/ May film thread

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Offwidth 04 May 2019

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/operation_avalanche

Low budget sci-fi thriller which punches well above its weight and is very apt for the current conspiracy theory tendancies of the forums ;-)

A poor man's Capricorn One.

1
john arran 04 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

May film thread: I, robot.

Offwidth 05 May 2019
In reply to john arran:

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/captain_fantastic

A family trying to live an isolated platonic ideal in the wilds are forced by tragedy to return to capitalist 'civilisation' and face this real world. I really enjoyed the non judgemental take on this, with some quality humour, despite being a bit over sentimental.

Blue Straggler 08 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

I felt that the final act (i.e. the last 25 minutes) totally undid where it looked like it had been going, and not in a good way. It was a shame because it was very good for the first two thirds or even three quarters. I'd argue that not all the family were trying to live a certain way - some were never given much choice in the matter. 

And with last year's Leave No Trace as an obvious comparison point, it seems as cartoony as its title. I think I gave it a begrudging 7/10 at the time. Leave No Trace a solid 9 and one of the best of 2018.

Blue Straggler 08 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

Avengers: Endgame. 
8/10

Still wary of saying too much about this one, as it is still out and about with plenty of people wanting to see it without any hint of a spoiler. 
I thought it was very very good. It does lose points for some puzzlingly weak aspects but at the same time it ties up a lot of things very well and gives some of the sidelined characters a bit more depth. 

I say no more. 

Stichtplate 08 May 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

No spoilers, but since a family outing to see Endgame last week, my wife keeps turning to me and saying; “I see the future hasn’t been kind to you”!

aln 08 May 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

I thought Infinity War was better. I didn't love End Game as much as I wanted to.

1
aln 08 May 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

Is it your chin?

1
Stichtplate 08 May 2019
In reply to aln:

Which one?

Blue Straggler 08 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

The Curse of La Llorona
5/10 (bit harsh maybe). Film is "ok", just its existence is unnecessary. It’s all jump scares and to be fair they are well done, and Linda Cardellini is really good throughout, in a very non-glam role (she looks haggard and stressed out for the whole film, presumably taking notes from Toni Collette's performance in Hereditary). It is part of the The Conjuring / Annabelle franchise but only a token reference to it (indeed it has as much connection to that franchise, as Tokyo Drift originally had to The Fast and the Furious).

Somehow despite its fairly well rendered 1970s setting, it had a vibe of the Ethan Hawke film “Sinister” which was unfortunate as it just made me think “I’d rather be watching Sinister”. Not similar in story but just in feel and atmosphere. 

Worth a look if you are a real fan of Linda Cardellini, otherwise ignore it. 

aln 08 May 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

Thanos' chin

Stichtplate 08 May 2019
In reply to aln:

I meant which of my chins

The line is spoken to the character doing a creditable Impersonation of The Dude.

aln 08 May 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

The Dude from The Big Lebowski? And Starlord telling Thanos his chin looked liked a ballsack? There's some connections going on there!

Stichtplate 08 May 2019
In reply to aln:

Were you not getting the Lebowski vibe? I was waiting for him to chug a White Russian.

Blue Straggler 09 May 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Were you not getting the Lebowski vibe? I was waiting for him to chug a White Russian.

They literally reference, in dialogue, Lebowski and I think a White Russian. They do the cardigan and sunglasses swagger. There is no attempt at subtlety. How the character in question is so readily expected to understand the references, is questionable and (not in itself but in tandem with some other pop culture in-jokes) a reason that my score was not higher 

aln 09 May 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

I also thought it suffered from trying to be a bit too weighty and meaningful and could have done with a bit more humour. 

FunesTheMemorious 09 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

I recently saw Eighth Grade (Bo Burnham) in the cinema thought it was an excellent piece of work and well worth watching. BlueStragglers post in the April film thread does it justice so I won't retread old ground.

It's worth repeating that Anna Meredith's soundtrack is stunning.

Blue Straggler 09 May 2019
In reply to FunesTheMemorious:

Nice one. I like that the one bit you warranted worth repeating, was Anna Meredith It actually gave me a new appreciation of some of her older work that I'd perhaps overlooked a bit, notably Rhododendron. (the soundtrack is about 60% new stuff and 40% old stuff)

Blue Straggler 17 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

Styx. A very strong 9/10

I don't know if "All is Lost" and that Crowhurst documentary brought sailing movies back into vogue after the 1990s failures of "Wind" and " White Squall" and the general success but lack of critical acclaim and deserved awards nominations for Master and Commander: Far Side of the World, but after last year's Adrift and The Mercy, we're now treated to Styx which was a brilliant film, I missed the first five minutes but from what I read, this might be a weird blessing.

In a nutshell, Styx follows a solo sailor on a voyage down the west coast of Africa. It's not an adventure film, she is extremely competent and well prepared with a solid modern yacht, and weathers a strong storm fairly well. 
But then the story starts (after 40 minutes with almost no dialogue). She encounters a stricken trawler with 100+ African refugees all about to die, her yacht is just a 12m thing, the coastguard advises her to not intervene and to get away as her presence will cause false-hope chaos, and on top of all this her day job is as an emergency doctor so although the Hippocratic oath is not mentioned, it is clear that there is a conflict between her inherent duty of care, and the coastguard instructions. 

What then unfolds is perhaps not the most thrilling and mind-bending moral-decision story, but it's certainly well played out. 

The cinematography on this film is shockingly good, I didn't expect a good-looking film. For about an hour of it, you could take any single frame and hang it on your wall. 
Susanne Wolff in the lead is absolutely brilliant, I've no idea of her range as an actress, she's pretty serious in this but also very committed to a fairly physical role, I am astonished to learnt that she is 8-10 years older than I guessed she was. 
Wolfgang Fischer's direction and co-writing is spot-on, he keeps the film to 94 minutes by not bogging it down with discussion about the refugees' situation and this in itself is great strength of the film - it gets to judge and make comment, without blatantly judging or preaching. It's thought-provoking and one can choose whatever level of allegory (including zero) to take away.

Wanderer100 17 May 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

Based on your review earlier this year I watched Ralph wrecks the internet with my daughter. It was rubbish!!!

Wanderer100 17 May 2019
In reply to Wanderer100:

> Based on your review earlier this year I watched Ralph wrecks the internet with my daughter. It was rubbish!!!

Oops. Sorry, that was meant for Blue Straggler.

Blue Straggler 17 May 2019
In reply to Wanderer100:

Horses for courses. I stand by my opinion of that film (think it was last year)

Offwidth 19 May 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/star_trek_beyond

Just ace... I remember when Star Trek movies used to alternate between good and bad... just loving the reboot series.

Blue Straggler 20 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

I thought this one was really weak. Just my opinion, but I am dead right. 

Offwidth 22 May 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Always ;-) 

Saw Avengers endgame yesterday.. excellent but not quite as good as I expected from the reviews... it felt more like a director's cut.. strteched out a bit for true fans. Also watched another seemingly marmite arty thriller where I was on the very positive side of the reviews.

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/you_were_never_really_here

steveriley 22 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

Netflix doco: a watery tale, 'Kim Swims' - https://www.netflix.com/title/81092329. First woman to swim between the Farallon Islands and SF Golden Gates bridge, 28 miles away. Great Whites, cold water and tides permitting. Suitably triumph over adversity low key doco. Started doing a bit of swimming ...feeling distinctly bumbly now.

Also loitering in the nether regions of Netflix: 'Barkley Marathons' - https://www.netflix.com/title/80076413 for fans of daft endurance challenges. This year's has just been ...nobody finished.

In reply to Offwidth

Watched Rush last night after the sad news of Niki Lauda's death. Enjoyed it, thought Daniel Bruhl was very good and my wife thought Chris Hemworth incredible. Well made, seemed slightly budget to me although that didn't detract from the story.

Blue Straggler 22 May 2019
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

> In reply to Offwidth

> Well made, seemed slightly budget to me although that didn't detract from the story.

It had a budget of $38 million which is quite "small" these days for a major-release film but honestly when I saw it, at no point did I think it seemed "budget" aside from, arguably, the cast - who were all fine in their role but not really box-office draws. 

Blue Straggler 22 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

If I gave "You Were Never Really Here" a score of 7/10 does that mess up the idea that it is Marmite?  

In reply to Blue Straggler:

Might have been a hang up from my motorbike racing days, but I could tell it was Cadwell Park and Snetterton for most of the racing shots. Also it came across quite "twee" for me , as I usually find in UK movies (usually staring Hugh Grant)

Blue Straggler 23 May 2019
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

It's a fairly twee story, and Ron Howard is usually a LOT more twee than this. I dragged my heels re: cinema viewing just because of the Ron Howard aspect, and regretted this. I can see how recognising the tracks would spoil it. 
I really liked it, a neat efficient interesting story told well without too many flourishes etc. 

In reply to Blue Straggler:

Have to say I am looking forward to this new Tarantino movie, trailer looks great and the reviews are excellent that I have read...

Edit - Do they usually review movies this far advanced to release? I was shocked when I read it wasn't out until mid august

Post edited at 10:15
Offwidth 23 May 2019
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

Watched Trumbo last night... well acted biopic if a bit slow paced ( the irony !;-). Strongly recommended for those who are too young to remember the House Unamerican Activities Commitee and the communist witch hunt in Hollywood. 

Offwidth 24 May 2019
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

Something  happened to the Trumbo link that I thought I added.

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/trumbo

Blue Straggler 24 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> Something  happened to the Trumbo link that I thought I added.

It's a conspiracy!

Offwidth 24 May 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Indeed, Breitbart is already on the case with denials and claims of liberal hysteria ! :--0

Post edited at 18:01
Blue Straggler 24 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

John Wick 3: Parabellum

7.5/10

Outstays its welcome at 131 minutes (the same length as David Lynch's Dune!) but some glorious "does what it says on the tin" scenes in this one. It assumes familiarity with the first two films and just launches straight into the moment that part 2 ended (I think the three films take place over just a couple of weeks). It is even bold enough to barely feature any dialogue for about 20 minutes. 
The choreography is incredibly slick. I realised, watching this, that these films succeed by playing it deadly straight on screen whilst quite obviously have a knowing sense of humour regarding their ridiculousness - I've not seen this fine line trod so well since Commando!
This could be the best of the three, for all the above reasons. It does lose points for that overlong aspect, a couple of scenes that are simultaneously lame AND "a bit much" (the motorbike bridge scene could have been jettisoned) and although Halle Berry's appearance is remarkably kick-ass, it feels like a weird insert that also could have been jettisoned, someone somewhere just wanted to use dogs. Nice to see Said Taghmaoui being given an actual character and dialogue for a change. Peculiar to see Jerome Flynn playing a sort of Poundshop Rutger Hauer. 
The introduction of The Adjudicator character was a very smart move and really well cast. 

It may be the single most gratuitously violent MAINSTREAM and WIDE RELEASE film ever made. It is brutal. What is notable about a lot of the kills is that they seem to do a proper "make sure the goons really are dead" thing, without going into massive overkill. 

Basically if you like John Wick films, this is a belter. If they are not your bag, this won't change your mind!

aln 24 May 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

I've never seen a John Wick film, but they sound like gun fu/ bullet ballet type stuff. I think it's interesting that your review didn't mention the star of the film. 

Blue Straggler 24 May 2019
In reply to aln:

> I think it's interesting that your review didn't mention the star of the film. 

Really? Interesting how? I think a lot of my reviews about “bigger” films assume that the reader has some idea what I am on about especially when they are star vehicles (in ensemble stuff like Marvel films I will single out the standouts) 

aln 24 May 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Interesting that you didn't mention the only name in the film and it's the only film he's been in for a while that I know of. And was he any good in it?

Blue Straggler 25 May 2019
In reply to aln:

“Does what it says on the tin” and the comment about assumed familiarity, kind of covers that. It was already a long review of a daft film, I didn’t want to overdo it. 

Tom V 25 May 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Contrary to expectations I enjoyed the first two Wick films so will give this a try.

Overjoyed to see that Winston swaps  establishments next Saturday when he moves from the Continental  to the rather more downmarket and euphemistically named  Gem Saloon . 

Blue Straggler 25 May 2019
In reply to Tom V:

It’s the best one! 

Offwidth 27 May 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Quality thoughtful sci-fi from tonight on Ch4

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/arrival_2016

Blue Straggler 27 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

Amazing Grace (1972/2019)
6.5/10

Aretha Franklin gospel concert film, barely a documentary aside from the opening titles explaining why it was unreleased for nearly 50 years (it was unfinished due to lots of technical errors by a crew that didn't know how to record a live concert in a church). Directed by rather odd choice Sydney Pollack.
I think some technical wizardry has been applied to tidy up bits of lost sound etc. 
This was Aretha's little "return to her roots" concert/album, two nights of performing in front of a small audience but the primary aim was to make a record, secondary aim was to have the concert aspect, and the filming was the third priority. 

I think this film relies on a real love of the music, and I don't have that love - I went to the screening because I thought it would be an interesting film, and really it wasn't. 
It did leave me the feeling that gospel music is very much part of the "mass hypnosis" aspect of church fundamentalists though. 

Aretha didn't look like she was enjoying it, and to be fair why should she - it was work, she was making a record. 
I got a bit bored.

Post edited at 16:22
Tom V 27 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

Saw it in cinema. One of the best sci fi films, very thought provoking

Mike-W-99 27 May 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

> It assumes familiarity with the first two films

I saw it without realising it was a sequel, easy enough to follow.

Blue Straggler 27 May 2019
In reply to Mike-W-99:

> I saw it without realising it was a sequel, easy enough to follow.

Of course. Like a Jason Bourne film etc 

I didn’t phrase it well. 

Offwidth 28 May 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/denial_2016

An important and moving, if slightly flawed film. With a timely take away on freedom of speech for some on UKC, from one of the reviewers:

"Denial is about a lot of things, including a man's desire to be bigoted and racist without being called out for bigotry and racism."

John2 28 May 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Truly, you do not have that love.  The film was about the music.

Aretha had one of the greatest voices of the twentieth century. I don't know if your parents used to drag you to church when you were a child, but I can guarantee  that if they did what you experienced was the equivalent of listening to a speech by Theresa May as opposed to a speech by Martin Luther King.

nufkin 28 May 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

It might have come up earlier, in which case apologies, but I quite enjoyed 'Hearts Beat Loud' on Netflix last night. 
Nothing very much happens, but the characters all seem likeable and it's got an ace soundtrack

Offwidth 29 May 2019
In reply to nufkin:

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/prophets_prey

Another excellent expose from Amy Berg. This time it's the crazy but true tale of a religious cult and its megalomaniac, child molesting, leader Warren Jeffs.  He led the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints and is now in jail but the polygamous cult with 10,000 members lives on, run by his brother and receiving prophetic instuction from behind bars. You have to ask yourself how instead of such evil cults being forcibly disbanded and asset stripped to support the victims, in practice they seem protected by the state law, especially in Utah, and by national positions on religious freedom that seem inappropriate for a liberal democracy.

The film onion peels the story and so despite feeling a bit disjointed and almost dizzying in the increasingly depressing subject matter, often set to the droning voice of the cult leader, the shock grows and grows. The final sense of doom seems appropriate for the cult's broken future.

The evidence is supported by the mountaineer Jon Krakauer who has obviously become obsessed with the madness (and wrote a book on other aspects of extremism in the mormon church). Music and narration from Nick Cave. 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prophet%27s_Prey

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Under_the_Banner_of_Heaven

Post edited at 09:02
Blue Straggler 29 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

Sounds interesting. I watched Carry on Up The Jungle which also has a searing study of a cult

Offwidth 30 May 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/birdman_2014

Satire as love? Highly ambitious technically... the film is constructed as one long shot.... and some big names have great fun in this impressive and at times weird black comedy about Broadway and the movies.

Tom V 30 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

One of the best films of the last ten years. Inaruttu's films are always worth a watch, especially for those interested in technique as much as plot or acting. I think he was one of the first in the recent move to employ natural light only, in The Revenant.  His first film ,( Amores Perros?), is well worth a watch, but not recommended for dog lovers.

Blue Straggler 30 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

Something about Inarritu's films really bugs me. I think it's that whole thing he had going on in Amores Perros, 21 Grams and Babel where he "reveals" the "astonishing" interconnectedness of things as if that's really really mindbendingly clever. 
On Birdman his long takes were a flashy distraction which didn't add anything to the narrative and took me out of the film, as I was mostly marvelling at the actors hitting their marks just right and not fluffing their lines, rather than enjoying the film. Maybe I just didn't understand the film itself (seemed fairly simple though). I really like Edward Norton playing a caricature of himself, and thought Stone was excellent. 
On The Revenant, there was more flashy and pointless camerawork (I think there is a very tricky 360 panorama during an already-long panning shot in the raid scene, again just a distraction). Tom Hardy and Domnhall Gleeson redeemed that film for me, but a lot of it was what a critic of Werner Herzog called "cinematic masturbation".

I'd like to like these films, I'm not being wilfully "different" or anything. I do go to see them. 

Also, I do like a showy long take with fancy camerawork even if it doesn't add to the narrative (see: Brian DePalma and some Argento), but in Birdman it seemed as if Inarritu was trying to make the style BECOME the content, and it didn't work for me. 

I also often like a reveal showing how things are linked (oddly enough I really like the directorial debut of Guillermo Ariaga who was the screenwriter who created all those so-called "twists" or whatever, in Amores Perros and 21 Grams and Babel) - The Burning Plain, which pulls a similar trick but does it with more subtlety.

All that said, I'll be interested to see what Inarittu does next, and I have yet to see "Biutiful" which looks interesting. 

aln 30 May 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

> (I think there is a very tricky 360 panorama during an already-long panning shot in the raid scene, again just a distraction). 

I loved that scene and experienced the opposite to you. I was totally drawn into the raid, feeling completely immersed in the experience. Which was a rather harrowing one. The one-shot aspect only sank in afterwards.

Tom V 30 May 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Cinematic masturbation?

That documentary about a Sheffield knocking shop which called itself rather coyly the "City Sauna"  ( and which featured my sometime mate Jason) showed a special room set aside for that which presumably could be had for a cheaper rate than the usual.

Blue Straggler 30 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

Good but errs on the side of “worthy but dull” and that section with gratuitous jogging to show that Deborah need a little extra security, felt like it was created just in order to have a shot of a nervous Rachel Weisz running, for the sake of the trailer. 

Kimono 01 Jun 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7476236/?ref_=nv_sr_1?ref_=nv_sr_1

From last year, Minding the Gap.
I give this a very rare 9/10 as its one of the best, and most moving films I've seen in a long time.

Ostensibly a documentary about a group of young skateboarders it shifts after the first 15 minutes or so as we start to see the darker stories that the kids carry with them.
Floods of tears by the end


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