rich_jacko: (River Tam XKCD)
rich_jacko ([personal profile] rich_jacko) wrote2017-10-18 10:37 pm
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Films round-up

It - I was surprised by how good this was. Suitably creepy, and Bill Skarsgard makes for a perfectly devilish Pennywise, but at its heart, it's a coming-of-age film rather than a horror film. And a damn funny one at that. The "losers" are a flawed, likeable bunch of teen characters, well-acted and with all the inane, crude, totally believable dialogue you'd expect from their age group. They fall in and out with each other as they try to solve the mysterious disappearances plaguing the town, leading to a delightfully over-the-top confrontation with the killer clown. I'll go out on a limb and say this is better than the TV version.

Victoria and Abdul - So-so period drama in which Judi Dench reprises her role as Queen Victoria (and an interesting comparison with Clara Oswald Jenna Coleman's younger incarnation in the ITV series at the moment). It tells the little-known story of her close friendship with Indian representative Abdul (Ali Fazal) in her old age, much to the outrage of her court. Both leads give great performances, but the problem is we don't see them together nearly enough. We keep getting told how important they are to one another, but the film rarely shows it. The depiction of racial politics isn't nearly as clever as the film-makers think it is either.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle - Eggsy (Taron Egerton), Merlin (Mark Strong) and, ludicrously improbably, Harry (Colin Firth) are back, in a rather lame sequel that doesn't know what to do with itself. Where the first film was a brutal and brilliant satire on the Bond movie genre, this one just wants to be what it's sending up. There are funny jokes, Julianne Moore's super-villain is a lot of fun, and Elton John is clearly having a blast playing himself, but none of this is enough to save the film. Kingsman's American counterparts (even when they're led by Jeff Bridges) are hackneyed, and 2h20m is way too long for this type of comedy.

Mother! - Oh dear. This had promise - a claustrophobic psychological thriller with a great cast. Jennifer Lawrence plays a protagonist trapped in a house where her husband (Javier Bardem) keeps inviting random strangers in. First come Ed Harris and wife Michelle Pfeiffer, then things escalate and violent tragedy strikes, again and again. Something very strange is going on. While atmospheric, unfortunately the film is nonsense. Characters you think are important disappear, never to be seen again; no one's behaviour makes any kind of sense, and the final resolution is deeply unsatisfying. Avoid.

The Lego Ninjago Movie - The third Lego movie, and this franchise is well and truly settling down into a formula now. Once again, it's the "father and son learn to play nicely together" theme, as Lloyd (Dave Franco) battles his absentee father, Lord Garmadon (Justin Theroux). Not as clever as the previous two (and missing Batman!), it kind of feels like the film-makers are dialling this one in. There's still a lot to like - as always, the visual imagination and detail are astonishing, and there are plenty of genuine laugh-out-loud gags, especially in the first act (involving news anchors, lots of sharks and, in one case, seven Wilhelm screams in a row). Kudos also for Jackie Chan - always worth watching - and for maintaining his out-takes tradition. It's not a bad film by any means, just lacking something.

Blade Runner 2049 - Being unfamiliar with the original, I watched it and this sequel back-to-back. It definitely felt like a worthy follow-up, and does everything a sequel should - It builds on and expands the world and the concepts; it moves the story onward; and leaves just enough unanswered questions to keep you guessing. 30 years on, the story follows Officer K (Ryan Gosling), a replicant "blade runner" who uncovers a dangerous secret which eventually leads him to Deckard (Harrison Ford). It looks amazing and keeps you in suspense. But it also has all the flaws of the original - ponderous plotting, somewhat full of its own self-importance, and nasty gender politics. Won't win over any converts, but it worked for me.

Goodbye, Christopher Robin - A surprisingly hard-hitting story of the origins of a certain bear of very little brain, dwelling on weighty subjects from the aftermath of war to the damaging effects of celebrity culture. A.A. Milne (Domhnall Gleeson), shell-shocked from WW1 and going through a marital crisis, is not portrayed as a natural as a father. He eventually bonds with is son, "Billy Moon" (Will Tilston), as they create Pooh's adventures together, but are Milne and his wife Daphne (Margot Robbie) exploiting their son in pursuit of literary success? As Christopher grows up (into Alex Lawther), he resents his unwanted fame. And there's another war coming...

Loving Vincent - Gorgeous animation done through oil paintings traced over live footage. The Van Gogh-style colour sequences stand out more than the more photo-realistic, black and white flashbacks, but this is a beautiful film that's well worth seeing for the visuals alone. The plot follows Armand (Douglas Booth), son of one of Van Gogh's friends, as he re-traces the painter's final days and tries to piece together the events leading up to his death. It's a bit stilted, but an interesting enough story, and you won't care when it looks as sumptuous as this.
rich_jacko: (TFs 2007)
rich_jacko ([personal profile] rich_jacko) wrote2017-10-17 09:44 pm
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X-Men evening

I will be hosting the first of two X-Men movie evenings this Saturday, starting at 4pm. We'll do the first three (in terms of release date) this time around, and watch the prequels on another night.

I thought about doing them the other way around, but that doesn't really work when it comes to Days of Future Past...

So, X-Men from 4pm, X2: X-Men United from 6:30pm (allowing for a food break), and X-Men 3: The Last Stand from 8:50pm.