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A few reviews

Moe_Syzlak

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mnkykungfu said:
Moe_Syzlak yeah, this has been on my watch list a while now.  I didn't know it was a ghost story!  Huh.

It’s central conceit is a ghost story but I wouldn’t characterize the movie as a typical ghost story movie. BTW, I didn’t put that in spoiler tags because it is revealed in the very first scene. But there’s much more to the story.
 

TM2YC

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The Irishman (2019)
Yes the CGI de-aging is distracting but not because it looked bad, for the most part I forgot about it (De Niro's eyes looked odd mostly). The main problem was that it only succeeded in making the three actors look less old and not actually young. Usually in this kind of multi-decade epic, like 'The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp', or 'Once Upon a Time in America' makeup (and sometime a younger actor) is artfully used to take the viewer on a journey from youth, to old age and to anchor each period in the audience's mind. 'The Irishman's CGI de-aging makes it feel like we are seeing a much shorter time period than the titles and events describe, plus it leaves you confused when there is a shift around in time and that's just bad storytelling. The problem is made weirder by the decision to switch from the 13 year old Lucy Gallina, to the 37-year Anna Paquin playing De Niro's daughter (a difference of 24-years), while he only appears to age a few months across the same scene change. The use of noticeable CGI blood also lacked any of the shock and memorable impact normally associated with Scorsese films.

With that out of the way, 'The Irishman' (or 'I Heard You Paint Houses' as it's called onscreen, twice) is a fine film, not quite up there with similar Scorsese works like 'Goodfellas' and 'Casino' but well worth the watch. The 3.5 hour runtime wasn't long enough for me, as I could watch Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci playing these dubious characters all day. God I've missed Pesci (who has been semi-retired for the last two decades), his crumpled walnut face is a masterclass of nuanced acting. The whole film has a subtle understatement to it and maybe that's gonna be a problem for some people because I can't think of any truly standout scenes/moments akin to "Do I amuse you?!" or the infamous eyeball/vice moment. The seemingly random onscreen text info that occasionally showed up to tell you when, where and how the various real-life gangsters would violently die was an interesting touch that kept the threat of death present in the mind.

 

TM2YC

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A Private War (2018)
The 2018 documentary 'Under the Wire' about war reporter Marie Colvin only partially worked because it didn't have sufficient real footage to tell her story properly. Unfortunately this drama film doesn't quite manage it either. Rosamund Pike is good as Colvin but there is a bit too much "smoking acting", or waving a bottle of booze around to convey her inner turmoil in simplistic terms. Jamie Dornan's attempt at the strong Scouse accent of her photographer Paul Conroy ranges all over the British isles. I doubt Colvin herself would have been satisfied with 99% of the film being about how hard she had it and 1% about the innocent victims of war who she sought to give voice to. Worth a watch overall.


 

mnkykungfu

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My project over the past month!:
I'd already seen most of the old "Timm-verse" classic DC animation, but I decided to catch up with a lot of the newer DCAU films that I mostly hadn't seen.  I thought I had narrowed it down to the best 10 or so...but honestly most of them were mediocre.  Now, some people may just be judging these on "fun factor" or something, but I don't have different standards for sci-fi or drama or animation or comedy, etc... I'm looking for all of them to not have plot holes, to have characters that you want to follow, to develop some themes, have cool set-pieces, and so on.  Since most of these DC films fall short on many of those levels, I'll just give them a few sentences each (though I give full reviews if you want to look at my Letterboxd account.)

Worst of the "Best"-
  • Assault on Arkham- based on the video game apparently, and it feels like one.  Clearly influenced by the Suicide Squad film as well, it's trying too hard to be cool and edgy and ends up mostly being ridiculous with a series of set pieces that all think they're clever but really don't make much sense.
  • Justice League: War- were you bored with the old Justice League and thought there were no more stories to tell?  No?  Well, we're going to reboot them anyway!  Yes, everyone is in a stupider costume and you will sit through thinner introductions of each character's origins before getting a thinner re-telling of the Darkseid story.
  • Justice League vs Teen Titans- ditto, but for the Titans.  Also, you gotta have a montage!  Or 3.  (Because it's a shortcut to actually showing real character growth and writing dialogue, which we don't know how to do.)
  • Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox- a much-loved comic storyline wherein The Flash wakes up in an alternate timeline in which he never became The Flash.  The "It's a Wonderful Life" trope follows, as we see the very comic-booky invention of "time ripples" has changed familiar characters in a way that often makes no sense... for example, Batman grew up spending his entire life preparing to be who he is, but he's neatly swapped out for his grown father, a doctor, and his mother becomes the Joker (when Bruce is shot instead of his parents).  Concepts like these that have a lot of pathos but no logic fill this world, so if you're more about ideas than execution, dig in.
A Mixed Bag-
  • Green Lantern: First Flight- not a bad origin tale for Hal Jordan, except the first half was already done better in "The New Frontier".  As it focuses more on the GL Corps, you can see a cool Training Day vibe start to get set up with Hal and Sinestro, and that there was a lot of potential to go this direction in the live action film.  In the end, this has some plot contrivances and motivations that get a bit tropey, plus the mechanics of Hal learning to use his ring and being creative are just kind of scrapped.
  • Wonder Woman- the Greek mythology is really stressed here, and I think the later live action film could've benefited from more of it.  The supporting Amazon cast are real strengths in this.  On the other hand, we don't see much of a reason why WW should tolerate Steve Trevor, unlike Chris Pine's fantastic portrayal.  Ares is handled completely opposite to the later film here (except the very ending of that film) and it's still just kind of silly and overly-simplistic.  
  • Batman: Year One- as much as the original comic is more focused on the rise of Sgt. Jim Gordon, Batman really becomes a supporting character in this version.  Gordon's story is done really well, but I do miss seeing the foundation and progression of Batman's skills, which is mostly skipped here in favor of some over-the-top action scenes.  They also really awkwardly force Catwoman scenes into this, which are totally unnecessary and a poor use of the limited time.
  • DC Showcase Shorts Collection- There's a new story here which is essentially a Shazam (formerly Captain Marvel) origin with Superman guesting.  It's okaaaaay.  The other shorts were extras on the dvds of other DC films.  Green Arrow goes up against some assassins in a series of long fights with some goofy dialogue.  Catwoman stars in a really overly-sexualized story of her chasing down a stray cat for like, no reason, but has some great action scenes.  Jonah Hex has a suitably grim story that's also a little over-the-top in terms of forced sexiness and language, but does fit the character pretty well at least.  The Spectre story is really the standout here, as the voice work by Gary Cole is great, the police case is actually a decent mystery for most of the story, and it has well-directed animation which captures the creepiness and horror of the character.
  • Teen Titans: The Judas Contract- probably the most famous Titans comics' story is adapted here with significant changes.  A lot of it works quite well, though the sense of confusion and betrayal can't quite sink in here as all the team-building is rushed.  I also continue to find the new Robin's super power is being super-annoying.
  • The Death and Return of Superman*- oh man, I could write a lot about this double-length effort.  Basically, though, I think they focus too much on trying to hit main plot points and lose the theme of the whole story.  It's supposed to be about why Superman is still a valid hero and not old-timey or boring.  But instead of revitalizing him, it ends up being: big fight -> everyone's sad -> new characters -> surprises! -> everything's better now.  There's not really much growth of characters or development of themes, which is a real missed opportunity.
Best of the Best-
  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns*- with animation faithful to the comic design and some artful voice casting and music, this double-length feature gets a lot right.  It's only re-visiting this story as an adult (and after seeing a lot of the more recent work of Frank Miller) that I've realized what a problematic political message is at the heart of the story.  I won't get into it here, but the more you take the arguments put forth here and extend them into the real world, the more troubling the implications can be.  It is a ripping yarn though, and high quality through and through.
  • Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths- this film is one of the best because it actually possibly improves on the original story by making it more accessible to non-superfans.  There are a lot of ideas here taken from very old comics continuity and mixing classic stories, but the film gets to the meat of defining what these characters are really about and showing us compelling alternate versions of them in a way that later films like The Flashpoint Paradox and War would not do as well.  The action scenes are about a battle of philosophies as much as about "who would win in a fight", and it really sticks the landing.
  • Batman: Under the Red Hood- I saw that Uncanny Antman made an edit of this that basically makes it a near perfect film.  I watched the original however, which essentially is an adaptation of the comic story but starts with the prologue that most comic readers knew: the key events of the seminal story "A Death in the Family".  The UA edit moving this to later in the film makes it better for a general audience though.  Besides a few cheesy lines, being too short, and a sorely-lacking Joker performance, this is really a great story.
  • Justice League: The New Frontier- my 2nd favorite of the DC films, this is a fantastic alternate history of the Justice League.  The animation is faithful to the comic, the new casting for many voices works great, and it's full of very gratifying character beats.  They have to handle Superman a little carefully to give the other characters time to shine, but it's nearly a perfect story.
  • All-Star Superman - the only film that moved me more than New Frontier, I genuinely teared up a couple times in this.  A throwback to the wildest and wackiest Superman adventures of the Silver Age, they actually made me believe that all this craziness was possible and not overpowering our Man of Tomorrow.  It's a clever and heartfelt story with arguably the best Lois Lane performance ever and some moments of real beauty.  Not to be missed.
all-star-superman-movie-image.jpg

Drawbacks: essentially, besides the * films, all of these are about 1h 15m long, and it's just not enough to do justice to the stories.  I'm sure there's some kind of budget math which makes them the most profitable this way, but another 30 minutes of letting the stories breath and giving time for moments to develop between characters and to gradually build instead of racing from plot point to plot point would make these real "films" instead of straight-to-video cartoons aimed at Tweens.  They also all have sexual innuendo and swearing and brutal violence that often feels forced and not there to serve the story or characters.  It comes off as trying too hard...just because it's not on TV doesn't mean it's a better film if it has those things.  It's often not. 

The elephant in the room too is the fact that a lot of the new voices for characters have not been as good as the old ones.  There is simply no replacing Kevin Conroy as Batman and Tim Daly as Superman, and Clancy Brown is the definitive Lex Luthor while Mark Hamill set a new standard for how the Joker should be.  All films that don't feature these performances immediately jump out to me as lesser for it.  Not to mention the loss of Voice/Casting Director Andrea Romano over the past 5 years.  While actors' priorities changed, she did often manage to find even better new actors for certain roles, like Rosario Dawson as Wonder Woman, Nathan Fillion as Green Lantern, Christina Hendricks as Lois Lane, Bryan Cranston as Jim Gordon, and Jason Isaac as like every awesome villain.  Increasingly as other people have taken over more of her role at DC, the voice acting of these films has suffered for it.

In the end, unless you just watch all things superhero, most of these are disposable.  I'd recommend the old DC TV series from '92 to 2001 over almost any of these.  Most of the original comics stories are also done better than the adaptations.  But the top few are well worth a watch, if not a place on your dvd shelf.
 

jrWHAG42

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The death and return of Superman movies were so disappointing. I haven't read the comic, but I've played the super Nintendo game, and I own the novelization which I have yet to read. Obviously I'm not an expert on the original story, but even then, these two movies weren't good.

Of the ones you mentioned, I've only seen a couple. Dark Knight Returns, Under the Red Hood, and Crisis on Two Earths, it's been years since I watched them, but I remember them all being fantastic.
And yes, Justice League vs Teen Titans wasn't great.

I look forward to reading your full reviews on Letterboxd.
 

bionicbob

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6 UNDERGROUND (Netflix)

It's a Michael Bay movie.  

The action sequences are exceptional and unrelenting.
It is typical Bay gorgeous, ever moving camera, cinematography.
The editing ranges from brilliant to chaotic.
The male characters are juvenile and superficial.
The female characters are sexy, badass and completely undeveloped.

The extraordinary high body count of innocent bystanders, and police officers just doing their job, is treated as comedy.

As I said, it is a Michael Bay movie.
My wife and I were completely, mindlessly, entertained for the two hours.
No where near as good as THE ROCK or THE ISLAND, but better than all the BAYFORMERS movies combined.

It's good bad movie.  
:p
 

mnkykungfu

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Alice's Restaurant (1969)
Man, I struggled for forever to find a decent copy of this thing, but apparently the whole film is up on Youtube right now!
I don't usually dig a lot of films this old, but this is a rich one, with solid performances by Patricia Quinn and James Broderick (Matthew's dad!) giving a lot of layers to the relationship at the heart of the film.  Apparently some of these portrayals are viewed differently by the different people involved (notably Alice), so I'm not sure how problematic people will find that.  But I think regardless of how true the film is, the message is very insightful and relevant to people even 50 years later.

The vignettes in the film mostly work together to form a cohesive narrative as Arlo Guthrie (playing himself) drifts in and out of the lives of his hippie friends.  He's a decent enough actor, and they don't lean too heavily on his musical talent.  There are some risky and indulgent shots here, and I don't like everything that Penn does (I also thought his previous film, Bonnie & Clyde, was over-rated), not to mention the abruptness of some of his edits.  But in the end, this film succeeds where many other films covering similar ground (most notably "Easy Rider") fall a bit flat.  Those sometimes capture a mood or some characters, but they never really answer the big question about the '60s: 'Where did it all go wrong?'
 

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TM2YC said:
Rocketman (2019)


[snip] This is a much more risk-taking kaleidoscope of dream sequences, framing devices, fantasy dance numbers and trippy visuals.

While it's certainly true that Rocketman is more abstract and inventive than Bohemian Rhapsody, the latter was a story of a band that followed several characters, whereas Rocketman is laser-focused on a single star who composes wonderful music to Taupin's words with no apparent effort. I really enjoyed the studio workshopping scenes in BR, which have no equivalent in Rocketman - after his first scene, we indeed never really get a sense of Taupin's artistic thoughts or method at all. As a result, while I loved Rocketman's first hour, I found that the second half dragged a bit, with scene after scene of John moping around. And Queen's triumphant Live Aid performance, along with Freddie Mercury's tragic death, give BR a much more compelling third act than a still-living John heading into the 80s... which was probably his lowest creative period.

Ergo, I would love to see a Rocketman sequel at some point, maybe even 15-20 years down the road, when Taron Egerton has grown into the age Rocketman leaves off at, whereas a BR sequel would most likely be pointless. IMO, Rocketman is a good film with a few great sequences (nearly all in the first half), but BR is the better film overall.

Rocketman: B+
Bohemian Rhapsody: A-

... And yeah, I am bummed Rami Malek's Freddie Mercury didn't pop up in Rocketman, as was apparently considered! :p
 

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The Abyss (1989)

3-1.jpg


Well, at least that month's HBO subscription bought for the His Dark Materials fail wasn't a total loss, as, along with 127 Hours (pretty good; B+) it allowed me to project The Abyss in glorious HD, a rarity for this uniquely notable film not available on blu-ray. I'd seen it once in a small theater as a kid - the extended version, I believe - but only had vague memories of the sets and the rat breathing liquid, so this was basically my first viewing.

And, for the first two-thirds, I thought I was watching James Cameron's secret masterpiece and best film. Alas, the third act, while solid, isn't as great as what came before. Granted, the theatrical version is a big improvement over the woo-woo extended version, which features downright silly shots of beachgoers and civilians running from sky-high waves that would have utterly broken the movie's tone. Still, even more should have been trimmed: some of the hokey descent dialogue is superfluous, and I'd have preferred a smash-cut to black and credits just after Bud and the NTIs first make eye contact.

That said, the movie looks incredible, especially in gob-smacking HD, the cast is excellent, and, though the resuscitation scene is typical Hollywood malarkey*, most of the narrative is riveting. If you haven't taken this dive, or it's been so long you no longer remember it clearly, sign yourself up for a 7-day HBO trial if necessary, and find a projector with a large screen!

A-

* Defibrillation can only fix irregular heartbeats by stopping cardiac electrical signals in hopes that the next wave of signals will be properly spaced out for healthy contractions; only chest compressions can coax a stopped heart back to action. Ergo, if your patient has no palpable pulse, defibrillation can only waste time, and CPR is their only hope.
 

mnkykungfu

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Yeah the defibrillator is one of those Hollywood tropes that drives you crazy after you know the reality.  Like the supposed ease with which everybody snaps a villain's neck (it would be almost impossible for the average person to do that) or the supposed 'silence' of firing a gun with a suppressor on it.  Oh, and of course finding parking spaces in Manhattan.  Man, I could start a sub-thread for these, actually.
 

TM2YC

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mnkykungfu said:
...one of those Hollywood tropes that drives you crazy after you know the reality.  Like the supposed ease with which everybody snaps a villain's neck (it would be almost impossible for the average person to do that

Jamison Teague is not the average person:


Marriage Story (2019)
Richly deserving of all the praise, a Wes Anderson type film without all the quirk, a Woody Allen type film without him in it and emotionally deeper than either. A New York/L.A. couple of theater/movie/actor/directors go through their divorce. As they split apart we spend large sections with one or the other and their amusing circle of friends, family, colleagues and lawyers. Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson and Director/Writer/Producer Noah Baumbach do outstanding work and Randy Newman's score adds an extra layer of magic. I can't recall seeing Julie Hagerty in any high-profile films since the 'Airplane!' comedies (might be my fault) which is a shame because she is so damn good as Johansson's other.

 

mnkykungfu

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That's f'n awesome!  I should watch more Key & Peele, even though they were always hit n miss with me.  

Perfect timing, too, as I literally just finished watching Lethal Weapon, and I'm halfway sure that's actually the exact same music.  Definitely the same hair.

Interesting to hear your take on Baumbach, as I've seen his stuff without Anderson, and what I watched was actually worse.  It was just as quirky, but minus the OCD whimsy.  I'm afraid Marriage Story might be one of those critical darlings that I just find cloying and overwrought like La La Land.
 

mnkykungfu

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The Girl on the Train (2016)- slight spoilers:
[I would've attached the trailer, but there's basically just the one and it gives away the entire plot if you're paying attention]
A sombre revenge fantasy where all the men with more than a couple lines are abusive in some way.  Makes sure to show that though all the women are damaged, they are justified for everything that they do and all their poor choices.  The film leans heavily on the “unreliable narrator” trope, inserting imaginary situations next to actual memories and implying they’re the same. Fully jumps the shark at the end of a careful lead up, in true Game of Thrones style.  I have to believe that the novel is more nuanced than this.  By the way, the last name of the character who is shown fucking all the time is “Hipwell”.  Don’t know if I should add a star or take one off for that.

Ip Man 3 (2016)
Oh my god, where to start with this thing?  If you're a fan of martial arts movies, check out my long review on Letterboxd, but for everyone else, here's the basics---
The story is hot garbage.  They've taken a real man's life and preyed upon his connection to Bruce Lee and tried to turn him into this fake Chinese traditional hero.  The first film was great, but from there the series has clearly become a racist, nationalist propaganda piece, so basically turn the sound off.
The martial arts also aren't as good as the first film, though this one is better than Ip Man 2.  They use less wire work, and the fights against Tyson and the main villain are actually really compelling.  Youtube them.  But many of the ideas here are taken from better movies, like the elevator scene from Drive, or courtyard rumble from Enter the Dragon.  Not recommended.
 

TM2YC

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Cats (2019)
I saw this the day the studio announced they were offering theaters an updated slightly “fixed” version, so I’m not sure which I saw. The lighting and art direction is gorgeous and the dance choreography is stunning. I've seen the stage show, had the original soundtrack and had the book of poems, so I went in a fan and wasn't baffled by the bizarre premise and didn't care that the overall story is nonsense. Despite some problems I enjoyed the film quite a bit and would recommend it to musical fans and families.

The problems: The CGI was indeed a bizarre choice over conventional makeup but it isn't anything like as distracting, or as disturbing as the most hyperbolic negative reviews have said. For the most part you are able to forget about the CGI but you are pulled out of things by the camera being shoved between the legs, or up the arses of these genital-less cat/human hybrids. It first gets really strange when the camera zooms in on Rebel Wilson scratching the spot where her pussy p***y would be. Some characters look great (Mr Mistoffelees, Gus the Theater Cat), some look weird, the worst is probably Idris Elba (it just looks like he is dancing naked). That everybody is playing it as "cats on heat" magnifies any oddity.  I'd guess there are around 5-15 full CGI cats running around in the frame most of the time, so the poor FX artists probably had too little time to get all of that right, all of the time. James Corden is irritating as hell as I expected. Director Tom Hooper spoils some songs just like he did in 'Les Misérables' by having his actors talk and emote their way through the songs instead of actually singing them. The "contractually obliged" new song 'Beautiful Ghosts' by Taylor swift is weak and uses up time which has to be clawed back (pun intended) by cutting great verses from the original hit songs.

The most crazy thing about this release is that the studio have chosen to promote this start-to-finish musical by not allowing any footage of the music to be seen by the public, when that is the most successful element. The trailers have just been composed from the very brief dialogue portions and the few lackluster jokes. You can find a couple of blurry shot-on-a-phone recordings of some songs on youtube if you look really hard and want to get a flavour of what the film is really like. Maybe Universal want this as a tax write off and are doing everything they can to make it bomb?

 

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White Reindeer (2013)

A dark Christmas tale that never quite decides if it wants to be a drama or a comedy.  This is a pretty well-done indie that is certainly a more interesting watch than Last Christmas, The Christmas Chronicles, A Christmas Prince, Four Christmases or any number of other mind-numbing pap that gets flung at vulnerable, unsuspecting viewers this time of year. 

Essentially, we're centered on one main character who is going through a sudden life change.  This causes a downward spiral that can be described as... very un-Christmasy.  Anna Margaret Hollyman is excellent in this, and the drama here is real and palpable.  If you're the kind of person who gets sad around this time of year, the film is really exploring some rich stuff.  

Unfortunately, the tone is very unbalanced and it never quite finds its way.  I think this really would've worked if everyone played it straight and dry, but then they dialed up the dialogue and the editing and played the scenes a bit more exaggerated.  As is: too wild to take seriously but too normal to laugh out loud.  Then again, if you never got tired of the "bad behavior at Christmastime" one-note joke of Bad Santa, maybe you'll be just fine here. 

Black Christmas (1974)
The rapturous 4 and 5 star reviews of this supposed "cult classic" tricked me into thinking it was worth a watch.  Suffice to say, if you're not a Horror whore, this film is a colossal waste of your time.  Regardless of its other faults, it commits the cardinal sin for a Horror film: it's sooooo booooring.

Okay, so this is one of several films around this time obsessed with the urban legend of "Miss, the call is coming from INSIDE your house!"  It's really the entire premise of the movie, with virtually nothing else happening in the story.  Except that apparently on the same day, there is a psycho boyfriend freaking out about his girlfriend at the house in question, and also a little girl happened to be killed at a nearby park.  But both of these are unrelated to the main killer, whose m.o. is to terrorize the girls from inside the house, moving around rooms, which apparently all have their own separate phone lines, and screaming obscenities into the phone, which apparently nobody in the rest of the house ever notices are coming from a nearby room.

Oh, except that none of that makes sense, because supposedly the phone calls have been going on since before the movie started.  But we see the killer scout the house and decide to break in upstairs at the start of the movie.  Then we see him hide out in the attic for the first half of the film.  So you're telling me that there's a working phoneline set up just for that dusty, disused attic?!

Okay, the good:  this was one of the first films to use the camera to establish POV shots for a killer.  It's modestly effective.  The phone calls are genuinely creepy and bizarre.  And Margot Kidder is pretty great, actually.  Unfortunately, she's not the main actress of the film, Olivia Hussey is.  Hussey grew up in Argentina, and her accent and lack of emoting is weird here.  She's got almost no range, so she makes a pretty uncompelling lead, even though she's easy on the eyes.  The other actors are mostly poor to unremarkable.  They don't have much to do or any worthwhile dialogue, so it's hard to fault them.

Overall, the film is beyond stupid and pointless.  There's no reasoning, no sense, no way to figure anything out, and no reason to care about it.  It's not even exploitation because there's no sex or nudity, and very little blood, almost no violence.  It's just Dullsville, population: you.  Don't take that trip.  (The trailer I linked to is 100x better than the movie.  They basically show everything interesting right there, mostly in the final 3rd of the film, and it works well on its own.  Just watch that!)
 

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Gremlins (1984)
I've always been of the opinion that the sequel surpasses this first film in every way by miles and this 35th anniversary cinema screening didn't change my mind. The Gremlin puppets are much jankier but the Gizmo puppet, his purring/singing and Jerry Goldsmith's score combined is cuteness personified. His score is wonderfully old fashioned and theme based, nailing the sound of the Christmas season and the chill of those dark nights. Wow that one stop motion shot would look bad enough on a phone screen but in big Cinema 4K it looks insanely bad. There was a sort of stunned silence in the audience who couldn't quite believe a shot that terrible ever made it into a mainstream movie. I loved all the homages to films like 'The Wizard of Oz' and 'It's a Wonderful Life' which are acknowledged on screen.

 

mnkykungfu

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TM2YC said:
Gremlins (1984)
I've always been of the opinion that the sequel surpasses this first film in every way by miles....

Oh my god, "TM2YC" is just a pseudonym for Star Magic Jackson Jr.!

 

TM2YC

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^ another excellent sketch from those two guys.

Reds (1981)
I've had this 3-hour Warren Beatty directed film on DVD for years but hadn't found the right evening to fully wallow in it until this week. Beatty also stars (and writes and produces) as Socialist Journalist John Reed and Diane Keaton plays his long suffering wife and fellow writer Louise Bryant. Half the run-time is devoted to their turbulent relationship at home and the other half to their fruitful working relationship covering the 1917 Russian Revolution. It shows their struggles up to the publication of Reed's famous 'Ten Days That Shook the World' book, which was turned into an aclaimed 1928 silent film by Sergei Eisenstein. Beatty brilliantly captures the excitement of reporting from the front-lines of earth shattering events. He and Cinematographer Vittorio Storaro use careful muted colours in the costumes, sets and naturalistic lighting to re-create a world of sepia phonographs. The most interesting artistic choice is the intercutting of the dramatic reconstructions with interviews-to-camera by people who knew the Reeds and who were still alive in 1981. Their faces are decrepit but their voices are alive with the import of what they witnessed. 'Reds' deserved the awards it won at the time. It must've taken some chutzpah to make an American epic sympathetic to communists just a couple of decades after the infamous Hollywood blacklists. Remember, Ronald Reagan was elected US President at the start of the same year and he helped draw up those lists.

 
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