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The Last Movie(s) You Watched... (quick one or two sentence reviews)
(08-14-2020, 04:26 PM)mnkykungfu Wrote: ....and yet it all works.

Agree to disagree. I was trying to imagine yesterday what it might have taken to make ToD good. Ditch Willie and Short Round, of course. Remove the SNES video game levels of the magic raft and the mine carts. Add an Indian heroine/love interest. Maybe have a twist in which the local British commander is in league with the Indian baddies, for a spot of historical comeuppance. And maybe, as a subtle gag that befits a Raiders prequel, have one or two displays of genuine Indian magic, but Indy just misses witnessing them, thus preserving his skepticism in the first film.

So, you see, the movie isn't all terrible. It's just ~70% terrible. Tongue
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Sayonara Speed Tribes (2012)
A short doc about a low level Japanese gangster trying to get his life together and find a future in Japanese society.  Shows a lot more of his former motorcycle gang than his current criminal connections, but isn't long enough to go too deep into it.  What's here is good.  Free on Tubi.  Full thoughts: https://letterboxd.com/nottheacademy/fil...ed-tribes/

Samurai Rebellion (1967)
Culturally dense political drama featuring Edo-era samurai.  Some quite solid performances anchor this, though I have a feeling a lot of the cultural subtleties will go over most people's heads.  Still good for fans of slow cinema though.  Full thoughts: https://letterboxd.com/nottheacademy/fil...rebellion/
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Another brief break from Japanese film:

Rocketman (2019)
I love when people criticise Bohemian Rhapsody for being a by-the-numbers wankfest that tells a very specific, limited version of the true events...and then praise Rocketman.  While the first 15 minutes of this film are the worst part, it really becomes clear how much of a puff-piece John and his hubby produced if you keep watching.  Actually made me like his music less.  Full thoughts: https://letterboxd.com/nottheacademy/fil...tman-2019/

The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
You ever tune in late to a basketball game, and the score is like 120 to 110, and then you watch the last 5 minutes and the team at 110 comes back to win? And you're thinking "Huh, I guess I could've just watched that last 5 minutes since I guess nothing before that really mattered,"? Yeah, that's the feeling they're apparently going for in this film. And really, only for Rey. More so than ever before, it's really only what Rey does that makes any difference to anything. I mean, insulting enough that they have brought all the old cast members back for a series of macguffin roles that only help the young cast accomplish things. As if all the movies you saw before and all the decades after that, none of them accomplished anything that lasted or mattered. But don't worry, Rey is here to pick up where they left off, simultaneously filling the roles of Han, Leia, Luke, and Vader/Anakin. Oh, and there are other characters who are all given something to do to keep busy while she saves the universe.
More of my epic rant on the wrap-up of the sequels: https://letterboxd.com/nottheacademy/fil...skywalker/
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Ad Astra (2019)
This movie was.....different. I almost feel like I watched something that was happening inside his head rather than actual events taking place. Characters are so disposable in this film and it's entirely his psyche that's on play. Beyond Sutherland's character, everyone else could simply be projections in his mind.

this would fit the lack of danger that is felt in almost every "action" scene
. This could honestly be an inception spin off in this regard. Did I like it? I don't know. Did I not like it? I don't know. I need to sit on this one for a bit.
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The Sky Crawlers (2008)
Firstly, poor title for this animated film.  Second, this is a tough one, tone wise.  It starts off with a blistering aerial dogfight, then settles in to nearly an hour of boredom with stilted dialogue and little to latch onto.  The final third of the film reveals you're watching something else entirely, but I feel like a creative fanedit could turn this into something closer to Perfect Blue.  Full thoughts: https://letterboxd.com/nottheacademy/fil...-crawlers/

The Return of Godzilla (1984)
Notably, the Japanese title for this is just Godzilla, and it is about half direct sequel/half remake.  The directing style grabbed me right away, and the special effects made me laugh right away.  For my money, it was probably the best Godzilla movie made since the '54 original, though the second half does turn more into a goofy kaiju film.  And man, those eyes are...unfortunate.  Full thoughts: https://letterboxd.com/nottheacademy/fil...-godzilla/
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(08-24-2020, 02:25 PM)mnkykungfu Wrote: The Sky Crawlers (2008)
Firstly, poor title for this animated film.  Second, this is a tough one, tone wise.  It starts off with a blistering aerial dogfight, then settles in to nearly an hour of boredom with stilted dialogue and little to latch onto.  The final third of the film reveals you're watching something else entirely, but I feel like a creative fanedit could turn this into something closer to Perfect Blue.

Oh man that film is all over the place. So disjointed, it was sumptuous to look at especially for its time but yeah no major snooze fest in the middle as you say.
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^Yeah, as I said in the linked review, I think what the director was going for was to make the audience feel the repetition and pointlessness of their existence, but I think it could've been communicated better in other ways.  (I'm not much of a fan of so-called "slow cinema" though.)
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(08-24-2020, 02:25 PM)mnkykungfu Wrote: The Sky Crawlers (2008)

I quite liked Sky Crawlers when I first saw it, but on second watch I found it very dull. Classic Oshi from what I remember, in that it's littered with greatness, but bogged down by too much emphasis on concept over character/story. I don't think he'll ever deliver another GITS. Of course that is high concept, but it's also much more entertaining and visually enthralling.
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Hitokiri - Tenchu! (1969) 
I couldn't find any good translations of this title...it's something like 'Heaven's justice', but I think to really capture the meaning it should be more like "The Wrath of God".  The story drops you into the middle of a complex web of true historical intrigue but tells it all from a very isolated, simple POV.  I think you need a whole nother movie setting up everything that goes on in this film.  I couldn't get into it.  Full thoughts: https://letterboxd.com/nottheacademy/film/tenchu/

Samurai Fiction (1998)
Too comedic and not OTT enough for me, but anime fans may dig it.  A whole lotta Tomoyasu Hotei, if you're a J-rock fan.  Full thoughts: https://letterboxd.com/nottheacademy/fil...i-fiction/
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21 Bridges: Watched on Amazon Prime
A pretty solid heist movie set over one night but the central point of closing the bridges doesn't really factor into the plot. Great performance by the late Chadwick Boseman

IT part 1: Watched on Netflix
Equally parts Stranger Things and The Goonies the goofy horror film is cartoonish fun with a stellar performance from Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise the Dancing Clown

IT part 2: Watched on Amazon Prime
A great continuation of the IT saga if a little bloated in the final act.

Sputnik: Watched on Amazon Prime
Superb Russian horror that gets under your skin. Watch it.

Cohesion: Watched on Amazon Prime
Budget sci fi set in one potentially infinite room. It really left an impression on me. Highly recommended.

TENET: Watched at the cinema
I was bored for large sections of this time bending blockbuster. It posed some intriguing questions but it felt soulless to me. I didn't care for any characters and left not knowing anyone's name. I low key want my time back.

Interstellar: Watched on Now TV
Better than TENET but rather bloated and silly. Love the visual aesthetic and the time dilation but I found the characters to be unlikable and largely stupid in their choices.

The Town: Watched on Netflix
Really solid heist film if a little plodding at times.
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