The Good Place
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I saw Fight Club the 2nd time around as part of a few screenings due to its 20th anniversary and I must say the big screen really does it justice and elevates its brilliantly stylish direction and high entertainment value. I definitely enjoyed it more the second time around as I found its quirks and violence much more effective and entertaining. Its a film that looks better on the big screen with its brutal imagery and quick pace exhilarating to see in the cinema. While not Fincher's very best film (The Social Network) this cult classic is right up there with brilliantly quotable lines, scenes and characters from one of the best directors of our time.
I'm not really getting some of the iffy reactions to Ad Astra, it's a film with a lot to like with Brad Pitt and James Gray also at the top of their games. It is visually stunning, the cold vastness of the moons surface and depths of space reflecting Roy's fragile mental and emotional state with great visceral beauty. Pitt's character McBride has a lot of emotional weight to carry during the film, a task he's stunningly up to saying everything and nothing with his brilliant, intimate acting helping us try to understand the absence of parental love. The only qualm I had with it is the internal monologues which feel a bit explainy when the stunning imagery and acting already explain all we need to know. It's that spine tingling kind of cinema that leaves you feeling a little breathless after.
Hustlers is an energetic, entertaining and well directed heist style movie with some great acting. J-Lo is surprisingly good given her previous roles and the film keeps a brilliant pace throughout. The film does a great job of representing the sleazy sort of men attending the club making us sympathise for the strippers and understand if not totally agree with their actions. There's some really smart directorial decisions in this film, I particularly liked a scene in which a character has a wire and all the dialogue is played as if we're hearing it through the recording equipment. It's got a crowd pleasing way about it amongst its undeniable likeability, very enjoyable.
I had some reservations with IT: Chapter One but ended up enjoying it, IT: Chapter 2 is all the reservations I had with Chapter One merged into one overly long, disappointing film. The entire film is one beat, one of the characters revisits their past, something scary approaches them and it turns out to be pennywise. Pennywise is a freaky character but the novelty wears off the second time around and it's a lot less scary with time. Everything just feels a bit ridiculous and misjudged, the direction is pretty good but the film is so unnecessarily long it starts to feel repetitive. The themes aren't explored nearly as effectivly as they were in Chapter One, leaving the films emotional impact pretty soft. It's cringe, not very scary, way too long and rather unsatisfying.
Terrible, ridiculous, non-progressive, awfully written, badly directed, implausible and completely hilarious.
More creepy than scary with a some thinly explored themes, but it's a mostly fun, throwback kind of movie that entertains. The story in itself of a troubled teen who thinks her mother leaving is all her fault is a bit simple but the idea of the book writing stories which come to life was really interesting and worked well. It's more a bunch of happenings mashed together with some existential chat merged in but the stories are done well and the monsters are well conceived. A pretty decent horror of sorts.
It can be a bit silly and nonsensical but crawl is a mostly fun, tense and undemanding watch. A lot of the themes and foreshadowing are on nose but it can be forgiven, given the genre it falls into. You don't go into these creature features expecting brilliant scripting and bracing originality, you go to watch these films to watch people battle giant alligators and it defiantly delivers on that front. Haley and her dad must have bones made from titanium because they seem ridiculously agile for the injuries they sustain. To the films credit it manages to stay pretty tense and exciting throughout, the novelty of the gators attacking does wear off slightly but the short run time means crawl never overstays its welcome. It's not the most poignant piece of film making but it's a nice injection of adrenaline fuelled cinema.
Fantastic vintage Quentin Tarantino yet also boldly put together Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is up there with the directors best works. Pitt and DiCaprio have undeniable chemistry and both put in different but similarly brilliant performances. Tarantino builds their characters very well as he allows us to drive around, visit sets and their homes which gives us a real insight into the lives of two juxtaposing characters in the late 60s film business helping us understand their high highs and low lows. The old westerns along with their posters and adverts are impeccably put together and give you a real sense of nostalgia no matter what age you are. The fact that i'm 20 years old born in the very late 90s and tarantinos recreation of old 60s westerns feel really authentic to me despite not having seen any is a real testiment to the directos commitment and understanding of the industry which i feel most of his films also show, he's a man that just love films and the process of making them. The representation of female characters is cause for concern, Margot Robbie doesn't get too much of a look in as Sharon Tate and the other female characters don't have much if any development and depth but that's a different issue compared to the films quality. There is a sense of sheer joy letting this film sweep you up and plop you down in this era of Hollywood and I was content just being with all these characters for just short of 3 hours. The ending is a spectacular, vintage QT gore-fest that benefits from its over the top nature and leads the film towards an amiable, crowd-pleasing finish. Loved it.
Not all of the jokes land and it's not the best film on a technical level but Good boys is a mostly funny and surprisingly sweet tween comedy. There's a lot of fun to be had with this movie and I found it steadily funny, it gets a lot of laughs from its simple premise and it knows what it is. Keith L. Williams as Lucas brought the most laughs out of me, he was perfect for this role and is just a very comedic looking person who stole the show. Some of the musical cues can be a little jarring and the editing feels a bit too fast paced without many establishing shots but I had a pretty fun hour and a half, it's a good pick me up of a film.
Nothing special technically and the writing could've been a bit sharper but Blinded by the light is a satisfying film that benefits from its infectious enthusiasm while also effectively portraying political and racial tensions of the late 1980s. Some of the scenes are a bit mushy and can take you out of the film a bit but the Chadha does a great job of allowing us to connect with Javid and moulds his personality very well, making him a character that's easy to like. The tropes are all pretty well trodden but the film is lifted above the cliches due to the real, organic feel of the film, it feels like it's made out of love and passion. I enjoyed Blinded by the light in a similar way I enjoyed Yesterday, it's not going to win any awards, but it's a lovely film.
None of it really makes sense and the writing is appalling but Hobbs and Shaw is a movie that knows what it is and delivers some suitably over the top action sequences that manage lots of (albeit unintentional) laughs which makes for a pretty good time. The main thing that brings it down is the run time which feels much too long by the end and some of the scenes and solutions to problems are so ludicrous that it takes you out of it a bit, but hey, me and my friend had a pretty good time laughing along in the cinema.
The moon landing is an absolutely monumental achievement and spectacle in human history and Apollo 11 delivers some stunning footage of this pivotal time but in terms of entertainment it didn't blow me out of the stratosphere.
This is an update that follows very closely to the original with some little tweaks, it heralds a nice, enjoyable watch but doesn't fully work in the end. Obviously the original is a classic and the factors brought in from the old animation make for a great story with valuable morals. There is something strange about photo-realistic CGI animals singing, dancing and trying to show emotion. The films main problem is the animals lack of emotion shown. It just takes you out of it a bit and doesn't allow you to connect like the hand drawn animation does. The "Long live the king" line feels absolutely killer in the original but lacks oomph in this remake which is also telling as it's the turning point of the film. The voice cast does a terrific job on the other hand and it looks absolutely amazing, this isn't essential but it's a nice, diverting movie.
Saw The Matrix again due to its 20th anniversary screenings and it remains a visual and thought provoking treat despite its flaws. The whole concept is so brilliantly constructed and delivered that it genuinely scares you and lets you get sucked into the films world. While the visual effects are a little dated they must've been groundbreaking at the time and still remain stunning to this day. The script has a few wobbly moments during some of the less action packed moments but they're forgiven due to the quick pace and incredible fighting sequences. It's slightly flawed but it's an exhilarating thrill-ride that benefits largely by being on the big screen.
Recently saw Tarantino's first and best film as part of the Lewes Depot cinema's run up to Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. Reservoir Dogs has always been one of my favourite films, it's so stylised, fast paced and retains a sense of fun despite the bleak circumstances. It's full of zippy and sometimes funny dialogue as well as iconic scenes, the obvious best being the "stuck in the middle" scene. Every character is fully realised and developed perfectly and the twists and order of the film are joyous. So happy I got to see this mini masterpiece on the big screen.
I think Jim Jarmush has a really interesting way of film-making that I really respect, he has a real talent for creating something out of nothing. Although I don't usually find his films knockout the ones i've seen are mostly all pretty good and I think Patterson and Broken Flowers are very good films. The Dead Don't Die however, falls into the category of Jarmusch's style which passes inventive and becomes just plain pretentious. The all star cast made this a film I was very much looking forward too, how wrong I was. The dialogue is stilted and not really that funny for a comedy, he relies on the audience to get on board with the film in a way that's almost impossible to do without getting frustrated. It just feels like Jarmusch decided he was making a zombie movie, knew he'd get complete creative control and just messed about for an hour 45 minutes. The film is a mish mash of "comic" set pieces that don't really go together and silly fourth wall breaking that could work but only reaffirms the films self indulgence. An absolute tonal mess with no story or direction.
Spiderman: Far From Home is an enjoyable dose of fun from the ever charismatic and perfectly suited Tom Holland and co but the film lacks the excitement of other marvel films. Mysterio is a welcome addition and the actors chemistry is palpable but the plot seems a little weak compared to Homecoming and Avengers. There are parts where I feel it over explains a bit and lays out Mysterio's plan as if no one in the room knew what they had done. It's still a really good time and actaully pretty funny, it just lacks that cutting edge that's so good about marvel films. In no way bad, but not great for marvel's standards.
It can be a little saccharine and predictable but Yesterday is a mostly successful dollop of feel good, enjoyable and undemanding cinema. I thought the performances were really good, everyone seemed really natural and I particularity believed in Lily James' yearning performance. It's pretty funny, I laughed steadily throughout without it being riotous. Despite 2 hours being a seemingly long run-time for a film of this kind it didn't bother me at all and it flew by, which is testament to the good time i was having. It can descend into cringe at times but hey it's Richard Curtis, it's to be expected. Enjoyable without being spectacular it's a nice side note of a film that delivers exactly what it promises.
While very, very marginally falling short of the best Toy Story (3) Toy Story 4 is still an absolute delight. These movies have a way pf expressing childhood vulnerability, ecstasy, delight, sadness and all the other emotions you can think of in a completely truthful and realistic way that the film is able to play on your heartstrings with a single scene with brilliant effectiveness and ease. Woody's character arc seems fully completed, very satisfyingly I may add as he learns that being there for a child is the most noble thing a toy can do, be that if you're chosen or not. The new characters are a delight, especially ducky and bunny ingeniously voiced by the ever hilarious Key and Peele, Duke Kaboom is also a highlight especially with Keanu Reeves sounding like he's having a proverbial blast. I lost count at the amount of nostalgic, heartwarming scenes that graced my eyes and the whole thing melts your heart the only way a Toy Story and Pixar movie can. A triumph all round, this should be a fitting end for one of the best animated saga's ever.
While featuring typically smooth direction and some genuinely funny parts, I found O brother, where art thou? to be a surprising disappointment from two filmmakers I greatly love and admire. The story is pretty clear but it also feels like the Coen's have hung a bunch of overly quirky scenes for laughs amongst the story-line and they don't really work. It can be really annoying and self indulgent at times which I don't associate the Coen brothers work with at all usually. It's just one big misfire despite it's technical prowess and great period detail.