The Film Review Corner

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

Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Lord of the Night » Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:47 pm

Rogue One.

My god.

It. Was. AWESOME!!!!

Without a doubt Rogue One surpasses The Force Awakens, and in my opinion it strides past A New Hope and Return of the Jedi as well with only Empire Strikes Back ahead of it (which may change after I see it a second time this weekend), the reviews are saying that this is a Star Wars made for the fans, and I totally agree. The film has a lot of references to the original trilogy, but also to the Old Republic era games, and the cartoons Clone Wars and Rebels. But these references aren't gratuitous, rather they just feel like the director and crew really did research and share the fans passion for the setting. This was a much darker and grittier Star Wars than any before, even Empire wasn't as dark as Rogue One becomes once things really get going, and it was much more down to earth film which could be compared to Saving Private Ryan or The Guns of Navarone (i've not seen this one but it's a comparison that's making its way around the net), and I think that it worked wonderfully as the main stories have that fantastic feel to them, but with it's darker take on the setting Rogue One avoids the same criticisms leveled at The Force Awakens and the prequel trilogy while also setting itself apart from the original trilogy in both story and tone.

Loved the casting. Felicity Johnson did a great job as Jyn Erso, though their was less emphasis on her than I expected from the trailers while the movie focused on both her and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) rather equally I felt. Donnie Yen's Chirrut Imwe was one of the three standouts of the new cast though, not only for the awesome martial arts scenes but also for being the character he is without having the Force. The showstealer though had to be Alan Tudyk's K-2SO who was completely hilarious and very very awesome, kind of like what I think R2 would be if he could actually talk. And Ben Mendelsohn's Director Krennic was a great villain for the film, but also as a supporter and contrast to the rest of the Imperial cast...

(Do NOT read this if you haven't seen the movie, seriously.)

Spoiler: Darth Vader was shown by the trailers but when Grand Moff Tarkin appeared I was pleased as hell. Seeing him from the back I knew it was him immediately and I wondered if they'd brought back Wayne Pygram, the actor who portrayed a younger Tarkin ten years ago in Revenge of the Sith. But they hadn't.

Instead he turned around and it was PETER CUSHING!! I was floored. It was Cushing, dead for twenty-two years and yet as large as life on the screen. I didn't even realize it was CGI until I read it after the film was over, it was that seamless to me. It was an incredible moment to see Tarkin on the screen again, though the original series was before my time so I can't imagine what it was like for people who saw A New Hope in cinemas so many years ago to see him once again. And the actor's performance was terrific to boot.



And of course Darth Vader. The director promised that this movie would show Vader at his scariest, something that has been lacking in Vader for a long time. And my good god did they deliver,

Spoiler: His scene with Director Krennic was intimidating as hell, his ease with Tarkin in Episode IV perhaps lulls the viewer into thinking that this is how Vader treats the Imperials he works with. It isn't, its how he treats somebody he respects. His scene with Krennic is how he treats those he doesn't, and throughout the entire conversation Vader utterly dominates Krennic while oozing utter contempt for the self-absorbed officer, not even bothering to look at him as he chokes him conveys the ultimate dismissal. Krennic isn't even worth turning around to look at while killing him.

And then the scene aboard the Rebel flagship. If there was ever a Star Wars scene that could be compared to a monster movie or a horror slasher film, this is it. Vader is a monster, appearing from the dark and then utterly mauling the Rebels with a mix of savage lightsabre strikes and brutal Force attacks, the Rebels panic is infectious and you can see that they know they are doomed. It's a hell of a scene and the only scene in the entire film with a lightsabre, and the second to show the Force, and if this doesn't make you scared of Vader again, nothing will.

Another aspect of the scene that I loved though was Vader's combat directions. The film shows him using prequel-style lightsabre choreography, spinning the blade and deflecting shots rather quickly, while retaining the same style he sported in the original trilogy, a reserved stance focusing on powerful single swings that hack his opponents down without the flourishes and flashy sword-work of the Jedi in Episodes I, II and III. This felt like the perfecting melding of old and new, and I think it will please both fans of the classic lightsabre duels and fans of the newer ones.



I cannot say enough about this movie. Every Star Wars fan should see it, no exceptions. A 10/10 from me, without a doubt. Whether it surpasses Empire as the greatest Star Wars movie is a tough question, maybe i'll have my answer after a second viewing but maybe not.
http://www.talkwargaming.com/search/lab ... %20Reviews - Black Library Reviews by Lord of the Night@Talk Wargaming
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Chun the Unavoidable » Sun Dec 18, 2016 1:03 pm

We saw it yesterday. A definite contender for best Star Wars film for me, though -and of course- it does rely on what went before for the nostalgia value. A thoroughly enjoyable treat.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Xisor » Sun Dec 18, 2016 8:18 pm

Chun the Unavoidable wrote:We saw it yesterday. A definite contender for best Star Wars film for me, though -and of course- it does rely on what went before for the nostalgia value. A thoroughly enjoyable treat.

I've seen a couple of folk mention relying on nostalgia - I'm not convinced. It did have some odds and ends and bits in there that felt a touch gratuitous, but everything that was big felt entirely fresh and not fusty. I'm not sure it was... relied on? They could have been stripped out for little loss, but were quite neat.

Specifically that was really cool: the Death Star imagery. The characters were all fairly neat too, no rehashes that I detected. And no dud sequences either (like the smuggled monsters chase in TFA.)

Spoiler: I am one with the force and the force is with me.

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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Chun the Unavoidable » Mon Dec 19, 2016 7:25 pm

Xisor wrote:
Chun the Unavoidable wrote:We saw it yesterday. A definite contender for best Star Wars film for me, though -and of course- it does rely on what went before for the nostalgia value. A thoroughly enjoyable treat.

I've seen a couple of folk mention relying on nostalgia - I'm not convinced. It did have some odds and ends and bits in there that felt a touch gratuitous, but everything that was big felt entirely fresh and not fusty. I'm not sure it was... relied on? They could have been stripped out for little loss, but were quite neat.

Specifically that was really cool: the Death Star imagery. The characters were all fairly neat too, no rehashes that I detected. And no dud sequences either (like the smuggled monsters chase in TFA.)

Spoiler: I am one with the force and the force is with me.


I meant it relied on the others purely for the nostalgia value (which, of course, it must) - not that it was the nostalgia value that made the film (it was only a part of what made it, as you suggest). And good call on the Death Star pretties - there were quite a few others, too (RO was much more pleasing to the eye than TFA).
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Major Rawne » Mon Dec 19, 2016 9:28 pm

Rogue One was indeed pretty brilliant. Though it isn't with a couple of niggly negatives the main one being:

Spoiler: Those creepy CGI people. Whilst they undoubtedly a technical marvel and achievement, they are still creepy. We've not quite got there yet.

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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Xisor » Tue Dec 20, 2016 1:34 am

Acknowledged, Chun! :)

Major Rawne wrote:Rogue One was indeed pretty brilliant. Though it isn't with a couple of niggly negatives the main one being:

Spoiler: Those creepy CGI people. Whilst they undoubtedly a technical marvel and achievement, they are still creepy. We've not quite got there yet.



I'd read an interesting thing on that.

Spoiler: That Cushing was 6ft, but the guy opposite him was 6ft4, but they'd CGId Tarkin to be taller, so it distorts him a bit. Something like that.

Obviously still creepy, but it's an extra dimension of not quite right?

Personally, I'd have been happy to go back the other Guy who'd played Tarkin (thus also leaving room for a resurrection of Obewan McGregnobi) and an all new Leia.

In other other news, they could have fused old/new more forwardly than Jan Ors/Jan Erso and gone straight to Kylie Katarn.

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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby David Earle » Sat Dec 31, 2016 12:26 am

Lovely movie, but very rough emotionally to watch in some parts, especially right at the end. I did enjoy... yeah, pretty much the whole cast, although Director Whuzzisname I could have passed on. A competent villain, enjoyably so, but nothing to write home about.

Spoiler: Tarkin broke into the uncanny valley quite a bit and would have been just fine had they kept him off camera more. But oh God, Carrie Fisher! They nailed her likeness and I burst into tears seeing her.

Also have to give props to Darth Vader throughout: looming menace, then chained rage, then super UNCHAINED rage. THAT is the right way to use Vader if you're going to have him around! :twisted:

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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Major Rawne » Fri Jan 27, 2017 10:25 pm

Trundled myself off to see both La La Land and Hacksaw Ridge this afternoon come evening. Although both very different films they were absolutely brilliant.

La La Land particularly really did surprise me, it was just a wild fancy of mine to hop along to something completely out of my normal viewing habits. Really glad I did, as while there was plenty of singing and dancing, there was a nice serious if cliched story to it all. I also like jazz now.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Athelassan » Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:18 pm

I finally got round to watching Rogue One.

First off, I have to say, major props to LotN for his review, with such (presumably) unintentionally hilarious moments like this:

Lord of the Night wrote:it was much more down to earth film which could be compared to Saving Private Ryan or The Guns of Navarone (i've not seen this one...)

Lord of the Night wrote:It was an incredible moment to see Tarkin on the screen again, though the original series was before my time

But anyway. As with all Star Wars films, I think I have to mentally recalibrate in order to work out what I think of it. Rather like trying to compare the political spectrum in the US with that of France, you can't really judge a Star Wars film like any other film. It's going to have bits of clunky dialogue and setting elements that don't make sense - that's always been the way and it always will be. Rogue One is better-written in terms of dialogue at least than any other SW film, but I'm already mentally correcting for that.

In many ways, I think I've outgrown Star Wars. I've seen a lot of good films in the last few years and even the better Star Wars films now look clumsy and childish in comparison. That's not to disrespect the legacy of the films, which were hugely influential, but cinema has now kind of left Star Wars behind. Over in other wings of Disney, Pixar and the MCU have been demonstrating for a few years now that you can blend all-ages entertainment without sacrificing either writing or spectacle. Bryan Singer and Christopher Nolan showed us that pulp themes can still be intelligent. George Miller proved beyond a doubt that there's still something glorious about building things and then smashing them to pieces on screen, rather than doing it all with green-screen. The Star Wars prequel trilogy has dated terribly: while Revenge of the Sith remains watchable in places, most of the rest of it is desperate - not only the CGI, but the whole construction of the films. The Force Awakens received some credit for not being as bad as the prequels, but I think many of the improvements it made were superficial - even leaving aside that the plot felt like a rehash of A New Hope. I wonder whether in ten-fifteen years time we will look on it in the same way as the prequel trilogy.

And Rogue One is also a prequel. There are, generally speaking, two types of prequel: prequels that tell a story that doesn't need to be told, and prequels that fill in important context for the work it's prequelling. Rogue One is of the first type. We don't need to know how the rebels got the Death Star plans at the start of A New Hope, only that they have them. Given how the vast majority of characters in this film with a speaking role die either here or in the next one, it's unlikely there's going to be anything else here to build off. So the film has to justify itself qualitatively. The Phantom Menace, which was in a similar situation, manifestly failed to do that. I thought Rogue One was, on the other hand, successful in that endeavour. We are brought to care for these characters even though we know their story surely can't end happily: watching them die is a wrench.

I do however find it hard to judge how freely it stands from the rest of the Star Wars cinematic spectrum. I think the prequel trilogy would be largely forgotten by now if they weren't Star Wars films, and, like them, Rogue One relies on its Star Wars setting and its relationship to the other films to lend it weight and context. The fanservice appearance of established characters doesn't help with that. In many ways I felt Tarkin was a distraction. Many of his scenes could have been cut or shortened or given to other characters without losing a great deal from the film. He got a lot more screen time than the character needed, which only, for me, drew attention to the way the film was leaning on him - not to mention both the uncanny valley issues and the ethical qualms I have about re-using dead actors' images. Vader likewise. And yes, my heart did lift a little when I saw Jimmy Smits on screen, but that's fundamentally a fairly cheap instinctive emotional reaction and not a measure of the film's quality.

All that stuff is getting in the way of my ability to assess the film properly. As a completely standalone sci-fi drama/action film (compare Avatar) would it still hold up to the same extent? I honestly don't know. And I can't know. This is the fundamental problem with any "franchise" film, and Star Wars in particular. I agree that - by any reasonable standard of film criticism - this is a better film than any previous SW film except possibly The Empire Strikes Back. But it also relies to at least some extent on all those films to give it context and substance. And to an extent when you're talking about Star Wars films you have to throw a lot of your preconceptions about what makes a film good out of the window anyway, which makes this even harder to assess.

I've wittered on far too long without really saying anything. I thought it was fine. I wasn't blown away by it, although to an extent that might be because of the hype, or because I've kind of moved on from Star Wars as a thing. What I'm not sure about is whether I'll rewatch it, or just mentally file it away. As far as stylised popcorn goes, I've rewatched every MCU film (except Doctor Strange) at least once and still enjoy them, even the dodgier ones. I don't, as yet, feel the need or desire to rewatch Rogue One. But maybe that'll change.

Ath

P.S. A comparison with Saving Private Ryan is ill-judged and ridiculous and does both films a disservice.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Vivia » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:45 pm

Athelessan wrote:Bryan Singer and Christopher Nolan showed us that pulp themes can still be intelligent. Frank Miller proved beyond a doubt that there's still something glorious about building things and then smashing them to pieces on screen, rather than doing it all with green-screen.


Are you certain of these words? The people you mentioned are everything I hate in cinema. And Frank Miller of all people. He made the The Spirit atrocity, that's nothing but green screen!

I may have to agree about comparing a Star Wars movie with Saving Private Ryan ("moving" war drama in Star Wars is for the lolz), but then I hated it. Matt Damon and Tom Hanks together is too much for people like me to stomach. I quote Liz Lemon: I found it moving...my bowels!
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Athelassan » Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:12 pm

Vivia wrote:
Athelessan wrote:Bryan Singer and Christopher Nolan showed us that pulp themes can still be intelligent. Frank Miller proved beyond a doubt that there's still something glorious about building things and then smashing them to pieces on screen, rather than doing it all with green-screen.


Are you certain of these words? The people you mentioned are everything I hate in cinema. And Frank Miller of all people. He made the The Spirit atrocity, that's nothing but green screen!

Well, you and I don't always see eye-to-eye when it comes to film...

X-Men: Apocalypse was all over the shop, and I didn't get on with Interstellar. Nolan and Singer certainly have off days. But the first two X-Men films, in my opinion, and especially the second, set the bar very high for superhero films. Whatever else those films - and the Nolan Batman films might be - they're not mindless, despite the apparent silliness of their subject matter. I think more than anyone else those two were responsible for comic-book films being taken seriously in recent years. (Jon Favreau might deserve some credit too). And while Star Wars, strictly speaking, isn't a comic-book film, I think it merits direct comparison with them.

I meant George Miller, not Frank Miller :roll: Whoops.

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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Vivia » Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:58 pm

That explains it, I thought it sounded completely off to mention Frank Miller. :lol:
I have no idea who George Miller is.

I agree with the second X-Men film, apart from it being way too long for my taste, it handled the Weapon-X story arch much better than Wolverine: Origin (this film continues to burn me).

(Not long ago I was having a discussion about Nolan's "hidden" meaning in his work, the way Kubrick had. :roll:
The worst subject ever. My mind acts like Teflon watching his film (I have zero memory of the Batman movies). In a way he could be the new Scorsese for me, no energy from my side there, but that's an insult to Scorsese's skill and talent.
It bothers me that so many young men find Nolan to be impressive, but on the other hand considering the other choice is Michael Bay. Case closed. :D )
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Athelassan » Sat Apr 22, 2017 9:49 pm

Vivia wrote:That explains it, I thought it sounded completely off to mention Frank Miller. :lol:
I have no idea who George Miller is.

I agree with the second X-Men film, apart from it being way too long for my taste, it handled the Weapon-X story arch much better than Wolverine: Origin (this film continues to burn me).

(Not long ago I was having a discussion about Nolan's "hidden" meaning in his work, the way Kubrick had. :roll:
The worst subject ever. My mind acts like Teflon watching his film (I have zero memory of the Batman movies). In a way he could be the new Scorsese for me, no energy from my side there, but that's an insult to Scorsese's skill and talent.
It bothers me that so many young men find Nolan to be impressive, but on the other hand considering the other choice is Michael Bay. Case closed. :D )

George Miller is/was the Mad Max director.

I've rewatched the Nolan Batman films a couple of times so probably have a better recollection of them than you do. Begins is a little cumbersome and Dark Knight Rises is all over the place but there's still a thread of intelligence in them and The Dark Knight, while not perfect, is still a great piece of cinema. And while I didn't get on with Interstellar, am pretty indifferent towards Memento, and, despite finding Inception impressive, think it's a bit overrated, The Prestige is one of my favourite films.

So while I'm not going to give Nolan an unreserved thumbs-up, I am willing to recognise his accomplishments. I'm not claiming him to be the new Hitchcock/Welles/Leone/Kubrick/Coppolla/Polanski/Spielberg. There are other directors around today who excite me more. But I do think he's done some good work in genres that previously were not taken seriously. So it's more that he has demonstrated what can be done in a pulp setting (without going full Tarantino), and in consequence, Star Wars looks at times like it's lost a step.

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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Chun the Unavoidable » Mon May 01, 2017 7:50 pm

The Guardians of the Galaxy Volume II (2D): it's self-reverential; it shovels on the sentiment; even the spontaneity seems calculated; but it's also gloriously, wonderfully garish (think of all those great SF book covers brought to life), charming and very funny; quite touching in places; has well-orchestrated and often rather huge action scenes. And, for me, it wasn't Baby Groot or even Rocket that steals the film, but the hilarious Drax. Highly recommended with anybody with a love of SF and a sense of downright fun.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Major Rawne » Mon May 01, 2017 8:45 pm

Chun the Unavoidable wrote:The Guardians of the Galaxy Volume II (2D): it's self-reverential; it shovels on the sentiment; even the spontaneity seems calculated; but it's also gloriously, wonderfully garish (think of all those great SF book covers brought to life), charming and very funny; quite touching in places; has well-orchestrated and often rather huge action scenes. And, for me, it wasn't Baby Groot or even Rocket that steals the film, but the hilarious Drax. Highly recommended with anybody with a love of SF and a sense of downright fun.

I think that sums it up excellently.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Athelassan » Tue May 09, 2017 12:21 am

Chun the Unavoidable wrote:The Guardians of the Galaxy Volume II (2D): it's self-reverential; it shovels on the sentiment; even the spontaneity seems calculated; but it's also gloriously, wonderfully garish (think of all those great SF book covers brought to life), charming and very funny; quite touching in places; has well-orchestrated and often rather huge action scenes. And, for me, it wasn't Baby Groot or even Rocket that steals the film, but the hilarious Drax. Highly recommended with anybody with a love of SF and a sense of downright fun.

I thought Drax was the best thing about the first film, and while I felt at times he was getting a little over-exposed in this one, he was still good value for money.

It's hard to judge, because I think all films seem better when you see them in the cinema, but my initial impression was that I much preferred this to the first one, which I found a little by-the-numbers. This one had me laughing almost throughout and even the big showpiece battle at the end (something I am weary of in MCU films*) remained fairly consistently entertaining.

*This being one of the reasons I have found, on a rewatch, many MCU films to be somewhat repetitive, and correspondingly why I approved so much of Civil War. The big flashy showpiece battle came about two thirds of the way in, and ended with a shock in which a character actually got hurt, which made the final battle feel more personal and high-stakes with less emphasis on spectacle.

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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Vivia » Fri Aug 04, 2017 10:13 pm

There is nothing gay about the Princeton fight song. "Oh, the men of Princeton are charging up the rear, holding all the balls..." Okay, I hear it now. – Jack, episode Queen of Jordan
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Major Rawne » Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:28 pm

I just watched the new Power Rangers movie. Boy that epic! I had so much fun that I wish I'd made the time to see it at the cinema.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Xisor » Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:37 pm

I watched 'Bone Tomahawk' a while back. It's a fairly straightforward Western that, at some point in its length, morphs into a fairly graphic horror.

It's... well done. It's satisfying to watch, it's got oddness and whatnot to it, and does a few surprising things, but overall - it's a pretty compelling film. Way too graphic for my tastes, at points, but it's not insane, and it's arguably way better than glorifying the violence or gore too, so I suppose on balance I liked that. The sort of thing that makes you want to, never ever, end up in an 'action packed' situation of the sort implied in films.

Indeed, I'm also reminded of this little thing that cropped up on one of my feeds (minor spoilers for Civil War) -

Captain America had no idea about Spider-Man's super strength, and this is what he intended to happen!
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Major Rawne » Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:55 pm

Xisor wrote:I watched 'Bone Tomahawk' a while back. It's a fairly straightforward Western that, at some point in its length, morphs into a fairly graphic horror.

Oooo that's been on my list for a while now, might be getting a bump up.
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