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Some 2018 viewings that I haven't posted ratings or thoughts about yet

Elizabeth (1998) -------------------------------
8.0 / 10
Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007) --------
+ 6.5 / 10
The Eagle Has Landed (1976) -------------
+ 7.5 / 10
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) ---
7.0 / 10
Grease 2 (1982) -------------------------------
+ 8.5 / 10

In England 1554, Henry VIII is dead, and the country is divided Catholic vs Protestant. Henry's daughter Mary inherits the throne, but is sickly and weak. The Catholic's greatest fear is the succession of Elizabeth, Mary's Protestant half-sister. The country is swept up in the burning of Protestant heretics, who have defied the authority of the one true Catholic Church and His Holiness The Pope. Initially I wanted to include this in my War Show Reviews thread, but I decided it's more political intrigue than war movie. I mean it basically is war but it's all shady behind the scenes backstabbing stuff among the powerful few. Elizabeth's played by Cate Blanchett, the storywriting's quite effectively captivating, and the cast is as well including appearances from Vincent Cassel and Joseph Fiennes as possible suitors for Queen Elizabeth, Daniel Craig plays a shifty Papal assassin, and Geoffrey Rush as relentless royal advisor to the Queen, Sir Francis Wolfingham. Rush is my personal favorite. The powerful surround and conspire against Elizabeth to try and displace her breakable hold on sovereignty over the land. Terrific film. The sequel, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, is considerably weaker, becoming more an action-adventure film with an appearance from Clive Owen as Sir Walter Raleigh. Has moments yet is more dispensable. The Eagle Has Landed is actually a pretty funny war movie starring Michael Caine, Robert Duvall, Donald Sutherland, and Donald Pleasance as Germans during the Second World War, where they attempt to assassinate Churchill, and manages to capture a fun and classic impression of wartime Europe with the fulcrum key to its style being a biting and rather sarcastic disposition. A definite go as an overlooked warfilm despite some premier key players. I haven't talked much about the new Star Wars films at all, as I found The Force Awakens to be very average. So I was close to giving all these new movies a pass, but I watched Rogue One: A Star Wars Story last week and it worked for me. Kind of. The daughter of the Imperial Scientist who devised The Death Star sets out to find her father and swipe the design blueprints. A cool premise. So you have a hot brunette girl surrounded by sci-fi Star Warsy rebel-guy types mostly standing around listening to her in a state of awe. That was one of my initial criticisms of the movie, with the scenes involving this brunette girl Felicity Jones. But then I thought about it, and I was like, actually that makes a lot of sense. Bunch of Star Wars people staring at this out of place hot brunette girl, and I realized this is genuine. This is what would happen. Also, there's a droid who isn't nearly as annoying as 3PO. They also don't cheat the viewer out of a look at Imperial methods and such. These are improvements. Vader makes it in, and that's cool, but James Earl Jones old-man voice was noticably feeble in-spite of whatever filters they put over it to mask it. That took me out of it. Still, I felt the movie addressed everything mostly in a fresh way as far as creative initiative.


It (2017) ----------------------------------------------------
+ 6.5 / 10
The Circus (1928) ---------------------------------------
7.0 / 10
Scanners (1981) -----------------------------------------
7.0 / 10
The Fall of the House of Usher (1960) -------------
7.0 / 10
The Fog (1980) ------------------------------------------
6.0 / 10
Night Creatures (1962) --------------------------------
7.0 / 10
Teen Wolf (1985) ----------------------------------------
7.0 / 10
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) --------
6.0 / 10
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) -
+ 7.5 / 10

If you're looking for a pretty well-made modern horror film, you can give It a go, just be aware it's aimed at a younger audience and I won't be watching that one again. When it comes to Hammer Horror, Night Creatures aka Captain Clegg certainly isn't one of the most praised, but it's a fun entry for me starring Peter Cushing who I've come to virtually always enjoy. Night Creatures is set in a coastal smuggling and bootlegging town haunted by Marsh Phantoms. There's also a brunette ward there who works in the town played by actress Yvonne Romain. Oh hei. This is a fierce little film mixing smuggling, pirates, horror, and ghosts that I'd watch again. The Fog, another movie about a coastal town, that I found to be basically okay, with the music and atmosphere being memorable yet not a whole lot else really despite appearances from Adrienne Barbeau, Janet Leigh, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Carpenter 80s pillar Tom Atkins.

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aronisred's Avatar
outrageous film reviewer
Alien



A group of workers on a space mineral carrier/refinery on their way back to earth stumbles upon a distress signal. When they attend to that signal something comes with them into the ship which puts their lives and mission at incredible risk.

The latest alien movies like Prometheus and covenant have been criticized as being too dumb. But, if you follow this movie you can see where all that dumbness comes from. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. The movie has some positive elements and some negative elements. But since the positives are so high compared to negatives the movie is considered a classic as opposed to a dumb movie. In the opening sequence of the movie, the camera just follows the empty hallways of this ship. There is this eerie feeling that something is roaming this ship but in reality there is nothing dangerous in there yet. So, its all about the creepiness of it all. I must attribute that to Ridley Scott and screenwriters. The space ship is programmed to wake up the crew if it discovers something unusual or if its the end of the journey. The crew in the movie is well balanced for the most part. To show varying personalities of the people involved , the filmmakers decided to include some blue collar worker-esque crew members in there. I think its a commercial decision by studio. Space travel takes every crew member to have a certain level-headed personality. So, each and everyone in the crew is picked like that. They don't ever pick a loose canon or un-opinionated or personality-less individuals like the one's in these. But I think its a decision by studio to make the movie much more accessible.

There is a perverse element to this whole movie like John carpenter's the thing. The movie shows that the most curious one among them all is the first one to bite the dust . That gives a weird satisfaction to audience. Because in slasher movies most of the times there is one such character who is extra enthusiastic about wandering into the forest or dark alley's and audience want that person to be killed first and this movie delivers on that aspect. It is during their initial venture into this unknown planet and into this unknown structure on the planet that I realized there is way too much cruriosity among these crew members. Especially one that I alluded to earlier. The problem is, its an alien planet and they are just going on it with no hesitation. Even looking into the egg of the face hugger is kind of a stupid movie. He knew something was moving inside it , then why even look into it so directly. But the curiosity of it all from audience stand point sort of makes us excuse these dumb decisions by astronauts. Because audience love the fact that something exciting has happened. So they don't bother criticizing how it happened. Its the first jump scare scene of the movie. Up until this point it is so normal.

The movie has two tricks up its sleeves. The first one is revealed early on. Which is the whole impregnation nightmarish scene. The scene sort of plays out so well. If you can forget being pissed off at the science officer for his rather unusual and irritating behavior the steps taken by the team later are quite frankly realistic. They isolate the infected but they do it only physically. So they still left the chance of being infected through airborne parasites to luck. Nonetheless the behavior of this face hugger is quite biologically understandable. The dinner scene is iconic. From then on the movie becomes a slasher in space. Without all the gore. This is where the movie takes a nose dive in filmmaking department. Because what happens next is a series of kills by the creature and the filmmakers reveals their final trick and that happens to be the android trick. This trick , even though it explains the behavior of the character in the earlier parts of the movie raises some logical questions. So, lets forget about the mission of the space vessel. Lets focus on the rules followed by this android. It has to bring home any extra terrestrial organism found in space and the crew is expendable. But how exactly are they going to contain it ? What was their plan to contain this organism ? They don't seem to know what they are looking for as the rules are so vague on the organism part and what if they find something which carries a plagu. All this leads to believe that either their plan, which is willing to sacrifice the whole crew is half baked or the android Mal functioned. In which case their whole plan of sending an android unbeknowst to the crew is idiotic if it just kills them in sleep by accident ? I mean thats a possibility if the android could malfunction. So all these are serious plot holes. But the concept of horror in space and the execution sort of makes up for it. The science equipment is little too futuristic and there by loosing natural look. Some of them look like props. Even a layman can tell that it doesn't look like an actual instrument at any point in time in past or in future.

The best thing about the movie is the emergence of a hero aspect in it. Its one of the greatest movie tropes if executed well. During the course of the movie we notice that Ripley is tougher than most crew members mentally at least. But she is also unsure of the circumstances and is controlled by the pecking order in the crew. She is the third in command. So she has to wait for and follow orders. But as the going gets tougher, the tough gets going. This eventually makes her take control of the situation when individuals get agitated. The situation becomes even more complicated and dangerous when they realize that there is an android among them. What this element does is, it makes her show her vulnerable side and just suck it up and keep moving. Thats the best part. This kind of presented itself as a resistence after she assumes power and she learned to overcome it and suck it up and move on. The final 10 minutes or so reminded me of predator where its Arnold vs the predator and here its Ripley vs alien but as it would be in a horror movie. In predators its an action scene and here its a suspense scene.

Now a word about Ridley Scott. I covered my disdain for him in Covenant review. But people always bring up this movie to defend the genius of Ridley Scott. But the problem with that argument is, at this point in his career he was a ads director. He used to shoot TV commercials. The studio having liked his direction gave him this movie. But if you look at the movie there is not too much room for a director to imprint his stamp in a boiler room story. Its almost a closed space movie. He can't take credit for creature design because thats another department. The screenplay is given to him. What he basically did was , he made a movie that satisfied the financiers. Because this movie is no different than a slasher movie. But the genius of setting it in space and having this awesome creature design and face hugger design came from people involves in this movie that are not the director of the movie. So most directors in the Hollywood consider him lucky to be able to make this movie. They think its a fluke. I don't really disagree. Ridley Scott can be real hit or miss sometimes. Some of his movies can really be pieces of crap. So in case of movies like this and gladiator it really comes down to his ability of make a decent movie from a script. Its really a complicated argument to argue against Ridley Scott but it can be done. He is someone who picks the type of movie he wants to make by going through the scripts. He will see the budget attached to the movie and the actors he need for the movie to get the budget he want. So he starts shooting a movie by picking a script available to him and a vague passion to make it. He should have learnt some valuable lessons about filmmaking and directing in his 40s and if he done that he would have won an Oscar by now but his desire to stay employed and be a commercial director for hire by studio sort of made it hard for people to consider him an auteur. Its that vague passion thats so off putting to people. He thinks in terms of visuals and doesn't know what a good story feels like. He is a highly talented commercial director. The dumb plot holes in Prometheus and Covenant sort of proved that movies like alien or blade runner or gladiator are just flukes and even those movies are not created and produced by him on an artistic level. He gave input as director and the scripts for those movies stood on their own merit.

So, this movie is a very good movie but its just shy of being a highest rated movie because of the half baked plans by the corporation and movie essentially turning into a creature feature during the last part of second act. Some characters die way too easily and could be avoided but you can give it a pass since the creature is so much of a mystery until this point. But this movie does have seeds of problems that turn into giant trees in prometheus and covenant not just plot wise but the kind of human stupidity that alien franchise has now become famous for. I mean again good god how could Ridley Scott have missed such huge plot holes and stupid characters.



aronisred's Avatar
outrageous film reviewer
Death Proof



A stunt driver stalks and kills women in auto accidents and he gets off by doing that.

This basically is automobile version of Ted Bundy. Serial Killers get off by committing crimes and that's why they do it again and again. A character background and his progression through this movie played by Kurt Russell is so realistic that you can totally believe someone like that could do that. This movie more than anything makes it much more clear on what inspires Quentin Tarantino movies.He is someone extremely inspired by the behind scenes in Hollywood. What makes someone a star. Which films bombed at box office. What kind of movies were made. He lifts characters from other movies and uses them in his story-lines. If a character like Don Corleone or Moses is used in different stories then audience will not connect. But if a fleshed out character from another movie is inserted into a different story then even though it feels jarring at first ,slowly the story starts to make sense. So there is this weird complexity yet familiarity to the characters in his movies.For example in Kill Bill, the lead character is an action hero. You have seen characters like that in tons of movies. So its a fully fleshed out "phoenix raising from the ashes" character. But when she is an ex assassin and her targets are ex assassins we are in a totally different circumstances. So that reduces him the burden of having to introduce and establish the character himself. Its been done for him. With all that said,its not easy what he is doing. Detractors might call it copying but even if he mishmash stuff from other movies its not easy to make them all look cohesive.

The movie takes place over the course of two accidents. The first one is a success but the second one is a failure. Any crime involves two parties. The one committing it and the one who its being committed to. They share a secret. In case of serial killers its unwillingly. During the act one person sees the evil side of another person. Most times they don't see the light of the day to say what happened and if they do they will be a changed person. This particular serial killer has a very elaborate scheme he uses to satisfy his urges. He develops a fool proof mechanism. He first stalks his victims because he wants to know who he is killing. Then, he uses his stunt car that's supposed to withstand violent crashes and a nod to the title , death proof to collide with victim's car and kill them. But he can cheat death and law using his car. Majority of the movie is the background of these women he stalks. Most of them represent majority of women between 15-30 working in Hollywood. They are either models or stunt women or so on. Most of the characters in the movie have obscure jobs in Hollywood. So all this kind of gives an LA feel to the movie.

To be honest all this kind of feels like the wet dream of a psycho. But in the end the movie kinda gives audience what they want by letting the women of the second car survive brushes with Kurt Russell and then go on to chase him and take revenge on him. The movie ends on a more goofy tone than the rest of the movie. One weird thing I noticed in most of Tarantino movies is that there is always that one southern racist looking old cop investigating a crime. If not integral to the story he wants that character to be in the movie to say some lines. Even if the crimes doesn't take place in south. The movie displays a predator and prey relationship between men and women. Women are tough but they are feminine tough and Kurt Russell as loathsome as he is , is a bad-ass in the movie.Tarantino plays with words and meanings and sentences a lot in his movies. Some are intended to be punch dialogues and some are just dialogues he loved to write. One such line which is kinda genius is, during his car introduction where he kills a woman before committing his buffet crime. He comes to an intersection where he is taking left and he intends to kill the woman in the car eventually but she doesn't know that yet. So he asks her where she want to go and she say the opposite direction. And the dialogue he uses goes along the lines of "That's too bad, we have 50-50 chance of going left or right , if you said left then it would have been a while before you start getting scared but since you said right I am afraid you have to start getting scared right now". That line is so great and catchy and its quite brilliant. You can't teach that in film school. Its a weird , crazy movie and its also a character study of killer and victims. He made this movie as a piece of entertainment and passing no judgement.



Setsuko Hara is my co-pilot
Pigs and Battleships (1961) -




At first glance this is a simple rehash of this classical 30s Hollywood gangster tale, but it has way more to it than you may intially think. The sharp criticism hits both the Japanese and Americans and creates a strong feeling of misery in a world full of suffering. A girl terribly exploited by her own family and a two-bit Yakuza underdog are a part of this world. They find a light of hope in each other, and start the struggle. The film keeps you in suspense to the very end indefinitely drawing out the finale! The ending is both happy and sad. It's depressing, but it also gives hope. It's heartbreaking, but unavoidable. I have to watch more Imamura ASAP, because out of 5 of his I've seen 3 are masterpieces, and I still have to see some of his most acclaimed ones (Black Rain!).

Giants and Toys (1958) -




Masumura's best right after Red Angel! More frightening than most psychological horrors, more disgusting than most body horrors. A fierce satire on consumerism and sharp criticism of the world in which in order to succeed you have to be merciless to your opponents, and (ab)use love only to gain advantage in business. Originality and naturalness are quickly turned into yet another PRODUCT. People are turned into machines - either frantic workaholics, or distressed starlets. They do things only to succeed professionally. No room for sentiments, real feelings. And there is no stopping it - either you comply, or you lose. For satire's sake the film is obviously exaggerated, but also damn recent and still applies to contemporary world. The ending is spectacularly shocking - selling your life and soul for caramels. But, hey, let's smile. The public wants it. The public demands it, and to quote the most jarring line from the film: "The public are worse than babies. Worse than dogs. Because they don't think. They work like slaves, and get drunk at night. TV, radio, movies, games. They have no time to think. That's where we come in. We'll fill their empty heads with our message: "Delicious caramel, World Caramel! World! World!". This is the Japanese Ace in the Hole. A masterpiece of satire! EDIT: Now that I think about it, it's much more like A Face in the Crowd!

In the Shadow of the Blue Rascal (1986) -




Clementi's weakest from what I've seen. I think the prolix narration really drags it down. The sheer power of Clementi's visuals is undeniable, but its weakened by only half-successful attempts at creating a story. Necrocity is a nasty place to live, and the film indeed shows these dilapidated rooms and damaged people with a certain dose of authenticity (even though it's a quasi-sci-fi film), and it's all good, but where the film really shines is when Clemeneti just lets it go in this euphoric end credits sequence. His other flicks are like this all the time, and this is what makes them great. This one is good.

How to Be Loved (1963) -




Welcome back Polish cinema. It's been a while. A very good film from one of the most prominent Polish film auteurs Wojciech Jerzy Has. A woman reminisces about her past during the Second World War, and about her unrequited love. How to be loved? How to deal with it if you have sacrificed everything for that person, but then see that person is slowly descending into the nihil. Are cynicism and indifference indications of desensitization, or ways of fighting with unbearable memories of the past? Chris Marker says in Sans soleil that sometimes he thinks that memories exist only to hurt us. With time the lost person simply disappears, and all that's left is a wound. Disembodied.

Color of Pomegranates (1969) (Parajanov Cut) [REWATCH] -




Finally watched the infamous Blu-ray Criterion restoration. The only version of the film that had been available before was the Yutkevich Cut. This time I watched the Parajanov Cut, which apparently is closer to auteur's original vision. I wish I hadn't watched it. I was tired and had already watched two other films during that weekday (which means all of this after 8 hours of work as well), so I had a hard time focusing on the movie. Of course, visuals were absolutely fantastic, but I couldn't get into the atmosphere. I feel like this is one of the best films ever made, but I just don't understand it yet.

What We Do in the Shadows (2014) -




That feel when several hundred years old vampires are more outgoing than 20-something you. I had put off watching it for way too long based solely on the fact the director made a Marvel movie. The reality show formula worked really well, and the gags were genuinely funny. Stu.

Profound Desires of the Gods (1968) -




Just like I said, moar Imamura. Very good cinema, but I wasn't blown away. I guess its themes were a little bit lost on me. Man is an animal no matter the surroundings sounds quite trite. I can't wait for Black Rain next.

First Reformed (2017) -




The only true problem with this otherwise fantastic film is that it takes way too much from others. It's basically a mix of Bresson's Diary of a Country Priest, Bergman's Winter Light, and Scorsese's Taxi Driver. But well, it's not easy to be a good epigone, so kudos to Schrader for handling it so well. I love how the film gradually becomes darker, heavier, and more distressing up to the harrowing ending. Great character study. Great deliberately slow pace. Great performances. Wonderfully utilized 4:3 aspect ratio with nice blocking and lighting. Some frames i.e. of the choir singing have this wonderful Bressonian simplicity to them. Haunting dark ambient soundtrack by Lustmord. Also, I watched it in English with no subtitles. I have to start watching all English-language films that way.

In Praise of Love (2001) -




My 55th Godard film (including shorts and every part of Histories of Cinema separately)! Again a very intellectually stimulating essay film that is not only about love, since "You can only think about something if you think of something else.". Sharp DV black and white nights of Paris are combined with oversaturated colors that mimick paintings that create something truly beautiful. When a picture starts to move, a painting turns into cinema. When cinema depicts our true inner selves, it turns into life. So when I'm asked which of the following I choose: a play, a film, a novel or an opera, my answer is life. I choose life.

Erotic Ghost Story II (1991) -




So much worse than the first one! Just when I thought The Heroic Trio was the cringiest Anthony Wong performance... !!! What I got was the cringiest film I've ever seen! Be warned, watch it only if you're desperate for boobies, an Anthony Wong completist, or feel like extremely cringy HK craziness. For all of you who won't see it (let's be honest, all of you) here follows the sneak peek:
- it starts with a synopsis of the previous film along with a changed ending to fit this film's "plot" (!)
- apart from the synopsis that uses footage from the previous part only Amy Yip is left from the original cast, but she dies in the first 5 minutes
- the new girls are fine, though
- Anthony Wong f*cks two girls at once using his penis and his tail (!!!)
- a man f*cking a pig is seen for a couple of seconds (random af)
- uncensored vagina is seen for a split second (tribute to part 1?)
- a girl on girl action is followed by a threesome - quite clumsy
- sex scenes contain licking of random body parts like buttocks, arms or back
- another sex scene has Anthony Wong pouring red hot wax on a girl's body (she did it to herself earlier in the film, too)
- the goofy "haha, we're making a sex film" or corny sax solo music ruins any attempts at atmosphere-building
- not that any of the atmosphere of the first Erotic Ghost Story nor Chinese Ghost Story is ever present
- a midget turns into a fireball and attacks Anthony Wong
- a girl pretends to be a cat to hypnotize Anthony and then they have underwater sex
- another girl uses the heat of her body to melt down the ice cube her lover is inside.

Change Nothing (2009) -




A disappointment from Pedro Costa! It drags, but doesn't drift.

The Magic Blade (1976) -




Yet another (great) Shaw Brothers film. Devil Grandma was vile!!! Fights and twists were enjoyable as hell! The humane scene was really unexpected and touching!

Through and Through (1973) -




My first Królikiewicz. An experimental Polish film. Cold, but hits where it needs.

Cat’s Play (1974) -




The stream of consciousness of Hungarian grandmas is so beautiful, moving, rad. I can't believe it! I really have to rewatch this director's Love.

Dead Landscape (1972) -




An extraordinary ordinary film! Director's, István Gaál's, other film I saw Current gave me similar feels, but it was so outstanding visually it was hard to believe. This film has wonderful cinematography, too, but it's also so modest, It's expertly crafted. Everything seems to be at its place, everything set just right, but it's also so natural. It doesn't bring attention to itself. It just goes. Things just happen, and in the end the only question I'm left with is: Should I give it a
?
__________________
In the strictest sense lesbians can't have sex at all period.



Weird is relative.

Color of Pomegranates (1969) (Parajanov Cut) [REWATCH] -




Finally watched the infamous Blu-ray Criterion restoration. The only version of the film that had been available before was the Yutkevich Cut. This time I watched the Parajanov Cut, which apparently is closer to auteur's original vision. I wish I hadn't watched it. I was tired and had already watched two other films during that weekday (which means all of this after 8 hours of work as well), so I had a hard time focusing on the movie. Of course, visuals were absolutely fantastic, but I couldn't get into the atmosphere. I feel like this is one of the best films ever made, but I just don't understand it yet.
I watched this yesterday for the first time, and I thought it was a fantastic piece of performance art, as though it were an art documentary. That would be the best way to appreciate it, in my opinion, because otherwise one will think it makes zero sense while they search hopelessly for coherent threads of plot to follow.
I am definitely going to re-watch it.



aronisred's Avatar
outrageous film reviewer
The Ritual



A group of friends mourning the recent untimely loss of their friend go on a hiking trip to spread his ashes and spend some time together. Unbeknownst to them they are in for a deadly experience on their trip.

The best thing about this movie is its atmosphere. Outbacks has always been a favorite horror movie setting for me. Because its the closest setting to reality that there is. Urban horror is not believable because we live in urban places all the time. Space horror is not relatable because most have never been to space. Even Jungle horror is remote because rarely do people venture into jungles. But hiking in the outback is something people do.

So the movie starts with few men in UK leaving a game and two of them go into a super market , one more reluctant than the other but unbeknownst to them they stumble into a store mid robbery. The sequence here is quite brilliant. Both these guys are in an aisle and as the robbers emerge from the restricted room in the store, the quick witted one among the two moves fast to the end of aisle and hides. Since its a matter of fraction of seconds before the guys notice them the other guy couldn't just follow his friend. So he is spotted and in an altercation that ensues looses his life all while his cowardly friend hides there and does nothing. There is certain guilt to his character but the actor who portrays him doesn't have enough brood and screen presence to carry it with him. This is a good set up. But I do think this a clever idea and can't call it an outstanding achievement in story telling. Because its just a trick. If you watch enough cable news then you will stumble upon a news where guys stumble into stores mid robbery. Most of these outback horror thrillers are creature features. Going supernatural diminishes the effect. Because, for the most part the gist of the story lies is these characters making out alive against a quantifiable threat. A mortal threat. Once it becomes immortal there is no real end to it. It becomes genie in the bottle scenario. You never know when the bottle is going to be knocked down and genie is out. The problem with having a mortal threat is it lessens the danger. You know its some hillbillies if its in the outback. All these poses challenges.

The best thing about this movie is that it wants to have its cake and eat it too. It wants the treat of a supernatural entity but at the same time it wants a definitive ending. The execution is brilliant. The movie overlaps the supernatural entity with natural boundaries. So, all these friends from the beginning of the movie have a trail they follow en-route their hiking trip to a hotel in the outback. The interesting thing about the movie is that they can actually see the hotel far away since its the only human made structure in the area. Due to series of unpleasant events that happen while following their planned route they had to take a detour through a jungle. So, all the people are entering this jungle with a sense of guilt and their trip is in memory of their dead friend. Once they enter the jungle the director had a little trouble in balancing the sense of dread and the guilt of these characters. Firstly they are being stalked by something in the jungle. Initially the guilt between these characters takes precedence in their priorities of attention. Then after spending a night in a house they found in the jungle the dread takes higher priority as it looks like their survival instincts kicked in. Its then the director makes a series of mistakes. He tries to compound their sense of dread with their guilt but it simply doesn't work. You can't have characters worrying about something that isn't life or death situation when they are actually in a life or death situation. It makes them annoying. So the movie wanders a little bit off target which I feel is intentional but misguided. In the third act the movie solves the mystery with a supernatural explanation of a Nordic demon haunting the forests and who happens to have disciples . They have plans for these new entries. Some to be sacrificed and some to be joining the disciples to continue their race. Which is a saving grace for all the meandering in the second half. The surviving one among the group manages to escape and survive the Nordic demon. They use the Jungle as the force field for the demon. There by giving this supernatural entity a finite force field. This makes audience satisfied that our protagonist makes it out alive. That to me is most impressive part of the movie. The way the filmmakers were able makes this movie with lot of abstract elements of guilt, demon and haunting feel like a movie with finite ending is very satisfying.



A system of cells interlinked
Alien

Now a word about Ridley Scott. I covered my disdain for him in Covenant review. But people always bring up this movie to defend the genius of Ridley Scott. But the problem with that argument is, at this point in his career he was a ads director. He used to shoot TV commercials. The studio having liked his direction gave him this movie. But if you look at the movie there is not too much room for a director to imprint his stamp in a boiler room story. Its almost a closed space movie. He can't take credit for creature design because thats another department. The screenplay is given to him. What he basically did was , he made a movie that satisfied the financiers. Because this movie is no different than a slasher movie. But the genius of setting it in space and having this awesome creature design and face hugger design came from people involves in this movie that are not the director of the movie.

I think you need to research the making of alien a bit more, especially the stuff about Ridley's inarguable genius in regards to vision and art direction, which he always take a huge part in, so much so, that while working on some films, it becomes a detriment because he ignores other important aspects of the film. I really think this is where Ridley excels, and I don't think he is a genius director, but can certainly be a genius film maker from a more purely artistic standpoint. Just look at Blade Runner, where he again focused a large part of his energy on the art direction, much to the annoyance of the person who was hired as the art director. This stuff is pretty well documented, so should be fairly easy to dig up.
__________________
"There’s absolutely no doubt you can be slightly better tomorrow than you are today." - JBP



Alien
...the filmmakers decided to include some blue collar worker-esque crew members in there. I think its a commercial decision by studio.
I seriously doubt the producers micro managed the film and insisted on blue collar workers for characters. Remember the crew are space miners of asteroids employed by a corporation. That's why they're rough and tumble like blue collar workers.

The problem is, its an alien planet and they are just going on it with no hesitation. Even looking into the egg of the face hugger is kind of a stupid movie. He knew something was moving inside it , then why even look into it so directly. But the curiosity of it all from audience stand point sort of makes us excuse these dumb decisions by astronauts.
It's a movie, not a documentary and the crew member needs to be attacked by the face hugger to make the rest of the story work.

Because what happens next is a series of kills by the creature and the filmmakers reveals their final trick and that happens to be the android trick.
And that was a pretty good trick in it's day. Now we all know about the android but when if first came out it was a shocker and made a statement about corporate greed in the future.

Now a word about Ridley Scott...if you look at the movie there is not too much room for a director to imprint his stamp in a boiler room story. Its almost a closed space movie. He can't take credit for creature design because thats another department. The screenplay is given to him. What he basically did was , he made a movie that satisfied the financiers.
Atmosphere! Ridely gave the movie atmosphere and without that it would have been just another film.

I think you need to research the making of alien a bit more, especially the stuff about Ridley's inarguable genius in regards to vision and art direction, which he always take a huge part in, so much so, that while working on some films, it becomes a detriment because he ignores other important aspects of the film. I really think this is where Ridley excels, and I don't think he is a genius director, but can certainly be a genius film maker from a more purely artistic standpoint. Just look at Blade Runner, where he again focused a large part of his energy on the art direction, much to the annoyance of the person who was hired as the art director. This stuff is pretty well documented, so should be fairly easy to dig up.
Yup, well said.



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I think you need to research the making of alien a bit more, especially the stuff about Ridley's inarguable genius in regards to vision and art direction, which he always take a huge part in, so much so, that while working on some films, it becomes a detriment because he ignores other important aspects of the film. I really think this is where Ridley excels, and I don't think he is a genius director, but can certainly be a genius film maker from a more purely artistic standpoint. Just look at Blade Runner, where he again focused a large part of his energy on the art direction, much to the annoyance of the person who was hired as the art director. This stuff is pretty well documented, so should be fairly easy to dig up.
After watching directors commentary along with cast and crew I stand slightly corrected. But I still think creating a smoky environment and other superficial things is not the core of a directors skillset. A directors core skillset should be to tell a great story and not just a pretty story. I think Ridley Scott just focused on asking various departments to show him 10 different ways of how a set should look like or a prop should look like and pick one from them. He lucked out with Alien and few other movies (which means his choices worked for these movies). In case of alien the script was great and may be the 4th act of Alien in Ripley's escape pod was Ridley's idea and in case of gladiator Russell Crowe single handedly carried all the emotional weight of the movie. Again, he seems much more focused on staying employed and pleasing studios than taking his time to really dig into a story and make the movies that are close to him.



A system of cells interlinked
After watching directors commentary along with cast and crew I stand slightly corrected. But I still think creating a smoky environment and other superficial things is not the core of a directors skillset. A directors core skillset should be to tell a great story and not just a pretty story. I think Ridley Scott just focused on asking various departments to show him 10 different ways of how a set should look like or a prop should look like and pick one from them. He lucked out with Alien and few other movies (which means his choices worked for these movies). In case of alien the script was great and may be the 4th act of Alien in Ripley's escape pod was Ridley's idea and in case of gladiator Russell Crowe single handedly carried all the emotional weight of the movie. Again, he seems much more focused on staying employed and pleasing studios than taking his time to really dig into a story and make the movies that are close to him.
Again, I agree that Ridley perhaps isn't a director with the greatest director's skill set, but his vision at the time for sci-fi was pretty great. Did you run into any info concerning his story-boarding skills...the Ridleygrams?



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Aliens



We are back at it again but only now its a lot of them against a group of soldiers. Aliens, the bigger and more bad-ass version of Alien.

James Cameron took over from Ridley Scott for this edition. I am not going to use the comparison of horror vs action between the first and second one because its been done by everyone. But this movie builds upon the mythology of the first in a rather conventional manner. It respects the first movie. However the movie doesn't feel like a knock off of the first however conventional it is. James Cameron made subtle changes to the script and mythology. When it comes to action, James Cameron has the ability to make it just right. He perfected that in the 90s with Terminator and True Lies and he became a master at it in avatar. But in 80s his action scenes has a punk rock vibe and lot of cheese to them. Smack talk during action is a big part of that. This movie has a lot of it.

Logically this movie doubles down on the stupidity of the human characters except for Ripley and the good android, which is awesome. Most characters make tons of mistakes again and again. First the corporation doesn't believe what happened to her space ship. Logically that should lead to her punishment . But for the sake of the movie we need Ripley outside. So they write her off as semi-delusional and close the case. We know they aren't trying to cover it up because there is a colony on the very same planet. James Cameron movies have strong undertones of socio-economic class systems. It's very obvious for movie buffs but if you just watch movies for entertainment over the weekends then you might not notice it. Its very evident in Titanic and avatar. Not so much in terminator movies and abyss but in this movie there is this "evil corporation" undertone all over the movie. Back to the stupid characters, the corporation sends a guy with them to investigate the place and even he is an idiot. As for the soldiers their actions as part of the mission are rooted in stupidity. I get that soldiers should show no fear. But when is ignorance confused with bravery ? Vast stretches of this movie have sequences which could have been avoided if the soldiers were much more vigilant. Firstly none of them take Ripley's situation seriously. That's kinda dumb. You think what she says is bull**** but you want her with you. You don't believe the whole colony is wiped out by aliens yet you want Ripley to accompany the soldiers. All these are contradictions that provide entertainment for audience but make no sense. Couple of soldiers are straight up caricatures. You have the macho Latin american lady, the bro dude, the straight calm and collected semi-love interest for Ripley kinda guy and the full metal jacket-esque sergeant. They take you out of the plot only to entertain the audience. So there is that upside to these characters.

In a weird way this movie sort of follows the tradition of dumb actions by characters in very dangerous situations in the franchise. They are aware that metal railings are burnt due to acid then why are they not vigilant and even their boss who is giving orders from a remote monitor doesn't take Ripley's suggestions seriously. Why bring an adviser when you don't even consider her advises. All these questions stack up. Even the decision to secretly impregnate Ripley/Little girl by the corporate guy is dumb. Don't you think they won't tell ? It wasn't even the time for it. All this makes for a very dumb movie. But here are some cool sequences through out the movie like when they escape through the pipes from xenomorphs or the knife trick by android. All these raise from level of super cool to become iconic in sci-fi genre. The core relationship and emotion of the movie is between the little girl they find in the colony and Ripley. Its a mother daughter kind of relationship. It works for what it is given that it is in an action movie scenario. But for some reason even though I liked the character of the little girl, she has a punchable face. I get that they can't cast a future model type girl as it would take the audience out of the movie but for some reason her face annoyed me.There is brief sequence in the movie where the android has to crawl through a long pipe with very small diameter to go to the other side and do something. I always thought that there might be a cool interesting side story that could have been told in the movie with that. I don't mean making the android evil or anything. But either he stumbles into a group of sleeping xenomorphs and he somehow uses that knowledge to help the crew or something. Imagine this - "You are in a very small pipe crawling and that won't fit a xenomorph and the pipe is the last place a xenomorph would suspect someone to be in because of how far stretching it is. So all this makes the chance of surviving while crawling in the pipe more than 50%. For me it felt like a little cozy place and quite frankly a very safe place rather than where all the crew were hiding out". Its a little tense sequence that could have been elaborated upon but the focus is instead on all the crew. Which makes it an action sequence as opposed to a tension filled sequence. I am okay with creature design. But this movie gives away the fakeness of the creatures more than the first because the script demanded much more dexterity from the creatures. The whole concept of queen is a little predictable. Of course there will be one like it is for ants. The whole egg laying concept didn't work. James Cameron should have spent more time to make the origins of the egg much more creative than a lame excuse of alien queen. Its soo cheesy. The fight in the end would likely appeal to someone who saw the movie when it came out than the current audience. The fight between mec suit ripley and alien queen might be ground breaking for that time but it doesnt hold up. The Alien is far more dexterous than the mec suit. But in the end its a fun watch. Nonetheless the dumbness in this movie starts stacking up pretty fast. I mean, fast.



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The Dark Knight Rises



The conclusion to batman saga in the dark knight trilogy.

This movie is like a monster with flu that crosses the finish line. By the point this movie is released I am a dark knight trilogy fan and also I have heard that my friends watched Inception on IMAX and that it was awesome. So the formation of intense worldwide Nolan fan base is in full swing.Moreover I became a fan of christian bale by pure coincidence. I was obsessed with the first half of batman begins when I first watched it but for some reason during Inception and 2011 Oscar win by Bale made me want to look up more about Bale. Then I stumbled upon his filmography and anyone who does that with christian bale will be highly intrigued and is bound to be fan. So the movie starts with an introduction to bane. Nolan is too smart of a director for your average critic or even director. Never in this movie did he try and beat specific elements of the dark knight. He went in a totally different direction. He is trying to top the dark knight without competing with it in the same race. Kind of like Oscars. No two nominees are the same but none the less they compete for the same prize. Nolan chose to make the movie a mythology and a fairy tale. Obviously fans of the trilogy wanted a hyper realistic take on the character. But he knew that he can never top the dark knight by making another crime saga.He had to make it work as a sequel that is going to establish the legend of the character. No legend is satisfactory without some mysticism and surreal quality to it.You can't develop a legend if everyone knows his life in and out as a book, there has to be some divine intervention.

Even though this movie is great there is one specific story-line that kind of bummed me out. The moment bane captures the city, his plan is a real bummer. Both the weight of the plan and the directorial choices to inter cut the reveal of Gordon's intentions in bane's speech with occupy wall street montage sort of fell apart.Nonetheless this movie is more about intentions rather than the practicality of it. The time it takes for Bruce Wayne to get fixed or to comeback to Gotham are part of legend. It not about how he did but about the fact that he came back.The scope and scale of this movie is the biggest of the trilogy. Chris Nolan was able to maintain the tone of the movie through out. Dark movies are easy targets for critics if not done right. Because you are not entertaining the audience by making them laugh. You are evoking their other senses and that means their focuses turns to quality of the movie than the fact that it makes you laugh.

This movie can be used to explore an interesting concept apart from the review. That's called Tom Hardy phenomenon. I will try and cover all aspects of it.So Tom Hardy was a little known actor before Inception outside UK or may be even inside. UK film community has a soft spot for born and bred British actors starting out in the industry and then branching out to US with their roots still in British cinema. This can be seen in the kind of projects those actors make.Are they giving opportunities to British filmmakers ? are they acting in British TV series all while making movies in Hollywood. Because they treat them as one of their own. They consider them as proud representatives of British talent abroad. Youth in UK also want to think that way. This is similar to the over whelming popularity of conor mcgregor in Ireland. If a video of conor mcgregor is posted ,more than half of those views are from Ireland and rest are from wannabe tough guys. Same thing with Tom Hardy. His online popularity is from his UK fans or wannabe tough guys because he is bane and mad max. In case of Tom Hardy he is more internet famous than anything. He can't put butts in the theater. But his videos will get clicks. His fans are from superhero genre. They are not going to follow him into his other movies. This UK respect is shown by fellow actors as well. Its all tribal. UK actors in Hollywood need to stick up for each other. Aussies with Aussies. The problem is patriotism gets in the way of being objective. Tom Hardy is not versatile. His troubled childhood and youth transformed him into this troubled individual and that looks good on screen for the roles he portrays. That's his baseline.From then on he acts like he is happy. He acts like he is charming. But all those are fronts to his disturbed core. You look at his online profile and he has huge presence. But, look at his movie's box office performance and they perform horribly when he is front and center. This disconnect is because his fans want fast and furious type movies because thats the demographics he appeal to and he is making movies like the drop. It doesn't work that way. He has to make movies with Quentin Tarantino or someone like that with multiplex audience appeal. Then he is walking the fine line between commercial appeal and critical appeal. But that's DiCaprio's turf. People don't seem to understand that it can be incredibly frustrating for No.2 actor on producers list of actors in demand because they always get the rejected material by No. 1. Currently the top stars are Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, George Clooney, christian bale, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Matthew Mcconaughey , Michael Fassbender, Tom hardy, Bradley Cooper and Jake Gyllenhaal. These are the cream of the crop in Hollywood. They are talented and most popular male stars. But they all come only second to DiCaprio. So this weird hype that Tom Hardy is enjoying will not last longer. Because eventually he has to succumb to the Hollywood system. His movies will not meet expectations because he is not working with masters of filmmaking for every movie. Thats the only way to create event movie level hype for everyone of your movies. Of course the movies has to meet the hype.

This movie is very cloudy. Rarely if ever do you see sunlight. I think I used this statement before but mad max fury road and the dark knight trilogy are the only movies that doesn't star DiCaprio since 1997 but feel like dramas with epic scale and incredible ambitiousness with huge financial risk and actually worked out in the end for both financiers and critics. Both those movie have a sense of studios dumping lot of money into movies just based on the vision of a single person and realizing each and every scene with extreme precision and to its fullest potential. You want a scene in a ball room ? lets get a huge ball room and take our time to shoot it. You want streets full of snow ? lets cover streets with fake snow and get expensive permits to block streets for multiple days of shoot. You want to explode a football stadium ? lets do it. All these are very unique to this movie. I have only one non-Nolan and non-DiCaprio movie do it since this movie and that would be Logan. That movie had the balls to spend 90 million on a movie that actually looks like distopian wasteland. But anyways thats a huge benefit this movie. Batman doesn't show up half way through the movie and has around 10-15 minutes screen time in a close to 170 minute movie. The extensive set piece for the heist in the air carrier and Wall Street. The whole pit for bruce Wayne to come out are all very impressive. I remember being obsessed with the teaser. And the final shot of batman backing away when bane walks towards him. Its an imposing shot of a man having met his match. The first encounter between batman and bane is the best part of the movie. Its a fist fight , a very simple first fight with no global scale explosions. Its just a hand to hand combat in a sewer. I always thought that the fight could have been more badass if it took place in Arkham prison with all the prisoners cheering it on. Somehow all the cops are out and the whole prison is unguarded. And cat woman lures batman into prison and alas he is in front of bane. But then again its hard to find a prison with such huge free space in between. Nolan wanted each punch to feel like it matters and not be overtaken by the background sound. Even visual point of view it does feel like having more people staring at them kinda distracts audience away from the fight. The pit is the give away for Nolan treating this movie as a mythology. Because the legend of the pit is established super vaguely. Its almost like "once upon a time far far away" kinda story. All this is Nolan giving us hints that it is a conclusion. The ticking bomb is a used trope but by that point a lot is happening and Nolan is juggling 100 things at a time that the bomb can be given a pass. He made Bruce Wayne survive for commercial reasons. The taking over of mantle is something Nolan wanted to use as a satisfying conclusion to bruce Wayne saga because audience know what it takes for a man to don that cape and fight crime. We have seen bruce Wayne literally go through the ringer at every step of the way.



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A Simple Favor



A nerdy single mom becomes friends with a very attractive but mysterious neighbor who is leagues above her in looks department. But one day the mysterious woman disappears and this forces the nerdy mom, our lead to uncover truths about the disappearance.

I enjoyed this movie thoroughly and since it came out this weekend if you are interested to watch it but are on the fence, I suggest you go watch it right now . Only asterisk her is if you are into the sensibilities of Paul Feig as a director. This is a murder mystery and at no point does it try to be a comedy but the comedic moments comes through characters involved in the mystery and those characters have Paul Feig's comedic sensibilities. He does deliver a compelling murder mystery/thriller. Almost all the main characters in the movie has layers to them. Some characters that look innocent are not so innocent and some characters that are vile and quite despicable can't help themselves but be that way. Blake Lively plays the role a pathological liar and femme fatale quite perfectly. Its one of those roles that's comparable to Sharon Stone's character in Basic Instinct. Only difference is that there is no x-rated stuff in this movie. Director cleverly makes almost all the main characters feel like culprits. So, for a while there you feel that the protagonist is somehow involved with the disappearance of Blake Lively and for sometime her husband who is played by Henry Golding feels like culprit.Another important thing that people going into this movie should note is that this is not a David Fincher movie. In David Fincher movies every character has certain darkness to them. There are no black and white characters. The darkness of the characters comes from the scripts, the actors chosen by David Fincher and of course Fincher's direction. But in this movie the script is written for a director like Paul Feig and the actors chosen for the movie are approved by Paul Feig. So you need to know that before going into the movie. The complexity of the characters in this movie are much more compartmentalized and are distinguishable by audience as opposed to a David Fincher movie. For example in Social Network, David Fincher presented Mark Zukerberg as this vile character thats reprehensibly ambitious and who is getting layed in toilet because he is famous. Thats a lot of layers to a character thats supposed to be this great genius. Where as in this movie in one scene we get a comedic/innocent Anna Kendrick and in the next scene we get a smart investigative Anna Kendrick. Thats a compartmentalized portrayal of a character than a complicated character thats walking with all the inner demons in them all at once.You can see the script turning off some of the characteristics of a character and turning on some other characteristics required for the scene in this movie. There are 3 or 4 times in the movie where I wished it had been directed by David Fincher as opposed to Paul Feig so that I could get that dark turn I wanted for the story to take but Paul Feig detours it into some not so dark places.

Key thing you need to understand is that this movie is the cinematic equivalent of the mystery/investigative novels read by housewives. This movie is aimed for middle aged women as I saw a lot of them in the theater. Luckily I went with my girlfriend so I didn't feel like a weirdo sitting by myself in a theater with mostly middle aged women on a girls night. So anyone going for a hardcore mystery will not like it. There is some dark stuff but the movie brings it back to light place quite quickly so that it doesn't loose its key demographic. You are not going to get a movie with grit and feel of something like Seven. But the movie is engaging enough for you to forgive the films unwillingness to go the distance. A much easier way to say about this movie is, there is a joke for almost every 5 minutes of the movie even till the end. So, even during the climax there are jokes in the dialogue. I liked it. However some jokes didn't work in terms of the dialogue.

Spoilers

So the main storyline of the movie involves Blake Lively's sudden disappearance. Initially everyone thinks she just ran off due to financially unsustainable marriage but later her body is found in the bottom of a lake. Due to shared grief between Anna Kendrick and Lively's husband they start an affair. After a while when she decides to move into the house she starts feeling Lively's presence not just imaginarily but even physically. The straw that breaks camel's back is when she receives an envelop through her son's friend aka Lively's actual son which contains a very dark and disturbing information about our protagonist's past which only Lively could have known. The reason for this whole taunting is because Lively , who isn't dead is angered by her husband's affair with Kendrick.

The reveal of the secret behind the identity of the body found in the lake is uncovered by Anna kendrick after she knows for sure Lively is not dead. Director does a very layered approach to the investigation. I liked it so much. It almost feels like her investigation is leading her deeper and deeper into the distrubing past of Blake lively's character. Blake Lively as I said is a very disturbing and exploitative character. She is the kind of girl that you hear about in the news that is murdered by her husband for having an affair. I always wondered how guys can be so dumb in judging the character of certain kind of women. I can only presume you will see lot of such women in Los Angeles because only so few of them make it to the top that the rest of them have to find a source of income to live and they use sex as a power play to make money. So Blake Lively's character is a parasite and she is born "evil". During the first layer of investigation Anna kendrick through a nude painting of Blake Lively tracks down its painter. As I said she is a parasite and also happens to be a bi sexual. So she scams the painter for a lot of money under the pretext of a sexual relationship and vanishes. The painter seems like one of those nice people who believes the best in people and moves on if life screws them over. So she moved on from Blake lively's betrayal. Linda Cardellini plays that role so well. She is tough in appearance but not at heart. So Blake lively was able to scam her. From there Anna Kendrick's investigation goes a layer deeper. She finds out Blake Lively's original identity and tracks down her address and sees her mom in a rather tension filled sequence. You could see the impact of Blake Lively's disturbing actions during her teenage years in her mother. Her mother is living a sad and depressed life.Through her , she learns that Lively's character has a twin and together they kill their father by burning the house down at a very young age due to some fight in the family. That forces them to run away from the house and split because twin killers are easy to track down if they stay together. We follow one sister who stays in America as the other sister movies to Mexico and becomes a drug addict. One the day of her disappearance she goes to visit her long last junkie twin who starts black mailing her for 1 million dollars. So Blake Lively cooks up a plan to kill two birds with one shot. So she kills her twin sister faking her own death and once her husband gets the insurance money due to her death she will join him and they can live together. But those plans are slightly spoiled by Anna Kendricks interference and ultimately Anna Kendrick orchestrates a sting to make Lively confess for her crimes.

Henry golding is perfect as a guy stuck between these two women. The movie cleverly shows how even attractive guys like Henry are not immune to the charms and scams of someone as vile and as attractive as Blake Lively. That was so great because the movie could have easily followed the route of showing the pair as a mismatched couple where Lively's character is too good looking and her husband is way below her league. But Paul Feig wanted the pair to look like a believable couple. I liked how no 2 characters are in complete honesty with each other. Blake Lively has got her husband wrapped around her finger and she is the perfect embodiment of femme fatale in any movie ever. Her character was written so well. It almost feels like one of those supermodels who switch between dating celebrities or increase the profile of men they date with time as they themselves get more and more famous.One of the scenes towards the end of the movie is another gem. There is a point in the story when Anna Kendrick had to choose between siding with Lively's character and blame her husband for forcing his wife to fake her own death so they can get the insurance money or side with husband to perform a sting on Lively as make her confess. By this point she realizes that Lively is a pathological liar and her husband didn't ever love Anna Kendrick. So she has reason to hate both of them. But she choose to side with the husband and expose Lively. I am not sure how much of it has to do with the findings from her own investigation that uncovered the evil of Lively's character and how much of it has to do with how a female mind works and not wanting to let a woman getaway with what she has done to her husband. But nonetheless it was a very good storyline.

The gripe I had with the movie was there are many scenes where the movie could have gone deeper and darker with certain storylines. Blake Lively could have executed her disappearance plan much more carefully. After all , she is a skillful parasite and femme fatale. Her move to taunt Anna Kendrick ultimately became the bane of her existence. Had she not done that , Anna Kendrick wouldn't have investigated her background. Even her plan to fake her death to get the insurance money of 4 million was so spontaneous. She never planned on killing her sister until she met her. Its little hard to believe that she cooked up this whole plot in a matter of seconds. To use the millions of insurance money she must have to either disappear with her whole family. That would have been a very suspicious getaway plan. I also didn't get how Anna Kendrick fits into the whole exploitative nature of Blake lively. From her past we know that she used lot of people around her. The only thing I can think of is she just used her to babysit her son. If thats the case then I take back my criticism. The creepy past of Anna Kendrick having an incestuous relationship with her half brother and eventually her husband finding that out that leads to both their deaths in an altercation servers only one purpose . It makes our protagonist believable when she is investigating this whole disturbing past and not be just a dumb nerdy workaholic single mother who is at the wrong place at the wrong time because she has gone through some dark stuff and she is smarter than she is letting out to be. I get that. So all in all its a tight script and I enjoyed it.

In a way this can be considered as an origin story for a private detective. A single mom vlogger who gets sucked into a murder mystery , uncovers the mystery with her own skills and realizes that she is highly gifted at this. After the case is closed , she becomes an investigator.



Age of Consent (Michael Powell, 1969) -


The logline about an ageing male artist facing a creative slump and being inspired by a pretty young girl really does sound terrible on paper so it's a credit to all involved that it doesn't turn out too badly in execution, though I suppose it's helped by not being too long or too skeezy and actually having some well-composed visuals thrown into the mix.
Where did you find this film, Iro? (PM if necessary)
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Cobpyth's Movie Log ~ 2019



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Andromeda strain



After a satellite crash lands in a remote New Mexico village, the whole village and the 2 government officials tasked with retrieving it die in a mysterious manner. Its up-to scientists to find the root cause of this strange occurence.

The movie belongs to this very niche genre called a mission film. Most movies try to cover lot of things during the course of its runtime. But there are few movies which focus extensively on one thing. No matter the time and events in the movie all of them relate to one common thing. Every character's motivation is the same. This approach gave the movie a very pointed focus. Audience are treated to very unique scenes of a village where everyone is dead and scientists are going through the village among all these dead bodies. The concept of quarantine and isolation are key plot points in the movie.Even though antagonist of the movie is virus, the way it creates this sense of dread among all the people in this facility and all people involved in this first line of defense for humanity has a very visceral feeling. Its a whole new play ground for the director.The movie is very matter of fact about the biological procedures to isolate and neutralize this virus. Our protagonists are all normal looking everyday heroes. Most of the actors are unknowns or little known actors. Thats a very big deal. I mean the director must have had to fight studios to let them put an all unknown cast. Here the virus is the lead character. Its driving the plot and presence of a movie star could have spoilt its thrill. The three parts of this puzzle include the virus itself, the survivors immune to the virus and the test subjects killed by virus. Its interesting how all three play a part in their mission.

The main problem with the movie is that it slightly falls apart in the third act. Until this point the whole procedure has a very realistic feel to it. Its an incredible achievement by director to create this visceral feel among audience by making the whole movie move at a natural pace and not succumb to cinematic techniques. However in the end the director wanted that cinematic ending and so he decided to ramp up the narrative momentum. Even though he did that cleverly and staying true to realistic tone, the movie did feel abrupt in the end. I mean just a few minutes ago we were lost and in the matter of minutes we found everything and they dropped the ball on full impact of the antagonist a little bit in the end. Only the pace felt unnatural and jarring to the rest of the movie.It not a masterpiece by any means but it makes for a very good double feature with another space based movie called Capricorn one. Both have this semi conspiracy theory based narrative feel to them.



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outrageous film reviewer
Empire of the sun



A boy living in china gets separated from his parent during the Japanese invasion and he must learn to grow up in these harsh circumstances and in the process loose his innocence as a child.

Its one of those early movies where Spielberg is trying to make a turn into dramatic work from blockbuster film making. Hie is getting lot of resistance from not just critics but also from the people that matter like studio executives and financiers. But since he made them a lot of money he was given leeway to make few of these dramatic movies. Color purple and empire of the sun are some of his earlier forays into dramatics. Color purple was a massive success in terms of Oscar nominations and it did fairly well at box office. Because world wide audience along with US are interested in knowing about black culture but the weird thing about it all is that the curious of audience stop there. Other races and cultures want a movie about black culture with black cast and that's all. They are not interested in seeing black actors in common man movies or movies where the focus of the character is not on their blackness. Its the same even now. Black Panther has its roots in its blackness. Its about the culture of black people and so people are interested in seeing it and most of the audience are kids who don't know any better. Denzel Washington and will smith are the only two actors who were able to transcend it but even they had to stick with switching between commercial entertainers and low-budget dramas. They are not allowed to makes ambitious movies that have something to say like Revenant or the martian. Lets see if that changes.

This movie has a huge budget for its time. With the lead as an unknown that's pretty ballsy. Something like ET has alien as its star. But here the movie rests on the shoulder of young christian bale. I thought he did an outstanding job. The character is that of a highly active kid who survives the concentration camps of war by merely doing what he had to to survive. Over the course of his stay he is exposed to all possible kinds of human experiences. He sees some stuff he is not supposed to see at his age. All this accelerates his mental growth rate. At his age he doesn't see an enemy as an enemy rather he sees them as humans. But the circumstances forces him to behave like an adult. The movie has few cheesy lines and scenes where a Japanese kid tries to cut a fruit with a knife while Bale is holding it but from afar it looks like he is about to kill Bale. So the people who knew Bale from concentration camp tries to help and protect him but he sees adults making such evil decisions to kill an innocent kid trying to help him. There is no other way but to describe this journey as loss of innocence. I don't think Bale was acting and rather he was reacting. He was coached by Spielberg on the set in the moment. Which I think is how lot of kids act. They just react and throw a tantrum or something. They can't and don't internalize scenes and emotions. But there is so much Bale's face is emoting at a given time that it almost feels like he is mentally there.

Speaking of Bale, this is one of his early collaborations on a movie and that happens to be with Spielberg. I hate to compare this to any of the later collaborations of Spielberg. The main reason for that is in Spielberg's early part of career the cinematic landscape was different. Movies can sell themselves on their themes. Jaws and ET were more or less family friendly creature features. They are PG versions of Alien/The thing/Predator. They are mild and accessible enough to make boatloads of money. He made Indiana Jones movies as well cashing off the stardom of Harrison Ford from Star wars. I am not saying its easy but there is a clear path for those movies to make money. Heck, even Fugitive made lot of money. But from late 90s and early 2000s on wards Spielberg started behaving more and more like a better version of studio director for hire than a director with a vision. He always had his laurels to fall back on in terms of legacy and pedigree but for the most part he started behaving like a director dependent on the star power of the movie stars for box office rather than his own name brand and the strength of the movie. He collaborated with Tom Cruise , Tom hanks and DiCaprio. All these are bonafide movie stars who can bring in at-least 300 millions $ on a movie as long as it is either epic in scale or entertaining enough. He managed to not work with cheap movie stars like Adam Sandler but nonetheless he became dependent on star power. So none of those collaborations felt like a director pursuing his vision and more like studios put together a cast and a movie for him to direct. It all felt so commercial and cheap. In the last decade I felt most of his movies to be extremely pumped with studio push and marketing. Studios tried to push his movies way too hard to get some kind of recognition they never deserved. Even he is too scared to play it risky. All of them are just him playing it safe critically and financially. He lost his mojo. So to me collaboration in this movie always feels like classic Spielberg pursuing his vision and not forced by studios to cast someone because he is a movie-star. The collaboration between Christian Bale and Spielberg feels so pure.

So this in an emotional movie with some heartbreaking scenes. Its a good watch. It plays like a real life fairy tale.



Welcome to the human race...
Getaway (Courtney Solomon, 2013) -


Heinously low-grade run-all-night schlock that I wouldn't have seen if not for it being covered by the We Hate Movies podcast. Even by the standards of DTV-level action (which I'll admit to having a certain degree of fondness for), this is nigh-unwatchable thanks to its cheap and extremely over-cut visuals (there are supposedly over 6,000 cuts in this 90-minute movie), to say nothing of how aggressively generic it is in every possible regard. Once again I question exactly where I split the difference between a
and a
and whether or not this deserves the infamy of the former of the obscurity of the latter.

Under Siege (Andrew Davis, 1992) -


After giving this a
last time I watched it, I opted to give this a second chance and...well, I still found it wanting as far as action movies go. At least now I'll concede that the sheer level of personality that dudes like Jones and Busey bring to the proceedings keeps it from being unwatchable (as does the perfunctory plotting and concise running time) but I've seen it twice now and there's next to nothing that sticks about its actual action, which is a major handicap (that and Seagal himself is so weirdly uncharismatic in a way that doesn't exactly help sell his typical Gary Stu protagonist).

Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (Geoff Murphy, 1995) -


As this is supposedly a significant step down from its relatively beloved predecessor, I went in with low expectations and...I guess they were surpassed (or at least met)? It's still a fairly dull excuse for an action movie, though it does feel like I could at least pinpoint the very occasional standout moment (even if it does tend to be something absurd) - if nothing else, watching these two movies back to back is making me think in depth about how to assess the worth of certain action movies.

La La Land (Damien Chazelle, 2016) -


Now that both the hype and the backlash has died down, I've had a chance to re-watch this and...I still just think it's okay. It certainly doesn't lack for audio-visual verve and there's a tangible passion that keeps it from being bad but it really does hit a bit too much of a wall once it knuckles down and gets serious in its back half.

12 Years A Slave (Steve McQueen, 2013) -


Now that I've seen this three times, I do have to question whether or not it actually rewards multiple viewings (then again, I think you could say that about all the 2014 Best Picture nominees). This film's various horrors (both graphic and subtle) don't exactly get less hard to watch as it still maintains its visceral nature, though one can definitely question if that's enough to make it truly great.

M (Fritz Lang, 1931) -


Finally got around to clearing this off the watchlist and it very much earns its thoroughly-respectable-classic status.

Man with a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929) -


Definitely one of those films that makes me sit up and wonder why the hell I don't watch more like it, especially when it gleefully eschews established cinematic conventions for the sake of a pure artistic experience.

A Dangerous Method (David Cronenberg, 2011) -


Cronenberg's almost too obvious a choice for this based-on-a-true-story psychosexual drama about the sadomasochistic relationship that unfolds between renowned psychiatrist Carl Jung and one of his patients. Too bad it gets maybe a little too hung-up on psychiatric jargon and see-sawing between stiff theatrics and Keira Knightley's remarkable (for better and for worse) performance as the aforementioned patient.

My American Uncle (Alain Resnais, 1980) -


Resnais' tale of three inter-connected people whose lives run along similar parallels and occasionally crash into one another is conventional up until a point but his use of New Wave techniques to both introduce and juggle all three of these narrative strands proves an effective way of comparing and contrasting three vastly different (yet not too dissimilar) individuals, all of which manages to be in the service of a solid ensemble drama anyway.

Irma Vep (Olivier Assayas, 1996) -


An intriguing little film that ostensibly satirises the state of France's contemporary film industry through its troubled tale of one man's attempt to remake classic French serial Les Vampires (which I definitely feel inspired to check out now). Succeeds at capturing a moment in time while also remaining relevant and just being a rather abstract and unpredictable watch anyway.
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Iro is to reviews as Kubrick is to films.



I hadn't heard of this movie, but just realized it had Blake Lively. I think she's one of the better actresses working today, but so far she hasn't landed any really great film roles. Glad to see you rate this so high, I think I'll check it out based on your review.



aronisred's Avatar
outrageous film reviewer
I hadn't heard of this movie, but just realized it had Blake Lively. I think she's one of the better actresses working today, but so far she hasn't landed any really great film roles. Glad to see you rate this so high, I think I'll check it out based on your review.
before checking out just know that its not a david fincher movie. Its a dark comedic mystery/thriller by a director known for comedies. You wont get the dark smoky foggy cinematography.