/ Your film of the week (12 - 18 June 2017)

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Blue Straggler - on 19 Jun 2017

I didn't post one of these last week as I had not been to the cinema (nor seen any films) in the preceding week, due to travelling through Italy). Shame nobody picked up the baton.

This week, three cinema trips.

My Cousin Rachel. 4/10. I don't know the source material so can't say if it was simply a bad adaptation but they failed to garner any audience sympathy for the mildly troubled toffs in this. Rachel Weisz and especially Holliday Grainger (the latter in a rather thankless role) were good. Sam Claflin seemed miscast - too "manly" to play this naive confused 24-year-old. And it was just BORING.

Gifted. 8/10. A very good film. Yes, a bit formulaic and predictable but the writing and especially the acting really carried it. I worry that Chris Evans will fall prey to the "Hugh Jackman" curse i.e. whatever he does outside of his superhero signature role, will be doomed to "footnote" status. A shame as he is good in this. Lindsay Duncan, all-but-forgotten even by British television fans, swaggers in and steals the show by managing to not chew the scenery in a potentially scenery-chewing role. Loses points for redundant love interest sub-plot and the lazy insertion of Octavia Spencer in a trite "Octavia Spencer" role. I'd like to have been able to score it higher but I have to be fair and consistent.

The Mummy. 6/10. Not rubbish! More a case of being frustrating because there were definitely moments where you could see the remnants of a GREAT film trying to shine through, but to be honest it was all muddled as to what it wanted to be. It's certainly not a Tom Cruise vehicle because despite him having the majority of the screen time, his character is almost a "just....kind of....IN IT" cipher. Crowe was effective but this is where the frustration starts, and all the muddle. Basically this is the first film in a hoped-for-franchise (Universal's monster movies, which they have tried to reboot several times, never successfully). The editing was particularly annoying in this film as there should have been some excellent impressive action set pieces that would ONLY be excellent in fluid long shots, and were ruined by choppy editing. This is not something I usually bother to comment upon, which means it really was irritating in this.


[edit] usually I only mention films that I saw in the cinema but given the circumstances, I should mention that I paid homage to the late Adam West by watching the 1966 Batman movie last Monday, and then the bizarre work of genius that is "Return to the Batcave - The Further Misadventures of Adam and Burt". I mentioned "breaking the fourth wall" a couple of weeks ago. This film MASTERS the technique. It's the fourth time I've seen it and I was worried that it might turn out to actually not be as good as I remembered, but I LOVED it. Made in 2003, it features West and Ward playing versions of themselves, generously as tubby washed up actors, forced into a daft Batman-style plot regarding the theft of the original Batmobile. They are given clues that make them reminisce about the good old days and we essentially get a nice fictionalised/dramatised documentary about the making of the 60s series, with young actors playing the cast. The guy playing Adam West is fantastic. 9/10
Post edited at 23:04
Offwidth - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:
I was waiting until today and was going to start a thread for the month... it would be much less hassle. I'd encourage talk about anything good folk have seen, not just their favorite cinema experience.

I've not watched so many films in the last two weeks but the ones I saw were all good. The best was outstanding:

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_possibilities_are_endless/ this was an amazing cross between a work of cinema art and a documentary, all about Edwyn Collins (of the band Orange Juice etc) recovery from a stroke. Unique, especially in the first half.

The other two were both rightly rated and certainly very good films: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/lore and https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/rundskop_2012 but I still feel somehow like my viewing ended up too detatched.
Post edited at 11:43
Tom V - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

My Cousin Rachel is a version of the Daphne du Maurier novel of the same name.
A lot of her stuff has made good films, short stories included.
Blue Straggler - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to Tom V:
I know. I just didn't bother to mention it explicitly in my little review because a) this fact is all over the trailers and the poster so anyone vaguely interested in seeing the film would know this, b) I alluded to it "I don't know the source material so can't say if it was simply a bad adaptation" and c) as I have not read the source material I wanted to review only the film .

All of this (well, maybe not point "a") should have been painfully obvious in the OP


I love the Fontaine/Olivier "Rebecca". Hitchcock's "The Birds" is very overrated.


Post edited at 18:33
Tom V - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:
I give up.
It should be painfully obvious why.

But just in case, and if anyone else is wondering: your default setting seems to be The Put Down.
Post edited at 19:10
Tom V - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to Tom V:

And actually, your statement that " I don't know the source material... " could be a bit ambiguous.
Don't you think?
Blue Straggler - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to Tom V:
Tom
Your first post on this thread could be seen as a put-down. Not by me. My interpretation is that it was well intentioned. As was my reply to you. You've chosen a "thin skinned" interpretation to my reply to you. Read my post again. I haven't put you down. I have better things to do than to put people down, and if I wanted to put people down, I'd just do it with no ambiguity.

As for this,
"your statement that " I don't know the source material... " could be a bit ambiguous.
Don't you think?",

you've selectively omitted the bit where I refer to it being an adaptation despite it being in the OP and in my own self-quote, therefore I think it is clear from the OP (and from my own self-quote) that I know that this is adapted from SOMETHING, and generally if I see someone acknowledge that something is adapted, I'll happily assume that they know what the source material was. Maybe that makes me a naive idiot.

No Country For Old Men was adapted from the screenplay for Charley Varrick, by the way. Unofficially and unacknowledged, of course.
Post edited at 00:19
Offwidth - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:
Back to films ...another 'rubbernecker' experience last night with anything from obsessive to clearly tin-hat theories about Kubrick and The Shining. Weird but compelling viewing. I'd love to hear Gordon's thoughts on this movie.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Room_237
Post edited at 18:38
Blue Straggler - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

The theory that the actual film The Shining (as directed by Kubrick) is worth more than 6.5/10, is pretty crackpot as it is.
Offwidth - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

You tell those critics

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

From last nights catch-up viewing I'd recommend the feature length documentary, David Bowie: the last 5 years ....squeezing out the last possibilities of genius before death.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b088ktm6 ... not currently available
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Blue Straggler - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

6.5/10 isn't a BAD score as such

mav - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

I don't get to the cinema much (children/babysitters) so tend to see most films by postal dvd service late on. So, on the grounds it may jog memories and allow you to re-visit:
This weeks main film was Captain Fantastic. Which I'd give 7/10 and describe as flawed but ambitious, which is far better than a film which successfully sticks to a formula, imho. I enjoyed the way it took the Hollywood cliché of the knowledgeable hippy and showed the almost militaristic discipline required to achieve all the knowledge wit and skills these clichés have. Where I felt it let itself down was that when it took the dad and six children out of their surroundings and into the western world, that the people who lived there were such banal stereotypes that what was a hitherto intelligent film veered towards slapstick. Still, you can't win em all, and it entertained me whilst trying hard to be much better than the script allowed.
Blue Straggler - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to mav:

That's an interesting take on the film. I thought the whole point of it was the "take them into the real world" and yes maybe the people with whom they interacted might have seemed a bit "cardboard cut out" but to me it wasn't so bad in that respect. Where I thought it let itself down badly was in the the last fifteen minutes where it seemed to completely undo what I thought it's entire point was (I don't want to post spoilers here)
The rock climbing scene was "interesting" ????
Blue Straggler - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to mav:

"flawed but ambitious, which is far better than a film which successfully sticks to a formula, imho."

Most of my favourite films are like this. They don't get the highest scores under my system if I apply it fairly, yet they contain such brilliance sometimes even within their flaws. Wim Wenders' "Until the End of the World" would probably get 5.5/10 but I'll evangelise about that film....
Tom V - on 24 Jun 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Just watched Julieta.

Ok bur Almodovar Lite.
Offwidth - on 24 Jun 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

"Wim Wenders' "Until the End of the World" would probably get 5.5/10 but I'll evangelise about that film...." whats the point of a grading system like that? Isn't something that rates the value of sharing the experience more important.
Blue Straggler - on 25 Jun 2017
In reply to Offwidth:
Everything starts with a 10/10 and loses points for things that warrant the loss of points.
Also factored in is a "what was it AIMING for?" consideration.

Thus, something like Brooklyn's Finest which was never angling for serious instant classic status or playing for Oscar nominations, gets a high score (8/10 or maybe 8.5/10) because it does little wrong. Yes it's a b-movie. Yes, it may be forgotten after a year, and never be some enduring classic like, I dunno, Inherit the Wind.

On the other hand, The Shawshank Redemption which has "serious movie" written all over it, is both full of clunkers AND fails to deliver on its promise, so it gets a lower score (probably still 7.5/10, not sure as I have not accurately reviewed it under this system).


i.e. I factor in "what did you EXPECT". Otherwise great animated films like Zootropolis would lose out every time to heavyweight dramas. It's the "What Hi Fi"magazine method, to ensure that their review of a £200 component is fair when reviewed against a £23k component.

Yet I have to be consistent. So Until the End of the World, although I love it, is admittedly a jumbled mess with indulgent diversions, poor comic relief, a total lack of chemistry between romantic leads, a lumbering and disjointed pace etc. ANd that is when I'd need to evangelise or at least write something down beyond just the score.
My favourite film, Once Upon A Time in the West, gets 7.5/10.

I've seen film magazines do similar, e.g. a 3 star score but a glowing review with the odd caveat.
Post edited at 14:42
TheDrunkenBakers - on 25 Jun 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Do they have to be released this week? If not, I nominate Black Mass which I watched last night. Jonny Depp was good again and the supporting cast was excellent. Tense, curious, and a great viewpoint into a East-coast gangster life in the 70s and 80s. Well worth a watch.
Blue Straggler - on 25 Jun 2017
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

No they can be old. I just choose to do cinema ones only (mostly). Including old films at the cinema
TheDrunkenBakers - on 25 Jun 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

In which case, Black Mass stands. And isnt the Boston accent weird yet pleasant
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Blue Straggler - on 25 Jun 2017
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:
It got such bad reviews and didn't stay in cinemas long enough for me to give it a chance. I will bear your opinion in mind
Mark Edwards - on 25 Jun 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

OK, not a film, as such. But…
Just found out that Dark Matter, series 3, is now available on Exodus. Yippee.
Just hope Exodus survives long enough for the final series of Game of Thrones.
RIP Kodi Addon’s – so long, and thanks for all the fish.
mav - on 26 Jun 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

'interesting' doesn't cover it. They seems to be all roped, but not together?

The last fifteen minutes held together better from my perspective. Though still in a contrived, 'big leap from then til now' way. But as you say, spoilers. All I'll say is that I probably saw the film as you saw it initially, but began to see another side as it went on.

On the flawed but ambitious, I'd say these are the ones I think about most afterwards. They are probably the ones I'd find hardest to review as well, as they take the longest to settle in my head.
Offwidth - on 26 Jun 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Last night watched Lemmy... pure rock worship (and a great contrast to the Bowie film). Also watched The Raid 2 not quite as fresh as the original but still a must for martial art film fans.
Offwidth - on 28 Jun 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

Yesterday: Heart of a Dog and Baaria

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/heart_of_a_dog/ a unique dogs eye view, alongside death, art and philosophy

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/baaria___la_porta_del_vento a sprawling sentimental movie dealing with many big issues with real humour, like a mini 'Hundred Years of Solitude' a bit slow after the start but I thought well worth sticking with.

I've got into the habit of recording any film with very good 'V box' scores or excellent critical reviews and it strikes me that such gems, alongside other quality output, mainly from the BBC, Ch4 and Film 4, provide endless enjoyable viewing. The main difficulty for a busy person who loves films is the tricky choices on what not to watch.
Offwidth - on 29 Jun 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

Yet another great film documentary last night... https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/red_army_2015/ cold wars on ice... brilliant stuff the central character goes full circle from national hero to villain and back again.

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