/ July film thread

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Blue Straggler - on 06 Jul 2018

Starting with a couple of copy-and-paste from the June film thread, which I had written without realising the month had changed


Blue Straggler - on 06 Jul 2018


In the Fade. 7.5/10

Quite strong drama about the aftermath of a racially motivated bombing that leaves the Kurdish husband and son of a white German one dead. All the hype is about Diane Kruger’s performance which is indeed very good, due to great characterisation in the writing and great direction .

Superb courtroom scenes sadly give way to a rather trite and obvious final act. Also it was a fairly conventional film, so much so that I couldn’t help casting the Hollywood remake whilst watching (I think Charlize Theron, Jake Gyllenhaal, William H Macy and Elizabeth Olsen....)

Blue Straggler - on 06 Jul 2018

Leave No Trace

Fittingly (wrt the title) I knew nothing about this film until I saw a poster for it at the cinema on Monday, and then the trailer too. 

Very very good little drama starring the always-masterful, always-overlooked Ben Foster and newcomer Thomasin Harcourt Mackenzie as father-and-teenage-daughter living alone in a tent in the woods outside Portland (Oregon). Remarkably little back-story is provided aside from some references to war and PTSD (it is a fairly contemporary film although could be taking place at any time in the past 15 years). 

It seems that they are totally off-grid and she's never been to school (she is about 15 or 16 [edit - I am now told 13 but I don't think they pulled that off tbh]). Inevitably things catch up with them and efforts are made to integrate them into society, and some downbeat drama and characterisation ensues. 

It's a bit like if Ken Loach watched Captain Fantastic and thenHunt for the Wilderpeople and decided that what those stories needed was a massive dose of Ken Loach 

I really liked it, it lost pace a little toward the end but overall a strong 8.5/10. Foster totally inhabits his role as usual. Mackenzie was great too, hard to judge as I haven't seen her in anything else but she was totally convincing (although a bit too clean and hair too neat, also reflected in my score there) Beautifully shot and scored. FWIW and not that I usually make a point of noticing these things, but the producing, writing and directing crew were all women.

It's based on a novel written by a man.    [edit - duhh numbnuts here hadn't noticed that it's much of the same team that made Winter's Bone, another downbeat well acted film about a teenage girl, a father, and the woods ]


Blue Straggler - on 08 Jul 2018
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Tag. 4.5/10

not really something I would have sought out to watch but I needed some air conditioning and a brainless diversion on Friday night and the IMDb aggregate score wasn’t too bad, and I had some faith in Jeremy Renner and Isla Fisher not picking an absolute stinker to work on.

Film was pretty bad, all round, as you all might expect.

It was a bit like watching Game Night if Game Night had got everything wrong.

Blue Straggler - on 09 Jul 2018
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Another uncharacteristic-for-me review of something seen on DVD, because this is important. 

The Tourist (2010), Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. 
Quite possibly the worst big-budget major film I have ever seen. Watched out of curiosity and confusion (I think there was a film the same year that was a comedy, featuring a man out of his depth caught up in some caper in Italy, and I always muddle whatever that film was, with The Tourist, which is not a comedy)

It's just awful from the first minute. 1/10 because Venice (or CGI Venice) looked very nice. Jolie had so much make up on, they might as well have cast Cher. 

Avoid this film at all costs. 

$100 million it cost. Wow.

Offwidth - on 10 Jul 2018
In reply to Blue Straggler:

What loss was that again?

Blue Straggler - on 10 Jul 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

I don't understand your question or point. I didn't say anything about its box-office takings. Am I missing something?

Blue Straggler - on 11 Jul 2018
In reply to Blue Straggler:

> I don't understand your question or point. I didn't say anything about its box-office takings. Am I missing something?

NB question written without malice. Just realised it reads harshly. 

Offwidth - on 11 Jul 2018
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Hey, less of the defensive...I really like your 'rude' style. My point was money oils Hollywood so the cost is irrelevant if its well into profit. Star vehicles help anyone left with artistic veins make/subsidise the better, usually cheaper, films. I also don't think it was even close to being that bad: more a lame disappointment than a full-on disaster.

Blue Straggler - on 11 Jul 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

For sure. My favourite was Jason Patric doing Speed 2: Cruise Control simply sonhe could his pay cheque to almost entirely fund Your a Friends and Neighbours, a dark uncommercial film.

But The Tourist wasn’t Speed 2. It had the ingredients to be good. I stand by my opinion, it was utter dreck and God knows I recognise dreck when I see it. I’ve seen Silence, RoboCop remake and Red Sparrow! They are all better than The Tourist

aln - on 11 Jul 2018
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Have you seen a film called Puzzle?

Blue Straggler - on 11 Jul 2018
In reply to aln:

No. I’ve seen Jigsaw though 

Ardo - on 22:50 Sat
In reply to Blue Straggler:

The Take, with Idris Elba, as a CIA maverick who sticks it to the bad guys. A pretty poor bank heist film, that's been done many times before and mostly better, but gets 'write the theme tune, sing the theme' Minder bonus points aplenty.

4/10 for the film .12/10 for the laughs I had at the end when confirming that ole Idris had indeed done a Dennis Waterman.

Blue Straggler - on 02:56 Sun
In reply to Ardo:

I remember seeing the trailer for this, does it have Richard Armitage in it and play like a badly done Brit version of what would have have been a better glossy Hollywood high-end B-movie but which just didn’t get things right in its UK incarnation? I think I saw the trailer at the same time that I learned that there is Idris Elba jeans brand 

Blue Straggler - on 03:00 Sun
In reply to Ardo:


aka Bastille Day. Not Richard Armitage but , rather, Richard Madden.


looks awful and your comment about Elba doing a Waterman says it all. Shame Kelly Reilly is wasting her time on rubbish like this 


Ardo - on 17:38 Sun
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Spot on re Hollywood B movie. Would probably be better as a proper French crime drama series. Richard Madden is no worse as an American than Elba, which is not a compliment.

It's a 13/10 now I have learnt that there are Idris Elba jeans. The more I learn about and interviews I read with Idris Elba the lower he goes in my esteem.

Post edited at 17:41
Blue Straggler - on 19:05 Sun
In reply to Ardo:

I keep seeing Elba jeans heavily discounted in TK Maxx, they are a very weird fit, the ones that fit my waist and leg (and I am a "normal proportions" fit), sit ridiculously high and, er, "tight around the crotch"

Admittedly that is maybe why THOSE ones ended up in TK Maxx. Maybe they are seconds. 

Blue Straggler - on 19:07 Sun
In reply to Ardo:

> Richard Madden is no worse as an American than Elba, which is not a compliment.

Having seen only the trailer, and that being 2 years ago, I had forgotten they were playing Americans. I have no objection to actors "doing an accent" if they are the right actor for the role but Bastille Day / The Take looked like a) you could have put anyone in it and b) if you did want those Brit actors then regardless of how good their American accents were, you could easily make the characters British.

Ardo - on 21:13 Sun
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Yes, the three main Americans are all played by British actors. It's a StudioCanal film, so maybe they couldn't stretch to real Americans.

Watched Trance this evening: Danny Boyle film, with James McAvoy and Vincent Cassel, about an art theft. Interesting storyline that keeps you guessing and unfolds right until the end. 7.5/10

Post edited at 21:13
Tom V - on 23:27 Sun
In reply to Blue Straggler:

It's a funny thing: watching "The Wire" years ago I'd never heard of Idris Elba, didn't know he was English and thought his character was the best thing in the series.


Tom V - on 23:29 Sun
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Better than having the crotch three inches above your knees, bro.....

Blue Straggler - on 23:45 Sun
In reply to Tom V:

> It's a funny thing: watching "The Wire" years ago I'd never heard of Idris Elba, didn't know he was English and thought his character was the best thing in the series.

Good point (I have not seen The Wire but have long known that it was his massive breakthrough and he was brilliant and convincing and - not being well known - had everyone surprised that he wasn't American)

I also have not seen The Take / Bastille Day, as mentioned, and also as mentioned, I have nothing to say about his accent in there. 

However, his legacy from The Wire should not be used to protect him from criticism for choosing a string of thankless roles in B-movie fare (or tiny roles in Marvel films). All this talk of "first black Bond" will fade if he keeps taking stuff like The Dark Tower (OK OK maybe good on paper, but by all accounts a disaster on film and with no good reason either)

Blue Straggler - on 00:12 Mon
In reply to Blue Straggler:

The Secret of Marrowbone

A surprisingly solid 8/10 (if I were judging films on their titles and marketing campaigns, this would be lower! I thought the secret of marrowbone was that it gave your dog a glossy coat and gleaming eyes...)

I admit I was attracted to this by just two names on the cast list - Anya Taylor-Joy and Mia Goth. The former seems to be carving out a nice niche for herself in arty-but-genre B-movies with a horror or psychological-horror or thriller theme (see: The VVitch, Morgan, Split, Thoroughbreds) and also has a very distinctive and intriguing conventional-but-not-conventional beauty - huge and overly separated eyes that look a bit too big for her face. She is distinctive and could go far. Mia Goth simply remembered from last year's A Cure for Wellness, another glossy B-movie...

It is hard to say much about The Secret of Marrowbone without dropping massive spoilers. It is set in the late 1960s and ostensibly follows a family hiding out, seems to be a 19-year-old eldest brother, a 16-17-year-old brother and sister, and a much younger brother. What they are running/hiding from is a plot point. It plays like a smart blend (and sometimes an inversion) of various genre classics (including guilty cheesy pleasures). 
If I said "invert Flowers in the Attic and throw in a bit of The Others", that would be fair. 

It shouldn't work. It is pure genre stuff, it utilises plenty of tropes (don't go in that room, ooh horror film music, ooh hide a major thing from the audience until it's time to reveal it), but it all DOES work. Praise is due to the actors (apart from the youngest brother); it's carried really well by George Mackay, not a name that I knew before tonight. The thing is gorgeously shot. It even has a bit of a feel of The Orphanage about it, which may be linked to it having been produced by the chap who directed that film, and written and directed by The Orphanage's writer (and honestly I didn't know this while I was watching, I just checked it now, but you get that feel). 
Points lost for a lull and for a cheesy score and the annoying device of "6 months later" then immediately teasing with the information that Major Stuff happened in those 6 months, signalling that we have to wait for a flashback reveal. But I won't mark it too harshly for that. 

A pleasant surprise. 

The end. 

Offwidth - on 14:32 Tue
In reply to Blue Straggler:

As you know I don't normally post bad reviews on here, mainly just positive recommendations  but this one was so bad I was laughing out loud at times, due to that. Almost a must watch for true film afficionados. It makes many a US martial art B movie look great.

The IMDB score is a complete joke. It's a true 1/10. I agree completely with a reviewer in the link above (except their last point).

"I don't really have a polite thing to say about this film at all. It had so much promise but delivered jack! There were some fine actors cast, but even they could not breathe any life into it. I actually feel sorry for the 17 individuals that were the main cast. Tom Felton, previously of the Harry Potter series, must wonder where his career failed so badly! As the Military Adviser, Mr Richard Smedley should be ashamed of himself, that his name is against this shocking portray of our special forces. I really hope that he was overruled on how the final film would look!  Poorly filmed, poorly scripted, poorly acted and poorly advised! Don't bother, unless you are extremely desperate!"

I watched a lot of mainly mediocre movies in the last two weeks as I've been to Malaysia and had the airplane fare (worthwhile as the latest MAS screens are really good quality) and the Vision 4 hotel shows in country. The best I saw was Lego Batman... just amazingly funny and maybe almost a little too close to the comic fan base with almost fractal detail in scripting that shame the recent non animated DC output. My other recommendations was Black Panther (covered in these threads well already and I agree with  most said).  Also saw Red Sparrow and disagree with the negatives: it wasn't great but it was OK.

Blue Straggler - on 15:12 Tue
In reply to Offwidth:

I've never heard of Tom Felton but it's given that despite their genuine talent, the presence of Dominic Cooper, Connie Nielsen and Thomas Kretschman, all of who have at times actually been almost the best thing in some big films where they are supporting roles, is a clear signal that this is going to be some "Europudding"-style twaddle.

Did you see Red Sparrow on the aeroplane and was it an edited (shorter) version? Films often used to be cut for flights - I remember I saw Contact on a flight and it was 35 minutes shorter than the theatrical release. 

Red Sparrow was 142 minutes long in the cinema, which was part of its downfall

andymac - on 18:59 Tue
In reply to Blue Straggler:

'Hell or High Water' (2016)

Oscar nominated Jeff Bridges as hardened (almost retired)Texan Ranger on  the trail of 2 brother bank robbers.

i kept thinking he was Kris Kristofferson.

Nice .



BnB - on 19:26 Tue
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Incredibles 2. An absolute knockout of a superhero/bond spoof starring your favourite Pixar family. The baby Jack-Jack and his nascent terrible toddler superpowers is the true star with good vocal support from Saul and Mike (Bob Odenkirk and Jonathan Banks). I laughed for two hours uninterrupted and give the film 9/10. But Mrs Incredible, flashing her gusset at every twist and stretch, is a perfect, and filthy, 10.

Offwidth - on 19:44 Tue
In reply to Blue Straggler:

I'm pretty sure RS was over 2 hours. I watched Stratton partly as I just had enough time to with over 2 hours until landing:  it was one of the few remaining films around 100 minutes.

Blue Straggler - on 00:18 Wed
In reply to andymac:

Any film - absolutely ANY film - with Ben “new Richard Widmark” Foster, is worth a look, as he is fascinating to watch.


i had a problem with Hell or High Water in that there was no big reason to side with the protagonists who had never been duped and had signed up to a legitimate contract. It distracted me from a finely acted and well directed, well written and brilliantly shot film.

John Stainforth - on 00:42 Wed
In reply to andymac:

"Hell or High Water" Big disappointment. Jeff Bridges couldn't do a Texan accent to save his life, so he resorted to almost inaudible mumbling. The main protagonists (the bank robbing brothers) were obnoxiously faux.

I saw this in Texas, surrounded by Texans who seemed equally underwhelmed.


Blue Straggler - on 01:28 Wed
In reply to John Stainforth:


”obnoxiously faux” in terms of accents or in terms of plot:characterisation ?


John Stainforth - on 03:26 Wed
In reply to Blue Straggler:


Mark Collins - on 07:21 Wed
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, rrrraaaaahhhhh! 9/10

Blue Straggler - on 23:50 Wed
In reply to Mark Collins:

Fair enough , to each their own! I thought it was appalling, 3/10, worst of the year so far and I’ve seen Downsizing! Ha

Mark Collins - on 04:54 Thu
In reply to Blue Straggler:

I was being a little facetious if I'm honest, predicting some high brow reviews in the thread that I wouldn't understand.

Found the new BBC "Secrets of Cinema" series fascinating on iPlayer last night that folk on here may enjoy.

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