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Rate the last film you watched out of 5


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Primal Fear (1996)

 

I didn't even know about this film until I watched Game Night last week and it came up as the Edward Norton film ( I would have said American History X or Fight Club but eh). Damn if he isn't absolutely incredible in every scene and little details like the stammer being his idea were just the icing on the cake. Richard Gere wasn't bad by any means (not the rest of the cast for that matter) but he was just completely upstaged by Norton in his first film.

 

3.5/5

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Perdita Durango

 

Rosie Perez teams up with Javier Bardem and the pair get into some shenanigans whilst being pursued by James Gandolfini. I was hoping this was gonna be the film where Rosie finally gets to be the lead, but Javier is so fucking crazy he steals every scene they’re in together. It’s weird to think this was her last big role following a great run with Do The Right Thing, White Men Can’t Jump and Fearless, while Javier’s career was about to jump off in a big way. It’s like there was some kind of energy transference happening here. This isn’t a movie for everybody, that Alex Cox turns up at one point makes total sense, it’s the sort of film he’d have featured on Moviedrome.

 

4/5

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Relic

 

I was a little unsure about watching this, given the subject matter, and that my dad is suffering from dementia. I could relate to a lot of stuff in this. There is something scary about losing one's mind, and I think the film was unflinching in it's portrayal of such a terrible disease, whilst never forgetting that it's also a horror film.

 

4 out of 5

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Raya and the last dragon. 

 

Long and dull. Absolutely middle of the road "what did we learn today? Well. We learned that friendship is more important than who has a bit of glass" 

 

Just dull

 

And it wasn't the last dragon. 

 

Lying bastards 

 

1 very not the last dragon out of 5

 

 

 

 

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Beavis and Butthead Do America (1996)

This is simply a good slice of animated stupidness, puerile jokes, simple humour, gags like "is this a god dam?", "cavity searches all round" and "I am Cornholio, I need TP for my bunghole!" make me laugh out loud. It's simple, unadulterated fun, totally ridiculous, juvenile nonsense, and I love it.

 

4.5/5

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Peter Rabbit 2

Half term treat for my stepdaughter, first time back in the cinema since COVID.

Best bits are the supporting characters and the bizarre last act with the chase sequences.

Corden predictably annoying and self-reverential as the title character.

3/5

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The Courier (2020): nice set up, but ultimately boring - 2/5

 

Rogue One - last two SW movies have been extremely disappointing, this one is nice - 4/5

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Spiral - 1.5/5

 

Shite. Chris Rock is fucking terrible in this, how he got cast I will never know. Its one of the worst cases of miscasting I have ever seen. 

 

Not that it matters much. Avoid. 

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The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

 

-1/5

 

Fucking awful. Don’t bother. 

 

Not only is this an atrocious movie, but the subject matter now makes me thoroughly sick. 
It’s another venture into the world of Ed and Lorraine Warren. Noted frauds and liars...sorry....paranormal investigators. 
 

Whereas the first movie that involved the portrayal of this real life couple was kind of cool, it’s now beyond a joke and beyond the pale. Because the storyline of this particular movie involves the murder trial of Arne Johnson, a guy who stabbed his landlord to death and then claimed “demonic possession” as a defence. 
 

What an absolute fucking farce and insult to the victim’s family to make a movie; not only once again placing these two charletons on a pedestal, but going as far as to film a happy go lucky epilogue about Johnson’s conviction, sentence, and how he married his sweetheart and they’re “still married to this day”. Who fucking cares. 
 

 

My opinion of the actors has thoroughly fallen after this. They should have refused.

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The Gentlemen

 

A film saved by Hugh Grant. This film is an oddity as it is some hyper glamourised theme park ride verson of "gangsters in London". The setting is mad and unrealistic to the point of it almost being a fantasy film. The plot propping up the overblown setting is half decent and some of the set pieces are very well crafted. However it feels like a bunch of disparate sketches/set pieces chucked together in a film like a poor man's Pulp Fiction.

 

But the framing device of Hugh Gran's Fletch just ties it all together using a Basil Exposition style character which would normally fail but in this instance it works perfectly due to the characterisation and performance from Grant. It shouldn't work but what should be the final nail in the coffin in the film ends up rescuing it. Everything being told from Fletch's perspective means that the daft excesses are down to his journalistic interpretation which feels pretty clever. But again it cannot be understated that it is Grant's performance and character that sells the framing concept and makes it work as well as it does.

 

it isn't half as clever as it thinks it is and it is still not a classic but...

 

3/5 (without Hugh grant deduce 2 points!)

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12 hours ago, Ry said:

Spiral - 1.5/5

 

Shite. Chris Rock is fucking terrible in this, how he got cast I will never know. Its one of the worst cases of miscasting I have ever seen. 

 

Not that it matters much. Avoid. 

 

He was the driving force behind getting it made, is how.

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5 hours ago, Festoon said:

 

He was the driving force behind getting it made, is how.

 

Ah fair enough. Still, its one of the worst performances iv have seen in a very long time. 

 

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Escape from the Bronx

 

The body and explosion count in this is off the charts! On average, there's somebody getting riddled with bullets, torched to death with a flamethrower, or thrown through the air by an exploding car every 5 seconds. My favourite death was when one of the good guys swings a shotgun like a baseball bat into the face of a bad guy wearing a crash helmet, and his head explodes like a watermelon.

 

One of the main villains is called Floyd Wrangler. Floyd FUCKING Wrangler.

 

4 out of 5

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Geostorm

 

Fucking hell!

 

A stupid premise that is poorly plotted. Add to that cartoon CGI, a terrible cast most of whom are horribly miscast and an incomprehensible set of "twists and turns".

 

To that mix add space scenes with no drama or weight or wonder or action... add to that an earthbound plot with the "secret service" that was written in crayon... add to that a pointlessly overblown denoument that made no sense.

 

I felt like my IQ dropped just watching it.

 

For those who thought Greenland was a terrible Gerard Butler disaster movie? Watch this... or don't - really really don't.

 

1/5

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17 hours ago, Clipper said:

Geostorm

 

Fucking hell!

 

A stupid premise that is poorly plotted. Add to that cartoon CGI, a terrible cast most of whom are horribly miscast and an incomprehensible set of "twists and turns".

 

To that mix add space scenes with no drama or weight or wonder or action... add to that an earthbound plot with the "secret service" that was written in crayon... add to that a pointlessly overblown denoument that made no sense.

 

I felt like my IQ dropped just watching it.

 

For those who thought Greenland was a terrible Gerard Butler disaster movie? Watch this... or don't - really really don't.

 

1/5

We watched Greenland then Geostorm a week apart. I can't remember which was which, since they've merged into one pretty awful disaster. I seem to remember one of them being full of "why would you do that, other than to inject some drama?"

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I thought Geostorm was excellent escapist stuff and thoroughly entertaining.

 

Anyhoo......

 

The Death of Stalin

 

What an odd film. Stalin has always gotten off lightly compared to Hitler ( in terms of how history remembers him) and while this film goes some way to addressing the horrors of his reign it’s played for laughs most of the time. Luckily Issacs, Palin, Buscemi and Friend put in amazing performances that elevate the movie somewhat. It feels like a play rather than a film and there was a definite lack of ambition in the staging and cinematography. 
 

2.5/5

 

The November Man.

 

Nothing original to see here. A decent if entirely run of the mill thriller with Brosnan not having to push himself much as proto Bond. Kurylenko (an under rated actor IMHO) pushes the film up a notch and I like films referencing the Balkan War. 
 

3/5

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Creed II

 

I could watch Stallone play Rocky as an old man for hours. The graveside visits, the bumbling folksy well meaning advice and the self deprecating attitude hiding an immensely strong man. Stallone wears the part of Rocky like  a comfortable pair of shoes and this role is really his crowning glory. For that alone this film gets 3/5

 

Sadly in this film that is pretty much all that is left as the rest is a fairly humdrum remix of elements of Rocky 2, 3 and 4. The film remakes Rocky 2 in the first 10 minutes or so which is a mistake... just like in Creed (when they remade Rocky) they don't quite get why the original is so good and Creed getting the title is almost an afterthought. Then they mashup the 3rd and 4th films and it is entertaining enough but it is unsatisfying.  Lundgren needs more screentime! The scene between Rocky and Drago in the restaurant is beautifully played  but it is the only time they give Lundgren anything to do. The rest of the Drago storyline treads on/messes with the ending of 4 too much and it doesn't quite play out right despite Lundgren's best efforts.

 

But I still enjoyed it because of Stallone.

 

3/5

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Last film I watched was this, it's a Neil Gaiman adaptation and I liked it, it's weird and off the wall, has a decent cast, doesn't out stay it's welcome and up until I saw it on my mates Plex server, I didn't know it existed.

Watched the trailer and thn went back and pressed play on the film, good way to while away an evening :)

 

4/5

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On 07/06/2021 at 08:47, Clipper said:

The Gentlemen

 

A film saved by Hugh Grant. This film is an oddity as it is some hyper glamourised theme park ride verson of "gangsters in London". The setting is mad and unrealistic to the point of it almost being a fantasy film. The plot propping up the overblown setting is half decent and some of the set pieces are very well crafted. However it feels like a bunch of disparate sketches/set pieces chucked together in a film like a poor man's Pulp Fiction.

 

But the framing device of Hugh Gran's Fletch just ties it all together using a Basil Exposition style character which would normally fail but in this instance it works perfectly due to the characterisation and performance from Grant. It shouldn't work but what should be the final nail in the coffin in the film ends up rescuing it. Everything being told from Fletch's perspective means that the daft excesses are down to his journalistic interpretation which feels pretty clever. But again it cannot be understated that it is Grant's performance and character that sells the framing concept and makes it work as well as it does.

 

it isn't half as clever as it thinks it is and it is still not a classic but...

 

3/5 (without Hugh grant deduce 2 points!)

Hugh Grant clearly enjoying this role but I enjoyed watching Charlie Hunnan the most in this with his quirks.  

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Why do I do such a bad job of writing Letterboxd reviews promptly, and then copying and pasting them into this thread? In fact, why do I have to post a full review in the first place - why can't I bring myself to just write a sentence or two and a rating? :( 

 

Anyway here's a review dump of stuff I watched within the last few weeks:

 

 

Breathless (À bout de souffle) (1960)
3.5/5

Five stars for historical innovation, importance and influence. However, as entertainment watched today, as a story and as a character study, I enjoyed it but didn't love it.

 

The continuity-disregarding jump cuts for which it's famous were not as plentiful as I'd expected - although the one involving a gunshot remains startling and effective.

 

 

 

Yojimbo (1961)

3.5/5

A few months ago I watched Sanjuro for the first time, and now I'm giving its predecessor a rewatch.

 

I know, I know: my 3.5-star score looks absurdly low, as if I'm revelling in being a philistine, but I'm not trying to be contrarian! There's a lot to admire about the film: the cinematography looks great, the compositions pleasing, the atmosphere is effective, the score is good, the storyline is solid, and Mifune has great screen charisma.

 

But the thing that held me at arm's length, the thing that stopped me liking it as much as Rashomon or Throne of Blood, was that I got struggled to recognise the supporting characters like the silk and sake merchants, and to keep track of which of them was allied with which of the town's two opposing gangs. At one point, there's a grand revelation that someone has been kidnapped, and I thought: are we supposed to already know who this character is from earlier? Should I already know that person's relationships and why this is a big deal?

 

I acknowledge that those issues are all on me, not on the film!

 

I appreciated the movie more after watching it a second time with the (sporadic) audio commentary by Philip Kemp on the BFI DVD, which taught me a few things about the subtext and that I didn't realise: e.g. how the film functions as an allegory for contemporary Japanese politics, and how the film employs reversals of the traditional Japanese class/caste status system to help signify that the town has gone to ruin. (Merchants being higher up the pecking order than they would normally be, a samurai violating bushido by working for the highest bidder, etc.)

 

When I watched Sanjuro, I wondered if the things I didn't appreciate in that film were caused by dubious subtitles (untranscribed lines of dialogue, etc) on the particular DVD edition I watched. I don't think that's an issue with Yojimbo; subtitles seemed pretty comprehensive, poetic/literal where they needed to be. However, there is definitely at least one example of the subtitles leaving out important information: according to the plot summary on Wikipedia, the film begins with a title card that specifies the date as 1860 - a caption that never appeared in English on my DVD. This meant that when a revolver pistol turns up in the film, it surprised me, and I initially assumed it was an anachronism!

 

Is Yojimbo better than A Fistful of Dollars? According to my memory, no, I didn't like it as much, but I last saw Leone's remake the best part of 20 years ago so it's due for another viewing.

 

But this Yojimbo rewatch revealed that at least one element of the two films is much closer in quality than I remembered: previously, I'd have said that there's no way Yojimbo's music could stand up to anything that Morricone did in the Dollars trilogy, but Masaru Sato's score turned out to be really good (if not as catchy as Fistful's opening titles). So a comparison of the two films' music might not be as one-sided as I'd previously assumed!

 

 

 

The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)
3/5

This was on Film4 a few weeks ago. It's fun seeing Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee together in a Sherlock Holmes movie.

 

But it's inexplicable to me that Hammer adapted this book and somehow left out the line "Mr Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound!"

 

How in the world did they let that happen?

 

 

 

Tai Chi Master (1993)

3/5

My recent viewing of Magnificent Warriors prompted me to seek out more of Michelle Yeoh's pre-Tomorrow Never Dies martial arts movies.

 

This one sounds like a match made in heaven: Yuen Woo-Ping directing Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh? Hell yeah! :omg:

 

All the right elements seem to be there:

  • Stories of childhood best friends/brothers diverging along separate paths, before ultimately confronting each other, are familiar but straightforward and reliable, and the film avoids convoluting things too much.
  • The film's comedy, which mostly involves Yuen Woo-ping's brother Yuen Cheung-yan, is generally a bit less broad than in a lot of HK action movies.
  • Of course, the action is as good as you'd expect. (Highlights include a scene with Yeoh fighting on stilts, and a duel taking place on and around a tall wooden pyramid that is topped with a captured hostage tied to a cross.)
  • Plus, there's a scene immediately before the finale, where Jet Li's character achieves enlightenment and demonstrates his mastery of tai chi (in the same way that Jackie Chan showed off his new drunken boxing skills at the equivalent point in Drunken Master), which is as rousing and triumphant as you could hope for.

Unfortunately, despite the presence of all those ingredients, something stopped me from loving the movie. I struggle to explain why I didn't completely connect with it.

 

But one thing that definitely distracted me from getting into the action was a technical video quality problem on the Dragon Dynasty Blu-Ray edition. (Boring technical complaints in the spoiler tag!)

 

Spoiler

For the first few frames of each shot, some frames included duplicate transparent copies of the preceding or succeeding frame, leading to a ghosting effect:

 

fsS0DTw.jpg

 

 

This only happened within the first few frames (~8 frames) of each new shot, after which the problem vanished and only normal camera motion blur was visible - until there was another cut, causing the ghosting to appear again. This meant that each time there was a cut that involved movement, it felt like the motion was subtly accelerating for that initial fraction of a second, before settling down. This issue seemed to temporarily improve during the middle of the film, but then became visible again at the end.

 

I can't find any reviews that mention this issue, even the ones that specifically examine the video quality (e.g. Blu-ray.com's review). But the fact the ghost images were visible when pausing and frame advancing suggests that it was an issue with this Blu-ray edition, not with my player. I'm not sure what sort of video encoding issue could cause this problem, but it was not ideal for an action movie, where there are a lot of shots that begin with rapid motion!

 

 

I realise that this video quality issue is an extremely minor problem compared to the technical quality issues that fans of martial arts movies had to put up with in decades past - but it was still distracting enough to affect my appreciation of what's otherwise a solid action film.

 

 

The Big Short (2015)
3.5/5

I always struggle to follow explanations of this stuff (economics, investment, debt, credit, loans, assets, commodities, futures, gambling) because I feel like in order to properly understand it, you have to be able to go through step-by-step and simultaneously keep track of what numerous different groups want (and don't want) to happen, and who owes what to whom:

 

"OK, that person bought that thing for that price, so they will benefit if the price changes in that way. Whereas that group will benefit if the price changes in the opposite way. Whereas those people bought the debt(???) that that person owes to that group, so they want that to happen, in order to get paid by that group instead of paying that one. And the credit is given a credit rating to say how likely it is to be repaid, and if the rating changes down then this group wins and this group loses..."

 

Yeah, I'm still not much closer to understanding it. 🤷‍♂️ But at least the film's flashy editing and soundtrack helped make my inability to follow it entertaining.

 

Watching this reminded me that I really ought to rewatch Thank You For Smoking. I remember that film being a lot like The Big Short in tone and playfulness.

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Review dump post 2 of 2...

 

The Garden of Words (2013)
3.5/5

The last anime I watched was Redline. In terms of pace, mood, character, and tone, the Garden of Words is its exact opposite in almost every way.

 

For most of its 45-minute running time, The Garden of Words (the immediate predecessor to Makoto Shinkai's Your Name) is a very quiet and subdued film. Lots of very pretty shots focusing on rain in beautiful locations, with occasional cuts to people doing small, mundane actions, and discussing their personal hopes and concerns. It's lovely!

 

Things get more active towards the end, when the melodrama becomes more prominent. I was less keen on that section of the film, but it's still effective enough.

 

 

22 Jump Street (2014)

3.5/5

22 Jump Street is full of self-referential jokes about the fact that it's a sequel. Many people who hate this film seem to be irritated by this tone of pre-emptive defensiveness, characterising it as: "If we make the joke about how it's a stupid decision to do the thing, then we can't be criticised for doing the thing!" Other critics don't mind those jokes, but think the film doesn't have anything funny to offer beyond them.

 

I did like those self-aware jokes! Nick Offerman repeatedly instructing the main characters to do the same thing they did last time and everyone will be happy is like catnip for me, and those end credits are outstanding. Another running joke I liked was the occasional inclusion of blatant placeholder names (a football game includes shouts of "State name! Number! Colour!").

 

I also think the film has funny stuff beyond the self-referential bits: Cate Blanchett's name is the source of an excellent pun, and I love the scene where Channing Tatum exuberantly dances round Ice Cube's ice cube (office).

There's also a fun drug trip scene, though it's not quite as good as the hallucination sequences in Booksmart and Walk Hard.

 

The film's dangling-from-a-helicopter-over-water ending is similar to the one with Melissa McCarthy in the following year's Spy.

 

 

 

Eagle vs Shark (2007)

3.5/5

 

Quote

"Is that the makeup you got from us?"
"Yep."
"And your skin's all right?"
"Yep. Why?"
"Oh, we were just wondering."

 

There's one point of comparison that almost everyone seems to name when describing Taika Waititi's debut feature film. Fortunately, Eagle vs Shark gave me everything that I definitely did not get from Napoleon Dynamite.

 

I liked this a lot! Lots of funny moments arising from expressions and line delivery.

 

But I do think that a certain character in the film's central relationship made the wrong choice in the end. :(

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The Doorman (2020) Amazon Prime

Pound shop Die Hard (lack of) action set in a largely empty upscale New York apartment block, Ruby Rose is John Mclane whilst Jean Reno acts as the dubious (Dubois, actually, Victor Dubois) Hans Gruber-lite dodgy foreigner substitute. Here he's after some paintings or whatever, it's merely incidental.  It has similar beats to Die hard, from the way they lock the building down to a fight in a part of the building being renovated, but the whole thing is hampered by excess melodrama, a clumsy attempt at giving all this some back-story. Credit where it's due, there are bursts of alright action here, a few decent scraps, and the ending has an attempt at flair. Maybe it's a budget thing, there were times it felt like this was reaching for interesting but not quite making it. Director Ryûhei Kitamura was responsible for the okay Midnight Meat Train, and according to IMDB also directed a film called 99, presumably not about the Flake-enhanced icecream cone.

 

2.5/5

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On 03/06/2021 at 01:53, Talvalin said:

Contact (1997)

 

Speaking about Elysium and Jodie Foster, here's another SF (ish) film of hers that I've been meaning to watch for absolutely fucking years (I saw the final third where she gets in the Machine to the end ages ago), and I think it's held up really well. Yeah, there's a lot of people just talking at one another, but the earnestness of the characters is strangely infectious and the film doesn't feel as long as its 2.5 hour runtime would suggest. Both Jodie Foster as the idealistic but agnostic scientist Eleanor Arroway and Matthew Mcconaughey as Palmer Joss, a man of the cloth (but without the cloth) were excellent, but a shout-out for Gary Busey's amazing wig that almost stole the show. I saw some Letterboxd reviews complaining about the fact that the film decided to feature Christian terrorists, which seems to be some degree of wilful ignorance of history, but I do wonder if the script would have made a different choice had the film been made after 9/11. Anyway, great film.

 

4/5

Mate. What a load of old bobbins. 

 

 

 

Contact isn't just Sci fi "ish"! 

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