/ May film thread
Avengers - Infinity War
A surprising 9/10 and some surprising major events during the climax (ie “I guessed very wrongly about who might become toast”)
It is brilliant, especially considering the amount of characters and sub-plots it juggles. It does mean that some folk get short-changed a bit but this is inevitable and in fairness, hardly anyone is there as any sort of token contractual appearance, so it’s all good.
It could have been a 10/10, it loses two half points for a major “why didn’t they just do THIS” plot point, and for a tedious bit with Peter Dinklage (weirdly the second film of 2018 in which he provides a weak point)
The comic asides are meshed so brilliantly with the heavy stuff, I was really impressed. It never felt clunky or disjointed
Acting honours go to Olsen, Hemsworth and Brolin. Enjoyed Tom Holland too. Everyone is good though, those are just the standouts.
Go and see it!
NB in March I posted about being confused during Black Panther. Avengers - Infinity War despite having many more key characters and despite having a longer back story, is really easy to follow - and this despite my having really lost interest in Captain America : Civil War long before sides were taken!
Took the kids to see this last night and thought it was great. Most two hour plus Hollywood blockbusters strike me as triumphs of directorial ego at the expense of decent exposition and editing, not this one. On paper, with so many characters and so many plot strands, this film should have been a bloated, turgid mess. Far from it, the plot sped along, everything meshed, the humour never felt crowbarred in and the pathos, engendered by so many character deaths, never strayed into the mawkish.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. 9/10. A very rich movie; great story. Manages to avoid clichés.
The trailer for this film did look as if it wasn't going to be as cliché-ridden as one might suspect, but I still didn't fancy it. And I am quite a fan of Matthew Goode. I have perhaps reached saturation point for seeing Lily James swanning around in period costume though!
Something about the trailers for the film did make me think "probably one for me to avoid". Maybe I'll watch it if there is a handy screening soon.
I have to add Zoe Saldana to the “acting honours” list
Thinking about Avengers - Infinity War over the weekend and talking to friends who have seen it (including one friend whose antipathy toward this kind of film is major), I still think it was brilliantly done with so many good aspects and touches that you can't even name a standout scene.
Even the antagonist's henchpeople were interesting.
And it never got indulgent with the action set-pieces, they were brisk and free of flab, for a change.
A surprising 8.5/10
Todd Haynes' latest film sounds like a rather arty and meandering enterprise on paper, where it is summarised as parallel tales of two 11-12 year-olds, both deaf or hearing-impaired, one in 1927 and one in 1977, each travelling away from home into NYC in search of family members.
To be honest the main selling point for me was that Michelle Williams was in it, although of course I do like a good Todd Haynes melodrama (haven't seen Carol yet but enjoyed Safe and Far From Heaven)
ANYWAY the whole thing is far more accessible than I'd expected. It could be argued that it feels a bit meandering at times and that the 1927 scenes are a bit "try-hard" and aping the film "The Artist", and that some of the actual plot points are contrived.
All three such arguments would be wrong, though. The meandering works. The b&w cinematography of the 1927 scenes (crisp and modern, not done in fake scratchy silent-movie style), and the "silent" PoV of the deaf girl (overlaid with a wonderful score from Carter Burwell) works really well. Contrived plot points fit the obvious "fairy tale" feel to the film, and bring it to a smart conclusion.
The film is carried really well by three young lead actors: the wonderful Millicent Simmonds who is actually deaf (and was recently seen in A Quiet Place); Oakes Fegley playing a child who suddenly loses his hearing, and Jaden Michael as another youth in the story.
Williams is in it for about 6 minutes, she's as brilliant as ever but it's something of a cameo (fair enough, her name isn't exploited on the posters etc) and Julianne Moore is at the top of her game in a lead-billed role which is significant but which doesn't command a lot of screen time.
Highly recommended. It only gets 6.3/10 on imdb (plus the cast list there has a bit of a plot spoiler in it, although in fairness it's not exactly a twist when you get to it)
Bladerunner 2049; I wanted to love it but it was so long and excruciatingly slow and po-faced and really not very special at all.
But I loved it anyway.
Another out-of-character DVD review from me, as I think this film was always overlooked. An odd one for me because I had never seen it before last night but when it was released in 1999, I had a feeling that it would:
a) be pretty good
b) get a limited distribution
c) get totally overlooked and receive middling reviews
d) not get watched by me for years and years and years, before becoming the biggest non-surprise (see point "a") for ages
"Onegin", starring Ralph Fiennes and Liv Tyler (plus Toby Stephens, Harriet Walter and Lena Headey, and Alun Armstrong). Directed by Fiennes' sister Martha, with music by brother Magnus, I wonder if the novel was some long-term family favourite.
Anyway. I haven't read the novel but obviously it is all opulent 19th century Russian aristocratic ding dang doo.
And the film is a very engaging period melodrama. Martha Fiennes wisely allows the sets, costumes, locations, cinematography, score and performances do all the work, never trying to put any unnecessary extra directorial stylistic flourish to anything - whilst still obviously being skilled in putting it all together.
Basic story outline - Fiennes is a 19th century playboy layabout from St Petersburg who inherits a country estate, goes to the country and make a bit of a dick of himself, being all arrogant and playboyish, spurns the advances of a country girl, and then goes all sad.
It's really well done and the performances are spot-on (Fiennes perhaps a bit old for the role though). Stephens nails it, and Tyler is surprisingly brilliant in the final act.
All that said, I'll only give it 7/10 - but a strong 7/10. Why so low? Well it doesn't offer much new - it IS after all only another period adaptation. It does start to drag despite being only 102 minutes. And there is a duel which I felt was obviously going to play out in a certain way, and which didn't (thus was not in keeping with the characters involved) and which I subsequently learned was done differently to the book (which plays out exactly as I had thought it should in the film)
This film is nearly 20 years old so I am sure it is on Netflix etc. Go for it.
> it was so long and excruciatingly slow and po-faced and really not very special at all.
> But I loved it anyway.
I wonder how the sound quality on Bladerunner 2049 will translate to the small screen?
Watched Dunkirk on TV last week and the sound was abysmal in places: my wife couldn't understand why the soldiers queueing for evacuation kept dropping to the floor until I explained that the noise of incoming artillery shells had been lost altogether.
Does rather depend on your TV set up. Flatscreens have notoriously naff speakers, especially poor at reproducing bass.
> I wonder how the sound quality on Bladerunner 2049 will translate to the small screen?
I saw it at a IMAX theatre and the sound quality was amazing, the deep bass was more of feeling than a sound. I don't think that would be reproducible on any home sound system.
This I believe was a made for TV sci-fi that's not been released on the big screen. It's about a futuristic eugenics program run by a wayward scientist. The goal of the program was to try to modify humans so they can live on Saturn's moon Titan and the imperative was that life on earth was dying out with the effects of energy depletion, war, climate change etc.
This plot seems somewhat implausible to me and the film gets a fairly low rating so my expectations weren't high but something to watch whilst feeling unwell on the sofa. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The film was well made and if one suspends belief about the fact that going to live on Titan is not a good strategy most of it seemed well done and reasonably believable. That is all the way up to the ending. I'm pretty sure the ending is the reason for all the negative reviews and it almost felt as if a different person had written it from the rest of the film. This was a shame as just where one hopes the climax of the film had something interesting to say it degenerates into a rather senseless Hollywood style ending.
For the first 90% of the film I'd give around a 7/10 but that ending pulls the overall score down to about 5.
Sounds like a frustrating disappointing lost potential opportunity! Poor old Sam Worthington, probably thought he was headed for stardom with Avatar and Terminator Salvation, but he rapidly became all washed up!
Have you seen Europa Report?
Zoology, a Russian film just out on Sky. Quite captivating but lots of anomalies, possibly intended.
6/10 and that is me being generous
What did you give tht 1st one?
> Deadpool 2.
> 6/10 and that is me being generous
Hmm, think ill give that one a miss
Anyone seen Solo? (latest Star Wars spin-off) Seems to be getting a fair bit of stick online
Genuine question BTW, I'm interested to know how you think the two films compare. I know the 1st one received a bit of a panning but I watched it a few weeks ago and I enjoyed it.
10/10 for the first one, and I went to see it twice at the cinema and it maintained that score. I did watch 35 mins of it recently and wondered whether I had been too generous but in fairness it does not need to stand up to multiple viewings. That high score was for its “impact”.....which inherently the second one lacks, and the second one doesn’t compensate for this, it is basically a bit of a tired retread. Not nearly as bad as Kingsman 2 though
Southpaw... overly sentimental and cliched it may be at times but its still good enough to recommend. I've watched too many Sci Fi B movies recently so Im glad I switched genre.
Away from feature films I finished the 4 episode The City and The City yesterday. Based on a China Mieville book I admired, I thought it unfilmable. I was very wrong and despite some minor irritations I think they have done the ideas justice. Up with the most bizzare locations for a classy thriller imaginable.
Have you noticed that nearly every year, a “serious” big time actor does a boxing movie? It’s a peculiar genre, more consistent/prolific in terms of feature films than is ANY other sport. Southpaw was 2015’s entry. 2016 we had Bleed for This (Miles Teller and Aaron Eckhart). 2017, Hands Of Stone (Edgar Ramirez and Robert de Niro). Creed fits somewhere in the middle of this too.
Not sure what Hollywood is offering this year (I am not including minor independents like Journeyman as there are loads of those)
Finally watched The Theory of Everything, really superb: love and physics done well together in a carefully crafted film ... what a rare mixture ;-)
Top reviewer quote: "The quantum mechanics of a relationship under pressure"
I abhor boxing but The Fighter was one of the best of its genre, not for the fight scenes but the performances of Bale and ,in particular, Melissa Leo. I often wonder if there is a better film actress on the planet.
I think as sport goes boxing has more brilliant films than any other I can think of. The fighter was right up there.
You're probably right. The most popular and well received films nearly always include an amount of violence which you wouldn't like to encounter in real life.
We thrive on it. Otherwise boxing as a "sport" wouldn't exist.
> Melissa Leo. I often wonder if there is a better film actress on the planet.
There is a better film actress in The Fighter, let alone “on the planet”. Leo is good in The Fighter for sure , but calm down
actually I retract that statement, and with apologies to Tom. Amy Adams is an excellent actress but she has very little to work with in The Fighter and consequently does not shine.
I did think Wahlberg was excellent and deserved at least an Oscar nomination, in preference to Bale who was good but who seemed to be just switching on the “edgy Bale” setting
A very quick comment about Solo: A Star Wars Story, outside of my review which I'll do later. This is the most important bit, the bit people care about, as I've seen so many comments (before film release) from people chanting "if it's not Harrison Ford it's not Han Solo" blah blah blah
Alden Ehrenreich is absolutely fantastic as the younger Han Solo. Within the first minute, he owns the role.
Jurrasic World last night. Great fun.
With THAT strung-out death scene
so so much good stuff on the web about it. I was looking for some tongue in cheek poetry I’d seen at the time, but got sidetracked by this
They will be applying such logic to Roadrunner cartoons next!
Seriously though within the franchise it was an interesting death. Most of the elaborate or otherwise memorable brutal onscreen deaths happened to antagonists or self sacrificing heroes (see: more pteranodons in Jurassic Park III) and somehow serve the plot. Zara was fairly incidental to the story and neither a protagonist nor antagonist, really just a bystander, yet she gets the full treatment. I remember when I saw it at the cinema I was already thinking there was something, if not “amiss”, then at least unusual, about it
Nothing like as bad as the token black man killed off in movies of the past. Maybe following on from this past blight as described in the link below, its prevenge on the Me Too generation....
.... or maybe its just a cartoon death for a minor character.
> .... or maybe its just a cartoon death for a minor character.
Cartoon deaths for minor characters are usually quick even they do end up being the most memorable. Zara’s went on for about three uninterrupted minutes! I maintain that it is (wonderfully) out of kilter with things.
The amount of material on the web discussing it in detail, somewhat backs me up
this is a good onE, more about the character than the mechanics of the death
I believed you and thought I was going mad, undeleted and checked...only 36 seconds. Funny article though in terms of possible alternative fictional futures and most of what he says is true and would be much more important on a serious movie, which this is most certainly not.
I rewatched the Star Wars 2nd trilogy in a different way following your advice on being too judgemental on the scriptwriting of teen movies (I so wanted to like those films and was so annoyed the CGI budget was so big but the money put into scripts so small, down to directorial ego). I think you are maybe guilty here of not following your own advice. Still, Lex's sister deserved a better death.
Really? Felt much longer but then 36 uninterrupted seconds of mayhem is actually quite a lot.
Lex from the first film? Is someone in JW meant to be her sister?
Solo: A Star Wars Story
I’ll not post a score just yet.
I will start by saying that it’s pretty good and certainly worth seeing on the big screen; earlier in the thread I emphasised that Alden Ehrenreich does an excellent job as a younger Han Solo, the 40 year legacy of Harrison Ford does not haunt this at all (although I am not sure how much younger Han is meant to be in this new film)
There is quite a nice story, involving Han getting into his life of galactic scrapes in the criminal underworld. There is a fantastically designed train heist action set-piece. Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian is good.
Now the bad stuff. Although the STORY is ok, the DIALOGUE is awful. It’s as if George Lucas had been brought in to write the dialogue. Clunky exposition, and shoehorning blatant references to bits of Star Wars lore. The actors do well enough to get through their lines, frankly. Woody Harrelson is good but looks like he is coasting a bit. Emilia Clarke has her moments especially later in the film, but the performance is wobbly and I couldn’t help but think that Tatiana Maslany would have perfect in her role. The cinematography is a bit dark unless that was a technical thing at my cinema. And the editing was really annoying.
So, basically a frustrating film because it could easily have been a lot better
It was less than 36 secomds of Mayhem more like 26. I counted from when she was isolated and the creature flies towards her to the scene cut after the sea beast has swallowed all.
The Lex thing is a sneaky segue to test you.
The Martian. Totally fantastic sci -fi. Ridley Scott just keeps knocking them out. Funny, intensely human, clever and optimistic. Surprisingly pacy and makes the most of glorious vistas on mars and in space.
I'm also watching Missions at the moment (a passable French Mars Sci Fi/fantasy series) and now I feel rather sorry for the show.
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