Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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Watching "Hamilton" really can make you fell transported straight to Broadway, which should be enough of a testament to its power for a classical stage musical (or should I say: opera? I really feel that I should...). The show itself is full to the brim with catchy tunes and really well-thought, complicated numbers, strong humor and memorable characters as well as very impactful moments and strongly pronounced moral opinions, and the video direction manages, as it seems to me, to do to it all due justice. Although, I admit, I was at some points confused because of the fact that certain two actors (alright, it was Daveed Diggs and Okieriete Onaodowan) played here four roles in total – bad decision if you ask me (even if Diggs was killing it as Jefferson...). And this was the small problem I have with this show. The big one is that I cannot help but feel that the argumentation backing casting nearly solely non-white actors in "Hamilton" is a little sketchy – sure, it gives the show it unique character that is a large part of its success, but a the same time claims about reclaiming the story of the founding fathers for non-white community felt to me misguided and I am afraid that it can produce some dangerous conclusions...
From the point of view of the audience outside USA or Vietnam new Spike Lee Joint may actually serve as an interesting inside on the topic of contemporary cultural relations between those two countries that not so long ago fought a war between them. It has it's moments too, especially when it comes to depiction of underlying tensions between characters and cultures, PTSD or plain mental breakdown. BUt at the same time the screenplay as a whole is quite weaker that I expected it to be – the plot about gold I found tiresome, not engaging, and while the Stormin' Norman character was a blast, he played far too little part in this movie for it to really count. All in all this movie is rather messy (and not in the good way), even if its conclusion can be seen, I admit, as satisfactory.
I'm forced to say here, that I did not enjoy this particular movie, even when I wanted to, and those who know me will tell you that I am not a very demanding viewer in that account. But for me cinematic version of SEGA games felt somewhat... cheap, like a bootleg version of said games. Special effects were really not impressive, jokes could have been written with greater wits, product placement hurt my ears and eyes and it was painfully obvious, that they transferred their entire casting budget to Jim Carrey, who acts here as if he was forced to say lines he himself found rather unfunny. And on top of it all the story-line made very little sense, but that was to be expected: when your main hero has the godlike power to freeze time, there can be no reasonable story, as all problems are already solved. In sum, it turns out that improving CGI of your main character does not magically resolve all other problems of your movie.
When I first heard of „1917", I feared that so soon after Nolan‘s „Dunkirk" it will feel like an unimaginative ripp-of of thereof, but I could not have been more wrong, as it is a completely different kind of a war movie. Here we have closer, more personal look at soldiers life rather than on the great scale of military operations. At the same time we don't loose the high stakes or epic magnitude of action, we just learn to see them from a more claustrophobic perspective, which is more that adequate, given the very nature of the trench war. And while supporting cast of really famous actors serves here its purpose, I found characters played by relatively unknown thespians, especially those playing two main roles, to be especially well-played.
At first glance, this is a very definition of your casual Sunday action movie: simple, cheesy and yet engaging story-line, colorful ensemble of characters, lots of fights, chases and other thrilling sequences, a hint of romance and omnipresent feeling of adventure. Nothing special, you would say. And you would be wrong, because we have here three important factors that make this movie something more. First, great cast, at least when it comes to Nathan Fillion, whose presence is always welcome in my book, and Chiwetel Ejiofor, who makes a surprisingly good villain (still waiting for a sequel to „Doctor Strange" here...). Second, while CGI effects used in "Serenity" look today kinda cheap (although this also adds to camp-ish climate of it), fighting scenes are now as impressing as in 2005. Third, one can observe here a small part of a bigger, intriguing world full of motives and characters worth of better exposition. For all those reasons this movie just whetted my appetite for the TV series...
„A Man for All Seasons", with its slow-paced, patient narration, its instantly recognizable stable frames, its careful, intelligent dialogues and clever (if rarely present) humor is exactly like its main protagonist, Saint Thomas More, who, in turn, personifies the dignity and stability of holy Catholic Church. As this movie establishes Saint Thomas as one of the most intriguing saints in the history of Catholicism, one should think that we can also treat a splendid movie about this saint's life as one of the most intriguing hagiographies in the history of cinema.
For the majority of time here we are experiencing a kaleidoscope of jumbled up music videos just as visually dazzling as they are confusing, connected by a story that falls in two great pitfalls of sequels to autonomic stories: overusing a motive of „something from the past" (see e.g. „How to Train Your Dragon 2"), and the theme of prolonged „Will you marry me?" („The Rescuers Down Under"...). Still, it has its moments (Anna singing „The Next Right Thing"!) and in those moments it is just as good as „Frozen", a movie that for me personally will always be special, since it started my long-term fascination with animated movies. Those moments alone make this movie worth experiencing, more, they makes it so, so close to being great...
It is silly enough to make one occasionally laugh a bit, but also riddled with huge illogicalities (worldbuilding-wise) that will make anyone who is not a 5-years-old question the very nature of this adventure. To name just one: who on Earth had the idea to make being worlds greatest spy a celebrity kind of job? Like, how, and also: why? Plus I found it constant praise for pigeons to be quite offensive. They are, and always will be, nature's stupidest creatures.
In the world we are living in we, sadly, find only very few things that are constant among all the changes that plague us. One of those rare constant phenomenons is, most certainly, unique, enchanting film-making style and wit of Michel Ocelot. Despite all the time that passes around us, we can always find comfort in the fact that Michel Ocelot still creates simple, yet magical worlds and narratives and, most of all, still believe, and, indeed, can also make us believe (if only for the moment), that there is nothing more important that love and that love, this most important things of all, can concur every obstacle on its way. This particular movie is no different: while not every fairy tale in this anthology is as good as my favorite one, „The boy who never lied", every single one of them is hypnotic in their timeless beauty, just like princes and princesses that we encounter in their worlds. If only I could live to see another installment of this series, spend another night in that theater with old mentor and his young friends that love each other so, so much...
When approaching a movie set in really unpopular and unused in cinema kind of setting that one really likes (as is here with urban fantasy, at least for me personally) one must be very careful not to base ones judgment of that movie solely on its setting. It is, after all, entirely possible, that this particular movie will use its setting badly or be despicable (no pun intended) in any other way. Fortunately, „Onward" is not despicable (although it sure is short of being great) and it uses its setting with great craftsmanship... for the first half of the movie. In the second one the story becomes much less, well... „urbany" than I prefer for my urban fantasy to be. In addition, it also handles its obligatory " Pixar nirvana moment" with weird lack of subtlety that Pixar is best known for. On the other hand, a dash of Dnd (courtesy of Wizards of The Coast) is a much welcome addition, and overall I consider it a worthy adventure, even if a bit misguided one. As it turns out, beggars cannot be choosers when it comes to urban fantasy in movies.
It is a positively feministic (even if Evan McGregor is doing his best at creating strong male villain...) emancipation movie, but with enough style and genuineness to justify it. But moreover it is a MacGuffin-based gangster drama in which MacGuffin pretty much seats in the hands of one person only (that person sticking to another one for all that time, so...), abandoning all the switcharoos and lost-and-found's and from-hand-to-hand's that make this kind of movies so entertaining and defying their real nature. And one more thing: why is Cassandra Cane (Ella Jay Basco) here just a cheap ethnic rip-off of Selina Kyle (Carmen Bicondova) from "Gotham"?
First Atlantics and now The Burial of Kojo (at least in the order I watched those in). We may be, just now, observing an act of emergence of a new sub-genre in non-American cinema: namely, African paranormal slice-of-life-ish drama movie that blends those two themes (ordinary life and the paranormal) so closely and in such a nifty way that they seem inseparable. This movie does exactly that, and it results in highly interesting narrative that uses plot twists as valuable elements of the story that is being told rather than for a cheap thrill of it.
One cannot call it by any other name than „Boy in the Striped Pyjamas" on steroids, or, perhaps, on some happy pills. This expression is as accurate as it is unjust, however, since while this movie uses, in actuality, nearly exactly same premise as Herman‘s movie from 2008 and is, in fact, directed by Taika Waititi (that‘s them happy pills for you), it also does much more than its premise or comedic nature would suggest. This movie is stuffed with phenomenal characters played spectacularly in nearly every case, has a lot of touching moments, and its plot is a real merry-go-round of twists and turns. All this makes this movie more accessible than one would expect it to be.
Well, who would have guessed that Terry Gilliam can also make romance? This movie is one of the most down-to-earth productions in his career, but it does not make it any less crazy than all the others. Yes, it is true that its message was already old and outworn when the movie came out, but the style in which it is presented and many twists that happen along the way to communicate it, as well as all the uniquely gillamesque characters in the story made it felt somehow special here. And let us not forget, that it is in this movie, where Gillam made all the crowd in Grand Central Terminal dance in a rare, mesmerizing moment in the history of cinema...
This movie is a rare wes-andersonian gem, notably better than all his later work before "The Grand Budapest" (or at least before "Moonrise Kingdom"; that is not to say that those movies in between were in someway flawed, because they were not). Mature, clever and, at times, profoundly funny, it shows a somewhat convoluted picture of how men, young and old alike, can go quite crazy out of love and jealousy. And yet, in a rare and precious gesture, Anderson gave it one of those positive endings that are so scarce in all his work. Truly praiseworthy decision.
Main novelty of this movie (and it is an innovative one, although not revolutionary) is its setting, exotic to most western viewers and providing with most timely topics. Dramatic themes are here so deftly combined with fantastical ones that they seem like one entity, a feat not so easily achieved in fantastical cinema. Overall Atlantics proves that there is still much to be said in the ghost story genre.
Amazing opportunity to glance at what has to be the most ambitious unmade movie in the history of science fiction (Moebius! Giger! Dali! Welles! Pink Floyd! And, of course, Jodorowsky himself), featuring engaging interviews with plethora of creators and other people from the industry alike. Most notably with Jodorowsky, whose weird spanish-english way of speaking make him even more prophet-like and us, the audience, more eager to listen to him.
Half meditative animated wallpaper, half impressive (but not nearly as much as one would expect) demonstration of water rolling this way and that, it will systematically make you feel asleep and then wake you up, if only for another five minutes. A viewing experience you will endure, but with no real pleasure, or, truth be told, any other emotions at all.
One must admit that it possesses certain grandiose much needed for a space epic of this scale, especially since it has some good design decisions on its side, although its special effects aged rather badly. The real problem, however, is the writing full of dialogues that butcher Herbert's genius with unnecessary exposition, not to mention a ton of off-screen whispered narration that quickly becomes very tiresome.