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Rate the last film you watched out of 5


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Aftersun 5/5

 

Gorgeous and heartbreaking, with two outstanding central performances (Frankie Corio is a hell of a find and Paul Mescal has never been better) and a final 15 minutes in which the film's gentle undercurrent of melancholy builds to an almighty wave. There's a surprising but devastatingly effective needle drop towards the end, and the very last shot is something else. Wonderful stuff – one of the best debut films in years

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Here's my review from Letterboxed of one of Gene Rodenberry's post-Star Trek 70s pilots:

 

Planet Earth (1974)

Unlike some reviews here I came to this more for John Saxon who I was more familiar with through Italian crime flicks and other assorted trash. It's difficult to critique this in 2022 as the point of the story is so dated. It certainly has the feel of original Start Trek, with a civilised society clashing with something more primitive, in this case a tribe where men are slaves to women, but in the most cack-handed way. I can see why this didn't get to a series. It requires too much suspension of disbelief compared to Star Trek, the promise of a thousand more stories rings hollow. I can't deny it wasn't entertaining, but it's easy to see why this died in the water.

 

2.5/5

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Bit of a binge yesterday!

 

 

The Guard - Netflix

 

An amazing little downbeat Irish cop story with one of the best performances I’ve seen by the always excellent Brendan Gleeson. It’s charming and darkly hilarious at times. By John McDonagh, brother of Martin, who made In Bruges. You can expect a similar level of dialogue and dark humour from this film. Superb support from all of the cast including Liam Cunningham, Don Cheadle, Mark Strong and Tom from Father Ted. Objectively it’s probably a 4/5 but I’m an absolute sucker for the sort of underplayed humour you get in a McDonagh movie, so fuck it, I’m going full marks. Loved it.

 

5/5

 

 

Live Die Repeat Edge of Tomorrow - Prime


I remember really enjoying this when it came out and so was eager to give it another watch. I thought it was pretty dreadful this time! Rubbish overacting across the board, very generic video gamey looking baddies and a plot you could fit on the back of a postage stamp. Really good effects and cool exosuit designs scrounge it a bonus mark, and I suppose if you want to turn off your brain and look at bangy explosions for a couple of hours it’s alright. Even so, there are far better sci-fi popcorn movies.

 

A generous 2/5

 


Dead Man Running - Prime (I think)

 

Danny Dyer and Tamer Hassan doing the Cockney badboy thing. Fiddy Cent turns up for a little bit to do some terrible acting for an easy payday. Sub par Guy Ritchie-esque editing. Standard stuff if you like a Lahndaaan caper movie once in a while.

 

Half marks - 2.5/5

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Iron Mask (2019, Amazon Prime Video)

 

 

I’m not sure where to start with this one. At one time a Jackie Chan/Schwarzenegger film (with bonus Charles Dance and a massive CGI Dragon!) would have seemed like a home run box office smash to me. 
 

in 2019… less so, but it’s still somehow an incoherent dribbling mess; the narrative is incoherent, the acting is awful, the score doesn’t match the action, the dubbing is wacky, the effects look like they fell off a budget PS2 game… it’s a train wreck. Kind of fascinating in that way, but in no way “good”.

 

1/5 (and that one is only because I like CGI dragons whose eyelashes can be made to make tea. No, I’m not making that bit up.)

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The Dark Knight (2008)

This came in on such a huge wave of hype at the time yet it didn't really need it, it's that strong a film it could probably have got by on word of mouth alone. So much good about it,, not least Heath Ledger's Joker which dialled back on the camp and made him feel more dangerous and unpredictable as a result. Like the first film the story gracefully unrolls, albeit with more action. It's genuinely hard to fault it beyond minor quibbles like some mumbled dialogue.

 

5/5

 

Tiger Claws (1991)

Definitely one of the better American-produced films to feature Cynthia Rothrock, although after the opening she has to take on the second fiddle role to Jalal Mehri who couldn't really pull off the moody "I work alone" renegade undercover cop thing convincingly. At least the fights are good and there's a serviceable serial killer plot.

 

3/5

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Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping - 4 out of 5

 

I enjoyed this more on a 2nd watch after not seeing it for a few years and being abit disappointed the first time. It is still abit of a mess towards the end but overall is very funny.

 

I realized too Chris Redd was playing Hunter as Kanye West, when the characters arc is set up more like Tyler The Creator. Makes him even funnier.

 

Think I felt abit more nostalgia for the Style Boyz comeback this time.

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"Something In The Dirt" - 4/5 (2/5 If new to the directors)

 

The latest Moorhead & Benson film.

 

Plenty of references and connections to their previous films, which is nice if you follow the pair.  Could've dropped a few minutes here and there, but the overall film I found enjoyable, and the pair have left me with plenty to think about.

 

Recommended if you are a fan of the pair, but imagine if you are new to them, it could be very hard going. 

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Soft and Quiet (2022) - Apple TV rental

 

Probably best to approach this one with as little plot awareness as possible but also with the knowledge that this film quickly goes to a dark place and then accelerates rapidly into some uncomfortable social horror. 

 

Beth de Araújo's debut is a hugely impressive, one shot real time, technical achievement with an outstanding cast working in a most unique manner. It is also one of the most uncomfortable, brutal, and sickening films I have experienced in a very long time. Unlike the hugely overrated 1917 the one shot is much more than a gimmick as it totally  embeds the viewer into the middle of some grim and highly unsettling scenes with an intimacy that is astonishingly intense.

 

As I said, probably best to go in not knowing too much but I will say that the relatively early reveal of where the story is going is quite something and, from that point on, it is unrelenting. It's too harsh a film to want to watch again anytime soon and there are a few minor issues but as debuts go this is as great and promising as Jordan Peele's 'Get Out'.

 

4/5

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Wakanda Forever

 

Forever isn't kidding, as it's a long 2h45. But it dealt with the sentimental stuff about Chadwick Boseman pretty well, feeling poignant rather than exploitative. Though I'm sure it'll age the film.

 

It's got its high points, largely in the representation. The fact that you go an hour before you even notice that there's nary a white actor in it. So they nailed that aspect, as it feels complete without feeling too tokenistic. Although the franchise does very much feel like Marvel's community service, and I hope they don't keep the progressive representation contained to it.

 

Overall it can be a bit loud and forgettable, and took forever to get from A to B, but I'm basically glad I saw it.

 

Also

Spoiler

Everyone is Iron Man now.

 

3/5

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Thor: Love and Thunder

 

Somehow this feels unfinished, like they strung enough jokes together to make it last two hours and then just edited it together and kicked it out the door.

 

In its defence, the first half is pretty funny, although it's increasingly hard to reconcile Thor's earlier characterisation with his new incarnation as a moron. (He actually fits in quite well with the Guardians of the Galaxy, and it's a shame we haven't seen more of that). Natalie Portman gets to redeem her bored-as-shit performance from Thor 2 and complete no-show in Thor 3 with a movie where she actually looks like she's having more fun than anyone else. And Russell Crowe's camp Greek Zeus is the clear highlight.

 

But the actual story barely exists, Christian Bale appears to think he's in a different movie completely, somehow it's a comedy movie with a cancer subplot, it plays its deus ex machina (the Necrosword) in the first five minutes, and overall it feels like you could have got entirely separate movies out of (a) Asgardians of the Galaxy (b) Jane Foster the Mighty Thor (c) Gorr the God Butcher and ramming them all together into two hours of slapstick did nobody any favours.

 

It's not terrible by any means but like most Phase 4 stuff it just feels very inconsequential.

 

3/5

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My friend of 30 years has just got a new job as a marketing manager in a big global company and his budget had gone from "hmm ok, one round of drinks then" to "fuck yeah. bring on the entertainment now" as he called it.

 

I said to him, when you get there, don't do a Taika an the first day and make "Thor love and thunder" because you suddenly have a budget to make that passion event. He agreed.

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2 hours ago, Garwoofoo said:

Thor: Love and Thunder

 

Somehow this feels unfinished, like they strung enough jokes together to make it last two hours and then just edited it together and kicked it out the door.

 

In its defence, the first half is pretty funny, although it's increasingly hard to reconcile Thor's earlier characterisation with his new incarnation as a moron. (He actually fits in quite well with the Guardians of the Galaxy, and it's a shame we haven't seen more of that). Natalie Portman gets to redeem her bored-as-shit performance from Thor 2 and complete no-show in Thor 3 with a movie where she actually looks like she's having more fun than anyone else. And Russell Crowe's camp Greek Zeus is the clear highlight.

 

But the actual story barely exists, Christian Bale appears to think he's in a different movie completely, somehow it's a comedy movie with a cancer subplot, it plays its deus ex machina (the Necrosword) in the first five minutes, and overall it feels like you could have got entirely separate movies out of (a) Asgardians of the Galaxy (b) Jane Foster the Mighty Thor (c) Gorr the God Butcher and ramming them all together into two hours of slapstick did nobody any favours.

 

It's not terrible by any means but like most Phase 4 stuff it just feels very inconsequential.

 

3/5

 

I'm not definite, but I'd heard that GOTG3 was going to be non-chronological and feature the adventures of Thor and the Gang. Though obviously that messes with the idea of any real peril for the team, but don't most of these?

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Beautiful Blue Eyes - 1/5 (work screener)

 

Billed as Roy Scheider’s last film, this originally released as Iron Cross in 2009. For some unknown reason - there undoubtedly is one but I’m too tired to bother looking it up - someone saw fit to re-edit it for a limited theatrical release.

 

It looks like a bad TV soap, has a melodramatic feel that undermines any sense of tension and ends with a double-twist, both of which completely negate the other rendering the whole thing utterly pointless.

 

Not a fitting tribute to Mr Scheider :(

 

(#915… 85 to watch in December to reach 1,000 new films seen this year. Amazingly only managed 10 cinema trips so

might make a couple more… Babylon looks fantastic)

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1 hour ago, ImmaculateClump said:

Soft and Quiet - ****

Very good black ensemble comedy about a politely racist coffee morning gone rogue. Great fun, but hits hard when it needs to.

 

 

Anyone who comes away from that thinking it a 'comedy' that is 'great fun' needs to have a word with themselves.

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Oh, it was definitely intentional, I thought. It plays out like a satirical farce at times.
I'm not saying I was laughing out loud, but I had a big smile on my face for a lot of it.
It's definitely mocking that kind of small town, small mindedness.

 

The reveal of the

Spoiler

swastika pie

was perfect.
I really liked how all the ladies were so prejudiced, they'd obviously even pre-judged each other, and were still caught on that very surface level, shallow first impression, and had jumped to all sorts of conclusions about each other, just keeping it all inside and putting on a polite show in company.
They were so bitter and angry, it was only a matter of time before they all turned on each other.

 

When shit started to go down, the ginger woman in the sweater barks "who comes to a meeting dressed as a prostitute?". It all starts spilling out :D

The well to do teacher turning on her new friend calling her trash.

 

I thought it did a great job of offsetting all that with the more hard hitting serious moments. It mocked them when necessary and took them very seriously when it needed to.

It rode that line brilliantly all the way through, it never felt like a jarring tonal shift when shit got real.

 

If you didn't find the twee middle class racist morons and their misplaced frothing resentment and infighting bickering ridiculous, that's fine. Whether it was the directors intention to send them up at times, or not, what you take from a film personally and how you interpret it is always valid. There is no right or wrong.

 

I thought the film had some problems. Some might not agree, but

 

Spoiler

I thought the "one take" gimmick took away as much as it added, some moments could have done with a second take. I felt a little short changed by the ending, and the peanut feeding bit felt crowbarred in


Brilliant though, it was a great film. Looking forward to seeing what the director does next!

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Lullaby - 1/5 (work screener)

 

New horror that rehashes horror with mirrors, a dash of The Ring and creatures that look like Kuato tribute acts.

 

Essentially spends an hour and half setting up a sequel, which no one will likely want but will probably happen. Rubbish.

 

(#919)

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3000 years of Longing - 4/5

 

Remember this getting mixed reviews at release but I really enjoyed it. The stories were engrossing and Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton were great.

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Sworn To Justice (1996)

You never know what you're getting minute to minute with this. One minute it's a soapy workplace drama, the next there's a comedy fight in a convenience store complete with animal sound effects, an erotic thriller, a courtroom drama, with a couple of good fights thrown in. And to top it off Cynthia Rothrock swiftly discovers she's psychic! It's such a tonal dog's breakfast, it did have me laughing in places though.

 

2.5/5

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A Christmas Carol (2009) - 2/5 (Disney+)

 

I like a Christmas film, and now it’s December I’m getting stuck into a few I’ve missed. Took a trip to the Uncanny Valley for Disney’s stupidly expensive animation of perhaps the greatest Christmas tale ever written.

 

It’s fine, mostly because the story is so timeless, but also so unnecessary. And given the cast - and the budget - makes me wish they’d just done a live action version. If you’ve got Disney+ and want to watch the definitive version of A Christmas Carol, stick the Muppets on instead.

 

(#923)

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