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The Last Movie(s) You Watched... (quick one or two sentence reviews)

Racerx1969

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News of the World (2020) Tom Hanks does a western. I wasn't sure what to expect except that he'd do a good job, and indeed he did. It doesn't feel like a typical western, but many of the tropes are in there. It's a more introspective western that touches on some issues society is still struggling with. Worth the watch IMHO.
 

mnkykungfu

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The Cockpit (1993)
A short anime anthology with throwback art styles, this one has fallen into relative obscurity because it looks at WWII from a historical revisionist perspective. The 3 stories range from completely lionizing the Nazis and vilifying the US to a bit of Both Sides-ism to just portraying the Japanese soldiers as heroic victims. The aerial animation is often quite good, a clear influence on The Sky Crawlers and The Wind Rises.

Truth (2015)
The relative obscurity of this film is an unjust oversight on the other hand. Recounting events in 2004/5 from the perspective of the production team of 60 Minutes, at that time the premier TV investigative news program. I wrote all about the political backdrop the films events occurred during here, but suffice to say this is a story that needs to be known. It's not a perfect film, tending towards over-sentimentality, but I think you can honestly pin this down as the moment when journalism ceased to exist as it once had.
 

L8wrtr

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Well...I *may* have opinions on that movie. 😝

I can't argue with that brief review. For me it landed somewhere between meh and ok. I was hoping for wow. But animation (cartoon/anime) is notoriously hard to shift to live action. Which makes me nervous about the upcoming Cowboy Bebop.
And I cannot argue with yours either :ROFLMAO:. It is not a perfect movie, and it's not the movie I would have made if I'd been the EP in control of the property, but it was (imnsho) a much better movie than it's performance and reviews indicate. I love the movie in spite of the movie I guess. We likely could have a very extensive discussion about what was right, and what went wrong with that movie.
 

mnkykungfu

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animation (cartoon/anime) is notoriously hard to shift to live action. Which makes me nervous about the upcoming Cowboy Bebop.
I have been getting progressively more cynical about Cowboy Beebop. One of my favorite animated series, and it seems to me like they're going to do a very mediocre job, losing all the extreme elements that made it great in favor of something with a visual similarity but without the flavor. Spike is supposed to be like Bruce Lee meets a young Philip Marlowe, with Faye the femme fatale wily seductress, Jet the father figure they never had, and Ed the non-binary goofball. Just with the casting alone, they've already messed up that fundamental dynamic to the series.
 

Racerx1969

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Hoping we are wrong in our concerns on Cowboy Bebop. I'm new to it, so don't have a long love affair that will be offended if they do.

Spent the weekend at a themed event that included some evening movie screenings. Played on a laptop (I think) and projected on a conference room screen with one speaker, so I won't speak to cinematography or sound. :cautious:

The Current Wars (2017) Covers the fight between Edison and Westinghouse/Tesla over electricity delivery in the US (AC vs DC). The story kind of got muddled with the hollywood treatment and I had higher hopes from the cast. It was still an interesting watch though I likely won't go looking for it again. It might drive some exploration of the actual events (like were Edison and Westinghouse that nasty & underhanded? Tesla was for sure screwed.)

April and the Extraordinary World (2015) I already own this, but it was what matched my schedule--and I knew I'd enjoy it regardless of subpar presentation. So, the world's scientists all disappear and technology gets stuck in the steam age for 60 years. Napoleon doesn't have his war and loses so establishes a dynasty. Now the main character through various adventures figures out the mystery of constantly vanishing scientists. While it's a French production I've always gotten a little bit of Studio Ghibli vibe from this movie.
 

mnkykungfu

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^Yeah. <sigh> Honestly, it'll probably be fine. Not great, but fine. For a Netflix audience that mostly aren't going to be fans of the original show/movie, I'm sure they'll like it. But for me these kind of adaptations are insidious, because I know how great a live-action version could be, and I know that once we've gotten this version, we'll be unlikely to get the version I wanted any time in the next few decades. I don't like hating on ...say, Thor: Ragnarok, but it's hard to let go of my vision for the awesome thing that could have been if they'd just actually adapted the original thing faithfully. Ah well.

Speaking of....

The Tick (22 episodes, ended 2019)
Okay, not a movie, but the short episodes are easily bingeable. It took quite awhile to get the 2 seasons out on Amazon, but they're still there for an audience to find. Creator Ben Edlund adapts and updates his comic/cartoon superhero parody "The Tick" in a broadly enjoyable low-budget comedy. Season 1 is pretty great, and S2 is still good...but with so many other superhero shows out there with much more invested in them, this just couldn't find a big enough audience. I will always love the cartoon and was a reluctant convert to this show, but I do recommend the first season at least.

Wall Street (1987)
Continuing my Oliver Stone marathon...man he knocked it out of the park 3 times in a row right from the start. Everyone remember Michael Douglas as Gordon Gecko from this, and his speeches influenced Glengarry Glenross and Boiler Room later. But there's a great movie happening besides him with the two Sheens and a stacked cast. I muse more in my full review, but this film is even more relevant today than it was 2 years before the Black Friday crash.
 

Wraith

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RESPECT 2021

Probably the most balanced musical biopic ever made. It's all there, nothing outstays it's welcome, nothing is superfluous, performance, writing, direction etc all spot on. Finally, I had tears running down my cheek in the last scene and I could not work out why on the night (have realised why, subsequently).

Entertaining and educational...a rare combo in that genre.
Oscar for Hudson for sure!
 

mnkykungfu

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Kicking off October (I refuse to name a whole film month after Tobe Hooper, wtf?) with a bunch of scary-ish movies leading up to Halloween:

Phantasm (1979)
One of the few multi-sequel horror series that I'd never seen any of, I somehow missed this as a kid. I have a feeling that those who did have that experience rank this a lot higher, as the movie verges on an incoherent mess of indie filmmaking slapped together with spit and duct tape. That said, some parts are a lot of fun!

The Masque of the Red Death (1964)
Poe was getting his stories adapted in ways that didn't capture the original long before Stephen King. This mashed-up expansion is never equal to the Poe stories it draws on, and the forced portrayal of typical movie "evil Satanists" was completely at odds with Poe's theme. It's not a bad movie, especially given Vincent Price's performance, but it's certainly not anything you need to watch.

The Frighteners (1996)

I would've liked this better if the movie had actually been about The Frighteners, a racket Michael J. Fox's character has with some ghosts. Imagine like Whoopi Goldberg from Ghost but if she coordinated her scams with them as a funny business a la Ghostbusters. Unfortunately, the film quickly jams in a forced romance, a physical murder mystery, a supernatural murder mystery, and Ace Ventura: FBI Agent. It's an unfunny mess.
 

Moe_Syzlak

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The Many Saints of Newark. This one is frustrating. First, it’s definitely for fans of the show, but if you’re a fan of the show, it will leave you wanting. It works best when it’s its own thing following Dickie Moltisanti, his extended family, the Italian gangster experience of the late 60s and also race relations of the same era. Honestly, this could’ve been a home run if it wasn’t set in the Sopranos universe. But, frustratingly, those elements serve to detract and distract from best pets of this film.
 
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Moe_Syzlak

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Black Widow. I used to work in the same (small) office building as Jim Collins, a business author of some repute. In one of his books he talks about how to go from Good to Great and turns an old axiom on its ear and says “good is the enemy of great.” And I think that I’ve finally figured out what bugs me so about the MCU. It’s that they’re good and that’s enough for them. They’d rather rest at good than aspire for greatness. There’s a formula, there’s very little visual storytelling, there’s no sense of the auteur, they don’t aspire for deeper themes or more than two dimensional characters. It’s always (or pretty much always) good, but they seemingly have a mandate to not aspire to greatness, perhaps for fear of it being simply not good. And I realize I’m in the minority, but I’m more interested in a spectacular failure that aspires to be great rather than a predictable and interchangeable “good.”
 

Moe_Syzlak

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Free Guy. Didn’t pay super close attention while the kids were watching this one, but it felt to me like the pitch was, “it’s the Truman Show meets the LEGO Movie but with video games.” While it’s not nearly as good as either of those movies, it’s not bad. Recommended, especially if you’ve got kids.
 
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mnkykungfu

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Bliss (2021)
This one has been savaged by critics, but I think it was really poorly served by marketing. If you want to watch it, in my opinion it's best to go in with the expectation that it's NOT
a sci-fi film. This is much more a film about mental health, and about how US culture aids and abets mental illness.
In the (sadly actually real) words of Rudy Giuliani, "truth isn't truth". Full defense here.

The Grey (2011)
If you sign up for this one looking for 'Liam Neeson punches wolves', you'll be disappointed. This is almost a survival horror film, but with enough dramatic and auteur touches to make it rise above other action-horror fare. There are genuinely scary moments here though, particularly if you're like me and Horror movies usually have no effect on you but real, intimate character death does. More here.

Silent Hill: Revelation (2012)
I'm somewhat of a defender of the first film, and there's actually a fanedit on here that reveals the excellent movie within (except the edit doesn't really nail the ending). This sequel looks much the same, but has far more bad CG and far worse acting. Oh, and the writing and directing are horrible. Details here.
 

DigModiFicaTion

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Field of Dreams
This movie is perfect. As one who has lost their father, I can't adequately describe the connection I have with this film. 10/10
 

Wraith

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The Many Saints of Newark. This one is frustrating. First, it’s definitely for fans of the show, but if you’re a fan of the show, it will leave you wanting. It works best when it’s its own thing following Dickie Moltisanti, his extended family, the Italian gangster experience of the late 60s and also race relations of the same era. Honestly, this could’ve been a home run if it wasn’t set in the Sopranos universe. But, frustratingly, those elements serve to detract and distract from best pets of this film.
Hmmm...concur....
I liked it more than it deserved and less than I haoped for. There were moments where this was in the zone, but then it would slip out and meander. There were also some performances which sometimes felt like people were trying too hard or were almost into parody mode. Yet when it was right, it was SO RIGHT. I wish Chase would stop diving into Robert Altman territory; you can't afford to do that when you have just a couple of hours and such a large canvas of events to cover. The other thing I could not figure is how did this cost USD 50M to make compared to say, Glass at USD20m?

Still some good news...Steve Van Zandt said in an interview on UK TV last week that a Lillehammer Season 4 is a real possibility.
"...let it snow, let it snow, let it snow"
 

mnkykungfu

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Medieval Times: The Making of Army of Darkness (2015)
A full-length doc that Shout Factory! put together leading up to the premiere of the Ash Vs Evil Dead series (RIP). Tons of cast and crew you wouldn't think to hear from are interviewed to comment on behind-the-scenes footage. Unfortunately absent are Sam Raimi, Embeth Davidtz, and any of the producers, but this is still an enjoyable watch for fans.

Creepshow (1982)
My first time revisiting this since I was a kid, and it doesn't fare well with nostalgia blinders off. Of all the short stories in this anthology, the only one I really liked was the one I still remembered, "Something to Tide You Over". The rest are dominated by the worst comedy efforts of Stephen King and George Romero, with no real scares to be had.

A.D. Police Files (1990)
A compilation of 3 episodes, this was meant to be an anime series prequel to "Bubblegum Crisis", but it never took off. I loved it though. It's basically future cops with B-movie levels of sex and violence, but some heady cyberpunk-type ideas going on. You can find them up on Youtube.
 

DigModiFicaTion

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Ocean's 13
A movie that makes you smile throughout is a rare gem. This is one of them. 9/10
 

Wraith

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NO TIME TO DIE

Decent action movie branded as Bond/007. Zips along despite 2.75hrs, competent, well plotted, good script and acting AND cleans up some of the mess of the previous SPECTRE and a fitting send-off for Craig. Defo see on the big screen...and yet...the magic, the awe, the wryness, luxurious travelogues, spycraft, sardonic icon for me, has long since left the building.
I was oddly unmoved, especially when OHMSS theme jumps in...it just reminds me of everything Bond is no longer (and was) about.
 

mnkykungfu

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Trance (2013)
One of the few Danny Boyle films I hadn't seen... I don't think this got much of an international release, possibly due to it being kind of hard to pin down. It starts off like a heist film but turns into something like a neo-noir psychological thriller. Story threw some people, but I was on board because Boyle directs the $#!! out of it, and it has great acting and a surprise full frontal Rosario Dawson scene.

Heavenly Creatures (1994)
One of the few Peter Jackson films I hadn't seen, and I can't believe I love LOTR so much and yet most of his other films leave me so cold and uninvolved. Lots of creativity on display here, but Jackson always has his actors veering into melodrama, and I think the writing misses the trick on how best to represent these true events.

Mama (2013)

Still hunting for my new Halloween recommendation, and this ain't it. Reminded me greatly of some of Guillermo Del Toro's more uneven efforts. Style to spare in this, though the blatant CG is pretty poorly used in the final third. It's essentially a modern telling of the Mexican story La Llorona, but the setup within the first 5 minutes was more interesting to me than where the movie went.
 

Q2

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Pig (2021)
Much better than it has any right to be, Nicholas Cage really shines. Excellent film.
 
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