Rate The Last Movie You Saw

Tools    






WARNING: "knotty word" spoilers below

Godzilla vs. Kong - I didn't hate this but I'm also relieved I didn't waste my time watching it in a theater. Maybe the fights between the two would have been a little more impressive on a big screen but in the end I thought it borrowed from numerous other franchises and really brought nothing new to anyone's movie watching experience.

WARNING: spoilers below
The destruction was straight out of Pacific Rim (which I did see on a big screen) and the expedition to hollow earth echoed the interdimensional portal from that as well. Oh yeah, and did anyone else get Stormbreaker vibes from Kong's axe?

There were also way too many characters which, I suppose, is understandable when you're trying to stitch together two franchises into a cohesive whole. But then when you frontload your story with so many character arcs you really need to keep the exposition and development to a minimum. Which thankfully they did. Otherwise you end up with an even more bloated three or so hour snoozefest. Or you could have simply written out several players and saved yourself the trouble. Why the rich guy's daughter? Why Millie Bobbie Brown's character? Or Julian Dennison's or Brian Tyree Henry's? I get that they had to introduce the wild card somehow but there had to have been a way to work it in a little more organically.

Anyway, it wasn't a complete waste of time. The first confrontation doesn't occur until a half hour or so in but when it finally comes it's not bad. And the final showdown delivers for the most part. Which begs the question. Exactly how many glass and steel high rises does Hong Kong have anyway? And was there some sort of mandatory law on having to use neon when they were building those things? All in all I think it would be a perfectly reasonable option to skip this. Unless you're a fan of the whole Titan/monsterverse thing.




In all seriousness though, despite my earlier nit-pick at K's fate, and some lingering issues I still have with its occasionally alienating tone, Niander's characterization, or its length/pacing (cutting about 15 minutes off would've done a lot to tighten it up, IMO), I do basically agree with you on the overall quality of 2049; I mean, it's an amazing sensory experience on just a pure audio/visual level, even when rewatched on a ten-inch tablet screen, and I cared a lot more about its characters than I did Deckard/Rachel in the original, but most importantly, like Arrival, it's a big, genuinely ambitious work of Science-Fiction, bursting at its seams with fascinating visuals and ideas (like that digital "three-way", anyone?), and it did a strong job of both honoring the legacy of the original film, while also finding ways to expand upon with its own experience
Yes. While there were some stumbles, I appreciated that it didn't simply try to retread the original and instead picked its own path.



Thursday Next's Avatar
I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
The Skin I Live In

I had very mixed feelings about this. It was like the best and worst aspects of Almodovar in one film.

Visually, there was so much to admire; I liked the way it seemed to be set in its own weird little world with quirky details that didn't quite pin it down to a time, the use of cameras and masks, the colour palette and the general look of it all, the throwbacks to other films like Eyes Without a Face.

I was expecting a twisted sort of storyline, but I was not expecting quite so much graphic rape. I also think some of the aspects of sexual violence, gender and mental health were dealt with in a blunt and insensitive way that made me uncomfortable (and not just the sort of horror-film uncomfortable the film wants you to feel).

I know this thread is for rating films but I'm not sure I can right away.



The Skin I Live In

I had very mixed feelings about this. It was like the best and worst aspects of Almodovar in one film.

Visually, there was so much to admire; I liked the way it seemed to be set in its own weird little world with quirky details that didn't quite pin it down to a time, the use of cameras and masks, the colour palette and the general look of it all, the throwbacks to other films like Eyes Without a Face.

I was expecting a twisted sort of storyline, but I was not expecting quite so much graphic rape. I also think some of the aspects of sexual violence, gender and mental health were dealt with in a blunt and insensitive way that made me uncomfortable (and not just the sort of horror-film uncomfortable the film wants you to feel).

I know this thread is for rating films but I'm not sure I can right away.
So something that I think is a part of this is the nature of how the film was adapted from the novel (a very short book called Mygale).

SPOILERS FOR THE FILM AND THE BOOK!

WARNING: spoilers below
So in the book, the main character is much more of a rapist and also kind of a sadist. In the film, his sexual assaults are really toned down and he doesn't seem as evil.

The sexual assaults (which are also in the book, though with slightly different context) are meant to be super ironic when you finally realize that the woman being assaulted is the same man who we see raping a disabled teen.

I think that toning down the main character's evil nature while still keeping his "punishment" in full swing creates a much more upsetting story. I mean, it's all upsetting, but this way is more so.

The film also goes a different direction with the character of the doctor, making him the villain of the piece. In the novel, he realizes that it was the main character's friend who was more evil, and decides to let him go.


In any event, I agree that it's a disturbing film. I think that there are some lingering elements from the novel (which was written in the 80s) that show a more dated attitude toward the things you list. I enjoyed it, but it is a hard watch.



26th Hall of Fame (REWATCH)

All the President's Men (1976) -


I'm not the biggest fan of biopics. While they may be elevated by some strong acting or some decent camerawork, they often have little else on their minds other than championing whoever is at the heart of their stories or offering a straightforward retelling of whatever noteworthy thing the subject did. While my impression of them is generally "I'd rather just research the person in the film rather than watch a movie about them", this film is an exception to this criticism as it's as much about the process of how the Watergate scandal was uncovered as it is about the scandal itself. Regardless of where you stand politically, this film is a must-see.

This films wraps you up in its story so well with a series of revelations about various people's involvements to the scandal and significant pieces of information coming to light that it keeps you on board with the investigation from beginning to end, even though the outcome of it is already known. As a cherry to all this, certain characters and events (Deep Throat, most of the witnesses being afraid to speak up, members of the CREEP potentially being in danger) add an extra layer of spice to the film and help to ensure that you won't grow bored while watching it. This film also feels relevant today given the various discussions and trials on impeachments/cover-ups/scandals which have permeated the news in the U.S. in the last few years or so.

Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman did a good job in this film and played their parts of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, two Washington Post reporters with different levels of experience, pretty well. Woodward didn't have as much experience at his job as Bernstein did and often showed a reluctance to push the various witnesses they ran into for interviews when they were reluctant to talk, while Bernstein was more demanding with the people he interviewed and didn't accept no for an answer. As the scandal kept growing more and more widespread throughout their investigation and as the importance of solving it eventually dawned on Woodward though, he eventually assisted Bernstein in these endeavors. While Redford and Hoffman are good though, Jason Robards gives the best performance in the film. Even though I've only seen him in four or five films, he's blown me away in every single one of them, as he did in this film. With maybe the exception of Once Upon a Time in the West, I've only seen him in supporting roles, but he plays his part in this film quite phenomenally and proves magnetic whenever he's onscreen. His character has more experience than both Woodward and Bernstein and has to be really careful that the two of them have enough evidence before publishing it. After all, a slip up could potentially bring a bad name to their paper.

Overall, I liked this film about as much as I did the last time I watched it and I'm glad it was nominated for this thread.
Very nice review. This was a great picture, not because it benefited by fudging a little on the facts, but because it had high energy and genuine suspense. And, as you say, the acting was first rate.

It was a picture that was everything The Post tried to be, but failed badly. Post had lots of talent but tried to force a second rate story into something that it wasn't.



Very nice review. This was a great picture, not because it benefited by fudging a little on the facts, but because it had high energy and genuine suspense. And, as you say, the acting was first rate.

It was a picture that was everything The Post tried to be, but failed badly. Post had lots of talent but tried to force a second rate story into something that it wasn't.
Yeah, I've heard that The Post isn't that good, so I've been hesitant to check it out.





Philadelphia, 1993

Hotshot lawyer Andrew (Tom Hanks) works for one of the most prestigious law firms in the state. But when Andrew, who has AIDS, begins to suffer more obviously from his illness, he is suddenly and unexpectedly fired from the firm. Andrew seeks out the assistance of injury lawyer Joe (Denzel Washington) to help him mount a case against the law firm. Joe must confront his own homophobia as the two men collaborate on the case.

In his opening to the jury, Joe tells them that this will not be like the movies: there will be no last minute reveals, no shocking and damning testimony from the witness stand. That this will be a case about facts and about the truth.

While this didn't actually hold true for the whole film--I would say that there were two moments that counted as shocking courtroom happenings--the film does resist a big "a-ha" moment. Like a lot of discrimination in the workplace, what happened to Andrew wasn't something that left a paper trail. There are no internal memos saying "We need to fire the gay guy." There are no deep conspiracies. This is a story about the way that people with power have the ability to simply push away and sideline those who are different or who make them uncomfortable.

Hanks and Washington are both very solid in their roles. Washington's character is interesting, as much of his homophobia comes from ignorance. In an early scene, he claims not to know any gay people, and is then shocked when his wife lists off half a dozen of their friends and family. Washington begins as someone who is merely interested in the legal aspect of the case, but as he gets to know Andrew, he understands the human cost of what has happened. Hanks walks a nice line between a man who is very solid in his understanding of his own abilities and what has happened to him, and a man whose body is slowly failing.

Probably one of the best aspects of the movie is the portrayal of the firm's partners. While they don't get a ton of screen time, they are more than one-dimensional. Yes, they are homophobic, and yes, they let their discomfort with Andrew drive them to fire a man without cause. But as the film goes on, we begin to see the cracks in their position. They respect Andrew as a lawyer, and even like him (to a degree) as a person. Again: it's not about a "gotcha" moment. It's about telling the truth about why they made their decision.

As with any social issue film from a while back, it's fascinating to think how far things have come. In this case, I mean both in terms of the treatment and prevention of HIV and the general cultural acceptance of gay people. Yeah, there are still homophobes braying about "Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve", but the idea of an educated person being afraid to touch a gay person seems incredibly foreign. (The film does a nice job of framing the anxieties of the time, specifically that HIV could possibly be transmitted by touch, even though Joe's doctor correctly lays out that that's not the case).

Overall a satisfying courtroom drama that delivers both in and out of the court sequences.




I recently rewatched this and was surprised by how well it held up.
__________________
Check out my podcast: Thief's Monthly Movie Loot!



I recently rewatched this and was surprised by how well it held up.
I think it's because ultimately it's a story about empathy and about how following one's values can actually lead to a change in point of view.

It's also not afraid of a bit of nuance. Like when the woman testifies that she has felt discrimination at the firm. When she's asked to then explain how she came to be promoted as such a "discriminatory" firm, she simply says that she can't, and that it's not as simple as that.

I think that this actually touches on why discrimination in some forms can be tricky. It's not a unilateral front of always oppressing people who are "other". And because in some cases it is driven by fear and discomfort, it can be unpredictable.



I think it's because ultimately it's a story about empathy and about how following one's values can actually lead to a change in point of view.

It's also not afraid of a bit of nuance. Like when the woman testifies that she has felt discrimination at the firm. When she's asked to then explain how she came to be promoted as such a "discriminatory" firm, she simply says that she can't, and that it's not as simple as that.

I think that this actually touches on why discrimination in some forms can be tricky. It's not a unilateral front of always oppressing people who are "other". And because in some cases it is driven by fear and discomfort, it can be unpredictable.
Yeah, and also because most of those situations are still real; not only to gay people, but to pretty much every minority. The stigma of AIDS might (?) have receded, but not the stigma of racism, homophobia, or xenophobia.



Freddy's Revenge - 1985



Could have used a little more subtext.



WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?
(1966, Nichols)
A film with a punctuation symbol in its title



Martha: "Truth and illusion, George. You don't know the difference."
George: "No, but we must carry on as though we did."

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? follows middle-aged marriage couple George (Richard Burton) and Martha (Elizabeth Taylor), as they invite a young couple at their home after a party. The evening, though, unravels from a constant parade of insults and bickering into a game of bitter fights and tragic revelations. It's important to mention that Burton and Taylor were actually married at the moment, although they would divorce 8 years later... and remarry one year after, and divorce again one year after.

For the first hour or so, I was really enjoying the fast-paced bickering and how quippy the dialogue was. I was laughing, just like their guests were laughing. But as the night progressed, you can see the conversations shift from the regular back and forth of married couples to a more pointed, deliberate, and calculated game of hurt, so to speak. The last hour was a painful and tragic sequence of hurtful decisions and machinations that you wonder if their marriage, or any marriage, could recover.

Both Burton and Taylor were simply excellent on their roles. I think I was more impressed with Burton, but Taylor was great, and she really nailed that key final monologue where the illusion is dropped, and the truth comes out. Also, George Segal and Sandy Dennis were pretty good as the young couple. It's no wonder that all four were nominated for Oscars.

Grade:



Full review on my Movie Loot and the PR HOF4.



WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?
(1966, Nichols)
A film with a punctuation symbol in its title





Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? follows middle-aged marriage couple George (Richard Burton) and Martha (Elizabeth Taylor), as they invite a young couple at their home after a party. The evening, though, unravels from a constant parade of insults and bickering into a game of bitter fights and tragic revelations. It's important to mention that Burton and Taylor were actually married at the moment, although they would divorce 8 years later... and remarry one year after, and divorce again one year after.

For the first hour or so, I was really enjoying the fast-paced bickering and how quippy the dialogue was. I was laughing, just like their guests were laughing. But as the night progressed, you can see the conversations shift from the regular back and forth of married couples to a more pointed, deliberate, and calculated game of hurt, so to speak. The last hour was a painful and tragic sequence of hurtful decisions and machinations that you wonder if their marriage, or any marriage, could recover.

Both Burton and Taylor were simply excellent on their roles. I think I was more impressed with Burton, but Taylor was great, and she really nailed that key final monologue where the illusion is dropped, and the truth comes out. Also, George Segal and Sandy Dennis were pretty good as the young couple. It's no wonder that all four were nominated for Oscars.

Grade:



Full review on my Movie Loot and the PR HOF4.
I remember when I first watched this being completely blown away by the raw intensity of it. It was almost like I was listening in on something I shouldn't have been hearing. Maybe it was because I was a relatively young man but it made me strangely uncomfortable. Great performances all around though.




By The poster art copyright is believed to belong to the distributor of the film, ABC, or the graphic artist(s). - http://www.theofficialjohncarpenter....vis-poster.jpg, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=52531323

Elvis - (1979)

Here's a really fun piece of trivia - in the 1963 Elvis Presley film It Happened at the World's Fair, an 11 year-old Kurt Russell had a small role as a kid who Elvis gets to kick him in the shins so he can visit a pretty nurse. Years later, Kurt Russell would portray Elvis Presley in the John Carpenter television film Elvis, which kicked off a pretty neat partnership between director and actor :


A very young Kurt Russell kicking Elvis - and returning to mess up his romantic plan

As far as the 3 hour film goes, it's pretty standard biopic stuff. It goes from the childhood of Elvis up to his 1970 comeback concert tour, ending on a more triumphant note than it would have if it included his death. Russell acquits himself quite well, and despite it's length the film never drags. The most interesting character apart from the King himself is his mother - played by Shelley Winters. Apparently the two were incredibly close. The DVD version I watched had been remastered and cleaned up, so it looked quite good, and had a 'making of' featurette amongst other things. The film was released cinematically all over the world after it had appeared on T.V. in the U.S.

6/10


By The poster art can or could be obtained from Columbia Pictures., Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1394540

Basic - (2003)

I was researching something else when I came across scriptwriter James Vanderbilt and his frustrations over changes made to his scripts by producers at the start of his career. One of those films was Basic - a film on my watchlist directed by John McTiernan. It instantly went to the head of the queue, especially with it's decent IMDb score. It's essentially an updated remake of Rashomon, with events being replayed over and over as the suspects in a mysterious crime change their stories and give differing testimony.

It all starts with a team of Army Rangers going on an exercise led by Sergeant Nathan West (Samuel L. Jackson) - an exercise where only two people return, one of them wounded. All of the others are presumed dead. Ex-Ranger and now DEA agent Tom Hardy (John Travolta) is brought in when the two returned Rangers refuse to talk to M.P. Julia Osborne (Connie Nielsen.) There begins a slow unravelling of the events that took place.

This is a film that is particularly hard to follow as stories change, motivations get screwed around with and even character's names change. Who did what to whom, why they did it, how they did it and who was involved gets more and more complicated - then the whole story gets turned on it's head as twist after twist is revealed. A lot of it doesn't matter in the final analysis - only the final version of the truth we end up with - and that's where the film really lost me. The final twist just doesn't make sense to me in regards to the rest of the film. James Vanderbilt talks a bit about the changes made to his script in a very good-natured way on the DVD extras, but you can see that some of the things that don't make sense were enforced on the film by producers with certain stipulations which ruined it.

There was a half-decent film in there somewhere, something like A Few Good Men (and as I mentioned, Rashomon,) and I'm sure another viewing would clear up some of the confusion - but I'd still be left with that final twist and how it doesn't seem to make much sense in regard to the rest of the film.

5/10
__________________
My movie ratings often go up or down a point or two after more reflection, research and rewatches.




Freddy's Revenge - 1985



Could have used a little more subtext.



I remember when I first watched this being completely blown away by the raw intensity of it. It was almost like I was listening in on something I shouldn't have been hearing. Maybe it was because I was a relatively young man but it made me strangely uncomfortable. Great performances all around though.
Definitely. For lack of a better term, it felt like a train wreck in terms of how ****ed up could these two be, and yet I can't look away... only to realize the tragedy afterwards. It was really, really good.

On the other hand, during the first 30-40 minutes, I couldn't help but think that this had to be an inspiration for Married with Children



WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?
(1966, Nichols)
A film with a punctuation symbol in its title





Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? follows middle-aged marriage couple George (Richard Burton) and Martha (Elizabeth Taylor), as they invite a young couple at their home after a party. The evening, though, unravels from a constant parade of insults and bickering into a game of bitter fights and tragic revelations. It's important to mention that Burton and Taylor were actually married at the moment, although they would divorce 8 years later... and remarry one year after, and divorce again one year after.

For the first hour or so, I was really enjoying the fast-paced bickering and how quippy the dialogue was. I was laughing, just like their guests were laughing. But as the night progressed, you can see the conversations shift from the regular back and forth of married couples to a more pointed, deliberate, and calculated game of hurt, so to speak. The last hour was a painful and tragic sequence of hurtful decisions and machinations that you wonder if their marriage, or any marriage, could recover.

Both Burton and Taylor were simply excellent on their roles. I think I was more impressed with Burton, but Taylor was great, and she really nailed that key final monologue where the illusion is dropped, and the truth comes out. Also, George Segal and Sandy Dennis were pretty good as the young couple. It's no wonder that all four were nominated for Oscars.

Grade:



Full review on my Movie Loot and the PR HOF4.
I've actually kinda privately avoided this film for years because I'm one of those people that really hates watching train wrecks.