Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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This is a glorious reimagining and I had the pleasure of watching it with five kids ages 8–13. All of the kids were rapt, and a dog figures in promiently, which really engaged a few of the kids I thought might not be cut out for this film.
I love the book and previous adaptations, but I'm not a purist. This is a fantastic interpretation with so many powerful aspects.
In this version, set in 1947, as opposed to urn-of-the-century of the book and previous adaptations, Mary's experiences in India are not waved away, but a major part of the film. Her relationship with her mother is one of misunderstanding -- which is a change from the book in which her mother is portrayed as selfish and uninterested in her daughter.
Mary arrives expecting servants and maids, and her evolution out of those bratty attitudes is pleasantly gradual.
My primary complaint is that the character and backstory of Dickon and Martha is minimized -- but choices have to be made and that is the price.
Perhaps the biggest shocker is the ending, which I didn't remember at all from the book, and for good reason. It's not in there. It's dramatic and really captured the kids -- they were riveted.
Great cast and a few magical moments, but MADE IN ITALY misses on all the most important strokes.
Primarily, Neeson portrays a once hailed artist who dropped out of the scene; but the art in the film lacks one identifiable style and much of it is poorly executed.
The emotional highs all arrive at once and they are "acting school" tortured. One relationship is already in pieces, but there's nothing to care about. Other relationships appear to be budding, but as obvious as they are, they don't get very far.
The Tuscan scenery is JUST OKAY. This film fails to capture the light that is so magical. The brief sweeps might as well be a sound stage backdrop, they look that flat.
Then the most aggravating of all is the injection of unnecessary slapstick: why is it important that one of the main characters is clumsy? Pratfalls and grinding gearboxes do nothing and repeatedly left me wondering, 'What was that about?'
I like James D'arcy as an actor, but he takes father/son actors Neeson and Michéal Richardson, who lost Natasha Richardson, and fails to capture any hint of authenticity in their mutual tragic loss when Natasha Richardson died unexpectedly.
D'arcy has grand intentions, but doesn't seem to KNOW any of it by heart.
What a premise: 30-y/o Black man offers a 9-y/o White kid a ride home from therapy and doesn't think to PHONE ANYONE. If you can swallow that, then you'll have no problem with them spending the entire day riding around without calling the kid's parents.
I watched this because Seth Green is in it. Perhaps he was doing a friend a favor, because the script sucks even harder than the premise. Green's character is inconsequential from any angle.
The 9-y/o kid from therapy is unconvincing and not a joy to watch. The women in this movie mostly serve to attest t o what a hot player Gabe (J Lee) is. I don't blame the actors, every character is written for comic effect, and it's not funny.
Written/directed/starring J.Lee, this reeks of an ego trip that never should have gotten a production budget.
I saw an interview with Farrell saying he had watched a lot of Eurovision and understood how intrinsically ludicrous most of the acts are. What is so captivating is how dedicated and serious the artists are when unspooling the lavish idiocy.
It's a shame that this spoofs Eurovision, instead of presenting the show's peak moments of nutballery straight ahead. Everything needed is already in the mix, there was no need for the ludicrous backstory. Eurovision is already the WWF of song contests and only needed to be revealed to American audiences.
Instead of truly inspired comedy such as ELF, this is another bowl full of failure drowning in giddy stupidity.
This is a story with terror that outstrips the blood and torture porn that passes for "scary" nowadays. The feasibility of this story and its characters is enough to instill paranoia in anyone considering visiting a remote location near a small town.
There's no history of creepiness, just smart people running against stupid violent people. Among the young perpetrators, the pecking order is well structured. Among the adults, there's the usual denial and legacy of violence.
Very well done until the end, which is a gut-punch!
The first rules of a literary-based franchise is to enlist the energies of the existing fan base while making the creating a vehicle general audiences understand and get excited about.
With its expository dialogue, leftover character costumes and makeup from the Harry Potter franchise, and horrible narration by a miscast Josh Gad; this is a film in which images occur without context or interest. The writers and director exhibit no clue on how to tell the story, so they serve up a mess: elements and characters are just thrown at the screen. A lot of actors are DOING, but nobody is BEING... and no amount of corny narration can get them there.
ARTEMIS FOWL breaks both of those rules and its expensive, confused, unspirited failure is noted. After slogging through it -- taking several breaks to fix lunch, visit RawStory, answer emails -- I was surprised to see that many people saw the same movie and had a similar experience.
Kenneth Branagh has directed nearly two-dozen films, only CINDERELLA targeted a youth audience and it was fantastic and frisky. What caused Branagh to turn in such a lukewarm project as ARTEMIS FOWL? Perhaps the fault lies with McPherson and McColl, the screenwriters with two dozen projects between them, but only one children's film between both.
I kept waiting for powerful connection between any of the characters and nothing had more of a spark than can be generated by scuffing across carpet in dress shoes.
I'm hugely disappointed for Erin Colfer whose literary works deserved much better and a film franchise of multiple installments that are wonderful to revisit and that inspire frame-by-frame examination by fanatics who are rewarded by the details they unearth.
This film does not provide a foundation upon which to build a towering franchise, it can't even support itself.
The beginning of SCOOB! has an endearingly goofy "origin story" of how Shaggy & Scooby met, then how they meet Fred, Daphne and Velma. Part of the action takes place at the beach and it should be noted: people in swimsuits look like balloon animals when rendered with very basic computer-generated animation.
After the opening credits, the film takes a sharp dive and never recovers. It's also monstrously l-o-n-g for one story that is not strong even in retelling the premise.
For adults who grew up with the cartoon, watch the origin story, listen to the terrible remake of the theme song, watch a couple of minutes of the main story and be advised: IT DOESN'T GET BETTER.
Writer/director Elijah Bynum has all the skills and no original vision. I could predict most of the dialogue and all of the story arc.
This film has done amazingly well with young mainstream audiences as evidenced by reviews on other forums frequently featuring the acclamations "sick" and "dope."
In 2018, the film THE HAPPY PRINCE traced the sad and decrepit life of Oscar Wilde, from the time he was released from prison, until his death. Wilde was convicted of "indecency" and subjected to years of pointless exertion -- walking a water wheel or turning a massive grindstone, which produced nothing. He was released sick and greatly diminished after once having been the toast of London's literary and theater circles.
On the other hand, Capone is not well remembered for his achievements and is not a sympathetic character. Why do we want to spend his final year of decrepitude with him? TOM HARDY, that's why. Unfortunately, the attempt to squeeze a story out of this material proves too great and fails. Hardy, while intriguing to watch, can't sustain the entire vehicle, which sputters and chokes until it ultimately dies... I mean "ends."
Watching this gave me the welcome, but not very frequently experienced feeling of watching a STAR MAKER in action. There are minute problems, but those are overcome by strong casting, smart dialogue, and a genuine energy.
Because of its limited budget, this film foregoes splashy special effects and reverts to old-fashioned tactics like character and plot.
I will be watching this again and recommended it to my movie pals, since theaters are not yet reopened. Would love to see this on a big screen.
Why is this film so gloriously hailed? There is no way that amount of devastation would be allowed to transpire over one adorable little child, and no possible way subordinates would hijack a mission and not be yanked or punished. THIS STORYLINE IS STUPID!
This mocern take on Cyrano fires on all cylinders. It's humor is wonderfully subtle, until it nears the end and there are a couple of lurches into the station.
Lead actor Leah Lewis has an extensive resume of TV and a few film roles. Her misanthropic take on a small-town misfit is engaging and mostly convincing, except for when the script lets her character down.
Daniel Diemer has previous experience, but nowhere near a featured player. His character is charming and not overly calculated; and really comes together once we glimpse his family life -- there's a lot of competition for attention and he doesn't grab for any of it.
Writer/director Alice Wu has a wonderful way of telegraphing information about characters that is not expository and doesn't require explanation by a narrator. Wu's lead triangle of characters feel curious, vital and confused. Even the most confident-seeming is actually faking that bravado as an armor.
Average characters in average situations, which often works; but in this film neither the writer nor director finds anything interesting to present. The film is half over before their paths cross, and they don't really connect until the very end. Brutal hand-held camerawork -- as if trying to lend a sense of "reality" by being jerky and swoopy.
If this had a decent STORY, it might qualify as indie-cool. Instead, it's just forgettable.
This film is a skit without an actual plot, which means it's a 5-10 minute story padded to fill 90 minutes... that feels like 150 minutes.
I sat through this movie wondering if Sean Hayes' character is supposed to be transgender or cisgender. Whichever, it's a very unflattering view of womanhood -- even self-centered, lazy womanhood and the enablers who do her no favors.
Eisenberg and Poots are two actors whose work I look forward to. After seeing Eisenberg in the misfire RESISTANCE! I was hoping to see him in a really strong vehicle and VIVARIUM caught my imagination.
Both actors are strong and sympathetic, and I was fully on-board for the first hour; but I began to feel like the characters in this film: trapped. The film comes to an end, but not a satisfying conclusion.
I enjoy rom-coms, even corny rom-coms, even recycled stories and formulas... WHEN THEY WORK. This film rips off GROUNDHOG DAY, FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL, and bits of DEATH AT A FUNERAL. Unfortunately, the writer's recipe flops when it might have seemed a surefire hit.
The cast is absolutely wasted, characters behave in the stupidest ways, and all the best parts are in the trailer.
I like indie movies, and along with them the flaws and triumphs of efforts that aren't polished -- or restrained --- by studios with big budgets. They go in directions and tell stories that studio marketing departments would not greenlight, because they're not profitable.
This is one such film. It's overly talky, but mostly smart. Most performances struck me as earnest and genuine. At times, writer/director Nick Westfall's characters sound strangely similar; but then the actors themselves create distinction.
Westfall has intense talent at casting. Many characters are memorable individually and the ensemble works very well together.
A raw look at childhood and escapist fantasies for kids who grow up without privilege or insulation from harsh realities. Unfortunately the film is not insulated from "I would have done it this way" musings from failed filmmakers posing as critics.
This film is energetic, shockingly gorgeous considering its paltry budget, filled with heart, and it presents like a celebration cake made with love and showing every fingerprint in the icing.
HINT: If you're intrigued by the trailer, you'll probably succumb to the movie. If not, then trust your intuition.