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/ January Film Thread

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Blue Straggler - on 02 Jan 2018
I usually only "do" films I've seen at the cinema, but as I've been on holiday in Dahab since 23 Dec and there are no cinemas here, I'll kick off with an old film I watched on my laptop, as it is worthy of mention.

About Schmidt (2002).
This film had a bit of a misleading marketing campaign IMHO. I recall a poster that made Nicholson look like a straggle-haired old simpleton, and review quotes describing it as "hilarious"

It is in fact a very "real", very HUMAN film absolutely loaded with pathos and several heartbreaking moments. There is a slightly exaggerated descent into farcical "fish out of water" comedy during the final act but the very end of the film really redeems that. It is beautiful. I don't know whether the film is heartwarming or downright depressing though. Nicholson (absolutely sublime here - possible a career best, certainly a major highlight) plays a rather stuffy upper-middle-class office worker, just retiring after many decades in the same barely-middle-management position.
Reasonably predictable "what do I do with my life now?" scenarios start to unfold, but it is done so beautifully.

This is an Alexander Payne film, he made Election, Sideways, The Descendants and the absolutely brilliant Nebraska.

About Schmidt has a Nebraska feel to it, it doesn't quite reach that film's heights (9.5/10 for Nebraska) but it is well worth a watch especially if you thought Nicholson was already a spent force 20 years ago (not sure what he has done since, apart from subbing badly for De Niro in The Departed, and "Anger Management" with Adam Sandler)

8.5/10 for About Schmidt

I look forward to Hostiles and a Michelle Williams double-whammy of All the Money in the World and The Greatest Showman, upon my return to the UK.
Blue Straggler - on 02 Jan 2018
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Alright, I really try never to comment on "dislikes", everyone is entitled to their opinion, but...what the hell?!
nufkin - on 03 Jan 2018
In reply to Blue Straggler:

It was probably just Dahab envy
Andy Clarke - on 03 Jan 2018
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Just watched Molly's Game and enjoyed it. Very sharp rapid-fire dialogue, as you'd expect from Sorkin as the screenwriter. Nothing particularly striking about the visuals from Sorkin as the director, however - but plenty of narrative drive. On reflection, wasn't wholly convinced by the father-daughter psychodrama, although it's hard to resist the climactic emotional punch it delivers at the time. I thought Chastain's acting was excellent throughout. Great decolletages too. 7/10.
Blue Straggler - on 03 Jan 2018
In reply to Andy Clarke


> Great decolletages too. 7/10.

She does like to be upfront does Jessica. See them coming round the corner in time to do your hair

Bjartur i Sumarhus on 03 Jan 2018
In reply to Blue Straggler:

I was looking forward to seeing the follow up to Twelve Monkeys, but that idea has gone up in flames.
Tom V - on 03 Jan 2018
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Didn't see much of her in The Zookeeper's Wife (in that sense)
andymac - on 03 Jan 2018
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Watched 'The hundred Foot Journey ' the other night

Delicious vibrant film with the great Om Puri and Helen Mirren.

And then 'White House Down' last night which was a cliche ridden pile of organic manure
Blue Straggler - on 03 Jan 2018
In reply to Tom V:

Possibly I was referring more to posters. 2 or 3 years ago I saw in the UK three different but very similar posters for A Most Violent Year, the only difference between them being just how much Chastain decolletage there appeared to be!

The Molly's Game trailer has quite a lot up front.
Blue Straggler - on 03 Jan 2018
In reply to andymac:
> And then 'White House Down' last night which was a cliche ridden pile of organic manure

Is that the one with Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx?
I half-watched the majority of that whilst holed up in a hotel room on a long layover in Doha last year (it was 40C outside in the shade and in the dark!). It rumbled along preposterously enough and I guessed it was about to finish, and then yet another act started (I think a ground-to-air missile hit Air Force One) and even in my low-expectations scenario, with nothing else to do but wait a couple more hours for my airport taxi, I just had to turn it off. Doesn't it have some Proper Actress as Tatum's ex? Maggie Gyllenhaal or someone?

(not that Tatum, Foxx and James Woods aren't Proper Actors but at least they all got to ham it up and have a bit of fun)

Post edited at 18:02
andymac - on 03 Jan 2018
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Yes that's the one,

Parts of were enjoyable ,and I do love an evil James Woods.

The scene with the presidential limo doing Wacky Races round the White House lawn (complete with the President parody firing a rocket launcher out of the window) was just ridiculously ridiculous

And yes,Maggie Gyllenhaal has a modest supporting role.I can only assume she had feck all else in the order book.
Post edited at 18:35
Blue Straggler - on 03 Jan 2018
In reply to andymac:


> The scene with the presidential limo doing Wacky Races round the White House lawn (complete with the President parody firing a rocket launcher out of the window) was just ridiculously ridiculous

That was the bit that (momentarily) won me over, it was so silly I thought "ah OK, this confirms that they are DEFINITELY having a laugh"
Tyler - on 03 Jan 2018
In reply to Blue Straggler:

I though Whitehouse Down was brilliant but Olympus Has Fallen, which came out at the same time, was not so good. Watched Lost City of Z on the strength of some good reviews, really dull, no story to speak of and little else.

The Last Jedi was OK but I'm not a Trekkie so not well versed in the lore of Star Wars and pretty dispassionate about how it relates to others in the series.
Dr.S at work - on 03 Jan 2018
In reply to Tyler:


> The Last Jedi was OK but I'm not a Trekkie so not well versed in the lore of Star Wars and pretty dispassionate about how it relates to others in the series.

you dont say?
Offwidth - on 04 Jan 2018
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Happy new year and ffs ignore dislikes, its just naughty children. I really liked About Schmitt.

Watched Flight last night: impressive film about a self destructive pilot who becomes an inadvertent hero after pulling off an almost impossible semi-controlled crash landing when his passenger jet seriously malfunctions; but then gets caught up in the formal crash investigation as alcohol and cocaine was found in his blood tests. Also watched Noah and am still confused: is it biblical satire, plain bonkers, or pretty visuals hiding inpenetrable art?

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/flight_2012
https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/noah_2014

Blue Straggler - on 04 Jan 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

Friends of mine love Noah for its utter bonkers approach to everything. I struggled to get past 40 minutes of it but having watched and loved Aronofsky's "mother!" last year, I'll give Noah another chance.

Keen to see Flight just for its credentials if nothing else (Robert Zemeckis is one of the more interesting directors working in the massive mainstream, even if some of his offerings - Polar Express - turn me off. At least he tries different things).

Have you seen "Sully"? I wonder if Flight was partly inspired by that (you will remember the "miracle on the Hudson" news story - there was a subsequent investigation into whether the pilot was being a bit of a dick given that there were plenty of airstrips POSSIBLY within reach, and the film follows this. And of course being big-budget Spielberg, it recreates the landing)

Thanks
aln - on 04 Jan 2018
In reply to Tyler:

> I'm not a Trekkie so not well versed in the lore of Star Wars

I see what you did there.

Blue Straggler - on 07 Jan 2018
In reply to Blue Straggler:


I saw Jumanji tonight , 8.5/10
Never saw the first one

What I thought was really good in this 2017 film was its dabbling (at a kid-friendly level) into transgender aspect of life. I know male-female bodyswap films have been done in the past but usually in certificate 15 films. What they did with Jack Black and Nick Jonas in Jumanji was actually a bit edgy for a kids’ film and I thought it was well done.

Film overall was good fun, maybe it is easier to make a good “video game film” if there was no real video game to base it on. Performances were really good (I don’t quite get Kevin Hart but maybe one needs to see a bit more of his output in order to join in with his schtick).
Blue Straggler - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Well, having praised Alexander Payne extensively in the OP, it saddens me to post tonight's review. The only positive I can draw from this is that I might save some of you some time and money!

Downsizing.
3.5/10
Not officially out until 24 Jan but I saw a preview.
Just utterly weak.
Not sure where they went so horribly wrong with Downsizing. Seemed to be a concept with interesting potential, and a good principal cast. Intriguing trailer.
But not since Chocolat in 2000 have I sat in a cinema just WILLING a film to end.
It's unengaging. It doesn't seem to be ABOUT anything, despite initial promise in the opening scenes regarding overpopulation and the environment. These ideas go nowhere. It's not funny (don't let the tiny comedic asides which dominate the trailer, mislead you). Halfway through, the very idea that people have been shrunk pretty much gets jettisoned in favour of some half-arsed attempt at a "redemption odyssey" for a character who needs neither redemption nor an odyssey.
It retains some points for nice performances and cinematography and for initially offering a bit of food for thought in the first quarter, but honestly I can't think of any friends who might think this film is worth watching!
Oh and Kristen Wiig is in it for about 15 minutes and is given NOTHING to work with.
Tom V - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Just watched Raw.

Got to admit I did cringe a couple of times but overall not too impressed.
Blue Straggler - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Hostiles, 7.5/10
All The Money in the World, 8/10
The Greatest Showman - I can't really put a score on this as I don't like 95% of musicals, and this fits into that 95%. It would be like sending a vegan to review a steak restaurant. I only went to see it because Michelle Williams is in it. It was colourful and well shot and everyone seemed spirited and the story is decent. It does have the worst CGI big cats since the tigers in Gladiator, but they are only there for 2 seconds.


Will witter on about Hostiles and All the Money in the World later.

Andy Clarke - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Just watched Three Billboards, for which I've been eagerly waiting, being a big fan of Martin McDonagh. I wasn't disappointed: the script is as sharp as broken black glass and Frances McDormand turns in a magnificent performance of enormous emotional range and brilliant technical detail. I would have thought another Oscar is on its way to her. Mind you, the whole cast is impressive. Rockwell's performance is particularly engrossing as his character shifts and unexpectedly develops. Enjoyable and impressive as In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths were, I think this is a big step up. Alongside the dark comedy is genuine tragic gravitas and hard-earned redemption. This seems to have confused and upset some reviewers, but for me the complexity of tone is part of the point and one of the film's many strengths. A modern masterpiece, I reckon. 9/10.

Post edited at 18:03
Blue Straggler - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Andy Clarke:

Cheers, it's certainly on the list - I gather that the trailers are rather misleading in their emphasis on comedy. Might see it tonight, failing that, probably at some point over the weekend. Along with The Darkest Hour. 

Blue Straggler - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Blue Straggler:

a bit more on Hostiles, FWIW

 


7.5/10. For about 50 minutes, it was on for 10/10 and "greatest Western ever" but it did start to lag and lose pace and engagement and focus - still very good though. 
Believe the posters - Christian Bale is astonishingly good in this, as a dark haunted troubled complex character. I know that can seem like his stock in trade, but here it is used to great effect. Rosamund Pike at least for the first two thirds of the film, is certainly his equal. 
It's basically a massive PTSD film (PTSD on national and personal levels) with great scenery and acting.
NB the "great scenery" is interesting, it's not your usual epic Monument Valley shots, but a rather more muted (yet equally vast, just a bit bleak) landscape. 

Blue Straggler - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Blue Straggler:

A bit more on All the Money in the World, FWIW

8/10
Luckily I was able to totally forget the whole Kevin Spacey thing (I somehow missed the news when it first broke) so that aspect was not the distraction that it seems to be for the rest of the world. 
Truly fascinating story, regardless of how many liberties the screenwriters might have taken with it. There is seething bitterness bubbling under, in several key characters, and it's good to see this played out.
Michelle Williams is as usual brilliant in this, she really carries the whole film (as her top billing suggests). 
It's also really well shot, the muted colour palette suits it well. 
Not the most complex characterisations of all time, to be fair, but there's enough story to fill the 135 minutes running time without bogging it down with character studies. Basically: Plummer as a wily greedy old bastard, Williams as a plucky resilient devoted mother, Wahlberg as, er, the Mark Wahlberg character, other Plummer as a pawn, and various kidnappers as "out of their depth kidnappers". 

Blue Straggler - on 14 Jan 2018
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Three Billboards Outside Ebben, Missouri. 7/10

 

 

Darkest Hour. 5/10

More on these thrilling opinions after I’ve sat through 140 minutes of Molly’s Game

 

 

Blue Straggler - on 14 Jan 2018
In reply to Blue Straggler:

8/10 on Molly’s Game

Andy Clarke - on 14:11 Fri
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Just watched The Post. I do love a damn good newspaper movie, and this is a damn good newspaper movie. Gripping stortytelling, done with the usual Spielbergian panache. Very polished performances from Streep and Hanks - in 21st century Jimmy Stewart mode. But the whole cast is extremely strong. Great period detail, revelling in the romance of old typesetting technology: a fine final print room shot pulls out revealing conveyor belt columns of newspapers rising and falling like the pillars in some cathedral of free speech. As usual a stirring soundtrack from Williams, with some pointed echoes of the idealised Americanism of Aaron Copland. And of course this is a thrilling ride for those who cling to decent liberal principles - and an obvious clarion call given the shameful attacks on the press made by the current incumbent of the oval office. Who would have thought a president could have been found to match Tricky Dicky? Very assured moviemaking - not quite Spotlight, but thoroughly enjoyable. 8/10.

Post edited at 14:21
mypyrex - on 09:35 Sat
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Just been to see The Darkest Hour. A good portrayal of what Churchill was up against, not least from his own party, in May 1940. I came out of the cinema wondering how Halifax et al would have reacted had negotiations with Hitler taken place with the ensuing unleashing of the full horrors of nazism  right across Europe and the UK.

Blue Straggler - on 18:01 Sat
In reply to mypyrex:

Glad you enjoyed it so much more than I did

Blue Straggler - on 18:14 Sat
In reply to Andy Clarke:

Interesting, it looks dull beyond belief but knowing me, I'll end up seeing it. Possibly tonight. That you say it's not quite Spotlight is a bit worrying, as Spotlight for me outstayed its "welcome". But you admit you like a newspaper movie. Aside from Sweet Smell of Success, I don't think I've enjoyed much in the genre (although shock horror, I have not sen All The Presidents' Men)

Crewey-Rob on 19:03 Sat
In reply to Blue Straggler:

An interesting thing about The Post is that Spielberg pushed back other projects to make it early to win hearts and minds against the Trump administration and his war with journalism.

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/jan/19/steven-spielberg-the-urgency-to-make-the-post-was-because-of-this-administration

mypyrex - on 20:14 Sat
In reply to Blue Straggler:

> Glad you enjoyed it so much more than I did


What didn't you like about it?

Blue Straggler - on 23:30 Sat
In reply to Andy Clarke:

The Post

 

5/10

 

I went in with low expectations and it did not even meet those. Some good bits, none involving Streep.

Mooncat - on 03:45 Sun
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Three Billboards - 7/10

Slightly disappointed, it seemed to lose its way at times after an enjoyable first hour. The plot seemed predictable and a bit formulaic which alone would probably warrrant a 6/10. Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell and Frances McDormand's performances raise it to 7.

Blue Straggler - on 11:16 Sun
In reply to Mooncat:

> Three Billboards - 7/10

> Slightly disappointed, it seemed to lose its way at times after an enjoyable first hour. The plot seemed predictable and a bit formulaic which alone would probably warrrant a 6/10. Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell and Frances McDormand's performances raise it to 7.

Almost exactly my experience of it. I think it lasted a bit longer than an hour. Just the last 30 minutes kind of killed it. Really frustrating because it was SO good for SO long (being careful not to do spoilers here, I'll say that the voiceover reading those letters was an incredibly moving scene). It didn't just lose its way, it totally changed direction. The very very end of it was utterly stupid. And the whole thing with bringing the "romance" thing in? Seemed only to be a way to fit in [actor name omitted to avoid spoilers] after casting him initially and realising they had nothing for him to do.

One problem I had was that although I'll buy into the "small town a bit like the Wild West", there were seemingly no repercussions for anyone blatantly doing vandalism and GBH! 


 

Blue Straggler - on 11:22 Sun
In reply to mypyrex:

> What didn't you like about it?

The "chocolate box" neat tidy representation of "the past". Like Downton Abbey with some politics thrown in.  It seemed like a lot of soundbites and some recreations of the famous speeches, padded out by, frankly, a lot of cliche cheesy film making. Great acting from Oldman, Mendelsohn (the King) and Dillane (as Halifax) and Pickup (Chamberlain), and the bit from the trailer ("You can not reason with a Tiger when your head is in its mouth.") is enough to secure Oldman's second Oscar nomination, but mostly I just sat there literally wanting the film to end; I've never felt like that in a cinema since Chocolat in 2000. 
Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, they throw in the most time-dilated tube ride I've ever seen and fill it with horrendous dialogue (actually a lot of the film's dialogue was awful - unrealistic and expository - but it hit a real low point on the tube ride)

But as I say, I am glad you liked it. 

Blue Straggler - on 11:45 Sun
In reply to Andy Clarke:

As mentioned late last night, 5/10 for Spielberg's "The Post" I found it very muddled.
Lots of characters who were barely introduced so you weren't sure who was going to be important, especially as they all kept coming and going.
I think it might have benefitted from a few captions explaining who was who.  But not just muddled in terms of number of characters. It was hard to tell what the film was trying to be ABOUT.
You have the whole "woman in charge, and how that is difficult for her in the 1970s" thing.
You have the unseen scoop journalist who sounds like HE might become a key player.
You have (related to above) the New York Times retaining that journalist - so is this going to be about The Washington Post competing with New York Times? T
his all detracted from what I guess was the main "point" (a simplistic "censorship is BAD, kids" message).
There were some very good scenes. Perhaps 2 strong scenes and 2 half-good scenes. Oddly none of them involved Meryl Streep.  Ben in the motel room with the papers and Dan Ellsberg was good. But I didn't know exactly what Ben's JOB was.  Any scene with Jesse Plemons (the young lawyer) is worth watching. Going back to Streep - I think Spielberg has a long track record of not really being able to work with female characters effectively, often wasting very good actresses in roles that should be interesting and strong but simply AREN'T (e.g. Julianne Moore in The Lost World: Jurassic Park). Here, he has the great Sarah Paulson just making sandwiches, and the great Alison Brie just, what, being attractive...
I was just bored.  

Post edited at 11:54
Offwidth - on 22:54 Mon
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Robot Overlords: looked every inch a potential cringeworthy sci-fi B movie but the line-up was too good. Great fun teen movie after a slow start. Think Star Wars on a Dr Who budget!


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