UKC

/ November Film Thread

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Blue Straggler - on 06 Nov 2017

Saw three new films over the weekend.

The Death of Stalin, 7.5/10. Very good, clever, funny but most of all featuring a cast on top form, as this sort of material absolutely relies on that. Unlike Armando Ianucci's The Thick of It and In The Loop, this seemed tightly scripted rather than improvised. No issue there, just thought I'd mention it. For me it was a bit of a history lesson as I know very little about this sort of thing. Really quite unsettling to watch it and realise that it really wasn't all that long ago (and to realise that similar craziness and death lists etc. still go on around the world)

Murder on the Orient Express, 5.5/10. Sumptuously shot and a pretty cast performing perfectly well(*) but it was so unengaging that you feel it was a waste of talent. Mind you, I never particularly liked "whodunnits", especially Agatha Christie ones, not that I ever read any nor saw many (the occasional Miss Marple, and Ustinov's Poirot). So, can I blame Branagh when the fault lies with my not liking the genre or the source material? The "big reveal" in this story is just ludicrous. I'd be interested in the views of people who actually like Christie
* arguably all a bit theatrical/pantomimey but again that's part of the actual plotting in a "who's telling the truth" kind of story. Pfeiffer gets a chance to really shine for a very brief scene toward the end, and therefore "wins" the acting prize.


The Killing of a Sacred Deer, 7.5/10. New one from Yorgos Lanthimos whose "The Lobster" was my favourite film of 2015. Again starring Colin Farrell, this one still dabbles with the surreal but there's no quirky comedic feel to it (aside from a couple of one-liners). It's quite demanding and oppressive, very dark, and kind of hard to say WHY I liked it. Many people are referencing Haneke's "Funny Games" but I think that although there are some story similarities, it actually has more of the feel of Haneke's "Hidden" (Cache). Although maybe we just shouldn't bother referencing Haneke at all!
I find it refreshing that a bleak uncommercial film like this can still attract major stars and get decent distribution. For another example from this year, see also: "mother!".
Post edited at 12:25
Mooncat - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

I'd give The Death of Stalin a solid 8. Great cast, especially Simon Russell Beale.
I wasn't too sure about the first half hour but it gathered pace and became darker as the film progressed.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is next on my list.
Offwidth - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:
Finally saw Blade Runner... beautiful visuals and well worth seeing at the cinema and for such a long film it didn't drag but I was hoping for more novelty and less homage to the earlier film. I also thought the major plot developments were sometimes way too obvious before the 'twists' were delivered and minor plot necessities were sometimes just silly. Did anyone else think there was an impression that time had almost stood still (the headline dates when the action was supposed to be taking place were always ludicrous and should really have been dropped, but hey why not headline it this time!!).

Looking forward (or is it backward?) to Stalin.

Almost forgot to add, I quite enjoyed watching Outlander (from recording)... quite good fun pulp SciFi despite being a clear Beowulf rip-off.. https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/outlander/
Post edited at 17:58
MonkeyPuzzle - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

I watched Mother!, and I feel like I've been beaten up. Every time I thought I'd figured out what was happening it just cranked up another notch of f*cked-up. Jennifer Lawrence's character has actually no definable character, but is simply a mirror for Bardem's self-indulgent egomaniac. Considering Aronofsky is married to Lawrence, I wouldn't be surprised if the whole thing were an apology, a rebuke and/or a pitch black in-joke between husband and wife. Not sure I can say I enjoyed it, but I was glad I experienced it. Too discombobulating to consider marks out of ten.
Blue Straggler - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

They aren't married YET!

Lawrence is playing a sort of Mother Earth or Gaia spirit. Bardem is (a) God. Harris and Pfeiffer are Adam and Eve. The house is Earth. And so it goes on. You can guess by now who the baby represents...

I admit I had to check all this after seeing it.
mav - on 07 Nov 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Watched on blue ray a Polish film called Life Feels Good. One of these films which i'm unsure how it found it's way onto my dvd subscription (cinema paradiso, following on from another thread).

I'd thoroughly recommend it: well made; well acted; emotionally affecting. the subject matter (a true story about a boy with severe cerebal palsy misdiagnosed as also having severe learning disabilities) brings obvious parallels with My Left Foot, but doesn't suffer from comparison. It also serves as an interesting period piece, beginning in Poland in early 80's behind the Iron Curtain and moving forward from there across two decades.
Offwidth - on 09 Nov 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

I'll make an exception on the negative side. Prevenge... from the critics and the line-up and being a black comedy fan I should have loved this really but it felt like an art school short or TV episode with cells of good ideas that grew misformed like a cancer. The really annoying treatment of climbing didn't help.

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/prevenge/

On the plus side I didn't find it anything like as bad as the admittedly truly original and even more acclaimed Aaaaaaah. A murderous primate inspired concept with what seemed to me to be over-indulged primate intelligence.

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/aaaaaaaah/


Gordon Stainforth - on 09 Nov 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Absolutely loved Sally Potter's 'The Party'. 5 stars. A perfectly pitched black comedy, massively entertaining, beautifully crafted, and very intelligent (making quite a change from some over-hyped movies I've seen recently.) Often on the edge of absurdity, but never flippant. A superlative script and outstanding ensemble performances from all, particularly Kristin Scott Thomas. The black and white photography superb. I'll definitely be watching this again, to savour both the cinematic craft and intricacy of the script.
Jon Stewart - on 09 Nov 2017
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

Interesting. Aronofsky has made some of my favourite ever films, and some of my betes noires. I suspect from what you say that this might fall into the latter category...

Please keep these threads going - even though I never get round to watching any of the bloody things..
Jon Stewart - on 09 Nov 2017
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> Absolutely loved Sally Potter's 'The Party'

Sounds right up my street.
Blue Straggler - on 11 Nov 2017
In reply to Offwidth:
Thanks for confirming that Prevenge is as poor as it looked. From the trailers and even the poster, I never "trusted" anything that was said about it, as it looked childish and rubbish, and I do like a lot of what Alice Lowe does, but just not the look of this one.


I see that "aaaaaah" is also Lowe, reunited with fellow Sightseer Steve Oram. Are you having a themed week?!
Post edited at 09:35
Offwidth - on 11 Nov 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

No, I only just made it to the end of the film and wasn't reading the credits properly to spot the Lowe link. I thought Sightseers was a good piece of low budget black comedy.
MonkeyPuzzle - on 11 Nov 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Interesting. Aronofsky has made some of my favourite ever films, and some of my betes noires. I suspect from what you say that this might fall into the latter category...

I'd say it's worth watching just for the spectacle. You certainly can't accuse him of half-arsing it. Pi is one of my favourite films.
Big Ger - on 19 Nov 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

We saw "Murder on the Orient Express" last night.

I have Suchet as the perfect Poirot archetype, with Ustinov a pale second. So Branagh was not ideal, and was far too physical in the role. It was as incongruous as seeing Holmes played by a short fat bald bloke. Not only that but Branagh seemed to be playing Poirot AS Holmes, esp in the opening scenes.

That just didn't work for me. (Surprisingly the moustache was the least of the diversions.)

> He was hardly more than five feet four inches but carried himself with great dignity. His head was exactly the shape of an egg, and he always perched it a little on one side. His moustache was very stiff and military. Even if everything on his face was covered, the tips of moustache and the pink-tipped nose would be visible.

Bitching aside, the film was beautiful, lush scenery, superb settings, wonderful attention to the Art Deco of the time, (that train!!!) The acting, well what do you expect from a cast like that? Depp was particularly impressive, Pfeiffer was dazzling, and Lucy Boynton, well...drop dead gorgeous....

Nicely shot, apart from some stupid scenes which were filmed from above, and just didn't work, and wonderful direction.

The story was reasonably true to the book. So all in all 7/10 from me.
DerwentDiluted - on 19 Nov 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Watched Hidden Figures last night. Really good film about some people I never knew about but should have done. Definately recommended.
Offwidth - on 28 Nov 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Just saw Ex Machina: simply beautiful sci-fi film; spot on images, pace and acting and just enough left to wonder about. Also watched John Carter, the Disney Martian yarn last night: much more fun than I expected, even though something more retro in style might have suited my tastes more.
Blue Straggler - on 29 Nov 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

I saw Ex Machina at the cinema and really wanted to like it rather more than I actually did. It was good but fell apart a bit at the end, notably with the actions of Oscar Isaac's character, and I felt that it was presenting itself as being a lot smarter and deeper than it really was. A bit like The Matrix - carefully designed to make 14-year-old boys think they have seen something truly profound and philosophical.

I do plan to watch it again soon. I don't think I've seen Domnhall Gleeson in a film that wasn't somehow interesting yet. When "About Time" is an actor's "worst" film, I'd say he's doing OK. Likewise Vikander, although she was sailing close to the edge in "Jason Bourne", and next year's Tomb Raider currently doesn't look massively promising.

I tried to watch John Carter on a small TV in my parents' kitchen one Christmas and underestimated how much attention you needed to pay it. I got very confused with it.
Blue Straggler - on 29 Nov 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:
Justice League. 6/10. A muddle, and a shame after the majestic and underrated Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Tragic production troubles plus a studio insistence on a sub-120-minute film, spoiled this one

Battle of the Sexes. Ignore all the "meh" reviews, this is a solid 8.5/10. Excellent stuff, superbly acted by the entire ensemble but absolutely carried by Emma Stone who is basically the modern Audrey Hepburn. I would have liked a bit more about Bobby Riggs' backstory and home life etc, but the film was already 2 hours long and there's not a great deal they could have cut (some reviews said it seemed to dwell a bit too much on on King's lesbian relationship, but I thought it was balanced and sensitively done, having feared that it might have been prick-teasingly prurient).
Post edited at 00:52
Kimono - on 29 Nov 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:
I thought Justice League was abolute tosh
Had I not been with a date who was enjoying it, I would have left after 20 mins
Post edited at 03:26
Offwidth - on 29 Nov 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Thats a bit mean. I don't see Ex Machina as THAT deep (pretend or otherwise) and aside maybe from some rather unnecesary nakedness not much fun for a 14 year old...way too slow paced and too ideas based. Oscar seemed consistent to me as the slowly revealed damaged genius. On the subject of 14, J Carter did seem like an early teen targetted alien action movie. It suffered a bit from mumbling of the lead actor Taylor Kitsch but from some of the critcal reviews I was expecting incomprehensible tosh, not par for the course, very watchable big budget stuff.
Blue Straggler - on 29 Nov 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

> Thats a bit mean.

Well, it IS me...
1
Stichtplate on 29 Nov 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:
Always respected your views on cinema. Not always in 100% agreement (I really liked Ex Machina, for instance), but always roughly in the same ballpark.

That is, until you described Batman Vs Superman as “majestic and underrated”..... WTF ? Drink, drugs or disease induced hallucination. What exactly happened to you that night?

Edit: should really provide my own view of it: turgid and over promoted.
Post edited at 21:51
aln - on 29 Nov 2017
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Batman Vs Superman as “majestic and underrated”..... WTF ?

I'm 100% in agreement with Straggler
Stichtplate on 29 Nov 2017
In reply to aln:

> I'm 100% in agreement with Straggler

Are you doing that deadpan, taking the piss thing you sometimes do ?
aln - on 30 Nov 2017
In reply to Stichtplate:

Not this time.
Blue Straggler - on 30 Nov 2017
In reply to Stichtplate:

Watch the 3h2m version. It patches over the holes in the 2h25m version
Blue Straggler - on 30 Nov 2017
In reply to Stichtplate:

> What exactly happened to you that night?

2 nights

Cinema viewing at time of release, scored it 8.5/10
Extended edition Blu Ray a few weeks ago, standing by that score even though the extended one was “better”, it doesn’t gain any points but it makes it easier to defend

Stichtplate on 30 Nov 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

I can see your logic but if I had 3 hours to spend on a directors cut I'd re-watch Apocalypse Now Redux. Truly magnificent and underrated.
Skyfall - on 30 Nov 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Just watched The Shack. Hmmmm ...
Blue Straggler - on 01 Dec 2017
In reply to Stichtplate:

> I can see your logic but if I had 3 hours to spend on a directors cut I'd re-watch Apocalypse Now Redux.

You would miss the end!
Blue Straggler - on 01 Dec 2017
In reply to Stichtplate:

> I can see your logic but if I had 3 hours to spend on a directors cut I'd re-watch Apocalypse Now Redux. Truly magnificent and underrated.

How about The Abyss: Special Edition? 9 minutes shy of the 3 hour mark apparently..
Stichtplate on 01 Dec 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

> You would miss the end!

I wouldn't Blue. "The End" is playing right at the start when Willard is freaking out in his hotel room.
;-)
Blue Straggler - on 01 Dec 2017
In reply to Stichtplate:

I set 'em up...

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