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gromit
Posted: Wed May 01, 2019 4:20 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8572 Location: Shanghai
My cats like First Reformed better than I did. Because when I get bored by a film, they get a lot of attention. I found the first half too slow paced, and then the second half kind of silly. I thought Amanda Seyfried's performance was awful and empty. Probably a function of being underwritten. Her husband and his eco-despair seemed forced and trying to hard to be topical. I thought in a number of scenes the acting was visible. And in the latter half, the horror movie music was annoying and distracting.

I guess the film fully lost me with the Magical Mystery Tour and the priest's eco-dystopian vision. Although the idea of him repressing his urges by focusing on desolation and her husband's obsession is an interesting idea. But I really disliked how it played out. I also saw where the film was heading way early, which is unusual since I really never guess at what will happen, but it just seemed a little obvious that the priest wound up with a certain possession of the dead husband.

I thought the multi-culturalism seemed oddly exaggerated and unexplained. Where are we in New England that a large mostly black outreach church has supplanted the old white congregation? A group of 5 schoolchildren are brought in for some history of the church, the teacher is Asian, the kids are black, asian, two girls and a token white boy. That was only distracting, but the environmental theme seemed goofy and poorly integrated despite being at the core of the film, along with faith.

When the narration is the most interesting part of a film, you have trouble. About the only part of the film I liked was when the priest harshly dismisses the churchlady who is in love with him. I guess the trap door and the church as part of the underground railroad was another good moment, but just one very brief scene.

Overall I thought 1st Reformed was boring, thematically silly, with poor acting, and a clunky script.

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gromit
Posted: Sat May 04, 2019 2:47 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8572 Location: Shanghai
Watched the 1st hour of High Life and didn't like it at all. Basically I think Claire Denis is an inept filmmaker. It all just looks kind of ugly. Characters are not developed. Nothing happens, then violent outbursts that seem unconnected. The set also looks terrible, though this might partly be due to the quality of the Dvd I have. At least I hope it's not supposed to look this ugly and unconvincing. Maybe the last 1/3 will improve things, but I'd say that's rather unlikely.

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carrobin
Posted: Sat May 04, 2019 11:54 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 7677 Location: NYC
Just read in The New York Times that Woody Allen has tried shopping around a finished autobiography, and no publisher will touch it. The excuse is reported to be the Me Too movement, not just the old accusations by Mia's daughter. He's started work on a new movie, though, and is also touring with the band this summer playing his clarinet.
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knox
Posted: Fri May 10, 2019 9:04 am Reply with quote
Joined: 18 Mar 2010 Posts: 1188 Location: St. Louis
gromit wrote:
Watched the 1st hour of High Life and didn't like it at all. Basically I think Claire Denis is an inept filmmaker. It all just looks kind of ugly. Characters are not developed. Nothing happens, then violent outbursts that seem unconnected. The set also looks terrible, though this might partly be due to the quality of the Dvd I have. At least I hope it's not supposed to look this ugly and unconvincing. Maybe the last 1/3 will improve things, but I'd say that's rather unlikely.


So... did it? improve?


If Allen is trying to publish a confessional sort of autobiography, he'll find someone. If it's a "I'm really not a scoundrel" story with the grime polished off, then he will have to hire a vanity press.
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Syd
Posted: Mon May 13, 2019 9:48 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 12517 Location: Norman, Oklahoma
Long Shot is often very funny, and in it's way is a sweet film like a lot of the Judd Apatow films. Charlotte (Charlize Theron) pays the Secretary of State, who is currently negotiating a climate treaty she's been dreaming of since she was sixteen. She also discovers that the current president, who got the job because he played a president on TV*, has decided not to seek a second term so he can pursue a movie career. Frederick (Seth Rogan) plays a muckraking journalist who tends to use f*ck in both the headlines and text of all his articles. When his newspaper is bought out by a man who wants to bowdlerize him, he quits. To console him, his best friend takes him to a reception where Boyz II Men are the entertainment. This just happens to be the reception where Charlotte is launching her environmental initiative. It also happens that Charlotte and Frederick recognize each other, because they grew up next to each other, she babysat him when she was sixteen and he was thirteen, she tried out her student body president speech on him, and he stole a kiss and got his first boner, which she is hip to but quickly leaves with her boyfriend.

Since he's unemployed and a passionate writer (and good despite the foul language), she hires him as a speechwriter, and you can see where this is going. Charlotte and Frederick are an unlikely couple, but they have real chemistry together, are very likeable (especially Charlotte), and I laughed quite a bit. And I would absolutely vote for Charlotte except there's this rumor that she was born in South Africa.

*In a case of real life imitating film, this just happened in Ukraine.

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gromit
Posted: Tue May 14, 2019 1:23 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8572 Location: Shanghai
I never got back to High Life.
Partly because I didn't like it.
And mostly because I switched to my old dvd player a few months ago, but have no idea where the remote is. So I can't really do anything except start a disc from the beginning.
At this point so much time has gone by, I'd probably need to start at the beginning. But I disliked the first hour a good deal so . . .
__________________________________________________________

I somewhat surprised myself by picking up A Small Favor, along with Stan & Ollie tonight. Almost a guarantee they'll be better than High Life.

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gromit
Posted: Thu May 16, 2019 4:02 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8572 Location: Shanghai
Stan & Ollie features solid lead performances. It tries to get at the dynamic between the the pair, but is only semi-successful at that. Aging semi-forgotten ex-celebs on a final tour seemed fairly familiar. Things perk up a bit when their wives join them on tour. Interesting to see what they go in for -- more or less they chose somebody like themselves, which means to some extent they get to play the other one in the relationship (though that isn't explored and I'm not sure the filmmakers would agree with that interp). Both wives both have a quirky personality and make for a mismatched pair, like their famous husbands.

Not sure why but the music linking scenes got on my nerves. Not sure what was wrong, maybe just that it seemed like they didn't trust their material so added some cloying music as connective tissue.

It's a fine enough watch, something that you'll enjoy catching on cable, but not sure it's going to stick in my head at all.

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gromit
Posted: Sun May 19, 2019 8:49 am Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8572 Location: Shanghai
Kind of hated A Simple Favor. It's very much Gone Girl 2.
Not my kind of film.
I never understand why twisty plot films mostly use stock characters and don't develop character. I didn't believe any of the characters in this film. And I kept wondering why the roles weren't switched and Kendrick wasn't playing the hot woman role -- and of course the possibility of that is part of the film, but her fit in the seductive manipulative role is too easy to spot.
Other lines in the film were a bit obvious they would be recurring points as well.

Much of the plot seemed dopey and overly contrived to me. But I think that's the point of such a film. Just to stay away from spoilers, why would a person on the lam from the authorities decide to hide out in NYC in a very high profile media-related position. And marry a famous young author. Not exactly the best way to stay out of the limelight and avoid detection.

For me much of the film played on that same kind of level -- poorly thought out. About the only interesting turn in the whole film was how Emily got Kendrick's character to spill her genuine secret, while Emily apparently just made up a phony story (while hiding an even worse family secret than Kendrick has). That I liked. And nothing else.

The vlog stuff was tedious and it was clear to me was going to come in at the end. The vague fashion world was perfunctory. Not sure why Serge Gainsborough music was in the mix, but at least it was unexpected. The whole film seemed like a bare framework for some dumb twisty plottings, and seemed to try very hard to be hip and modern. Blech.

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bartist
Posted: Mon May 20, 2019 10:29 am Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6410
I sorta enjoyed it as screwball comedy, i.e. as a sendup of Gone Girl, et al.

For that reason, I took its flaws, like the plot contrivances, to be deliberate. Preposterone-fueled, one might say.

I could easily have saved the ticket price and life would have been fine, however.

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Syd
Posted: Sat May 25, 2019 8:49 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 12517 Location: Norman, Oklahoma
The White Crow seems to have disappeared on the blogosphere, which is too bad, because it's a pretty good film, and would have been great if the director (Ralph Fiennes, who also has a role in the film and acquits himself admirably) had adopted a more linear plot structure.

This is the story of Rudolf Nureyev's career up to and including his defection in 1961. Fiennes chooses to tell the story in a nonlinear fashion, which means we get flashbacks to his childhood (fine), but also to his times in the Hermitage in Leningrad and Paris, which get really confusing. I'm still not sure if Clara Saint (Adèle Exarchopoulos ) figured in his experiences in Leningrad, or was someone he first met in Paris.

In any case, the climactic defection is very well done and suspenseful. The romance is doomed because Nureyev was famously gay, but his friendship with Clara is touching and eventually heroic.

I hope Fiennes continues as a director, because he's really interesting (Coriolanus was more than interesting), but he seems to be be confined to a cult following, like Orson Welles was in the 60s. Fiennes is not equal to Welles at his peak, but is quite equal to Welles when Welles was being esoteric.

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billyweeds
Posted: Tue May 28, 2019 11:33 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 20393 Location: New York City
Rushed off to see "Booksmart," prompted by the ecstatic reviews it was getting, which described it as the freshest and funniest comedy in years, and raved to the rooftops about its star, Beanie Feldstein.

Well, the verdict is: loved it, was meh about her. To be honest, I thought for about the first 15 minutes of the movie that I had been hoodwinked by the critics. I was pretty much hating the movie and its vaunted co-stars, Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever as two high-school nerds determined to prove their hipness the night before graduation. Couldn't understand a word they too-rapidly said and was not intrigued by their chemistry.

But then the plot kicked in and by the end of the movie I was captivated and definitely in sync with it. But Feldstein IMO is overrated to the max. Dever, on the other hand, is pretty delightful--and Jason Sudeikis, Skylar Gisondo, and Billie Lourd are aces in support. One objection: not enough Lisa Kudrow and Will Forte as Dever's parents, who support their daughter's lesbianism but aren't quite comfortable with it.

Bottom line: this is very much worth seeing, but for me it took some time to get with the program.
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bartist
Posted: Fri May 31, 2019 11:32 am Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6410
I'm pretty meh about teen comedies these days, even if well directed by the lovely and talented Olivia Wilde, AKA "Thirteen." In this godforsaken neck of the woods, we have pretty much resigned ourselves to no theater movies until next Fall. The multiplexes here have no interest in anyone over the age of 25, until then. Trump thinks he knows his shitholes, but I'd be willing to bet the film selection is better in Port au Prince right now than here.

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gromit
Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:45 am Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8572 Location: Shanghai
Watched nearly an hour and half of A Star is Born, bailing with 45 minutes to go. What a cliche-fest and horribly unimaginative film. Couldn't believe how clunky the scenes were. Much of it seemed on autopilot and not believable. Lady Gaga is okay. But I really struggled to find anything to like. Surprised how unappealing the whole thing was.

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Ghulam
Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:55 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 4722 Location: Upstate NY
.
The British movie "The Souvenir" is probably the best movie this year so far. A young woman is passionately in love with the idea of movie-making and is applying herself diligently to that task while being in a relationship with a somewhat patronizing and exploitative young man. The young lady is played exquisitely by Honor Swinton Byrne. Her mother is played by her real-life mother Tilda Swinton. Joanna Hogg's direction is a veritable tour de force. The only word for it is 'perfection'.

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gromit
Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:31 am Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8572 Location: Shanghai
Sounds good.
never heard of it.
Will look for it . . .

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