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Utopia Talk / Movie Talk / Movie Reviews 9000+++++
Pillz
Member
Tue Oct 08 12:39:13
Just watched The Blind Side.

I don't have much to say except Bullock deserved the Oscar.

Was hoping for more of a football movie and less of a lesson in Christian charity.
McKobb
Member
Tue Oct 08 18:57:14
A good flick, imo.
Pillz
Member
Tue Dec 24 19:01:48
12 strong was better than that movie about stealing money over mountains? I can't think of anything else recent to compare it to.

It was not as good as hyena road or lone survivor, which also take place in Afghanistan.

You pretty much get what you'd expect. Explosions and Chris hemsworth.
Pillz
Member
Tue Dec 24 19:07:04
Michael Bay needs to find a middle ground between 12 Strong and 13 Hours. But they're comparable in quality I guess.
McKobb
Member
Sun Feb 09 08:59:17
Anyone seen Birds of Prey?
Cherub Cow
Member
Mon Feb 10 08:17:51
I expect to see it today (Monday).
McKobb
Member
Mon Feb 10 21:26:20
How were your expectations?
Cherub Cow
Member
Mon Feb 10 23:17:08
Didn't work out :/
I expected the bus would show up, but it didn't. Too bad I pre-paid for a day pass. :( Turns out there's a driver shortage right now, so later buses get cut without notice. I don't want to have to wait until this weekend, so I'll make another attempt in the morning :p
McKobb
Member
Tue Feb 11 01:12:11
Good luck, I wanna know if it's worth seeing in theater. Joker was damn good imo. Also are these related character wise?
Cherub Cow
Member
Wed Feb 12 15:38:01
..Probably not worth seeing in theater :(

And it's not related to "The Joker" movie. Phoenix' Joker exists in a different DC universe than the Affleck Batman, Robbie Harley, and Leto Joker. Last I read, it's *possible* that Phoenix' Joker will attach to the Pattinson Batman relaunch, but I don't think Phoenix has agreed to anything yet.

..
I didn't *regret* seeing it, but it felt like an empty movie. It was poorly directed, had some bad to awful writing, and the fight choreography wasn't very inspiring. On the director side, lots of scenes felt like the director was just struggling to get things into frame and didn't know how to manage events in interesting ways — like a learning amateur just trying to get some practice for a film school project. The editing saved things a little, but there were scenes where they stuck with a shot for way too long and just didn't have the content to pull it off. Lots of things should have been cut down or multiple shots/angles should have been taken so that they could have left some of the film garbage on the floor.

On the plus side, the establishing cinematography was often cool! They'd introduce a new sequence or new scene with some cool visuals that were reminiscent of the '90s Batman animated series.. But, it was always in short-lived moments. They'd get some good establishing shots that would make great posters or memorable stills (e.g., walking into an old Harley/Joker lair, Harley on roller skates getting ready for a bazaar car chase, entry into a pier), but then you could tell where the director took over again and started butchering the sequences.

And some of those sequences were outright painful. The movie completely lost me when they got to the evidence locker of the police department. Pacing fell apart, establishing shots were garbage, actor reactions were off... it did not feel like a police department under siege.. it just felt like some poorly-captured and unbelievable fist fight with an open-ended time line. And that scene was topped off with a cell phone rendering someone unconscious.. so... physics weren't heavily involved in the writing process. Which was another issue: few fights were physically believable.

Better direction could likely have worked around the fights to make them seem believable, but without that, it was just cell phone footage of people making kicks and punches that could not possibly have done the damage that audiences were supposed to believe that they had done. Rosie Perez trying to be physical was painful, but so too were Jurnee Smollett-Bell's ("Black Canary"'s) kicks. One in particular (early in the movie) was of a henchmen much larger than her who she managed to completely incapacitate with a kick to the stomach.. and the kick didn't even follow through. The stuntmen were just doing their best to save the performers by over-selling the impacts. Mary Winstead's scenes were believable, which was likely because they gave her weapons and fewer impossible scenarios. She also has more physical presence, though it looked like she received less fight training here than did Margot Robbie. Robbie's scenes had the benefit of weapons, but those scenes over-sold the success of her strikes and probably should have stuck with her being successful with quickness and agility (one bad example: a successful fist punch to a masked person's face. That's a broken hand. One good example: a near-ending scene where she uses a villain's body weight for a throw).

So yeah.. I kept thinking that with a character like Harley Quinn, this movie could have done great with a director like Mark Neveldine (director of 2006's "Crank"). This could have been a drug and alcohol-fueled mayhem fest of clever shots and clever portrayals of drug effects.. instead.. even after snorting a bunch of cocaine, Harley is framed by a sober and boring director.

I don't even want to go into detail about the bad writing right now (that's probably an hour of writing — maybe I'll return to it later). It was just more recycled "#woke" stuff, which is barely worth complaining about anymore. Standard fair. I'll just say that this was a missed opportunity to create a more empathetic understanding of Harley's character — something that '90s TAS pulled off in seconds of good development. This movie gave her an emotional attachment via a poor pickpocket, but that pickpocket wasn't a good actress or character, so you just had to try to believe that she was significant via Robbie's reactions.

Could have been so much more than just a movie of the week.. I was looking forward to this one :(
McKobb
Member
Thu Feb 13 01:07:30
Feck
Cherub Cow
Member
Mon Apr 20 04:20:57
"Star Wars, Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker" (2019)
...

Such a stupid fucking movie.
This was basically the "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation" or "X-Men: The Last Stand" of Star Wars movies (though, in fairness, X-Men was much better comparatively; I wouldn't mind watching that movie for a Star Wars palate cleanser). Like, their entire writing strategy was, "Should we include it? Yes. Include *everything*."

( SPOILERS )

- ..Random former stormtrooper, Jannah, who doubles Finn's experiences and had four lines, and Lando has the audacity to suggest that she somehow deserves to get her own Star Wars side story ("Well, let's find out!" — please, fucking no)
- Leia's story ret-conned to justify her force powers or how she could somehow be responsible for Rey's "training" (which she needs now? Sure, but only a 4-minute montage). Yeah, that's not transparent; no one can possibly tell that they shit the bed on episodes 7 and 8 and had to jam justifications for their plot holes into 9...
- Kylo Ren flies his fighter towards Rey not to kill her but because it would apparently look cool if she countered that attack? Yeah. That's how deep the writing goes: "[I did it because we needed more action to distract from the shitstorm]"
- Ren and Rey can straight teleport items and have lightsaber fights remotely now.. sure, why the fuck not? The only limit is your imagination! Weeeeeeeee!
- Zorii Bliss (Keri Russell) gives Poe a medallion (read, "Weak plot device") to help them get onto Chewie's ship.. because they wanted to have a face-to-face with Ren (which they don't need anymore given the teleporting) and pointlessly burn their "traitor"/spy... which had zero story impact
- Rey gets to kill Ren but with no consequences because force healing has no limits here. Yay! Consequence-free writing! Marvel makes lots of money off of it, so why not Disney? Oh, Marvel *is* Disney.
- Yeah, Leia had a light saber, and you'll need *both* to defeat the Emperor. That makes sense. Two is better than one. *vomits*
- Let's cram in lots of old nostalgia to see if man children bite: how about two minutes of Lando, the bridge of Death Star II, Luke's X-Wing, a couple of ewoks, Luke's childhood home (which somehow has resonance for Rey?), Cloud City, etc.
- Biggest fleet ever known to over-saturate the screen, and it's all hard-wired to one coordinating signal. Yup. Sure. It's one thing for the Death Stars to have had design flaws, but pretending that all of those ships would be useless without a command signal? How about instead, ditch that whole story line because it's desperate and awful?
- And they can't take out the main star destroyer's navigation system from the air.......... but throwing some grenades down a hatch works... yeah.. that makes sense.
- Finn riding on an alien-horse, "Not bad for one lesson!" "You had a good teacher!" — almost sounds like they rushed more development into a one-second exposition to justify yet another story choice which should never have been made.
- The Babu Frik puppet Office-Jims the camera like the puffins/porgs in Episode VII.. yeah.. someone — a human being, presumably — decided that that was a good choice.
- Palpatine's back! Now he's stronger than ever! He can shoot lightning into fucking *space*. But he doesn't have a light saber, aaaaaannnd dead. Oh, no one cares? So weird! We took so much time developing that story! Those lightning effects looked cool, though, right??
- Ooo! Rey has a *yellow* light saber! That's cool, right?? Read my blog to find out why that's significant! (Because it *is* significant, right?? It's not just another wasted plot detail in a deluge of Star Wars failures that don't amount to anything and can never be brought to screen in any way that doesn't ultimately compromise the gravity of its own meaning anyways! Weeeeeeee!)
- And *soooooo* many bad jokes. Over and over again.


On the plus side, Kijimi, which looked an awful lot like alien India, was destroyed. All those dirty robed puppets cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. Not even the filmmaker bothered caring via a respectful framing of the shot.

The only other way that this movie could have been saved was for Palpatine to kill everyone and restore order to the galaxy through the ashes of the rebellion. (Not that I don't support rebellions, I just don't want any of these losers to be happy.) Or, maybe Rey and Ren could have just kept healing each other back and forth over and over again.. like some weird Force sex. That would have saved things.

So yeah, finally watched this. It felt like homework — not the actual work itself (I like learning), but the idea of homework: that dreadful feeling of an abyss lingering over one's happiness. Even seeing it for free, I feel like this movie stole something from me... like Gallipoli stole Mel Gibson's innocence. Why must we ruin our minds with these terrible traumas? Perhaps, because there is another verse... an Under-Verse, where we cross over the threshold of Death.. where we learn how one pain can lessen another. For instance, now that I've seen this movie, I know how bad movies can *really* be — where no level of effects and production value can save their mistakes. In such a Verse, 2003's "The Room" looks pretty good. "Jurassic World" will still make me vomit, but, perhaps less? And maybe I'm finally ready to watch more of those flavorless Marvel movies. I hear you can really taste the ink in the cardboard if you develop a taste for those things.

But, perhaps the nightmare is over. With another trilogy complete, with production of new nightmares postponed due to viral apocalypse.. maybe the world will have a chance to heal from the Great Emptiness of Star Wars.
Cherub Cow
Member
Mon Apr 20 04:29:07
Edit to clarify pronouns:
"- Zorii Bliss (Keri Russell) gives Poe a medallion (read, "Weak plot device") to help [Poe's group] get onto Chewie's ship.. because [the writers] wanted [Rey] to have a face-to-face with Ren (which they don't need anymore given the teleporting) and [the writers wanted to] pointlessly burn their "traitor"/spy... which had zero story impact"
Cherub Cow
Member
Mon Apr 20 06:40:39
This was fun:
"How Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Should Have Ended"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OnieKUgv3I
..points out more plot holes
The Children
Member
Thu Apr 30 15:12:18
alright, first up.

Parasite. Korean movie.

sort of dark comedy. it follows a family of parasite frauds cheatin there way into a rich family. its kinda funny but the ending is somewhat sad. i also wonder, would it have ended that way in real life if such a thing actually existed.

i guess its da directors way of sayin, all things must come 2 an end and karma will eventually come 4 u.

overall, i enjoyed it. i would say 7.8 out of 10.

____________

next up, the lodge.
now this is a weird movie. it has scary moments in between and da ending was confusin of sorts. beginning, first 5 min was boring as hell. typical rich empty middle/ upper class family. ur like wtf is she even doing. then all a sudden, shock.

even more shockin coz its alicia silverstone that played the role. yes, its alicia. who doesnt remember her, beverly hill girl, i forgot the name of the movie. but she was like one of the hottest stars of the 90s.

lol peeps completely forgot about her, she kinda disappeared from the scene. but first thoughts were, damn she did not age well...

but i guess age gets everyone at the end.

so anyway, the story, the dad and 2 kids and a new stepmom goes on hilday to a remote lodge. strange things start happening very soon. i mean what culd go wrong right?

its not a supernatural horror movie. but the ending was a little confusing at first but overall i like the last part, i think i understand what the directors were trying to say.

yea, i mean its a time filler u know.

so yea, 7 out of 10.

__________________________

vivarium.

now this is a weird motherfuckin movie. haha, its like a xfiles/ the outer limits.

it surprised the hell outta me. i mean i really thought nottin of this movie and sure enough the beginning 5-10 min bored the FUCK OUTTA ME!!!

but surprisingly, bam it immediately begins right there. and ur like WHAT THE FUUUUUCCCKK. strange things happen and then the entire movie remains a clusterfuck. i cant say i like every scene, some scenes are dull as hell.

but overall, this is one outer limits/ xfiles experience that surprised me a lot. and i like it.

8 out of 10

McKobb
Member
Wed May 06 12:08:37
You have me intrigued about vivarium. Might give it a shot.
Cherub Cow
Member
Mon Jun 22 07:42:27
You Should Have Left (2020)
...

Lots of shrugged potential :(

Kevin Bacon working with director David Koepp on a horror movie was a throwback to "Stir of Echoes" (1999), and both suffer from the same issue: a fizzled resolution.

There was plenty of good setup, it was produced well, it had great cinematography, the acting was fine (even by their child actor, Avery Essex), the sets were great, the supporting story was interesting, and most importantly the concept had a *lot* of potential (a house that calls people to visit it so that it can punish them)... but, like Stir of Echoes, it was tempered by David Koepp's (and/or the source author Daniel Kehlmann's) inclinations towards optimism and religious redemption. This could have been a very cool and long-relevant movie if the writing had committed to getting much darker in the final act, but instead... not much even happened.


((( SPOILERS below )))

Panopticism
Things were in a position to get interesting when Theo (Kevin Bacon) and Ella (Essex) attempted to leave the house. It was a realistic character-moment: they had discovered that the house was supernatural and trying to harm them, so, naturally, they should leave... and they actually *do* leave. But the house brings them back, and they have to choose to either die in the cold (outside the house) or return into the house and face its concentrated power. That was a cool moment and a good symbol for facing the justice of society: people can evade justice through isolation or via escape into nature, or they can return to the comforts of society (here, heating and a comfortable bed) — but the comforts of society come with its judgments.

That symbolism fits the wider story. Theo had been shamed into hiding by his own wrongdoing, but he wants his wife and daughter to be happy and protected (a protection that he seems ill-equipped to provide). So, he spares them his own judgment (he forgives Susanna for cheating, faulting himself), reaffirms his love, sends them away, and submits to his (internal) conscience and to the external justice of the house/society.

In Koepp's screenplay, elements from social media's Panoptic lynch mob also come into play, where no matter where he goes, the horrors of judgment await him — his trial has permanently made him into a public figure, which, Susanna (Amanda Seyfried) explains to Ella, means to many people that Theo has been made guilty by association — regardless of his declared innocence at trial. Theo shows a detest for social media and cell phones, which dates him age-wise (their age difference also shows how natural social media is to Susanna versus Theo) but also fits his avoidance of this mob (it could be that he doesn't want to read about their hate; certainly he dislikes being recognized for his crimes). And when his crime is finally revealed, the viewer kind of has to wonder: did he deserve all this torment for letting someone die? That is, he didn't *kill* his previous wife in cold blood, he just didn't save her. This could have been to make him seem more sympathetic since his crime becomes negligence rather than murder, and it also amplifies the horror of the mob: the mob will punish any offense with voracity, and contrition may only mean annihilation.


The House Itself
I should say that the social media angle was not over-played or overt — only hinted at through mild Luddism and fear of others — so it can be ignored by most viewers, though it re-emerges in theme via the Panoptic self-punishment of internalized moralities. This leaves the House concept for the story's main effect, and despite a near-ending sequence which showed Theo traveling through time and space while struggling to face his conscience, the ending itself did not really maximize the potential that the house could hold.

A nice exposition scene with the local shopkeeper reveals that Satan himself may have built the house in many iterations throughout time in order to lure guilty souls to justice:
[Shopkeeper]: "Somebody from here, Hans Eagly, he owns the Lindenhof, he said, 'An ant doesn't know what a cathedral is, or a power plant, or a volcano.' It's the same with that house. You don't know what you can't know ... There was a different house before that one ... and before that, a tower ... It's a legend. The Devil builds a tower to collect souls, and God destroys it, but the Devil just builds it up again, and again. People have always stayed in that house. Some don't leave. The right ones usually find the place, or perhaps it's the other way 'round: the place finds them."

The shopkeeper places emphasis on the House's former iteration as a tower, which should recall Paradise Lost and Satan's Palace of Pandæmonium and/or the Tower of Babel — symbolic of humankind's "Satanic" tendency to build its own potentially horrifying realities, symbolic of human courts, and symbolic of judgment (and a *living* judgment — one that comes tragically too early when compared to judgment of life given after death). This furthers the above sense of Theo being judged and having to resolve his situation through his own conscience and reason — tenets espoused by Michael in Paradise Lost ("Right Reason", Book XII, http://www...ing_room/pl/book_12/text.shtml ).

Theo had formerly abandoned his conscience by not being honest with the courts (or others, such as Susanna), so he had become a slave to baser impulses: jealousy, suspicion, and anxiety (he has to manage these with his audio therapy). By avoiding his conscience and reason (i.e., his guilt), his own psychological state begins to distort the reality of the house, and he cannot overcome this total distortion until he faces his doppelgänger, the doppelgänger revealing that he himself is the Great Satan who built this house as many others of bad conscience built such distorted realities.

Depending on how much credit one would like to give to the author, this could be an indictment not just of social media mobs imposing Panopticism onto the mind of its users by feeding them a bad conscience version of themselves — it can also be an indictment of Catholicism, wherein people have been forced by corrupt justice systems (religious or legal) into holding guilt over themselves, living with bad conscience, and building misguided horrors to alleviate that guilt. When Theo brings up an earlier "sin", Susanna does say, "Catholic school fucked you up good."

But, director David Koepp has said that he went to Catholic school (Hollywood Reporter Interview; June 19, 2020; http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/david-koepp-you-should-have-left-exiting-indiana-jones-5-1299412 ), so he likely inserted himself into this story. That means that his ending was probably not Nietzschean (a condemnation of guilt and debt) but an examination of guilt as "sin" and repentance as virtue. And Koepp was critical of the age difference between Theo (Kevin Bacon (61 years)) and Susanna (Amanda Seyfried (34 years)) — it was just more fodder for his point that Theo was living with "sin" and deserved punishment. Not much commentary there — just recycled allegory.

With just allegory and circumstance, the ending becomes pretty bland. Theo sacrifices himself, then just stares out the window, showing that he will be stuck in a time-shifting world, doomed to re-live all the regrets that culminated in his visit to this house. In Paradise Lost symbolism, he shows virtue by being willing to punish himself despite the system having failed to punish him... but... there was no redemption here. Theo just becomes a Jesus figure, sacrificing himself for others but still being punished himself. It's story-numbing since that sacrifice here ends on so much uncertainty over his punishment. Like, does he just live there now and hang out? Does he have to work his way up Dante's Mount of Purgatory?

Who cares. It would have been more interesting if the story had ended Hellraiser style with hooks ripping his skin from his body, or his inner voice saying that it has eternity to experience his flesh via a suffering legendary even in Hell. Or, more realistic to the story's pacing, it could have ended with his torment scene, with the actual ending (bringing them to the car) spliced in the middle of his confusion. That could have been fun.

((( End Spoilers )))

Yeah. This could have been much cooler. It was well-done, but it just didn't have that extra elusive majesty of suffering that could have made it become.
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