This is a very strange movie. Heavy with metaphors and themes that don't really make any logical sense despite an almost procedural detective mystery approach to its story.
The best way to describe it is like Twin Peaks with more Anime tropes, including a 10 year old super smart kid, some anime perv stuff, and fantastic visuals.
There are some rather strong characters who do have growth arcs, and the final culmination of it all does lead to a rather touching scene.
At the end of the day though, It definitely left me scratching my head trying to unpack everything I just witnessed by the time the credits roll. Since much like Twin Peaks, you do feel like there's meaning behind every surreal thing that happens in it and you're given the information on screen. But it's up to you to put it all together in your brain in a way that makes sense.
So I think I recommend this just for at least the visual side of things. But be prepared for what's basically a long winding surrealist adventure if you're strapped in for the story.
Starts off more like a WW1 movie and a little bit boring the action while serviceable is one step away from the amount of gore really needed.
One problem I also had is that a lot of the actors kind of look the same, so when they start dropping like flies it's hard to remember who was who.
What the movie does pull off well is a twist halfway through where the main character is killed off and a POV shift occurs to the other side of the same battle where we finish the second half of the movie with.
So the movie does do a decent job illustrating how Estonians got screwed over by both sides.
So entertaining and solemn enough for a watch.
Spider-Man Into the Spiderverse was a lot better than I thought it was going to be.
A little slow to start but once rolling. It had a lot of heart and consistently funny comedy.
That said I can't help but feel it had trouble deciding if it wanted to be a Miles Morales origins story or a Spider-Man alt dimensions ensemble piece. So it tried to split the difference, but it would have been stronger going on direction or the other.
Doesn't help that I found 40 year old Peter Parker to be more interesting than Miles.
But that said I really did enjoy the animation and the comic references peppered throughout. Also squeezing in my favorite Spider-Man offshoot Spider-Man Noir with Nicholas Cage worked surprisingly well. Wish he had more screentime though.
Also the after credits Easter egg is worth the price of admission.
Incredibles 2 takes everything that makes Incredibles 1 works but makes it more. Like a proper sequels, it's bigger and more sophisticated without getting bogged down.
I can see some neckbeard types getting upset that Elastigirl becomes the main focus of the heroics this time around while Mr.Incredible is more trying to keep family together in a reversal of the first movie.
But it honestly works so well. I just hope we don't have to wait 14 years for another one.
Ready Player One was funnier and more fun than it had any right to be. I'm not in love with it but I had fun.
I wasn't amazed and thought it had some problems. But considering I had zero expectations I thought it was fine.
There are some pacing issues with some of the action scenes going on for too long, or some of the internal logic not really making any sense.
But on the other hand some of the jokes about soul less corporation monetization of everything were pretty funny. So it does kind of balance out.
Don't expect something deep and you'll be pleasantly surprised where the movie takes you.
Overall there are worse ways to spend near 3 hours on a movie.
In a similar manner to how one gets bored when watching a really long play. It's not bad by any means, but it's a dry affair.
To be fair though I don't think this movie was really meant for me as I like my "war" movies to be rather visceral. With my golden standard of WW1 movies being Paths of Glory and Lawrence of Arabia. It's not entirely fair to compare Journey's End to those kind of movies as this is very much a closer/intimate kind of movie.
The story is very much a sort of British stiff upper lip approach as it follows officers of Section C, 6 days before the German Spring Offensive. The movie immediately becomes a character study about dealing with trauma rather than a "war" movie and so there's a lot of talking and drama but not much action. You don't spend much time with the average troops nor the Germans as the entirely of the movie mostly jumps between its officer's point of views in their small officer room.
The camerawork has a tendency to zoom in and use profile shots of its officer characters for most of the movie. While this lends itself to the rather claustrophobic approach of the trenches it aims for, after a while it becomes rather dull as no other shots really appear in the movie until the end of the trench raid sequence.
The best scene in my opinion is apparently one where they go off script a little from the play and that's the Trench raid. There's a build up and anticipation to the raid and it climaxes as a messy brief affair that works in its favor as a payoff to that scene. The scene's action comes in brief half completed clips almost how life mimics the rush of adrenaline as you try to recall things while under stress. This works brilliantly in the movie's favor and I wish they did something similar for its ending.
While they try to do something similar in terms of suspense building for the ending. There isn't really a payoff to the build up other than a reference to an earlier dream sequence and a small showing of the biggest killer of the war - artillery. While the artillery barrage is interesting its almost complete lack of gore makes it feel rather lackluster.
The lack of a follow through by German troops outside of the very end in a casual mop up manner,, also sort of robs the film of any kind of satisfactory payoff. Since the most important scene in the movie takes place off camera as we flash forward to after the events. Thus the movie ends with a historical note crawl of how many casualties were taken in the German Spring offensive of 1918 but we barely feel its impact.
This in turn kind of makes the movie more of a character study with no real need to actually have been set in WW1 other than that war is looked upon by contemporaries as a wasteful war.
Highlights however do include a well done cast with no weak points and a well done production value as the uniforms as well as the trench itself looks fantastic.
So is it a good movie?
It feels like a good play that was made into an okay movie.
I would recommend at least one watch if you're interested in the subject matter or love plays, but I would be hard pressed to watch it a second time myself.
This is an odd movie to get a solid grasp on. It's essentially three movie types packed into an epic 2 and a half hours.
The first is an old school Amazon pulp film done in a modern realistic style. So there's cannibals, disease, and piranhas oh my! This first third of the film does a good job of sort of reflecting the early 20th's century's British explorer in the vein of deepest darkest Africa kind of films. Only it's a lot less cornball pulp and much more Heart of Darkness in a way.
The second part of this film is an old school epic. In a similar vein to Doctor Zhivago or Ben Hur. Where we follow massive parts of a person's life during an interesting time period. Sweeping vistas and a bombastic orchestral score are common portions of those kind of movies.
Last we have the biopic piece. This movie is ultimately based off of a real guy and the real exploits that he went through. So there's a portion in the movie that feels kind of at odds with the rest of it and that's when the real life Major Fawcett went to World War 1 and served. It makes for a great battle and some interesting reflection on his home life vs duty, but it's awkwardly placed in as a transition to the last expedition. Which ends as a sort of open ended question mark because that's what happened in history.
Now the most important question is, would you like the movie? That's a hard one to answer. If you're a person like me and you enjoy long epic movies with an equal interest in early exploration / The Great War period, alongside an undercurrent of tones exploring human ambition. Then yes you will likely find this movie interesting. An added bonus of being wonderfully shot with a high production value.
However if you're the kind of person with zero interest in the time period and hate "slow" movies where a lot of time is given to cinematography. Then you wouldn't like this movie.
Added note that some people may be rather conflicted by the character himself, as he seems to on the one hand support natives as being more than savages during a time where that was no a highly supported point of view. On the other hand though he clearly also supports old fashioned British patriarchy with regards to his wife & children. The biggest character arc we see actually is Fawcett's shift from respecting Lordly titles and wanting to move into British upper crust society. To seeing nobles as basically incompetent and realizing that it's about the mettle of a person and not their titles that makes them who they are. Certainly contrasting ideas at odds with each other. If you're the kind of person who gets hung up on one aspect or the other, then this movie may not be for you either.
If you have some time to spare though and want to just try something different in a sort of modern throwback to a classic genre that has mostly vanished. One could do far worse than The Lost City of Z.
This is an odd movie to me. I think I liked it but I feel like I only liked it because the production value was high.
The cinematography, directing style, and acting is strong across the board.
However the story/ script itself is a little weak. You don't start getting a clear picture of what exactly is going on other than CIA black ops drug stuff unlike the last 20 minutes.
Emily Blunt's character is also ridiculously naive to the point where it undermines her character. I did not believe she was the hardened drug house raiding badass from the intro that was in the rest of the movie. Only her acting saves the character from being totally worthless.
So overall I liked it but with a tighter edited script, it would have been better.
Simply put, this was a masterfully crafted tension filled movie that was surprisingly accurate to the real events in an almost reenactment way.
6 Days follows the events of the Iranian Embassy Siege by the SAS. It is mostly told from the perspective of the authorities. Following the chief police negotiator, the BBC news crew, and the SAS.
The movie keeps a steady pace of tension throughout and I found myself absolutely enthralled by it.
The strongest performance is by Mark Strong who plays the lead police negotiator. It's here that we get a sense of the stakes at play for everyone involved. The terrorists are mostly represented by Salim, who calls for the release of arab prisoners in Iran in the wake of the Iranian revolution. However the Iranian government absolutely refuses to play ball, instead preferring that the hostages be martyred for the cause. The newly installed Thatcher government is adamant that the terrorists will not be allowed to walk in order to show how tough it is. You feel Mark Strong's frustration at essentially negotiating with his hands completely tied, and you also feel empathy for Salim trying to get his demands met while keeping the more militant parts of the terrorist group in check.
The SAS meanwhile, are competent and dedicated to the task of rescuing the hostages. However they're also chomping at the seams to burst in guns blazing negotiations be damned. The main action comes from fascinating "what if?" training scenarios of other possible plans for the siege, and keeps the movie moving along nicely.
When the inevitable happens and a hostage is killed (by an Iranian nationalist goading one of the Arab terrorists). The tension in the theater was so heavy you could hear a pin drop in the silence.
I actually heard a lady behind me gasp once the actual siege started and a glass window was accidentally kicked in too early.
If there is any flaws in the movie, I would say it is twofold. First is that the BBC reporter receives quite a bit of screen time but honestly does not add much to the movie. You could have taken out many of her scenes and have not lost anything with regards to pacing.
Second during the actual siege a point of controversy arose when two of the terrorists surrendered and according to hostage eyewitness accounts, the SAS lined them up against a wall and executed them. This scene is nowhere to be seen in 6 Days and instead the terrorists pull their weapons and are killed by the SAS.
This really should have been included as it adds onto to that grey aspect narrative, that is already built within the movie.
It's a rare movie that actually has you somewhat dread the final action sequence as you feel less like this is a thrilling action packed rewards (and action packed it is), but more of a sense of "did this really need to happen? Was this the only solution or was it forced to happen?" But you also give credit where it's due and the SAS pulled off a nearly perfect scenario. There is something to say about if terrorists even deserve sympathy once the first hostage is killed. But the fact that the movie even raises these questions in presentation says a lot about it.
So overall I highly recommend this movie. Surprisingly accurate and tense throughout. It also does make you think about the state of response to terrorism in our modern day society.
It's so pretty, that any complaints about the pacing or mythological narrative background needed to understand the story melts away.
Because at the core it's an amazingly animated story that's propped up by two strong central characters and a centralized human message at the end.
Ultimately that's all you need.
Not bad, The Witch does a couple of things right and a couple of misteps imo.
The movie is well paced and well shot. You are instantly put into the time period with the costuming and the old fashioned language. There's a creeping sensation to the atmosphere as things slowly ramp up throughout its short run time amidst the background of cool greys and steady framing.
I was reminded of The Thing, in how there's an emphasis on paranoia and restraint rather than, an over use of jump scares until it's needed at critical points.
The story twist was actually decent, and the acting from all of the actors involved was committed.
The problems of this movie I feel is twofold. First they give way too much away of the actual Witch upfront. This movie would have been much more effective if they kept you guessing whether or not there was in fact a witch (or in this case a coven?). Indeed the second half of the movie emphasizes this. But the almost immediate appearance of a witch doing creepy things at the start of the movie ruins that tension of "Is there a witch? Or is it just paranoia?" and transforms it into, "Oh who's gonna get it next for which sin?". They should make a re-edit that takes out all of the overt Witch scenes imo, it would make for a stronger film.
Second problem is the ending. It should cut when the last one standing is led into the woods. The moment it got to the Witch coven floating in the air via cgi. The movie went from downright unsettling to comical. This is a pure jumping the shark moment that shouldn't have been in there.
The movie works because the less said the better and the layering of implications with character containing fatal personality flaws drives the movie. Then it totally jumps the shark with trying to show too much as if playing to an expectation.
So overall, good but held back from great.
This should be required viewing. A surprisingly comprehensive and raw look at some of the unreleased footage filmed of the Holocaust as well as an overview of what the different film crew from the 3 major allied powers were doing when they discovered the camps.
It's difficult to sit through and stands as a testament to what the ultimate end goal of hate and contempt of others leads to.
Despite a weaker 2nd half than the 1st. This is still a movie that absolutely holds up to today's standards and is the measuring stick every war movie is measured to.
It's unflinching portrayal of violence and chaos of war more or less drives the film over a rather ho-hum actual plot.
If there's a movie that deserves to be seen on the big screen to truly experience it. This is that movie.