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A few reviews
(07-07-2019, 01:43 PM)Gaith Wrote:
(07-06-2019, 03:52 PM)TM2YC Wrote: Apollo 11 (2019)
[...]
Unfortunately the film then chooses to follow the astronauts to the moon for most of it's run-time, where no such quality footage exists. So we fall back on blurry videotape, 16mm black and white and still photographs.

So... Apollo 11/First Man mashup? Tongue

A feasible idea Smile . IIRC the moon landing portion of 'First Man' was shot on 70mm too. A third source would be the blu-ray for the celebrated 'For All Mankind' Documentary (I own it), which has extra footage of the launch and archive NASA audio on the bonus features. This idea is definitely gonna percolate in my brain. Thanks.

Once Upon a Time in China V (1994)
Director Tsui Hark returns for this 5th episode and so does Rosamund Kwan's "13th Aunt", marking a slight improvement on the last film. There is more impressive ground-level Kung Fu, more enjoyable comedy side characters and the introduction of proto Hong Kong style gun battles. This time Wong Fei-hung (again being played by Jet Li's replacement Vincent Zhao) and Co are preparing to move to Hong Kong as the Qing Dynasty collapses but are delayed by the need to tackle a violent Pirate horde. Sadly there is still no resolution to and little development of Wong's romance with 13th Aunt, although a comically misunderstood love-triangle with 14th Aunt was funny.

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(02-14-2019, 12:16 PM)TM2YC Wrote: Fyre (2018)
Music festival disaster Documentary Directed by the same guy who did the excellent 'Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond'. It's like "Schadenfreude: The Movie", watching vain, social-media obsessed people with more money than sense get scammed. You still feel sorry for the people who were clearly working hard in good faith on the project.

Just watched Netflix's Fyre and Hulu's Fyre Fraud within a 24-hour period. As Slate has noted, both docs are ethically compromised: "Fyre was produced in part by Jerry Media, which ran the marketing campaign for the festival. Fyre Fraud suggests they knew the festival was failing and marketed it anyway, while Fyre mostly leaves them out of the story." But Fyre Fraud actually paid scam ringleader McFarland for his on-camera interview, which, even if it eventually makes its way to his victims through litigation (with lawyers taking a healthy bits), is pretty damn shady. And only Fyre actually makes a point of caring about the Bahamanian victims. (Happily, it seems that said Netflix doc actually resulted in its most prominent victim finally recouping her losses, and then some, via a GoFundMe effort.)

Then again, Fyre Fraud alone makes the obvious direct link between its primary focus con man and a certain other con man this forum's moderators won't let me name. Tongue Fyre Fraud is also alone in showing that McFarland is also dating a Russian model from prison, and that they seem to have met after the festival debacle, which is a pretty incredible twist to the story, but then, only Fyre has jaw-dropping footage of McFarland's latest business activities in that time frame.

Slate again: "Neither movie is perfect, and each underlines the other’s flaws, but if you’re watching one, watch Fyre, which is both less self-righteous and less inclined to punctuate its insights with Family Guy clips." Yup.

Fyre Fraud (Hulu): B
Fyre (Netflix): B+
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(07-07-2019, 07:15 PM)Gaith Wrote: Then again, Fyre Fraud alone makes the obvious direct link between its primary focus con man and a certain other con man this forum's moderator's won't let me name. Tongue 

Gaith 

What?

EDIT: Wait, assuming this is politics related, never mind, I get it now.
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School Daze (1988)
Spike Lee's second college-campus based feature is a total mess, I can't even judge if parts are supposed to funny, or serious. 20-minutes in, there is a Grease-style musical number and I'm thinking "Wait, so this is a Musical now?". Nope, there are no other sequences like that, although a band does play a full song about bottoms. It's like an embarrassing community amateur theater play about "issues" that has somehow been green-lit by Columbia Pictures with a multi-million Dollar budget. There is a small section in the middle where Laurence Fishburne and his friends have some serious discussions about South Africa and pondering their class and status in American society that really worked... then we're back to an overlong dance sequence, to who knows what purpose? There is a horribly misjudged rapey scene in the last part which isn't properly dealt with. Presumably because Spike couldn't think of a proper conclusion, it all just ends with Fishburne shouting "Wake up!" out at us the audience (I won't make the obvious joke which that invites). At least Ernest Dickerson's Cinematography is nice.



(I hope this is as bad as Spike Lee's filmography gets but I know there are films with a way worse reputation than this one.)
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I haven't seen every Spike joint, but the only film of his worse than School Daze is the Oldboy remake.
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(07-09-2019, 03:43 PM)Neglify Wrote: I haven't seen every Spike joint, but the only film of his worse than School Daze is the Oldboy remake.

Not seen that yet but I always wonder how can Oldboy + Josh Brolin possibly = Bad?!? It must have some serious problems.
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It's the only Spike joint that says "A Spike Lee Film" because the studio cut out 35 minutes against his wishes.
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(07-09-2019, 04:35 PM)Neglify Wrote: It's the only Spike joint that says "A Spike Lee Film" because the studio cut out 35 minutes against his wishes.

Ah interesting. So it's a Fant4stic/Suicide Squad type situation. That explains how it turned out, thanks.

8 Days: To the Moon and Back (2019)
A feature-length BBC Drama/Doc that gets three actors to lip-sync to the NASA recordings of the Apollo 11 astronauts. That central conceit works beautifully but several technical flaws spoiled it for me. The look of the new material just isn't right, it never convinces as footage from 1969 and the constant use of "grindhouse" plugin FX (light-leaks, scratches, reel ends, splices, static etc placed over the actual pristine old NASA footage), plus loud sound FX to punctuate each edit drove me round the bend.



Once Upon a Time in China VI aka Once Upon a Time in China and America (1997)
Thankfully for the last in the film series Jet Li returns to the role of Wong Fei-hung, along with Rosamund Kwan as "13th Aunt". This time they're on a visit to America, in the old West, so we get "Cowboys and Indians" meets Kung Fu. Wong gets a bump on his head, suffers amnesia and comically joins a Native American tribe. This leads to a funny sequence where his pupils try to jog his memory by recreating the fights from the previous films, backed by a Chinese band playing the Wong Fei-hung theme tune Big Grin .



There are also subplots around the experience of Chinese immigrants, the setting up of the first "China Town", a Mexican Bandit, a corrupt Mayor and our heroes befriending a cowboy called Billy (the Kid?). The promised marriage to "13th Aunt" doesn't happen but they do exchange rings... I'll take that Heart . The fight choreography is the best since Part 2 and I was laughing at the jokes all the way through. Part 6 ignores the Jet Li free Parts 4 & 5 (but it doesn't contradict them either) so on future re-watches I think I'll just skip them. The new 2K scan isn't as good as the other spectacular 4K scans but it's more than adequate.



Having now seen them all, I'd rank the series as follows: 2, 1, 6, 3, 5, 4.
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The Matrix (1999)
An unmissable 20th Anniversary 4K screening of this highly influential classic. It's barely aged a day, especially the FX... unlike a certain other Sci-Fi film released a month after 'The Matrix' back in 1999. I was marveling at how much effort The Wachowskis put into doing as much practical and as little with computers as possible (for a landmark CGI film). For example, they'll do one morph effect on an agent, then use clever slight of hand editing to do the next couple of changes, accompanied by the same distinctive morph sound, tricking us into thinking we've seen lots of morph FX. I was also struck by the writing. Unlike the sloppy sequels, this script feels like the structure was meticulously planned and every word was sweated over. So many lines have double meanings, or foreshadow later events and always dealing out just enough information to keep us informed but also to maintain the tension of the mystery. I love the visual references to the films of Alfred Hitchcock and of course the Bernard Hermann alike score from Don Davis. The action is still thrilling and that 'Rage Against the Machine' ending still elicits excitement for future adventures (even with knowledge of the sequels existence).



Sadly the 4K transfer is very bad. They've clearly gone back and scanned the negative, with eye-watering levels of sharp detail but the FX shots look to be still locked at the 2K in which they were created, 20-years ago. So cutting back and forth between the two resolutions is less than seamless in a way that was never originally intended. Every shot has had the contrast pushed to the max, crushing the blacks and blowing out the whites. There was one noticeable shot where Morpheus pulls a curtain aside to reveal brickwork, except it wasn't there anymore, just a black void. The muted sickly green of The Matrix world and the harsh icy blues of the real world from the original release are of course long gone (to bring this inline with the sequels) but the colours are even worse in this new release. The shots often don't match, regularly inter-cutting footage tinted, blue, green, red, or purple. It's testament to the quality of the film, that the experience wasn't ruined.

This looks to show the transfer I saw:



Skip to 4.24 where Neo has bright pink lips and eyes. I'd like to see a comparison to the old DVD too.

Roy Orbison Black & White Night 30 (2017)
A 30th Anniversary re-edit of the 1988 all-star concert film 'Roy Orbison and Friends: A Black and White Night' in pristine HD (I've not seen the original version). Unlike other such events where old stars play with their younger admirers, they are pretty much just his backing band, content to share a stage, rather than the spotlight with their hero. Elvis Presley's old TCB-Band are bolstered by the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello and K.D. Lang. You'd never guess this was filmed a year before his death because Orbison still has the crystal clear voice of a Country angel. The smoky high-contrast black and white Cinematography looks so classy and timeless.

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Were you at the screening Kermode attended? Are you buddies with the Doctor?! Big Grin
 
(07-13-2019, 03:38 AM)TM2YC Wrote: This looks to show the transfer I saw: <snip>

Skip to 4.24 where Neo has bright pink lips and eyes. I'd like to see a comparison to the old DVD too.

Urgh. Of course, as a 4K skeptic, I can't help but wonder if some of these transfers have had the contrasts messed with/exaggerated just to make the average consumer believe he's getting an actual upgrade in experience, and not merely some imperceptible (and therefore useless) uptick in resolution. Even if the experience is actually objectively worse as a result of the mucking, he'll believe it's better just because he paid an extra $8-10 for the 4K disc, and his very subconscious will steer him away from thinking he's being fleeced. "What accurate colors, unique to my 4K discs, TV, and player!" he'll say. "Those poor regular blu-ray buyers, spending their hard-earned cash on those lifeless, low-contrast pale reflections of the original films!"

Sadly, the 4K cultists at bluray.com seem to have wholeheartedly bought in to all this:

The selections described above are just a few examples of the many familiar scenes newly revived by the magic of HDR, artfully applied. The Matrix on UHD is a tribute to what can be achieved when art and technology collaborate with due respect for one another.

[Image: 1280_2.jpg]
Old blu-ray
- sure, perhaps a bit greener than the original theatrical release, to match the more obvious green/blue distinction of the sequels, but still full of detail, appropriate contrast, and the right emotional tone.

[Image: 16986_30.jpg]
HDR/UHD/4K bluray


[Image: WTF.jpg]

Dodgy
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