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Movies You've Seen Recently | May 2019

Oct 27, 2017
1,388
Long Day’s Journey Into Night (2018)

Dreamy in all the best ways, plus downright gorgeous to look at. Surely features the best use of DDR since Malcom in the Middle. Made me really want an apple (twice). Just really love these somnambulant dramas! Rain and windowpanes are the chocolate and peanut butter of cinema, an unbeatable combo.
 
Begone Dull Care: A rollicking little slice of early abstract animation, paired with an excellent piece cooked up by jazz legend Oscar Peterson. I absolutely loved the painted-on-film technique they used with the imagery, giving the imagery a thick texture that may not have been possible otherwise through more conventional means of cel-drawn animation. I always enjoy finding these buried treasures, and this one is certainly of a very, very high appraisal!
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,869
Long Day’s Journey Into Night (2018)

Dreamy in all the best ways, plus downright gorgeous to look at. Surely features the best use of DDR since Malcom in the Middle. Made me really want an apple (twice). Just really love these somnambulant dramas! Rain and windowpanes are the chocolate and peanut butter of cinema, an unbeatable combo.
Ugh wish I knew when this comes out in UK
 
West Side Story (rewatch): It's not often that a film works at all when having to work around its weak leads, as Richard Beymer's inexperience as an actor is hard to miss and Natalie Wood is all wrong for Maria in pretty much every way imaginable, let alone her ethnicity, but for it to work this damn well is a miracle. Chalk it up to the strength of the material itself, which in the hands of someone mediocre would have still been some of the most clever and catchy music ever produced for a musical, but in the hands of Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, it sings and soars in a way that takes the musical and adapts it beautifully to the screen, taking all the energy of the show and giving it the proper cinematic feel for a film that takes full advantage of the medium for some very visually striking and powerful moments. I feel pretty damn good about the upcoming adaptation that Spielberg will be embarking on, but make no mistake: he's got his work cut out for him.
 
Oct 25, 2017
11,400
John Wick 3: Superheroes are the prime motivator of box office grosses these days. Its not hard to understand why; in fact their appeal is quite primal. Superheroes are the perfect vessel for all sorts of fantastical adventures. The audience accepts they have powers that allow them to tackle greater, more powerful threats than non-superhero characters. Their very nature of reactive never-ending quest to uphold the status quo is a perfect story vehicle for endless adventures, the audience always hungry for more. Their stories can take them to all sorts of cool locations, and potentially pull from a number of genres like horror, romantic drama, science fiction, even folklore fantasy. They've completely dominated the comic book world, and have now seen fit to take over cinema as well.

To that end, I would argue the greatest cinematic superhero of our time is Mr. John Wick. No, he does not spawn from a comic book, but if you didn't know that before, it would certainly seem like an adaptation of one, wouldn't it? The audience comes to see the continuing adventures of our (anti)hero, in his pop world of assassins. We don't come to see his potential demise, but the spectacle and bravado of how John races from one cliffhanger scenario to the next.

The world of John Wick is completely absurd at face value, but its taken quite serious from everyone involved. There's no smirking self-awareness or audience surrogate to joke about how silly this is. The order of the High Table, its currencies and cultures, its rituals and Rites of Passage, have all been thoroughly thought through and respected. The same work that goes into the film's set pieces has been used to flesh out its pulpy underworld of allegiances and atonements.

And my *god*, those set pieces. Its like a grand tour of the highpoints of 21st century action cinema. There's a scene where John Wick fights NBA's Boba Marjanovic in a library, killing him with a book, shades of Bourne Ultimatum's centeral assassin fight. There's a motorcycle chase reminiscent of The Villainess that manages to combine Wick's trademark gun fu with high speed vehicles. The finale has an best of the East vs West theme, as John Wick battles the main bad guys from the Raid, where John has to slow the faster combatants down with his signature judo holds. Each sequence is a mini-masterpiece in storytelling, color, choreography. The movie has a great video game's sense of escalation and variety. Battles with small group of henchmen give way to a battle royale with dozens of henchmen which in turn is supplanted by armor wearing assholes that require next level firepower.

No other live action superhero/action film is working on the John Wick's series vis a vis cinema. Every scene has an exceptional attention to detail, from costumes to color to compositions. The cinematography and production design is consistently amazing. It takes that immediate appeal of comic books, their splashy colorful nature where every panel has to grab the audience's attention, and stretches that across an entire film.

Maybe, one day, the superhero will be supplanted in cinematic popularity by another form, leaving them to the dustbin with Western cowboys and Noir detectives. But until that day comes, cherish the hard work Keanu, Stahelski and co are doing on John Wick's adventures. If we have to live in a superhero movie world, this is the ideal to strive for.
 
White Mane: A visually striking adventure film targeted at kids, but really for anyone with an appreciation for first-class filmmaking. I could have done without the narration, as I felt the imagery more than spoke for itself and that the ending would have benefited from the ambiguity, but it's an otherwise remarkable work from start to finish.
 
Oct 25, 2017
15,454
John Wick 3: Superheroes are the prime motivator of box office grosses these days. Its not hard to understand why; in fact their appeal is quite primal. Superheroes are the perfect vessel for all sorts of fantastical adventures. The audience accepts they have powers that allow them to tackle greater, more powerful threats than non-superhero characters. Their very nature of reactive never-ending quest to uphold the status quo is a perfect story vehicle for endless adventures, the audience always hungry for more. Their stories can take them to all sorts of cool locations, and potentially pull from a number of genres like horror, romantic drama, science fiction, even folklore fantasy. They've completely dominated the comic book world, and have now seen fit to take over cinema as well.

To that end, I would argue the greatest cinematic superhero of our time is Mr. John Wick. No, he does not spawn from a comic book, but if you didn't know that before, it would certainly seem like an adaptation of one, wouldn't it? The audience comes to see the continuing adventures of our (anti)hero, in his pop world of assassins. We don't come to see his potential demise, but the spectacle and bravado of how John races from one cliffhanger scenario to the next.

The world of John Wick is completely absurd at face value, but its taken quite serious from everyone involved. There's no smirking self-awareness or audience surrogate to joke about how silly this is. The order of the High Table, its currencies and cultures, its rituals and Rites of Passage, have all been thoroughly thought through and respected. The same work that goes into the film's set pieces has been used to flesh out its pulpy underworld of allegiances and atonements.

And my *god*, those set pieces. Its like a grand tour of the highpoints of 21st century action cinema. There's a scene where John Wick fights NBA's Boba Marjanovic in a library, killing him with a book, shades of Bourne Ultimatum's centeral assassin fight. There's a motorcycle chase reminiscent of The Villainess that manages to combine Wick's trademark gun fu with high speed vehicles. The finale has an best of the East vs West theme, as John Wick battles the main bad guys from the Raid, where John has to slow the faster combatants down with his signature judo holds. Each sequence is a mini-masterpiece in storytelling, color, choreography. The movie has a great video game's sense of escalation and variety. Battles with small group of henchmen give way to a battle royale with dozens of henchmen which in turn is supplanted by armor wearing assholes that require next level firepower.

No other live action superhero/action film is working on the John Wick's series vis a vis cinema. Every scene has an exceptional attention to detail, from costumes to color to compositions. The cinematography and production design is consistently amazing. It takes that immediate appeal of comic books, their splashy colorful nature where every panel has to grab the audience's attention, and stretches that across an entire film.

Maybe, one day, the superhero will be supplanted in cinematic popularity by another form, leaving them to the dustbin with Western cowboys and Noir detectives. But until that day comes, cherish the hard work Keanu, Stahelski and co are doing on John Wick's adventures. If we have to live in a superhero movie world, this is the ideal to strive for.
Definitely agree with you on how Wick feels like the ultimate 21st century/modern action hero and series. I feel John Wick himself is the quintessential 21st century action hero. The older hero mold popularized by Taken. The clear and graceful yet brutal approach to combat that The Raid reinvigorated. A hyper-skilled yet vulnerable warrior like Bourne. As a character, he blends the unstoppable one-man-army spectacle of 80s action heroes with the sensibilities and tropes of modern action.

And as a movie, John Wick Chapter 3 feels like a celebration of the genre. The second movie had a sequence that referenced Enter The Dragon, while Chapter 3 features a cast that includes Yayah Ruhian and Cecep Rahman from The Raid, as well as Mark Dacascos (Brotherhood of the Wolf). And a sleek homage to The Villainess. And inspirations that range from John Carpenter and Sergio Leone to Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee. And Keanu uttering “Guns, lots of guns”.

===

John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
★★★★

Each John Wick film has been a masterpiece of action cinema. The first one was a self-aware take on well-trodden revenge tropes, featuring a subtly-realized underworld that trembled with fear and respect for the titular assassin. The sequel delved deeper into that mysterious world and elevated the scope of the action to furious heights. The third movie continues that trend; it’s funnier, more brutal, more varied, more entrenched in its lore.

The action scenes in Parabellum are astounding feats of balletic violence, fantastic choreography, and stylish cinematography. Some are the series’ best sequences yet, whether that’s in regards to brutality or creativity. A back-and-forth barrage of blades is probably the highlight of the film, and one of my favorite brawls in any movie since The Raid 2. Each scene feels unique, with its own twist on the John Wick formula or a clever visual gag. Unfortunately the plot and pacing makes this third chapter the weakest in the franchise.

The first thirty minutes picks up right after Chapter 2’s ending and continues its momentum flawlessly. It is everything that was promised by the sequel’s final minutes, an adrenaline rush of desperate flight and sleekly-choreographed murder. The movie even finds time to explore more of Wick’s backstory. This first act is arguably Parabellum's peak; the finale has equally thrilling action but never matches the intensity of these early scenes.

Then the movie’s momentum decelerates substantially. Similar to the second film’s detour to Rome, Parabellum moves to Casablanca; with that change in location, the palpable ticking-clock desperation drains from the narrative. The middle act is saved by Halle Berry’s Sofia, whose history with John, deadly skills, and even deadlier dogs instantly make her one of the best characters in the series. Her cooperative shootout with John is a thrilling display of canine-assisted gunplay, but its place in the narrative feels oddly gratuitous compared to the rest of the action.

The other additions to the world of John Wick aren’t as effective. The world-building in the previous movies always seemed natural, but in Parabellum, a lot of the new lore either felt forced or poorly executed. Sofia and Wick’s backstory were the exceptions.

As a concept, the Adjudicator is cool, but her performance and presence made the character come across as more annoyingly obnoxious than intimidating. A journey through the desert has a contrived - even confusing - outcome that raises more questions than answers (and not in a good way like John Wick 1 and 2). Several moments stretched my suspension of disbelief to its limits. The silenced shootout in Chapter 2 was a funny gag, but Parabellum has assassins brutally killed in crowded public places without a single reaction. John Wick has always been bruised and battered in these movies, but here, his ability to survive injuries borders on cartoonish.

Thankfully, the final act is an excellent return-to-form, despite an abrupt ending. The action of the final thirty minutes is a maelstrom of lead, martial arts, and shattered glass, offering both inventive firefights and incredible hand-to-hand fights.

John Wick Chapter 3 is simultaneously the best one action-wise and the weakest one story-wise. Few action movies will ever be able to reach Parabellum's level of beautifully blood-soaked chaos. But overall it doesn't quite top the first film's lean introduction to the man, the myth, the legend or the second's relentless pacing and expanded universe.
 
Oct 26, 2017
635
UK
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum

It was crazy. Action was great, fights were absolutely brutal. I recommend seeing at the cinema if you can, mostly for the audio. It was intense. I can not imagine seeing this film in dolby atmos.
 
John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019): This series hums along at pretty much the same level. There's one misjudged action sequence that I don't think fits the film's aesthetic, but otherwise, good as usual.

Shadow (2018): Remarkably beautiful, with a rather unusual take on martial arts combat, and a terrific series of third act twists.
 
Oct 25, 2017
11,400
Blade Runner - The act of watching movies is subjective. Every one of us brings our own individual background, point of view, taste, and preconceptions when we go to the theater. There is no one true way to experience a film; if there was, this website would be really boring and you wouldn't follow anybody since we all had the same response.

I say this because I've always been a bit puzzled by the whole concept of Blade Runner 2049, the sequel to 1982's Blade Runner. It, like the original, is an extraordinary feat of filmmaking and artistry. It has the dramatic linear spine of a police procedural to explore its world and its Big Questions. But the entire film seems based on a reading of the original movie I never aligned with it, even now. Blade Runner 2049 seems to believe that the *real* interesting part of Blade Runner was about Deckard. Was he a replicant? Is K a replicant? And does this matter?

Again, subjectivity in all that, but I have no idea how people can think Deckard was the interesting part about this movie. Harrison Ford seems mostly annoyed he's even starring in this film, and the less said about his """romance""" with Rachel, the better. No, Deckard is merely the audience tour guide to the world of Blade Runner.

No matter what kind of cinephille you are, the first thing everybody falls for about Blade Runner is its world. Quite simply, its one of the most monumental and influential achievements in design cinema has ever seen. It takes the film grammar of film noir, all Venetian blinds and smoky shadowy rooms and femme fetales, and accelerates it to a sci-fi future. There's a sense of foreboding and paranoia that serves its aesthetic. It heightens noir's cynical world view with a pervasive sense of paranoia and corruption. Police cars with probing lights flood every window, mechanically barking commands. The humans who wander its streets seem cold and distant, the poor souls who couldnt get into the haven that is the "off-world colonies" the advertisements in the sky keep talking about. Everyone seems impersonal, as if accepting their damnation.

Except the replicants. Our "antagonists". The replicants Deckard hunts display the most recognizably human emotions in the entire film. They behave like young children, discovering a great deal about themselves with far too little time to use it. They express fear, anger, love, shock, confusion, disappointment, all with the same wide eyed sincerity. Its Roy Batty where the heart of the film lives. Its his quest for life that provides the thematic richness to Blade Runner, making it more than just the world's greatest exercise in style. His final moments are one of empathy and mercy, with the sad realization that he's going to die just as he was learning how to live.

That's what I've always gotten out of Blade Runner, anyway. Apparently I'm in the minority, considering the popularity of 2049 with its Deckard-Rachael mythos being so central to everything. But that's the beauty of subjectivity, the variety of emotional responses. That's what makes us human, isn't it?
 
The Voice Thief: Well, it's not like he wasn't going to try to not make a film like his father's works! Adan Jodorowsky does just that, filling his film to the brim with wild colors, crazy costumes, a family member in a prominent role, dwarfs by the dozen and, yes, a scene involving urination. Of course, having those things doesn't mean you actually have the artistic impulse behind them as well, as there's a strong sense that Adan has taken all that he's seen and worked on with his father Alejandro and just, well, made something like them, rather than something that stands on its own feet like those films do. It feels very much like neon-lit weirdness for the sake of neon-lit weirdness, but I will admit that it does go down pretty smooth, thanks in no small part to its heavier genre leanings than you would expect out of an art film as it is, for all intents and purposes, a slasher film in its bones, further amplified by getting French musician Rob of many a killer genre film to do the soundtrack. And even as it apes the general aesthetic of his father's films, what works there still works here on a purely visual level, so it is a treat to look at throughout. The result is something not too dissimilar from a snack: always appealing, even desirable in the right situation, but it goes through the system fast and leaves little trace of it existing in the first place. Come for the slick oddness, but expect no richer symbolism or emotional connection.
 
Oct 25, 2017
15,454
Climax
★★★

Climax is simultaneously:

- a frustrating experimental slog to sit through, with no characters or cohesive structure to latch onto
- a viscerally uncomfortable, disturbing, disorienting nightmare once the situation beings to unravel, infused with voyeuristic unease and evoking skin-crawling dread.

I don't think Climax is a film I'd ever watch again but I can't deny that the movie achieved its horrifying vision. It's something that I appreciated more than liked, if that makes sense.

===

It's...weird. Climax does what I want most from horror. It's an absolutely suffocating cinematic experience, that just lingers on the mind and made my skin crawl. But it was almost insufferable to watch; Irreversible was unwatchable for me because it was literally nauseating but I almost turned off Climax because that first 40 minutes or so was just doing absolutely nothing for me.

Anyone else have movies like that? Like I don't know if I could say I enjoyed or even liked Climax but I couldn't stop watching, was completely engrossed especially once things started going downhill for the dancers
 
Oct 26, 2017
5,894
Mad Max: Fury Road - Black & Chrome Edition
At first I was a bit sceptical considering the vibrant colours of the original are absolutely amazing, but I could pick up a double blu-ray of this and the original on the cheap, so I decided to go for it.

And goddamn, this movie in black and white is absolutely gorgeous. It really makes for a completely new watching experience. Those War Boys now look legitimately terrifying and holy shit that sandstorm sequence in black and white is even more amazing than it already was.

I can see why this is the version Miller originally wanted to make. The black and white fits in perfectly with the world created in the movie.

As for the movie itself, do I really need to go in this? Of course it's still a masterpiece. I wish more action films were as tightly constructed and poignant with its messaging as this movie. In a better world this movie would be the template for making a modern action movie and not whatever Marvel/Disney is doing.

5/5
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,530
Ronin: The car chase at the end of this (or what should be the end, before it goes on another 30 minutes) is still worth the admission price, but to get there you have to suffer through a lot of wannabe Melville-isms that are too gooey and cliched to capture the icy professionalism of his work. There’s also far too much attention given to the MacGuffin, which should have faded into the background as story took over, but seemingly every conversation is about “the case” and who currently has it, wants it, or is trying get it. I don’t care about the case or the like 16 levels of double crossers trying to get it.
 
Dec 14, 2017
2,603
Decided to watch the MCU films:

Captain America: boring movie, protagonist has negative charisma. 5/10
Ironman: a truly great protagonist. He is fun as hell. 8
Ironman 2: same as above, 8.5.
The Avengers: really great movie, enjoyed seeing the different heroes together. 9/10.

Excited for Ironman 3!

I need to watch Hulk and Thor, my gf watched both before so we skipped them now. Will probably just leave them playing on my TV while I do housework.
 
Oct 27, 2017
8,519
The Virgin Suicides
A really impressive debut from Sofia Coppola. Great core cast who all give wonderful performances. A pretty deft handling of what could be a tricky tone to nail down. And just a good-looking film in general. Only thing that doesn't feel like it really hits the mark for me is the framing device of the collective boys club narration, which feels out of sync with the rest of the film (partly because these characters are, by design, kind of divorced from the girls' lives). But otherwise I thought this was really good. Great soundtrack too!
8/10

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
Another good outing for this franchise, although probably my least favorite of the three. As much as plot is not really the point of these movies, the circular nature of the narrative - which ends up making both itself and the ending of Chapter 2 feel kind of pointless - bringing John right back to where he was when this started bothered me more than I thought it would. I think they're also laying on the mythology a little too thick here; it's ridiculous and starts to feel like less like an interesting backdrop and more of an eyeroll set of one contrivance after another. But the action is killer, and while it definitely peaks in the first act it's still pretty good all throughout. I think this is probably Keanu's weakest performance of his three turns as John Wick, but not because of the physical portion of it which he is still killing. Hopefully they will recast the Adjudicator for Chapter 4.
7/10

Salesman
A great, great documentary that says a hell of a lot about a time and a place with so little. The lifestyle these guys lived is so incredibly foreign to today but, either because of that or in spite of it or both, the film does an excellent job engaging you in their mundane little struggles that quickly add up to bigger feelings of existential panic and anxiety. I also just love the rawness of the filmmaking itself; like Night of the Living Dead for traveling bible salesmen.
8/10

I Am Easy to Find
Mike Mills' new short film to accompany The National's new album of the same name. Unlike other visual albums, which feel like glorified music videos (albeit very well dones), this actually does feel like its own film in its own right. Was not really expecting to like this as much as I did, but I found it surprisingly impactful, especially in its juxtaposition of major life milestones and mundane things ("Mother dies. New television shows."). Gave me some Tree of Life vibes in all the right ways. And Alicia Vikander turns in a great performance for what must have been a pretty threadbare shoot.
7/10
 
Oct 26, 2017
2,531
Just saw Fight Club for the first time and I have to say that I don’t think I’m a Fincher fan. Didn’t care for this one the same amount I didn’t care for Gone Girl, and even the narratives of some of his better movies like Seven lose me. I feel like his strength as a filmmaker comes out more with movies like Zodiac, where he’s restricted to more grounded explorations of themes and ideas, compared to his others that go too off the rails for me. I understand why people enjoy his movies, and while they often start with strong ideas, they are prone to degrade to pageturners and half-baked messages. He’s clearly very talented otherwise, but I can’t find the appeal in his approach to storytelling.
 
Climax
★★★

Climax is simultaneously:

- a frustrating experimental slog to sit through, with no characters or cohesive structure to latch onto
- a viscerally uncomfortable, disturbing, disorienting nightmare once the situation beings to unravel, infused with voyeuristic unease and evoking skin-crawling dread.

I don't think Climax is a film I'd ever watch again but I can't deny that the movie achieved its horrifying vision. It's something that I appreciated more than liked, if that makes sense.

===

It's...weird. Climax does what I want most from horror. It's an absolutely suffocating cinematic experience, that just lingers on the mind and made my skin crawl. But it was almost insufferable to watch; Irreversible was unwatchable for me because it was literally nauseating but I almost turned off Climax because that first 40 minutes or so was just doing absolutely nothing for me.

Anyone else have movies like that? Like I don't know if I could say I enjoyed or even liked Climax but I couldn't stop watching, was completely engrossed especially once things started going downhill for the dancers
dat soundtrack doe
 
Laddie: It's a documentary about Alan Ladd, Jr.! If the description sounds rather meat-and-potatoes, you can rest assured that the film itself follows the expected showbiz doc down to the T. Not particularly exciting filmmaking, but director/real-life daughter Amanda Ladd-Jones doesn't really need to knock your socks off when his work literally speaks for itself, as his massive list of credits as a producer and a studio exec is on fully display here, be it through clips or the massive number of guests invited to speak their piece on his career. It's a good thing, too, as Ladd is a bit of a soft-spoken guy, so getting virtually everyone from George Lucas to Paul Mazursky to Ron Howard to Ridley Scott to... well, you get the idea, as his influence is enormous and cause for eternal gratefulness from all involved. It can feel like too much like a hagiography, particularly with how little is invoked about his personal life, but if his own daughter isn't all that interested in that stuff, it's hard to feel that particularly annoyed by the absence. The results here aren't particularly noteworthy, but Ladd is an important part of film history all the same and this doc does a good job of showing you why that is.
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,869
Climax
★★★

Climax is simultaneously:

- a frustrating experimental slog to sit through, with no characters or cohesive structure to latch onto
- a viscerally uncomfortable, disturbing, disorienting nightmare once the situation beings to unravel, infused with voyeuristic unease and evoking skin-crawling dread.

I don't think Climax is a film I'd ever watch again but I can't deny that the movie achieved its horrifying vision. It's something that I appreciated more than liked, if that makes sense.

===

It's...weird. Climax does what I want most from horror. It's an absolutely suffocating cinematic experience, that just lingers on the mind and made my skin crawl. But it was almost insufferable to watch; Irreversible was unwatchable for me because it was literally nauseating but I almost turned off Climax because that first 40 minutes or so was just doing absolutely nothing for me.

Anyone else have movies like that? Like I don't know if I could say I enjoyed or even liked Climax but I couldn't stop watching, was completely engrossed especially once things started going downhill for the dancers
I thought Climax was his best since Irreversible, and the best horror film of last year. I found plenty to latch on to with the characters, enough to care for the nightmare they go through especially the poor kid. They done Omar dirty :( You got the ease of seeing it at home so you can skip or whatever, for me seeing it in the cinema was quite the arresting experience.
 
Oct 25, 2017
11,400
Toy Story 3 - One of the many reasons Pixar has become so beloved is their mastery of mainstream moviemaking. Their films tend to have a clear and discernible structure everyone can latch on to. First, they introduce the world. Here’s the world of toys, fish, monsters, or what have you, these are the primary characters, and this is what they do every day. This is the status quo. Suddenly, a dramatic inciting incident happens! Buzz Lightyear arrives in the original Toy Story and soon becomes Andy’s favorite. A human child enters the world of Monsters Inc, throwing everything out of whack. Nemo swims out into open water and is captured. Thus, everything flows from here, as our characters are called into an adventure to restore the status quo, which naturally leads to an a whole new perspective on life by the protagonists before the credits roll. There’s a clockwork precision to this, and it all flows smoothly.

Toy Story 3 stumbles on this. It opens up with no real status quo at all. Our favorite characters from the last two films are in a state of transition. Andy is grown up, most of the toys are gone, and we don’t know what’s gonna happen to our main cast. Woody, having gone through his existential crisis in Toy Story 2, preaches like a religious zealot about their unwavering duty to Andy. The other toys aren’t so sure. There’s a metaphorical conflict here, with the toys having to decide between Purgatory(the attic), Hell(The dump), or Heaven(Sunnyside).

Now, anxiety ridden conversations about the afterlife is definitely an interesting theme for a late kids movie sequel to tackle, but it’s not the kind of thing that powers adventure narratives. Worse yet, when our heroes eventually arrive at Sunnyside, Pixar has to explain a whole NEW status quo, about its inner workings and character dynamics and what they do every day. For about a third of the runtime, the audience is left to wonder when the movie is going to start, which is not something one could say about any prior great Pixar film to date.

Ahh, but your patience is eventually rewarded. The dark side of Sunnyside is revealed, and a honest to God dramatic conflict shows up. The shape of the movie finally comes into vision. It’s a prison break movie, which has all the pleasure of a heist flick except with a crew busting out of somewhere instead of breaking in. And it’s one of the most inventive, witty, giddily entertaining caper films you’ll ever see. Pixar finds lots of hilarious new ways to use our favorite characters, refusing to rest on nostalgia. All those character and environmental details set up finally start falling like dominos, making for a thrilling and unpredictable adventure.

When the story humming along, it’s easier to appreciate Toy Story 3s other strengths. Namely, it’s animation, which is several light years beyond the first two Toy Story films. The benefits of a late sequel coming at the tail end of Pixar’s peak period, where there maturation as storytellers was matched by a sophistication in technology. It’s an utterly gorgeous movie, with all those little details that push the believability over the top. My particular favorite is the stiff mannequin movements of Ken and Barbie, the sharp limited range of motions reflecting exactly on how those toys would operate if given life. Not for one moment do any of the toys’ inner character and “humanity” come into question.

That pays off big time in the last third of the film, which is structured like a series of haymakers straight to the heart. And it’s here where any sense of objectivity goes out the window, because I have to admit the ending of Toy Story 3 leaves me a giant embarrassing emotional wreck each and every time. It’s digs right into the audience own deep grained affection for Toy Story and beautifully delivers a message about life. The bond you create between people, your friends family and loved ones, is the most important thing in the world. And yes, Loved ones come and go, and they can be scary and sad. But life goes on, and your life goes on. The memories you’ve created and the past experiences shape you, and while you can’t go back, the future hasn’t been written yet. It’s all very sincere, very sweet, deeply humanist, and I absolutely love it.

So, of course, there’s a toy story 4 coming soon that I have zero interest in. For better or worse, life goes on!
 
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Oct 27, 2017
1,388
Midnight Cowboy

This was totally a rewatch and not my first rodeo—after all, what idiot would name himself after a movie he'd never seen before?.........

Anyway, this thing had me from the jump. The second Harry Nilsson's voice kicks in and you see that dusty street and the close-up of him walking with the suitcase, man. Just a desperate, desperate movie. These guys are lost, aimless, losers. These guys are my people. Hoffman with his Looney Tunes voice and snide, but anguished wisecracks, Voight with his immaculate lovable idiot routine. Seriously, the dude kills this movie. So many good line deliveries, but "Five? Ten?....Twenty...." to the rich woman early on is gold, Jerry, gold.

And it never stopped surprising me, which is always a treat. The nightmare sequences are appropriately disorienting, edited in a way that still feels fresh and not all that American? Like you can feel the influence of the French New Wave in those moments. I especially love Ratso's Miami dream, the juxtaposition of him staring longingly on the curb and sprinting down the beach is devastating. Then that weird party comes out of nowhere and the spirit of disco and counterculture enter the fray, offering up a delightfully kaleidoscopic detour that's punctuated by yet another dynamite line from Joe. "It's me!" The ensuing Scribbage scene is also wonderful. Really the whole thing is.

Oh, and it's also a looker. What's not to love?
 
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Oct 25, 2017
15,454
I thought Climax was his best since Irreversible, and the best horror film of last year. I found plenty to latch on to with the characters, enough to care for the nightmare they go through especially the poor kid. They done Omar dirty :( You got the ease of seeing it at home so you can skip or whatever, for me seeing it in the cinema was quite the arresting experience.
I agree it’s an absolutely riveting slice of horror, a visceral nightmare turned into celluloid. Any horror movie that makes me tense in my seat and lingers in my thoughts for days after, is something special. I adored the movie on that level once the situation started falling apart. And at the very least, there’s a raw relatable tragedy in what a lot of the characters go through, particularly the mother and her child, and the pregnant woman. Noe does a great job at making everyone feel natural and human, which adds to the uneasy voyeristic eye of the camera.

But on a narrative/plot and structural level, I just found it so hard to get into. Like I appreciate the stylistic energy of the film, but the way the film is paced (at least in the first half), its jarring interludes/flashbacks, etc almost turned me off.

Like Annihilation, Under The Skin, The Blackcoat’s Daughter, it’s a horror movie I’m probably going to have to watch a few times, read some insight and different perspectives on the plot, themes, and filmmaking, to come around on it

Also add new Suspiria to the list. I really have to rewatch that, see if I like it more
 
Hoffman with his Looney Tunes voice and snide, but anguished wisecracks, Voight with his immaculate lovable idiot routine. Seriously, the dude kills this movie. So many good line deliveries, but "Five? Ten?....Twenty...." to the rich woman early on is gold, Jerry, gold.
Voight's character being played as some kind of guileless naif makes no sense to me in light of the super-traumatic backstory he's subsequently revealed to have.

Aladdin (1992): Why go see the surely underwhelming remake when I could just rewatch the original? Ah, good times. Stunningly beautiful animation, as you'd expect (some of the CGI incorporated is a bit obvious now, but whatever), with some of the best music Disney has ever produced (R.I.P. Howard Ashman), and dynamic voice acting (R.I.P. Robin Williams). I saw this so many times as a child that I of course remember all the major beats, but that doesn't diminish it; rediscovering minor bits that didn't register with me as much was also fun (my favourite being the Sultan, ruminating on Jasmine's refusal to choose a suitor, complaining "Her mother wasn't nearly so picky.").
 
Oct 27, 2017
8,519
Just saw Fight Club for the first time and I have to say that I don’t think I’m a Fincher fan. Didn’t care for this one the same amount I didn’t care for Gone Girl, and even the narratives of some of his better movies like Seven lose me. I feel like his strength as a filmmaker comes out more with movies like Zodiac, where he’s restricted to more grounded explorations of themes and ideas, compared to his others that go too off the rails for me. I understand why people enjoy his movies, and while they often start with strong ideas, they are prone to degrade to pageturners and half-baked messages. He’s clearly very talented otherwise, but I can’t find the appeal in his approach to storytelling.
If you liked Zodiac, you should check out his Netflix series Mindhunter.
 
Youth in Fury: An early Masahiro Shinoda film that finds him in a very good spot to show off the talent he possessed that would soon turn him into a great filmmaker. The material here is very interesting, a snapshot of the Japanese student protest movement that winds up setting up the various conflicts the movie unveils over the course of the story, and it is certainly unafraid to delve into some rather dark elements with how depraved the characters can get with how they take advantage of the social upheaval. The script isn't as polished as I would have liked, as the massive cast of characters does lead to a somewhat meandering pace at times, but it does hold your attention with how well Shinoda frames the visual makeup of the film that should be right at home for anyone more familiar with his later works, along with putting a great deal of trust in his actors to convincingly portray such morally reprehensible figures in a way that keeps them compelling. Shinoda goes on to make better films, but this seems about as ideal a starting point as you could ask for into his works.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,587
Arizona
American Beauty: A well-written movie about many things: a midlife crisis, the facade of the American dream, an unhappy marriage, among other things. Nice cinematography too. It gets all these characters together and interacting in various ways. I'd love it more if it wasn't so creepy now and then, like Ricky's voyeurism, or the whole "middle-aged man has a crush on a teenager" thing, which isn't helped by accusations against Kevin Space. There's a homophobic neighbor, but it turns out he's an abusive jerk who gets his comeuppance. It's still a good movie.

Also, some of the music sounds like something out of SimCity. Also Jane is playing Kirby's Star Stacker on Game Boy.
 
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Oct 28, 2017
7,145
New Jersey
Mad Max: Fury Road - Black & Chrome Edition
At first I was a bit sceptical considering the vibrant colours of the original are absolutely amazing, but I could pick up a double blu-ray of this and the original on the cheap, so I decided to go for it.

And goddamn, this movie in black and white is absolutely gorgeous. It really makes for a completely new watching experience. Those War Boys now look legitimately terrifying and holy shit that sandstorm sequence in black and white is even more amazing than it already was.

I can see why this is the version Miller originally wanted to make. The black and white fits in perfectly with the world created in the movie.

As for the movie itself, do I really need to go in this? Of course it's still a masterpiece. I wish more action films were as tightly constructed and poignant with its messaging as this movie. In a better world this movie would be the template for making a modern action movie and not whatever Marvel/Disney is doing.

5/5
Very interesting. I gotta check it out this way now
 
Hollywood Shuffle: On one hand, I could take this movie to task for having what amounted to a half hour's worth of story that gets padded out with the various fantasy segments in between, some of which go on for far too long to maintain their humor. On the other hand, and the one I will defer to, it's hard not to be completely on board with the message here as it is delivered with a lot of genuine heart and wit, and when the humor does land, it hits hard indeed. A very personable and likable film, even with its flaws.