (Marie Bunel), a middle-aged farmer that has to work in a weapons factory to survive. Despite their differences in age and language, the two start a relationship that might put both at risk.

First, putting in perspective that this is a television film, one can say that the end result was better than other TV films. The performances from Spielman and Bunel are solid and they have considerable chemistry, even if the story stumbles a bit in portraying how their relationship grows. The direction is mostly competent, but far from remarkable. It would've been more effective if we had a better look at who Harry was, and why he felt compelled to flee. This is mostly told in some vague flashbacks that don't succeed in conveying the pressure he was in to join the army or the dangers of war he found himself in.

There is, though, a solid sense of dread as the events unfold, as far as them being discovered. Some scenes with a nosy neighbor and others with Colombe's superiors at the factory manage to instill some tension into the plot. Unfortunately, there is a somewhat abrupt shift in the plot during the last act that takes the film into another territory. As a result, the film as a whole feels a bit disjointed and confused over what to be. Is it a legal drama? is it a love story? Despite this, the film still has its charms in its romantic plot, even though by the end, the filmmakers seem to be telling themselves this is "not what this is".

Grade: C+
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 12:06 am

A film featuring robots prominently (Nat'l Robotics Week, April 6-14): Uncanny

I don't know what's with my actors' names dyslexia lately. I've several times watched a film because I thought a certain actor was in it, only to discover I had the name slightly wrong. So Mark Warren has nothing to do with this film, and instead it stars Mark Webber.. Whups.

Anyway, I digress.

This film covers very familiar territory, with some very strong parallels to Ex Machina (though it did come out so close on the heels of that film that I'm not sure if it's a copy, or just a coincidence).

Joy is a newpaper reporter, assigned to write a long-form article on reclusive tech designer David Kressen. She is introduced to David's assistant, Adam, and very quickly learns to her amazement that Adam is actually an advanced robot/AI created by David. Adam and David both become smitten with Joy, but Adam's interest in Joy comes in a more dangerous, unpredictable form.

I thought that this film had a really interesting beginning and even middle. I thought that it did a good job of presenting Adam's awkward difficulty in processing his new-found feelings. And a lot of the scenes did a nice job of towing the line between funny and creepy. In one scene, Adam googles Joy and looks at photos of her, then immediately google image searches the word "intercourse". Sorta funny, sorta creepy. Demonstrating some singularity of purpose, Adam begins trying to guild a penis. Again: sorta funny, sorta creepy. I'm not sure how intentional it was, but the film does ultimately portray the danger of someone who is concerned really only with their own goals and has no empathy for the feelings of others. Adam physically hurts Joy (unintentionally) and repeatedly violates her privacy, yet he's repeatedly given a sad music cue so that we understand his loneliness. Part of this is on David, who responds to Joy's concerns by telling her that she should be flattered.

So things are going okay in this film, but then the final act comes and . . . yeesh. On one hand, there is a direction that the plot goes that I was not expecting, but on the other hand there are things that happen in the last act (and specifically the last 15 minutes) that don't really make sense and retroactively raise more questions about what's come before. There were private moments that we saw with a character during the film that don't seem to make sense in light of what we learn at the end.

Also: I am really sick of writers who create characters (especially female characters) who react in moments in ways that do not make sense. At a point in the film when Adam seems to be becoming more of a threat, Joy refers to him as a "thing". It doesn't match at all with what we've seen of Joy's character, and it seems to be part of the script just to escalate things. Joy is basically a passive character for the whole film (she's literally the prize that the two male characters are competing over), and when she does become more active it's to do really stupid things just to move the plot. Joy ultimately ends up coming off as someone who is unprofessional, kinda dumb, and also unempathetic. It's especially unfortunate that her character is so easily compared to Domhnall Gleason's character from Ex Machina, because she is so shallow and passive in comparison.

I really like stories about AI, especially those that question at what point something is alive in whatever sense of that word we regard human beings. Aside from Ex Machina, I really liked The Machine (2013), Marjorie Prime, and Her.

I think that this film was too desperate to have a big plot twist and so sacrificed the human element of its story.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Apex Predator » Fri Apr 05, 2019 2:10 am

Takoma1 wrote:A film with the number 4 (Four, Fourth, etc.) in its title (not a sequel): 4th Man Out (a sweet and funny comedy about a guy who comes out as gay to his best friends and how it shifts their group dynamic) (Netflix)
A film with a title that starts with the letters G or H: Gaslight, Ginger Snaps; He Walked by Night; Heathers; Hellbent; Homicidal; Hoop Dreams; House on Haunted Hill (Amazon Prime)
A film from the current IMDb 250 whose ranking includes the #4 (i.e. 14, 24, 42): Gosh. I'm sure you guys have seen most of these, and they're hard to find streaming. It's a Wonderful Life, I might rent Into the Spider-verse
A film from the 1930s: The 39 Steps; The Most Dangerous Game; White Zombie (Amazon Prime)
A drama: All is Lost; Ballast; Beckett; Beyond the Lights; Breakfast on Pluto; Catch Me Daddy; Dead Ringers; First Reformed (Amazon Prime)
A B-movie: Basket Case; Body Melt; Dementia 13
A Biblical film: I dunno. Maybe David and Goliath? Not really my preferred genre.
A film from Iran (Iran Independence, April 1): The Salesman
A film featuring robots prominently (Nat'l Robotics Week, April 6-14): Robot and Frank
A film based on a book/novel (Nat'l Library Week, April 7-13): Temple Grandin; I am Not Your Negro; You Were Never Really Here; The Handmaiden; The Last Unicorn; Night of the Hunter; Citizen X; The Minus Man; Burn, Witch, Burn
A film prominently featuring siblings (Siblings Day, April 10): Erik the Conqueror
A film set in the American Revolutionary War (Patriots' Day, April 15): The Last Sharknado(!!!!)
A film mostly set on a boat (Titanic Remembrance Day, April 15): All is Lost
A film from Harold Lloyd (born April 20): Her Painted Hero
A film about the environment or related themes (Earth Day, April 22): Samsara

All of these are on Amazon Prime unless otherwise noted.
The Last Sharknado? Really??? OK, Takoma. April Fool's has already passed. ;)

Will second (deep breath): Night of the Hunter (that one story makes that a lock), I Am Not Your Negro (doc of an interesting, fascinating writer), Beyond the Lights (that one scene in the second half involving Mbatha-Raw and her hair), The 39 Steps (the third act made up for some misgivings about the plot), White Zombie (first rate performance from Lugosi and a nice spin on the genre), It's a Wonderful Life (taking a few years back allowed me to see things I would have overlooked as a yearly staple), Heathers (1980s teen film with some bite), and House on Haunted Hill (presumably the one with Vincent Price which may be Castle's finest hour outside of perhaps The Tingler ).

Will rec with some reservations: Homicidal (Interesting variation on a classic Hitchcock film), Temple Grandin (first rate performance from Claire Danes, even though the film gets into biopic territory at times).

Can't quite recommend: Dementia 13 (Nice premise, but execution was only OK).
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 2:35 am

Apex Predator wrote:Will rec with some reservations: Homicidal (Interesting variation on a classic Hitchcock film), Temple Grandin (first rate performance from Claire Danes, even though the film gets into biopic territory at times).

Can't quite recommend: Dementia 13 (Nice premise, but execution was only OK).
I think that the plot of Homicidal is really interesting and it goes places totally unexpected.

Temple Grandin IS a biopic, and I loved it. Grandin is such a cool person, and I really admired the way that the film was able to tell her story from childhood to adulthood in such a coherent and enjoyable fashion. Grandin is a straight shooter, and she seems to feel that the film is very accurate about her life and experiences.

I think that Dementia 13 is perfect as a B-movie. I think that it also has a genuinely really scary sequence (when the brother is talking about his dream).
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Apr 06, 2019 7:40 pm

So this is actually a January(!) make-up, which completes all of my January films.

The first Best Picture winner you haven't seen (starting with Wings): Wings

I think that the sheer number of parodies of silent films (the overacting, the bad effects) often lead me to having lowered expectations for silents. And that's not always a bad thing.

You guys covered this film pretty well back in January (ahem), but I'll just add that I was impressed with how well the drama worked and how intense and gripping the action sequences were. Much like the 30s version of All Quiet on the Western Front, I was surprised at some of the violence shown and the impact it had on me. For example, the short of horrifying image of the soldier who has taken shelter only to be crushed by a large tank, with the camera lingering on the spot where the soldier's crushed body is under a sheet of metal.

One thing that did bug me a little was the way that everyone kept expressing some variation of "Oh, well! That's just war!". Like SHRUG! The lack of questioning war itself seems to me to be a missed opportunity and it makes the war somewhat of an abstract event pushing around the characters.

But that's a very small nitpick. This was a really gripping, moving film and I'd highly recommend it if you haven't checked it out yet.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Charles » Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:14 pm

A film mostly set on a boat (Titanic Remembrance Day, April 15): K-19: The Widowmaker (B)

It's very competently directed, but compared to Bigelow's other movies, both prior to and following this one, this is very Hollywoody and saccharine. There's a flair or touch missing from it all and it doesn't feel very distinctive beyond the fact that it's better than the average Hollywood movie. There isn't a ton to say about it really. Except for the fact that Liam Neeson had the worst old-person makeup of all time at the end there.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:47 pm

A film with a title that starts with the letters G or H: Hard Target 2

I think that I must have "watched" this movie on some late Friday or Saturday night, because I definitely recognized moments from it, especially the first third.

The film follows a man named Wes Baylor, an MMA fighter who in the very beginning of the film accidentally kills his best friend in a fight (which gives us a glorious, "JOHNNY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"). Some time later, Wes is despondent and letting himself get pulverized in the ring. Offered a chance to fight for a huge purse, Wes is taken to Myanmar where it all goes "The Most Dangerous Game" very quickly. As Wes tries to stay alive long enough to make it over the border, he runs into a local woman, Tha, who is trying to save her village from a corrupt general.

This is a film that disappoints on two fronts, one of them predictable.

1) This is a Scott Adkins film. Why do we watch a Scott Adkins film? To watch him jump gloriously high and kick people in the face. Adkins has amazing athleticism, and achieves stunts without wirework that are pretty astounding. But in this film almost all of the action is guns/crossbows/etc. There's a fight scene at the end that really shows off his skills, but it's really too little, too late by that point. Generally speaking the action sequences are okay, but not super memorable.

2) The treatment of the native people of Myanmar is . . . not great. Just generally speaking, we are to understand that Tha's village is essentially being exterminated, with the general allowing the evil American to hunt some of the men from the village for fun. But if they can just pay him some money, it will all be okay! It's insultingly simplistic, but not horrendous in this kind of film. What's worse is the way that random, unnamed villagers are used as a "take this seriously" metric. They are repeatedly murdered just to add gravity to a scene. It feels crass to the extreme that the film treats the white/English speaking characters as important, but shoots bullets into villagers whenever a scene needs a little dramatic lift. The film wants to seem empathetic toward the villagers, but this is undercut by repeatedly using them as emotional set-dressing.

There are much better action films out there, and specifically much better Adkins-led action films.

Mandatory Adkins training montage:
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Jinnistan » Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:41 pm

Takoma1 wrote:Mandatory Adkins training montage:
Take a shower, Takoma.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Jinnistan » Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:45 pm

Takoma1 wrote:One thing that did bug me a little was the way that everyone kept expressing some variation of "Oh, well! That's just war!". Like SHRUG! The lack of questioning war itself seems to me to be a missed opportunity and it makes the war somewhat of an abstract event pushing around the characters.
I actually think this is somewhat appropriate for a film made between two world wars. I give this recognition of cynicsm more credit than you do. The *shrug* is an intended affectation in order to provoke such questions, especially into complacency. There are still too many people who think that a good war every 20 yeears or so is a normal aspect of the human condition.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:13 pm

Jinnistan wrote: Take a shower, Takoma.
Did you watch the montage? I don't think it's sexy so much as it is just kind of awe-inspiring.
Jinnistan wrote: I actually think this is somewhat appropriate for a film made between two world wars. I give this recognition of cynicsm more credit than you do. The *shrug* is an intended affectation in order to provoke such questions, especially into complacency. There are still too many people who think that a good war every 20 yeears or so is a normal aspect of the human condition.
I just didn't get the sense that the film was trying to provoke those questions, especially when
the film ends with the romantic, happy element. Jack is able to find closure pretty quickly and move on to settling down with his new love, which positions the war more as something that juts happens more than it does something that maybe shouldn't have happened in the first place.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:19 pm

Takoma1 wrote:So this is actually a January(!) make-up, which completes all of my January films.

The first Best Picture winner you haven't seen (starting with Wings): Wings

I think that the sheer number of parodies of silent films (the overacting, the bad effects) often lead me to having lowered expectations for silents. And that's not always a bad thing.

You guys covered this film pretty well back in January (ahem), but I'll just add that I was impressed with how well the drama worked and how intense and gripping the action sequences were. Much like the 30s version of All Quiet on the Western Front, I was surprised at some of the violence shown and the impact it had on me. For example, the short of horrifying image of the soldier who has taken shelter only to be crushed by a large tank, with the camera lingering on the spot where the soldier's crushed body is under a sheet of metal.

One thing that did bug me a little was the way that everyone kept expressing some variation of "Oh, well! That's just war!". Like SHRUG! The lack of questioning war itself seems to me to be a missed opportunity and it makes the war somewhat of an abstract event pushing around the characters.

But that's a very small nitpick. This was a really gripping, moving film and I'd highly recommend it if you haven't checked it out yet.
I pretty much agree. Like I said on my review back then, I'm surprised that this film doesn't get mentioned more often other than for being the first Best Picture Oscar winner. It's pretty good.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:53 pm

A drama: December Boys

I really liked this story, which was a pretty straight-ahead drama.

Misty, Spit, Sparks, and Maps are orphans known as the December Boys because they celebrate their birthdays in December. One summer, they are offered the opportunity to go and stay with a couple who live out by the coast. Misty (the youngest and most sincere of the boys) overhears one of the neighbors say that he and his wife are hoping to adopt one of the boys. Misty decides to be the perfect child so that they will choose him, while struggling with guilt over the fact that the other boys are unaware of the opportunity. Other subplots include a cranky fisherman in perpetual pursuit of a large fish called Henry, and the blossoming relationship between Maps and a local girl.

All told, this was just a really good story. I was worried that there was going to be some sinister reveal about one of the adults in the cove being predatory, but this is just a film about a lot of people trying to make the best life for themselves. Daniel Radcliffe plays Maps, and his character really grounds the whole film. Maps enjoys the benefits of being the oldest--more independence, secret make-out sessions--but as the film goes on you can sense his growing desperation as he realizes that he's too old to adopt and that no one will want him. I'm a big fan of Daniel Radcliffe, and it's neat seeing him in a dramatic role from the same time period in which he was making the Harry Potter films.

The supporting cast is quite good as well. Sullivan Stapleton (who you might know from the show Blindspot or Strike Back, but whom I first noticed in an Australian indie film called Cut Snake) is solid as the next door neighbor who might potentially adopt, and who at the same time is struggling with the fact that he and his wife cannot have children because of an injury he has suffered. The actors playing the kind couple who take in the children are very good at exuding a realistic kind of kindness and simplicity. Teresa Palmer plays the love interest for Maps, and it's fun seeing her at the beginning of her career.

My only criticism is that the ending is a bit abrupt and seems to leave out some details I wanted to know. The film is told in a flashback, and so the beginning and end both take place in the present. The sudden jump in time isn't a huge problem, but after getting to know the characters so well and their fears and desires, I wanted more information about what actually happened to some of them when they left the cove.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Stu » Sun Apr 07, 2019 2:32 am

Takoma1 wrote:So this is actually a January(!) make-up, which completes all of my January films.

The first Best Picture winner you haven't seen (starting with Wings): Wings

I think that the sheer number of parodies of silent films (the overacting, the bad effects) often lead me to having lowered expectations for silents. And that's not always a bad thing.

You guys covered this film pretty well back in January (ahem), but I'll just add that I was impressed with how well the drama worked and how intense and gripping the action sequences were. Much like the 30s version of All Quiet on the Western Front, I was surprised at some of the violence shown and the impact it had on me. For example, the short of horrifying image of the soldier who has taken shelter only to be crushed by a large tank, with the camera lingering on the spot where the soldier's crushed body is under a sheet of metal.

One thing that did bug me a little was the way that everyone kept expressing some variation of "Oh, well! That's just war!". Like SHRUG! The lack of questioning war itself seems to me to be a missed opportunity and it makes the war somewhat of an abstract event pushing around the characters.

But that's a very small nitpick. This was a really gripping, moving film and I'd highly recommend it if you haven't checked it out yet.
It also inspired a pretty impressive tracking shot in The Last Jedi as well, which was a pretty neat nod to some old-school Hollywood:

Image
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 2:43 am

That's really neat!

Yeah, it had a lot more style than I was expecting.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 1:44 pm

A film from the current IMDb 250 whose ranking includes the #4 (i.e. 14, 24, 42):Spider Man Into the Spiderverse (#34)

Wow.

So this was amazing and I feel a ton of regret that I didn't make the trip out to see it in the theater.

The action was on-point, the animation was incredible and striking, the performances (ranging from comedic to dramatic) were super solid, and the story was compelling and powerful.

I paid to rent this from Amazon and it was so worth it.

I knew nothing about the plot of this film before watching it, and I'm so glad that was the case. It actually disinclines me to talk about the plot at all. Just see it if you haven't yet. This easily jumps to my top 10 from 2018.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Captain Terror » Sun Apr 07, 2019 3:11 pm

Takoma1 wrote:A film from the current IMDb 250 whose ranking includes the #4 (i.e. 14, 24, 42):Spider Man Into the Spiderverse (#34)

Wow.

So this was amazing and I feel a ton of regret that I didn't make the trip out to see it in the theater.

The action was on-point, the animation was incredible and striking, the performances (ranging from comedic to dramatic) were super solid, and the story was compelling and powerful.

I paid to rent this from Amazon and it was so worth it.

I knew nothing about the plot of this film before watching it, and I'm so glad that was the case. It actually disinclines me to talk about the plot at all. Just see it if you haven't yet. This easily jumps to my top 10 from 2018.
Saw this in a theater and about midway started to question if I even wanted to bother watching the drab-in-comparison MCU movies anymore. I want all superhero movies to look like this from now on.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Slentert » Sun Apr 07, 2019 4:05 pm

Captain Terror wrote: Saw this in a theater and about midway started to question if I even wanted to bother watching the drab-in-comparison MCU movies anymore. I want all superhero movies to look like this from now on.
Same.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 8:39 pm

Captain Terror wrote: Saw this in a theater and about midway started to question if I even wanted to bother watching the drab-in-comparison MCU movies anymore. I want all superhero movies to look like this from now on.
Not just in terms of the look of it, but in terms of the story structure and flow. The film was 2 hours long, and yet didn't feel even half as long as many of the Marvel films. It had a lot of plot but never felt overstuffed. The personal stakes and the "world-ending" stakes were wonderfully balanced and intertwined. Every scene felt like it had a purpose, and every character belonged. It also effortlessly integrated a diverse assortment of characters and delivered an empowering message pretty directly but without feeling preachy. Really loved it.
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