Finally saw The Endless. I actually do not agree with @OhBollox in any way that it was up there with Primer (which is one of the best indie films ever made, in my opinion), but it was well scripted and well acted. The chunk with Mike and Chris was pretty damned funny. Worth watching once, maybe twice, but Primer really is forever.
Apostle, or, The Wicker Dan. A man goes after his kidnapped sister, who is being held by a cult on an island. The most unbelievable thing about it is that a bunch of suspicious cultists can’t pick Dan Stevens glowering at them with an implacably furious mien out of a line up. It really piles on the inconsistencies in the latter half, but has a strong eye for detail and continuity, which is odd but just different aspects of the production, I suppose. Unashamedly gory and dirty. The directing from Evans is very versatile in a staid genre not known for versatile camerawork. Quite a change of pace from the Raids.
Free Solo. The most impressive individual athletic feat I have ever seen. Alex Honnold is a rock climber, specifically a free soloist, who climbs rock faces without rope or climbing gear. Free Solo documents his training and journey to free solo El Capitan in Yosemite, probably the most dangerous mountain in the world to climb. I was amazed at the photography and some of the awe-inspiring shots of his ascent up the rock face. Stories of Alex Honnold’s friends and other free soloists who have died over the years puts into perspective the danger, skill, and sheer insanity it takes to attempt a feat like this.
Overlord. Perhaps it’s just because I’m balls-deep in Sniper Elite 4 and my Nazi-hunting has got me more bloodthirsty than the first time I performed oral sex on a lady when she had her menses, but I really enjoyed this film. The structure and just about every plot beat is predictable, and I must point out that during WWII, the US forces were segregated, but that aside, just about every aspect of the film is carried out with admirable style. The music sometimes slips into unintentional parody, but it is otherwise an excellent bacing to everything that happens. Most of the film is a little lightweight, you get the feeling the small scale is cramping many a style on the production team, but what it has, it flaunts. Maximum production value is extracted by some solid acting, a good mixture of practical and CGI effects, and excellent cinematography.
Edit: couldn’t carry out @TannerHendrickson’s idea of taking a thermos of something tasty with me because I couldn’t find it. Next time!
Paddington. A joyously feel-good film, to the extent that I began to feel a bit annoyed by it. Fairly well made, but I don’t really have it in me to be mean about a family film with a CGI bear. Even I have my limits.
Ballad of Buster Scruggs. Kicking off with a violent musical comedy opening short, I wondered just what the fuck the Coens were doing, but each story manages to hold on to the central thread while simultaneously pulling it in very different directions. I am impressed. Gleeful, ridiculous, miserable, tragic.
One problem I had with Buster Scruggs was that The Homesman made one of the segments seem unnecessary and inadequate. It was even a good segment, if slightly repetitive, but it lacked the utterly searing impact The Homesman had.
Contrariwise, I don’t know that I could say I enjoyed The Homesman. Admire, absolutely.
I’ve not seen it yet but now I have to watch it.
Upon further reflection, I think I undersold the segment that disappointed me. I’ve encountered a different interpretation, and like it a lot.
Mostly, though, I’m reminded that this is a movie I’ve thought about a lot more than most. That’s a gift.
The ballad of Buster Scruggs has stuck with me for days. Up front I’ll say I’m a coen brothers fan, so I was expecting a treat. Obviously the gal who got rattled cut the deepest, but I’ve come to appreciate each story as a smorgasbord of emotion when the entire film is considered as a whole.
Venom. There is a good film here, stuck inside the dying body of a bad film. It’s half action-comedy, and half generic Marvel film. Hardy does an admirable job as Brock, he gives his all and makes moments of instability, sickness, cowardice stand out. Meanwhile Riz Ahmed is so much better than his role here as Minority Elon Musk, it’s a waste of a talented actor in something better suited to a puddle or cardboard cutout.
Where the film is at its best is the unlikely pair of Brock and Venom arguing with each other, and their different attitudes and approaches to situations. This could have been, and has the elements of, a really solid buddy comedy, but it’s apparent the writers don’t know how to do it, or Marvel didn’t want it done. Instead you have a few generic action sequences and fight scenes, the violence is toned down to the point it would have been better to leave out Venom eating people at all, and there’s little else here. Missed opportunity.
I enjoyed Venom, but I can’t disagree with anything you say.
I would have loved a lot more interaction between Eddie and Venom.
I give Ralph Breaks the Internet two thumbs up, especially if you enjoyed the first one this one is a must see.
I enjoyed how they handled the representation of the Internet, no doubt I missed some stuff that was in there. I don’t know if some of it will stand the test of time, but I enjoyed it now. I also got an unexpected kick out of how they handled the Disney princesses updated for today’s sensibilities.
For folks who go, there is a mid-credits scene, then another one at the very end of the credits.
The Night Comes For Us. A hardened gangster saves a little girl from a massacre he was running, incurring the wrath of the organisation as a whole. To say this film is ludicrously violent may be an understatement. Joe Taslim does an awful lot of the chopping, as the first hour and a half is essentially a series of brutal knife fights, and Iko Uwais gets in on the action after a (brief) break from people getting carved up in cut-swapping competitions. The fight choreography is a little too loose compared to The Raid/Raid 2. When dealing with large groups things feel a lot more artificial, but the smaller fights are just as good, and very inventive. The plot is not great, and the film really loses its edge when scenes employ guns and explosives, where the effects can’t match what’s done in the fights.
I’m going to see They Shall Not Grow Old tomorrow in a local theater, in 3D. “… playing in theaters nationwide with Fathom Events Dec. 17 and 27.”
Revenge. A thriller that visually has an awful lot going for it, soaked in glorious colour, and with little exploitation evident. Although partially an excuse for Matilda Lutz to stride about in her underwear, artfully begrimed, it’s also an unapologetically violent and incredibly gory exercise, where even small wounds can be hideous. Excellent cinematography, Lutz looks incredible even if you’re not perving, she simply moves well and has a natural physicality, and the action is tense, reinforced by the gravity of the injuries inflicted.
I did make it to the December 17th USA showing of the WWI documentary They Shall Not Grow Old in theaters. The Fathom Events web site has the locations for theaters participating in the next theater showing in the USA, December 27th.
I saw it in 3D, I was curious as to how well they pulled off the 3D, I figured if anyone had the expertise and resources available to produce 3D from 100 year old film footage, it could well be Peter Jackson. However, for me, personally, I never did feel like I sure was glad I saw this in 3D, but there were times when I wondered if there was more clarity in the 2D version than I was seeing in the 3D … such as perhaps I was compromising on the actual image restoration by the additional manipulation of the image to try to trick my brain into seeing a 3D image?
I’m not sorry I saw it in 3D, since I was curious and the only opportunity I would have would be in a 3D theater. However, I could not personally recommend anyone take the extra effort to see it in 3D unless they were also curious.
As for the documentary itself, Peter Jackson and his team did an incredible job taking available 100 year old film footage, and audio from old BBC interviews with British survivors, to create an astonishing, and sobering, documentary on a view into the experiences of a British soldier on the front lines in WWI, using actual footage of the experience as survivors narrated their personal experiences. Obviously, anyone who has an interest in a documentary about this topic should see it, highest recommendation.
The documentary itself was a little over 90 minutes, then afterwards for those who stayed there was about a 30 minute presentation on the creation of the documentary. It was impressive and I can recommend it, as well. I appreciated that for Peter Jackson his family history connection to WWI made this an important personal project for him.
I can’t stand 3D and will go out of my way to avoid it.
Regarding the documentary, I can’t wait to see it.
I’m not emotionally invested in 3D, myself, but I do appreciate some 3D films add value to the viewing experience. In a somewhat similar note, I’m skeptical of colorization adding value.
For this documentary, my experience is that I didn’t have the feeling that 3D added value, for me, personally. However, the effort Peter Jackson’s team put into colorization I do feel did add value, especially in adding in detail and contrast in the image.
In the additional segment after the film, on the creation of the documentary, Peter Jackson did talk about how he is not a fan of colorizing older films where the director created the film with the understanding that it would be an artistic endeavor in black & white, the director’s vision of the end product was in black & white. Which Peter Jackson felt that this was a different situation, that those filming in WWI were using the best tools they had available, and that given the option to film in color to more accurately record what they were seeing, they would have.
I really enjoyed They Shall Not Grow Old. It could have done more to dispel some of the myths around WWI, but it’s an excellent effort nonetheless. I think @Neumannium liked it too?
The Witch in the Window. A chap takes his young son to help him restore a house, except the house is haunted. Now, I’m fairly experienced with regards to horror films, but this shit me up something fierce. The relationship between the boy and his father was excellent, as the father wants to connect with his son but retain parental oversight, and not bullshit his son or waste time, but also not terrify him. The son wants to be reassured but not bullshitted. Of such dichotomies perhaps all our loves are made, and it provides a solid basis for the film, which goes on to provide some lo-fi horrendous scares. A perfect little film, very tidily made.