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A few reviews
^Then I will eagerly await the Hollywood dramatization no doubt in development now.  Tongue
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Inception (2010) (US Amazon Prime)

[Image: 7842506-C1fy9.jpg]

About 2/3rds of the way through my second-ever viewing (and the first not on a measly laptop screen), I wondered, Was I wrong about this? Is it, in fact, a great flick? By the end, however, I was back to Nah, it's fine. The multi-dream level heist montage is thrilling, but the emotional climax, where Dom achieves closure by saying goodbye to his own warped mental specter of his late wife, lands with a thud of "Who cares?" Dom isn't a likable protagonist, the audience is never shown the real Mal at her best, and the goal of sabotaging one corporation so another corporation can takes its place lacks any kind of rooting interest, so once the heist is completed, the rest just falls flat.

The question of whether Dom is still dreaming or not at the end, moreover, is laughable, in that there's no reason whatsoever to think he might be - because someone would have to be running a dream simulation on him, and to what end? Sure, he's doubtless learned sensitive information as a thought extractor, but there's no hint that tricking him into thinking he's reuniting with his kids will get him to divulge anything.

I respect Nolan's desire to tell a precise, logical story about directed dreams that doubles as a metaphor for filmmaking, and the twist that Dom caused his wife's suicide by planting a depressive disorder in her mind is a haunting one. But for this story to have really worked, he should have been much more dissolute, and the last act should have been a lot weirder.

Grade: B


... Hey, look, it's Rosa "Battle Angel" Salazar!


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(09-14-2020, 06:20 PM)Gaith Wrote: Inception (2010) (US Amazon Prime)

Agreed. This is probably my favorite Nolan movie (it would be Prestige if Nolan could’ve restrained himself). It works as a blockbuster heist movie for me and I’m admittedly a sucker for heist movies. But despite being able to get good performances from his actors, he never seems able to make me care about the characters. Still, I enjoy this movie, though I think I’d like your version even more.
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Skyfall. I watched Last Survivor’s Skyfallen edit. I think this is one of the better Bond movies and for me it is the most beautiful to look at (TM2YC is insane in his dislike of Deakins Tongue ). But it’s a movie that is clearly trying to raise the bar. And as such it needs to be judged that way. In my opinion it fails to achieve what it clearly set out to do. It wants to make you think about themes such as how expendable human capital is in military and intelligence, the changing nature of conflict in the world, among other things. But the movie merely pays them lip service and doesn’t rise to its own challenges. That’s why, for me, Casino Royale remains the best of the Craig era Bond movies.
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The Promise (2016)     (US Netflix)

[Image: The-Promise-1170x657.jpg]

The Promise is an historic film. It's the first major Western narrative feature about the Armenian Genocide, in which ~1.5m were killed, and it's a $100m-budgeted movie whose proceeds went entirely to charity. Not that there were any proceeds, alas - despite starring Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale, with English spoken throughout and a PG-13 rating, it was a box-office bomb. It was largely financed by Las Vegas resorts magnate Kirk Kerkorian, who, despite buying MGM studios in 1969, wasn't able to get a picture depicting the genocide off the ground until approving the script shortly before his death... And now the virtually unseen big-budget picture has hit US Netflix. (Note: the blu-ray is 2.35:1, but the Netflix stream is 16:9. Apart from a few oddly close shots, however, I didn't notice any obvious cropping.)

So: how is it? Most critics weren't harsh on it, exactly, but they weren't too kind, either; most didn't care for the fictional romance melodrama. From Wiki:

[Producer] Esrailian said that he used a romance plot in order to "use old fashioned storytelling" to immerse an unfamiliar audience into the plot, hoping to avoid making the film only "a history lesson" and making a "throwback to cinema" like Doctor Zhivago or Lawrence of Arabia; in another interview he also cited Casablanca. Esrailian stated that he would have encountered less difficulty producing "a straightforward genocide story" but chose to use the romance angle anyway.

True, the story isn't amazing, but it worked well enough for me. Isaac and Bale are strong as always, Charlotte Le Bon is very cute, the production values are first-rate, and the whole thing is generally worth a watch, especially for historical war movie fans. (Also, I totally didn't recognize the always-great Tom Hollander under a particularly bushy beard, though I should have.)

Grade: B+
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^ I've been meaning to see that one (who doesn't love Tom Hollander and Oscar Isaac) and then afterwards I'd be curious to watch 'The Ottoman Lieutenant', which was released a few weeks before 'The Promise' and co-funded by Turkey as an allegedly a-historical rebuttal to the other film. It's also got some fairly big names in it.

Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020)
I was ready to love this belated sequel after some very positive reviews, plus it opens with the classic Orion logo which put a big nostalgic smile on my face but about 30-seconds into the first scene I was thinking "oooooh no". It was only 38-minutes after that that I got the first laugh when Bill pulls a gun on Bill and the second laugh came 13-seconds from end with Bill saying the word "Nurse". The rest is a comedy wasteland. Any fun moments are all from Alex Winter's Bill, he's back in the role like he never left, where as Keanu Reeves is so flat and depressing. It makes me wonder if Reeves hasn't become a more serious actor over the years, he's just become a more serious person in real life and now he can't work out how to play the lovable doofus any more.

The FX look embarrassingly cheap, to the point where I suspect they'd done little more than pre-viz FX, then the lockdown happened, cinemas closed and so the studio tactically decided to not waste further money on it.  I hated the distracting half-arsed cameos by 2nd-rung SNL people. The narrative is all over the place and full of dropped subplots and incoherent writing. The script clearly makes a real effort to keep it in line with the continuity of the previous movie which I appreciated but it still feels like the premise massively deflates the crowd pleasing ending to 'Bogus Journey'. I sincerely wish I'd enjoyed this as much as everybody else Sad .



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Tenet. Ugh, where to begin. I’ll try to avoid spoilers, but I still don’t recommend reading this if you haven’t seen it. First, I’ll say I wasn’t bored. It’s a perfectly fine action flick with the traditional two dimensional characters and plot contrivances (a character literally says “don’t think about it too much” at one point). But... this felt like every criticism I’ve ever heard of Nolan amped up to eleven. Characters we don’t care about doing things that seem to lack proper motivation. I just asked my wife, “can you tell me a single character’s name in that movie last night?” She said, “I feel like Richard [sic] Pattinson had a name.” I cared not a lick for anyone and the stakes never felt real. I didn’t find it particularly difficult to understand; once you understand the central conceit, it’s pretty straightforward. But I think much of the confusion stems from the fact that whole scenes and set pieces don’t feel relevant to the story. Most of the action of the first half seems shoehorned in order to allow the audience and the main character to connect the dots at the end. It’s as if Nolan started with an idea “wouldn’t it be cool to shoot an action scene where half of it is moving forward in time and half is moving backwards in time” and then feebly constructed a plot to allow him to shoot those scenes. None of the action really matters to the story and the plot and the explanations of what is going on in the central conceit are conveyed through lengthy dialogue. Finally, if you do take it as just a fun action romp—a rollercoaster of sorts—I feel it needs to have more charisma. John David Washington, while fine, just couldn’t carry the movie in my opinion. This needed a very charismatic leading man. I guess they thought Denzel in his prime would’ve been perfect—and he would’ve been—but his son ain’t that. The action is fun but I didn’t think it was the sort of thing that you’ll regret not seeing on the big screen. For me, it’s a “rent it.”
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(09-16-2020, 04:31 PM)Gaith Wrote: The Promise (2016)     (US Netflix)

[Image: The-Promise-1170x657.jpg]

The Promise is an historic film. It's the first major Western narrative feature about the Armenian Genocide, in which ~1.5m were killed, and it's a $100m-budgeted movie whose proceeds went entirely to charity. Not that there were any proceeds, alas - despite starring Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale, with English spoken throughout and a PG-13 rating, it was a box-office bomb. It was largely financed by Las Vegas resorts magnate Kirk Kerkorian, who, despite buying MGM studios in 1969, wasn't able to get a picture depicting the genocide off the ground until approving the script shortly before his death... And now the virtually unseen big-budget picture has hit US Netflix. (Note: the blu-ray is 2.35:1, but the Netflix stream is 16:9. Apart from a few oddly close shots, however, I didn't notice any obvious cropping.)

So: how is it? Most critics weren't harsh on it, exactly, but they weren't too kind, either; most didn't care for the fictional romance melodrama. From Wiki:

[Producer] Esrailian said that he used a romance plot in order to "use old fashioned storytelling" to immerse an unfamiliar audience into the plot, hoping to avoid making the film only "a history lesson" and making a "throwback to cinema" like Doctor Zhivago or Lawrence of Arabia; in another interview he also cited Casablanca. Esrailian stated that he would have encountered less difficulty producing "a straightforward genocide story" but chose to use the romance angle anyway.

True, the story isn't amazing, but it worked well enough for me. Isaac and Bale are strong as always, Charlotte Le Bon is very cute, the production values are first-rate, and the whole thing is generally worth a watch, especially for historical war movie fans. (Also, I totally didn't recognize the always-great Tom Hollander under a particularly bushy beard, though I should have.)

Grade: B+
 
(09-16-2020, 05:48 PM)TM2YC Wrote: ^ I've been meaning to see that one (who doesn't love Tom Hollander and Oscar Isaac) and then afterwards I'd be curious to watch 'The Ottoman Lieutenant', which was released a few weeks before 'The Promise' and co-funded by Turkey as an allegedly a-historical rebuttal to the other film. It's also got some fairly big names in it.

Oooooooh. Touchy subject.

I don't want to get into the politics too much but I will say that I'm not surprised the film that's anti-Turk was the more successful one while the one that's a rebuttal and collaborated with the Turks was the one that bombed and was panned  Dodgy  although maybe Ottoman Lieutenant really does suck because I haven't heard too many positive things about it here either.

I apologize, I just find it hypocritical and infuriating that people hold us accountable for an alleged tragedy comitted by a dying empire (among many others) while things like European colonists, the genociders of Native Americans, or slavers are continued to be glorified in shit like Hamilton Angry


EDIT: Ach, never mind. I won’t speak more about it I just wanted to get that out
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On the Basis of Sex (2018)
If you dislike formulaic biopics, then keep well clear of this Ruth Bader Ginsburg movie but if like me you love legal dramas, then there's just enough to hold your attention.  The daughter felt more like an "on the nose" surrogate for millennial viewers and a clunky plot device to motivate Felicity Jones' RBG, rather than an actual character.  Armie Hammer's infectious charm is always welcome and Kathy Bates steals the movie with her two scenes. I thought it focused too much on RBG's family life and struggles as a woman in a "man's world" (and didn't do either particularly well) to the detriment of portraying her much more interesting legal battles in sufficient detail, which in a better written film could've been used to illustrate the two former issues.  Those problems are similar to the ones in 2019's Marie Curie biopic 'Radioactive'. If you're going to make bipocs about trailblazing women, you should probably get women to write them.

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'71 (2014)
Jack O'Connell plays a newly recruited British soldier who finds himself lost "behind the lines" in troubles-era Belfast when a house raid quickly descends into a riot. Unlike other movies where he would be portrayed as a plucky protagonist fighting to get back home, here he's a helpless, bewildered pawn, caught up in the fighting between myriad factions and their own internal struggles. Which of the many people he meets will kill him, or help him is anybody's guess. It's more about the pointless, chaotic, nonsensical nature of sectarian violence, where nobody from child, to adult seems to remember who they are fighting against, or for, or why.  It's all extremely tense, harrowing and well acted but I did have a couple of quibbles with the plotting. At a number of points the script puts O'Connell's soldier in a safe situation, then has to contrive ways to get him back into danger again.  I was struck by how many actors ''71' shares with 'Dunkirk' and 'Good Vibrations'.



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