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Movie Diary 2019 by pahaK

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Noomi Rapace is poor man's Tatiana Maslany. For some reason I still didn't hate it.
I haven't seen it but I can envisage what you mean. I think Maslany's a fantastic actor.



I haven't seen it but I can envisage what you mean. I think Maslany's a fantastic actor.
She is. It's amazing how different all the clones are in Orphan Black. Not just their looks but mannerism and body language too.
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She is. It's amazing how different all the clones are in Orphan Black. Not just their looks but mannerism and body language too.
I never watched the show but was interested enough in the idea of an actor playing so many characters to watch some clips. I could see instantly how she'd managed to make each clone so different .



Rabid Dogs (1974)

A crime thriller about robbers who, during their escape after a robbery, kidnap a woman and a man with sick child. Most of the film happens in a car and it's quite different from other Bavas' I've seen. It's bleak nihilistic tone resembles film like Cut-throats Nine and The Last House on the Left. Acting is little so-so but otherwise it's quite OK.




The House That Jack Built (2018)

Lars von Trier is one of the few directors that you never know what to expect from their new films. In general I'm not his fan but he's done some good films (especially Antichrist and Dancer in the Dark). One thing I like and respect in him is that he's never shying away from controversy. Sometimes, as is the case with The House That Jack Built, he even seems to aim for it.


Two and half hours is way too long for this film. I suppose it tries to bluff the viewer but it plays with its hand open and goes to desperate lengths to sell its value. I do like the the concept though and the lack of motives is somewhat fresh approach. On the other hand the film derails into comedy too much (maybe its meant to be a literary reference, I don't know) and by doing that it weakens its shock value.

I'd like to think that The House That Jack Built is basically von Trier's provocative joke that's meant to trigger and offend (and I'm not saying that's a bad thing). I don't personally get all the fuss around the film (like why was this NC-17 worthy) but I do applaud von Trier for breaking some taboos. As a movie it's not very good and often feels like an over-explained joke. Acting is good, there's some nice imagery but too often it just drags on and on. I guess I'd call it a mild disappointment.




Gattaca (1997) r

In somewhat dystopian future most children are genetically engineered and the ones conceived in the old fashioned way are second class citizens.


First thing to note about Gattaca is that it's very retro. Its looks and technologies are heavily influenced by 50s and 60s. For me this works quite well and it has an added benefit of dampening my critique towards some of its more illogical aspects (I still feel that the idea of manually writing the flight paths from start to finish is retarded idea). This physical or mechanical side of the world is beautifully made.

Like these conscious dystopias so often Gattaca does have some issues with its wordlbuilding. It underlines its message too much and as a result the world of Gattaca feels impractical and unnecessarily bureocratic. For example it's very hard to imagine why people are constantly DNA tested (other than these tests being an important plot device, of course) after they've done excellent work for years. I'd really wish that these "intelligent" scifi films would work harder to make their worlds intelligent.

On character level Gattaca works OK. Hawke is pursuing a dream after being told for his whole life that he's unable to do it. Law is very good as a self-pitying crippled superhuman. Thurman isn't much more than love interest and lacks depth. This trinity works rather well. I don't particularly like the brother part of the story and especially the last swimming competition is just lazy writing.

As a whole Gattaca is an OK scifi film that tries to be intelligent but is too afraid to be challenging (i.e. it sacrifices a lot of finesse in order to ascertain that everyone gets what it's trying to say, starting from the Bible quote in the beginning which is kind of a turn off in science fiction for me).




In somewhat dystopian future
I hope it's considered dystopian !

Like these conscious dystopias so often Gattaca does have some issues with its wordlbuilding. It underlines its message too much and as a result the world of Gattaca feels impractical and unnecessarily bureocratic.
Yeah you could perhaps say that about Equilibrium as well.



Psycho (1960) r

Psycho is divided into two completely different parts. The first half from the beginning to dumping Leigh's car is better than the latter half. The sudden switch from crime thriller into more horroresque serial killer stuff works well even today with knowledge it's going to happen (must have been must better back in '60 and not knowing beforehand). In the end there's too much explanation for modern viewer and slightly hampers the whole. Still good film.


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Train to Busan (2016) N

Quite standard modern zombie film but above average execution. I don't usually like turbo zombies but Koreans are definitely doing them better than others. It's quite tense and claustrophobic but characters are so cliched and there are too many logic issues. Still rather enjoyable train horror. Oh, and how do Koreans always find such great child actors (the girl in this is amazing).




Seconds (1966) N

A man who's bored and disappointed with his life is given a chance to start anew by a mysterious company.


I hate to repeat myself but Seconds is, once again, a film that feels like elongated episode of The Twilight Zone. It's not the worst complaint a film can have but a complaint nonetheless. As a result the ending is pretty obvious for a long time and the extra minutes compared to a TV episode feel unnecessary.

Early on Seconds builds a feeling of anxiety and paranoia really well (why does our protagonist feel like that is never explained but the effect itself is brilliant). Especially the train sequence was very nice. Unfortunately this is clearly the best part of the film.

The selling speech makes very little sense (maybe in the 60s people believed everything they were told but somehow I doubt that). After the operation starts an extended party sequence that bored the hell out of me. Wilson acts in almost random way and there's very little building towards the ending.

And the twist (I don't even know if something as predictable should be called a twist) is honestly rather stupid. There's no way that all of these people smart enough to build wealth needed to buy them a new life could be so naive. On one hand the whole business seems to rely on stupidity of its customers but then on the other it needs them to be smart enough to keep it secret. As a whole the writing is mediocre at best.

Outside of writing the cinematic qualities are good. The first act is by far the best in this regard with its inventive camerawork and intensity. Despite of the bit shaky characters acting itself is good too. Only the middle part drags on for too long - an issue that's amplified by its meaninglessness and film's well telegraphed ending. Definitely not my favorite type of science fiction but somewhat OK still.




Timecrimes (2007) N

When man is suddenly attacked by a masked assailant he flees to nearby research facility and finds himself in quite a mess.


Timecrimes is very basic and formulaic time travel movie. That doesn't mean it's a bad film though but it just feels like I've seen it many times before. After Héctor had answered the phone the basic premise of the film was clear as day (and that's without any prior knowledge of the movie outside it's name and the fact it's science fiction).

Like so often with time travel movies the logic and causality of the events is sketchy (or paradoxical). I have no idea what stance modern physics has towards such causality loops but, just like with Minority Report, to my classical physics tuned brain they just seem wrong. Probably because of that I've never been a huge fan of such films.

Despite being little generic and having the causality issues Timecrimes is slightly above average among its kind. I don't think it's precisely better written than majority but I like how it feels almost like a parody at times (something about the characters and the events as a whole is just off). I also like the ending that's not a typical Hollywood happy ending but extremely selfish and morally flexible "happy" ending.

In short Timecrimes is a typical indie science fiction. It doesn't try anything ambitious and doesn't really fail but also lacks the courage to reach for greatness.




Us (2019) N

Watched this couple of days ago but had to give it some time to figure out my rating. For the most part I liked it quite a bit but there are elements that annoyed me immensily (e.g. the explanation of events and the way film got almost goofy at times). There are also moments that seem to scream "Look at me, I'm artsy" and serve no other function.

On the plus side the visuals are good, it kinda has that twisted nightmare feel to it, it's somewhat unpredictable at times and lots of great little moments every now and then. During these two days Us has certainly grown on me. I'm still little unsure of the rating but considering how I've again started to lean too much towards the low end I'll round this one up.


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Vampire Circus (1972) r

Mediocre Hammer horror that has some good and maybe even little ambitious scenes but around those good moments it's very standard and somewhat dull. I wonder if the original uncut version would have been better but as far as I know it no longer exists.


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Captain Marvel (2019) N

Below average Marvel that has very little to offer on its own. It's only function appears to be to introduce a new player for the Endgame and the result is just another boring and formulaic origin story. Not complete crap and not much better either.




The Perfection (2018) N

Other than acting (which was pretty good) The Perfection felt quite amateurish. Before the first "twist" I was hoping it wouldn't be what it was but of course it was (actually it's pretty much the same with the second "twist" too). I'm under impression there's been some hype around this but I don't see any reason for that. A bit like New French Extremism but without the extremity.


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Captive State (2019) N

A slow scifi that plays more like a WWII French Resistance film or an agent story. To me it was kinda refreshing take on the same old alien invasion genre. It's not that much about the characters but the world which is well built totalitarian dystopia with alien leaders and human collaborators.




I gave Captive State a similar rating. I still think about some of the elements from that movie today even after seeing it months ago in theaters.



Seven Blood-Stained Orchids (1972) N

Rather mediocre giallo that isn't bad by any means but really has nothing to set it apart from the competition either. The plot itself is above average but I don't think Lenzi managed to use its potential too well. An easy watch for giallo fans nonetheless.




Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971) N

An early Argento film that has some of his usual visual tropes but it's not overtly stylistic by his standards. Plot is weird (even for a giallo) and most of the characters are odd enough to turn the film into borderline comedy. It just tries to be too many things and ends up being quite mediocre.


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BlacKkKlansman (2018) N

Like Argento above Spike Lee puts so many silly caricature characters on screen that his drama turns to (partial) comedy. It feels too long for the content which is a shame because there are some good scenes. Fleshing out the characters and giving them room to grow could make this good.

About the political message. I'm still little unsure what Lee wanted to say. At times I felt like he was drawing parallels between white and black power, and preparing to question the whole concept of seeing people primarily as members of an ethnic group (both of which I'd agree with). But other times it seems that it's the race war he's after (and it would be racist if whites end up winning). Or maybe I'd just have to be American to really understand it?




It's been ages since I've updated this thread. I just haven't felt like analyzing my watches lately and I haven't watched that many films either. I'm dumping all of the missing films to this post with ratings and few words for those who might be interested about what I'm watching. I'll try to do the same for series soon(ish).

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Pet Sematary (2019) N

Pretty much on par with the older version. Acting is mostly wooden (girl playing Ellie was quite good though) and there's way too much fan service to those who've seen the 1989 version (many scenes that are done exactly the same until a "twist" comes). Maybe the story just doesn't work on a film.



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Skyscraper (2018) N

I don't even know why I watched this. Expected it to be bad and it was.



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The Crazies (1973) r

It's unmistakably Romero with it's heavy handed political messages and pessimistic views on humanity. Acting was mostly terribly and probably drags the whole down a bit. I haven't been too much into Romero lately but if you like his zombie films there's a good chance you like this one too.



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Alita: Battle Angel (2019) N

Due to some users on this forum I had managed to raise my expectations a bit but in the end Alita is just another mindless CGI action with stupid world and dull characters. Except its budget Alita feels more like a TV pilot than movie.



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Hellboy (2019) N

Had some hoped because of Neil Marshall but Hellboy was terrible. Tone down the humor and make the story much smaller and it might work. Now it's just a like video game jumping from one boss to the next.



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Shaft (2019) N

Somewhat positive surprise. I liked how it managed to laugh at both the modern SJWs and the old school macho men at the same time.



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Spider Baby (1967) N

First of all I'd wish a far more daring remake of this one. Great characters and weird atmosphere but somewhat held back by its timidity and rather clumsy execution. Definitely one of the better horror comedies though (a genre I rather much dislike).



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The Curse of La Llorona (2019) N

Another bad entry to The Conjuring universe. Film's all about weak jump scares and lacks any sort of depth in either its characters or story. Fortunately it's quite short and it never really starts to bore.



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Sorcerer (1977) N

Technically brilliant film about people making mistakes and craving for redemption. On personal level the story about these men didn't really interest me that much so I'm not loving it but it's easy to see why some others do.



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The Night of the Hunter (1955) N

This one's been on my watchlist for a long time. Last time I was reminded during a HoF where its influence to my nom Brimstone was mentioned.

It's a film with much potential but it's often really awkward and doesn't really know what it wants to do. It moves from thriller to slapstick to fairy tale but with very little grace. It's at its best during the children's flight and at its worst in the end (and always when it tries to preach about Jesus & Co.).

Overall it's still mostly positive experience but I vastly prefer Brimstone.



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The Children (2008) N

This one's also been on my watchlist for a while. I'm kinda happy that I didn't see it earlier though because of its clear similarities with Who Can Kill a Child? (which I saw early this year); it's not exactly a remake of that but the two films are extremely similar.

While the film isn't overtly graphical it's kinda gruesome and it uses the involvement of children really well to build its atmosphere. Acting is great (especially the disturbed kids) and the short running time means there's very little filler material. Could have made my top-25 horror list if I'd seen it earlier.




Sorcerer (1977) N

Technically brilliant film about people making mistakes and craving for redemption. On personal level the story about these men didn't really interest me that much so I'm not loving it but it's easy to see why some others do.

The Night of the Hunter (1955) N

This one's been on my watchlist for a long time. Last time I was reminded during a HoF where its influence to my nom Brimstone was mentioned.

It's a film with much potential but it's often really awkward and doesn't really know what it wants to do. It moves from thriller to slapstick to fairy tale but with very little grace. It's at its best during the children's flight and at its worst in the end (and always when it tries to preach about Jesus & Co.).

Overall it's still mostly positive experience but I vastly prefer Brimstone.
Both all time favorites with some gorgeous cinematography. I'll have to give Brimstone a go if it's anything like NOTH.



It took me longer than I thought but at least I can partially blame computer issues this time. Anyways, here's a short recap of the show's I've binged more or less lately. Not as many as I thought but I blame computer about that too (spending too much time playing at the moment).

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Into the Badlands - S1-3

The concept of post-apocalyptic kungfu fantasy sounds good but unfortunately the writing is really poor. Characters are cliched and dull, plot moves on unsurprising rails and internal logic is often forgotten. Visually the show is rather good (and certainly colorful). Fights look cheap with good portion of actors clearly having no proper skills (thumbs up for the large amounts of blood though).

There were times when I considered giving up but eventually ended up watching the whole show. I'm quite hesitant to call it outright bad after watching all three seasons but it's hard to recommend either.


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NOS4A2

Slow moving adaptation of Joe Hill's best book. It's ordered somewhat different from the book and has several changes but as a whole I'd say it's quite faithful to its source. Vic in the series is excellent but Manx not so much (especially his old person makeup looks weird). Clearly better than common opinion says and an easy recommendation.


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Chernobyl

No need to say too much about this except it's great. Some artistic liberties have been taken and perhaps some of it is too easy to interpret as trying to make nuclear power look scary but as an entertainment it's one of the best series of recent years.


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Stranger Things - S3

I already wrote about this in the series thread but a short recap: too much comedic elements, the plot is too different in style from earlier seasons and there's just too many characters already. Clearly the worst season this far but fortunately that doesn't mean it's bad, just a lot worse than previous ones.


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Dark - S2

Time travel stuff done right (i.e. make the whole thing so complicated that the viewer is too confused to find errors - at least without heavy notes and flow charts). Technically brilliant and superbly acted scifi with highly convoluted story.


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Zone Blache - S2

French police show with supernatural elements. Not as good as the first season but still OK. I'd prefer more focus on the main story and at times it feels like the show's not really going anywhere. It looks really good though but a small disappointment after the first season.


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Happy! - S2

I'm still not sold on this. I feel like the idea has much more potential but the show only gives us small glimpses of that. It needs to be more crazy.


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Mindhunter - S2

I really loved the first season and in that regard this one is a slight disappointment. There's too much focus on the private lives this time and Atlanta doesn't seem to work that well as a primary case for the season (mainly because it's mostly just waiting and failures and doesn't really offer that much in regards to behavioral science). Manson's just a filler too. Still good but not great.