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The Last Movie(s) You Watched... (quick one or two sentence reviews)
The Lighthouse. Beautifully filmed in black and white. At first I disliked the aspect ratio, but it does give a sense of claustrophobia. Both leads are top notch. The story can be viewed on multiple levels from a straight read to a archetypal myth to a Lovecraftian horror movie and probably more. I need time to digest all of this and perhaps I’ll expand in the longer reviews thread. Suffice to say I enjoyed it.
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Mortal Engines (2018)
Not the greatest, but certainly not the worst movie ever. This seems to be another John Carter. I wish there was more back story and a more focused narrative story what was given. Too much world building and not enough character development. I didn't really care about anyone because I didn't really know what was going on with any of them. Even the speculating doesn't have a payoff as the ending is more of a situational end than a character arc conclusion so the investment into who these characters are is ultimately wasted. Acting was fine, but this is more made for TV movie quality than big budget blockbuster. 6/10
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Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)
I remember trying to watch this years ago but never got passed Caesar going home with Franco''s character. The CGI looked bad then and worse today. I'm not a Franco fan at all either. The most engaging part were the ending credits watching the Simian flu spread across the world. This movie was more the precursor to Contagion or World War Z than it was a Planet of the Apes movie. 5/10

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)
Seeing that everyone is dead that we knew from the first movie the viewer is forced (if they haven't yet) to care about Caesar and the Apes. Granted, this movie spends a lot of time on character development that makes it more interesting. Caesar and Koba's characters play out the struggle of the apes, but the human characters are pretty flat. The CGI is better in this one but still pretty distracting, until that last close up of Caesar's eyes. Wow. 6.5/10

War of the Planet of the Apes (2017)
The CGI of Maurice is simply fantastic in this movie. The little odd zoo ape was pretty incredible too. This one is driven by the inner turmoil of Caesar and of the apes. The antagonist is more the hate and fear towards apes than it is the colonel and his soldiers. One can't help but notice the obvious connections in human history such as the Nazi's treatment of the Jewish people or the United States' treatment of the indigenous Native American tribes. The ending isn't a great payoff for a 3 movie investment. 6.75/10
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(01-18-2020, 11:22 PM)DigModiFicaTion Wrote: Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)
I remember trying to watch this years ago but never got passed Caesar going home with Franco''s character. The CGI looked bad then and worse today. I'm not a Franco fan at all either. The most engaging part were the ending credits watching the Simian flu spread across the world. This movie was more the precursor to Contagion or World War Z than it was a Planet of the Apes movie. 5/10

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)
Seeing that everyone is dead that we knew from the first movie the viewer is forced (if they haven't yet) to care about Caesar and the Apes. Granted, this movie spends a lot of time on character development that makes it more interesting. Caesar and Koba's characters play out the struggle of the apes, but the human characters are pretty flat. The CGI is better in this one but still pretty distracting, until that last close up of Caesar's eyes. Wow. 6.5/10

War of the Planet of the Apes (2017)
The CGI of Maurice is simply fantastic in this movie. The little odd zoo ape was pretty incredible too. This one is driven by the inner turmoil of Caesar and of the apes. The antagonist is more the hate and fear towards apes than it is the colonel and his soldiers. One can't help but notice the obvious connections in human history such as the Nazi's treatment of the Jewish people or the United States' treatment of the indigenous Native American tribes. The ending isn't a great payoff for a 3 movie investment. 6.75/10

I'd probably order them in reverse from what you have in terms of quality but similar average scores. My enjoyment of the first one was greatly enhanced by having watched the brilliant 'Project Nim' documentary beforehand. It's shows Rise as surprisingly close to reality... minus the ape insurrection Big Grin .



Mrs Lowry & Son (2019)
Timothy Spall follows up his 2014 "Best Actor at Cannes" biopic 'Mr. Turner' with another artist, L.S. Lowry. Sadly as the title implies, this one isn't really about the painter and his art but is mostly about the man and his suffocating relationship he had with his elderly mother. That it's based on a two-person stage play will be obvious but despite my disappointed hopes for what the film would be, you can't object to 91 riveting minutes spent locked in the Lowry household with two actors of Spall and Vanessa Redgrave's quality.



I Lost My Body (2019)
'I Lost My Body' ('J'ai perdu mon corps') is a beautiful and odd French animated film about a severed hand trying to get back to it's owner Naoufel. It's journey through the dark secret spaces of a city is inter-cut with Naoufel's lonely life leading up to the accident and flashbacks to his happy youth. It's action-packed yet poetic, bleak yet romantic, sad yet uplifting. In the UK at least, distributor Netflix defaults to the English dub but thankfully it also had the option to play it in the original French language.

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Ghost in the Shell (2017)
I don't like anime at all so I have no frame of reference for this story and I'm also not a big Scarlet Johansson fan either. That being said, I don't really see why this movie got so much hate. It feels like one of those dystopian teen movies in that the plot is more implied than actually fleshed out, but the aesthetic seemed to be spot on. The story was intriguing as well, almost a reverse Matrix. I hope humanity never ends up like this. 7/10
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American Factory. A fascinating documentary that gets a surprisingly unvarnished look at its subjects, Chinese and American, workers and executives. It was particularly interesting for us living and working in Germany. While the cultural differences between America and Germany are not as stark as that of Americans and Chinese, they are there.
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(01-18-2020, 11:22 PM)DigModiFicaTion Wrote: Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)
War of the Planet of the Apes (2017)
The ending isn't a great payoff for a 3 movie investment. 6.75/10

I liked these a lot more than you did, particularly the last 2, in which I thought the CG was very impressive.  I really disagree about the ending, which I found to be a great payoff.  I think Caesar should go down as one of the great tragic heroes in movie history.  What an amazing arc.
 
(01-27-2020, 01:16 PM)DigModiFicaTion Wrote: Ghost in the Shell (2017)
I don't like anime at all so I have no frame of reference for this story and I'm also not a big Scarlet Johansson fan either. That being said, I don't really see why this movie got so much hate. 

Well, you've probably hit a big part of it right there.  You don't know the hate of an anime fan scorned, lol.  You're right, this got a disproportionate amount of hate for the changes it made to the original.  It's actually surprising how faithful it is.  

The big quandry of the film is that (like a lot of anime, even now) many of the main characters look far more Caucasian than Japanese.  So when you cast the film, it would bear more visual resemblance (and usually more star power and bankability) to cast a Caucasian.  The film's efforts to try to explain that and lend an extra layer of depth where almost uniformly rejected.  You had a huge portion of the potential audience who decided the movie was an abomination based on casting alone.  Then of the people who wanted to see the story and were willing to move past that, most found the in-movie explanation unnecessary.

Personally, I think it was a valid choice, if uneven.  It's very rare to have a film with depth that handles everything in a completely diversely balanced and totally inoffensive way to everyone.  I feel like the filmmakers were caught in a bad spot on this one... if the film was released 5 years earlier, or maybe even 5 years later, it might've gotten a fairer assessment.  It's not perfect, but it did a lot pretty well, certainly more so than many big action films these days.
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Uncut Gems. It certainly achieves what it sets out to do, which is induce a two hour panic attack. If that’s your thing and you enjoyed the directors’ Good Time, you’ll likely “enjoy” this. I think I liked Good Time a bit more. I think it’s getting a lot of attention because of Sandler. He’s good, but I don’t think the role would get the amount of attention it has if it were another actor in the role.
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Signs (2002)
I decided to revisit some M. Night Shyamalan films and will star out with Signs. I remember that I liked this initially, but felt the end was a bit too revealing. Now over a decade later, life has presented some new experiences that have made this particular story very familiar and impactful. Beyond the alien not-quite-horror film, this is a beautiful movie about family, grief and the loss of faith. I didn't even mind the revealing ending this time around. The story is fairly easy to follow and predictable, as most Shyamalan films are, but that allows for the themes and characters to shine and drive the story forward. This movie definitely jumped up in my list, both as a Shyamalan film and overall. 8.5/10
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I would like it more if the weakness of the aliens wasn't so lame (and if they didn't pick a planet that is covered with their one weakness).
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