The Film Review Corner

Extraneous communication, genuflection, adulation, dissection and admiration should make its way in here.

Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Chun the Unavoidable » Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:52 am

Alien Covenant:

Yes, questions.

This is probably the Alien film everyone was expecting Prometheus to be. It's certainly more of a crowd-pleaser than its predecessor, and the dialogue and plotting is much better. In fact, I'll go with the consensus and agree that it's the best one since Aliens.

The look is gorgeous (well of course it is, it's Ridley Scott), the Engineer's city being especially eerie and the aliens themselves especially creepy. Effects are, as you might expect, pretty much top-notch. The acting is up to the job, too, though it never recalls the naturalistic style of Alien. The story is intriguing, if more about the androids David and Walter, and their exploration of creation, than the actual xenomorphs (it's here where the real horror lies, as David in particular is disappointed with his creators (and, by extension, THEIR creators), and proceeds to show it in the nastiest possible manner (genocide seems to feature)).

One of the best parts of the ultimately disappointing Prometheus was the questions it raised, and the hints it gave as to where a possible sequel might go. These questions are kind of sidestepped, making Covenant a somewhat shallower experience than I was hoping for. But the film still managed to surprise toward the end, with the revelation of the 'standard' alien's genesis - and this is where questions particular to Covenant arise: if there is another film, will it wrap things up neatly and dovetail into Alien itself? How will it do this given the ending of Covenant? And, given the revelations I can only hint at without spoiling things, how will it explain the Queen -Bitch- of Aliens?

In short, if you've any love for this franchise, Alien Covenant is a must watch. It's a damned entertaining watch even if you can take or leave the Weyland Yutani Corporation's universe. Though it doesn't manage the giddy heights of either Alien or Aliens, it leaves things wide open for a -final?- Alien film that just might.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Xisor » Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:57 am

Intriguing, Chun. That sounds quite compelling!

----

I took advice at short notice and leapt on a 6-hour roundtrip to go catch "The Limehouse Golem". Hell of a film. Great cast doing some very enjoyable acting. Lovely plot and lots of neat yet odd little things.

Part of me did expect Jago & Litefoot to pop in at somepoint, but it felt like a really neat use of Victorian-y tropes to tell a damn interesting story.

I found it immensely enjoyable.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby David Earle » Mon Sep 25, 2017 3:16 pm

Several movies during a week-long business trip:

IT: Excellent acting all around, especially on the part of Pennywise, but the kids are fantastic as well. (Sophia Lillis practically steals the damn movie.) A few unfortunate decisions were made on what to cut from the book to make a reasonable viewing time, resulting in the kids and It occasionally looking like idiots, but it's probably the best film adapation of the youth half of the novel possible.

Alien: Covenant: I had to watch this muted with subtitles in an airplane and I still liked it better than Prometheus, although not as much as Chun I think. Some stupid, but understandable decisions by the cast and I think the plot held together. I wouldn't mind seeing a third movie to wrap up the arc of these two films, although after that any further Alien movies should really look to make the damn xenomorphs interesting again.

Ghost in the Shell: Sorry Scarlett but I gave up after like 10 minutes. I may go watch the original anime movie again.

The Mummy: I had to watch this muted WITHOUT subtitles and I still preferred it to GitS. (I had been spoiled on the bones of the plot.) Enjoyed Sofia Boutella and Jake Johnson.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby David Earle » Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:57 pm

Some insider info (spoilers) on Alien: Covenant and where it might go next: http://www.denofgeek.com/uk/movies/alie ... d-s-antics Sounds interesting!
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Chun the Unavoidable » Sun Oct 08, 2017 11:00 am

Blade Runner 2049

This isn't SciFi, this is out-and-out Science Fiction.

An almost ponderous script allows the film to blossom, exploring ideas and characters satisfyingly, expanding on its predecessor with due reverence but with an obvious desire to make its own mark on cinema. And make its own mark I think this film will (sorry, I got a little Yoda-esque there), quite possibly becoming as much of an influence as Ridley Scott's classic was. The visuals are nothing short of stunning in places, stylish -sometimes, perhaps, a little too stylish: one or two sets gave off an obvious air of being arranged purely to delight the eye and having little natural or practical truth to them- and grimly beautiful. The acting from all the leads is graceful and affecting. The storyline is fascinating and often touching. The action is brutal. The music, while often hinting at Vangelis, never quite gets there, but is suitably loud and industrial. Sound effects, too, suit the film admirably, verging from the eerie to the pulse-pounding. The special effects are perfect (they make an excellent job of bringing back a key character from Blade Runner).

All in all,I have no qualms in saying that Blade Runner 2049 is one of the best SF films I've ever seen.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Athelassan » Sat Nov 18, 2017 11:06 pm

Wonder Woman

Finally got around to this after hearing a lot about it. It's certainly the best of the DCEU films I've seen so far, although that's such a desperately low bar to clear (Man of Steel being the only one among them with any merit) that would be to damn it with faint praise rather.

Overall it's engaging and entertaining and Gal Gadot is a charismatic and watchable lead, with a wit to the writing that wasn't there in earlier DCEU films.

But.

It suffered from many of the same problems as its DCEU predecessors: washed out visuals, overwrought and overlong CGI fight scenes (and too long in general). Many of the criticisms of Man of Steel in particular could be copy-pasted into a review of Wonder Woman, if we were so inclined.

Before the film was released I heard a bit of puff from those involved about how it was interesting to be doing this sort of film against the backdrop of a WW1 setting rather than the more familiar WW2. But the film didn't really engage with this in any meaningful way. You could replace Ludendorff with Hitler and nothing much would change. There was little attempt made to humanise the Germans, and they served almost entirely as default villains, faceless - often literally, with their gas masks - mooks to be mown down without mercy or guilt: again, something more associated with a WW2 setting than WW1. The iconic trench warfare of WW1 featured briefly, in what was possibly the best action scene in the movie, but then quickly reverted to the sort of skirmish-style combat that makes for good superhero shenanigans but was famously absent from that war.

There was also a strong sense of déja vu. Once we got the backstory and her upbringing and Legolas-training on Themoscyra (sp?) it hit so many of the same beats as Captain America in terms of plot and set pieces that it felt at times almost like watching a remake - right down to the oversized flying machine with a superweapon that's going to wipe out a major city and requires someone to sacrifice themselves to stop.

Unlike Ludendorff, Ares was an interesting character, but although the bait-and-switch did at least make the plot a little less predictable it meant that we got relatively little time with the main villain and the "temptation of Diana" managed to feel both as though it was both cramped and dragging, as there was nowhere to put it but in the climax. Even then, and while it was perhaps better at wrestling with the idea of moral ambiguity than its predecessors (and, again, acknowledging that that's a low bar to clear) there was still a relatively binary distinction between the good guys and the bad guys.

I know that it wasn't trying to do the same thing as Civil War, but comparing how deftly that film juggled its characters such that we were never quite sure who was in the right (and even Zemo had a point) and similarly with the Punisher in Daredevil, and even the X-men series on its better days, I don't think Wonder Woman managed much more than a valiant first attempt in terms of depth of character and theme.

Which is perhaps why people have been so willing to overlook its flaws, and why to an extent I am. We all know by now that, having done more than any other studio to turn superhero films into a genre to be taken critically seriously, DC/WB have been behind the 8-ball for the best part of a decade now and have a lot of catching up to do to compete with Disney and Fox, not least because we're seeing these characters often for the first time on screen now rather than having had multiple films with them.

And that's before getting into the obvious issue that this is the first major female-led superhero film since... Catwoman? you know, let's just go with "ever". People have been clamouring for Wonder Woman or indeed any female superhero lead for ages and everyone wanted this film to be good. That we have a Wonder Woman film and finally a DCEU film that isn't mind-bendingly boring and terrible and it's the same film feels like a triumph, which, to an extent, it is. I just can't shake the feeling that in five years' time we'll look at this and go "well, it's alright, but it's not as good as I remember".

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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Squiggle » Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:21 am

Chun the Unavoidable wrote:Blade Runner 2049

This isn't SciFi, this is out-and-out Science Fiction.

An almost ponderous script allows the film to blossom, exploring ideas and characters satisfyingly, expanding on its predecessor with due reverence but with an obvious desire to make its own mark on cinema. And make its own mark I think this film will (sorry, I got a little Yoda-esque there), quite possibly becoming as much of an influence as Ridley Scott's classic was. The visuals are nothing short of stunning in places, stylish -sometimes, perhaps, a little too stylish: one or two sets gave off an obvious air of being arranged purely to delight the eye and having little natural or practical truth to them- and grimly beautiful. The acting from all the leads is graceful and affecting. The storyline is fascinating and often touching. The action is brutal. The music, while often hinting at Vangelis, never quite gets there, but is suitably loud and industrial. Sound effects, too, suit the film admirably, verging from the eerie to the pulse-pounding. The special effects are perfect (they make an excellent job of bringing back a key character from Blade Runner).

All in all,I have no qualms in saying that Blade Runner 2049 is one of the best SF films I've ever seen.


Gutted I didnt get around to seeing this one at the cinema, but I'm sure it will make a good DVD... time to dig out the original methinks.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Athelassan » Sun Nov 19, 2017 2:49 pm

If I've learned anything from Blade Runner 2049 it's that if my parents say they want to see a particular film, I should just ignore that and go on my own anyway when I get the chance.

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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Xisor » Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:49 pm

I had a great chat over dinner a few weeks back with a friend of a friend, who delved into a fascinating (and self-admitted) rant on Blade Runner 2 - specifically how disastrously easy they had it to make it a good egalitarian film. And yet they... didn't. I find it difficult to repeat verbatim (as I'd have to start from first principles, or else garble the message into utter incoherence), but suffice to say: it's resonated with me strongly.

It's a gorgeous film, and was very enticingly acted, but there's some seriously askew messages in it, inadvertently or otherwise. Most, annoyingly, ones that would be easy to correct.

---

I digress, I caught The Death of Stalin a few weeks back too, and found it to be immensely enjoyable. Preposterous in many ways, and deeply historically inaccurate in others too, but I found it evocative and illustrative, and very engaging. It's a quality film. Black comedy of the blackest kind, I suppose.

---

I also saw, last week, Murder on the Orient Express. Diverges from the book in a fair few ways, and has the unconscionable audacity to give Poirot a love interest, but it was nevertheless hugely entertaining. Pretty, interestingly acted, and fairly moving in many ways.

Not at all a perfect film, but I hope it made a fair bit of money, if only so's to get a few more big murder mysteries on the big screen. (I'd reiterate: I massively enjoyed The Limehouse Golem too, early this year - so would strongly encourage anyone/everyone to have a keek at that when it comes out too.)
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