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Everything posted by Veltigar

  1. In Rian Johnson's defence, I do think these films are more of a parody of the whodunnit than actually trying to give us the real thing. With Glass Onion, it is more overt, but Daniel Craig's distressingly fake good old-boy accent was there from the beginning. Wait what? Are you for real polishgenius? Gosh, I hope I can still get a refund on that hitman I sent out to LA to deal with Johnson Btw, I also have a revelation for you
  2. I watched Glass Onion yesterday. All in all, it is a really stupid film, but I mostly had fun with it. It helps that I like the genre, as well as most of the actors. I also thought the film did a good job in keeping the pace sufficiently high for the stupidity not to overly bother me, as they never really dwelt on it for too long until the very end of the film were it lost me. The identity of the antagonist was easy to spot and they did some fun stuff with What I could not condone however, is that the only way to stop the villain was for the lead to So in summary, I would say it was a pretty mediocre. The first film was definitely better. A blast from the past, but I followed up on your advice and finished Andor yesterday. It really kicks into high gear from like episode 6 onwards and I just could not stop watching until the entire season was done. It's a really excellent series and by far the best Star Wars related property I have seen in years (caveat here is that I still have to watch Rogue One). I have friends who were really into the Star Wars EU, who told me that they checked out on the Disney era of SW because it is just more of the same, but I do intent to push them into giving Andor a chance. This really is the first series that makes full use of the potential such a vast universe provides. A lot of ink has already been spilled on praising Andor, so I will not make this overlong, but I do think Andor has the potential to really make the Empire scary again. Seeing the scale of the Imperial apparatus for repression up close was really needed after first Lucas and then Disney did their best to "kiddy" up the franchise by neutering the villains. I also love the aesthetic of the series. Much better than all the other Disney shows who use that Mandalorian green screen tech. They used a lot of sets here and it's clearly superior I would say. Let's hope he delivers there. It wouldn't surprise me if the ash people are "evil" in the sense of "grossly misunderstood but actually really good" vein.
  3. I went to the theatre to see Avatar 2: The Way of Water in IMAX 3-D. Going in with low expectations, I have to admit I was mostly pleasantly surprised. It's definitely better than its predecessor, although it does not manage to improve enough on some fronts to really make it into a film that is worth revisiting outside of the confines of a state-of-the-art movie theatre. Visually it remains stunning and I would say is even better than its predecessor. I liked the acting much more in this film. It is still not great, but they significantly reduced the screen time of Sam Worthington, which does wonders for the quality level of the film. Particularly since his human form has been eliminated, so it's all mo-cap work, which he seems to be somewhat better at. The dialogue is often cringeworthy and the plot is still not great. There are some tantalizing glimpses of greatness that are never sufficiently explored, but I do hold out hope for the future. It seems Cameron is slowly moving away from the humans = always bad and Na'Vi = always good example largely set in the first film. I wonder whether he is going to built on that further in future instalments. Anyways, story wise I don think Avatar 2 was already a step up from the first film, so I hope they'll be moving in that direction for the next films. Yikes, I didn't know that was the plot summary, but given the massive rise in surveillance in China over the last two decades that film was probably very prescient.
  4. I finally went to see it last night with three friends. Perhaps it was the lower expectations, but I thought it was much better than the first film. It is still far from earning a place into the all-time great film catalogue and I also cannot imagine rewatching it outside of a fully equipped 3-D theatre, but overall it was definitely an improvement. Visually, it was even more stunning than the first film. The acting was better, since it had less Sam Worthington in it and I mostly thought the plot was handled well. It's still by-the-numbers and the dialogue is often cringeworthy, but still I would deem it a step up from the first film. Part of me wonders whether the positive change in reception has more to do with my own growth since the last film rather than any "real" improvements (outside of less Samn Worthington) Cameron made to the franchise. The message is far from subtle, but I have myself become much more emotionally aware of the catastrophic loss in biodiversity and the negative impact we overall have on the environment (instead of merely being intellectually aware of it like 10 years ago). There were a lot of scenes with the Tulkun in particular that struck an emotional cord that I was not expecting an Avatar film to find. Not sure whether anyone else felt that way? I do wonder about the future of the franchise. Out of the three of us that went, one disliked it and has already indicated he won't see Avatar 3. The other person aside from me is still interested in the second sequel, but he want to see it without 3-D (which is weird imo). I am definitely keen for a third one however and I hope Cameron will finally go for some more inspired storytelling here.
  5. I recently read an article detailing how the death of celebrities is being used as a proxy to estimate the impact of CoVID in China since the government over there is not releasing reliable data. Famous professors, opera singers and others are dropping like flies. In that article I also read that the screenwriter of 1991's Raise The Red Lantern had recently passed away. It's on Roger Ebert's greatest movies list and I have been meaning to watch it for some time, but I never quite got around to it. In honour of Ni Zhen (the unfortunate screenwriter), I decided to finally give it a go. Raise The Red Lantern was directed by Yimou Zhang and stars Gong Li as the Fourth Mistress, the lead character of the film. Both Zhang and Li have had a hand in some of the most well-regarded high-brow films coming out of China in the culturally relatively open 1990s (and Zhang afterwards directed some pretty famous Wuxia films like Hero). My conclusion after seeing Raise The Red Lantern is that I should definitely try to watch some more of their work. Li for instance also stars in Farewell My Concubine which has also been on my watch list for ages. I would definitely recommend watching Raise The Red Lantern, but be aware that it is quite a sad film. It tells the tale of a promising young woman who is forced to drop out of university after the death of her father. She becomes the fourth wife of a rich and older man. The film tells her sad story of oppression through the competition that develops between the Fourth Mistress and the Master's other wives. Zhang is a master of colour and the film's claustrophobic and cloistered setting is incredibly gorgeous to look at. Gong Li's subdued performance as the gorgeous, yet tragic lead is great and the supporting characters manage to hold their own against her. The script is also quite clever and it does a great job at highlighting the mechanisms of abuse that have developed throughout the centuries to keep the patriarch's wives submissive. It is the type of film that a Chinese director in China is probably unable to make in the more censorious ecosystem that has developed under the new management. The world is a poorer place because of it.
  6. Ah, I think I first took notice of him in the underrated A Single Man with Colin Firth. Since then he's continuously and consistently done his best to take part in interesting films (barring the Young X-Men films). He shares that with Ana Taylor Joy I think. Peaky Blinders, the Queen's Gambit, Last Night in Soho, even something like The Northman (which I think didn't quite live up to its promise) was at least a supremely interesting film in concept. Both actors have reached a point where I'm intrigued by a project in advance if I know they are in it. Luhrman has a lot of blackmail material on people in Hollywood For me, Luhrman is basically a reversed Midas figure. Hated his version of Romeo and Juliet when I was forced to sit through it, got bored to tears by Australia and I think I didn't like Moulin Rouge either (though it is been so long ago that I barely remember anything about it). He somehow manages to make promising ideas less interesting/engaging for me. Where I see the names of Hoult and Taylor-Joy linked to a film and get excited, I see his name and get filled with trepidation. I remember seeing that first Elvis trailer and being blown away by it. The person who cut that trailer has clearly sold their soul to Satan, because it was such a great trailer and yet totally unrepresentative of the finished product. Luhrman did use some of Elvis' actual vocals in the film IIRC from the IMDB trivia I read. The lead only does the singing for Young Elvis, but later on they use recordings from Elvis and mix it with Austin's voice. For me Austin Butler was by far the best thing in the film. I thought he was very good as Elvis and one of my major gripes with the film is that it refuses to zoom in on its best performer/most intriguing character to devote the majority of its runtime to Tom Hanks Big Momma's house take on Parker.
  7. They could have done something like the Elves on their way to Valinar passing the shipwrecked crew. Instead of picking up the refugees, the other Elves wish to continue onwards to Valinor. Galadriel refuses and jumps overboard to help. In one fell swoop, Galadriel stays in Middle-Earth instead of going to Valinor, she's also established as special seeing how she chose to come to the aid of the humans and Sauron's plan seems more deliberate. Not sure whether you could square it even in the vaguest manner with canon, but at least it's more elegant than what we got.
  8. Elvis was a terrible film. Probably the worst one I saw last year. Unfortunately, it had the kernel of a great movie in it. I still maintain that the original Elvis trailer is probably the best trailer for a film I have seen since at least the first teaser trailer for Interstellar. I wish we had gotten to see the film that the trailer seemed to promise instead of this lurid Luhrmann shit. I had a blast watching The Menu. I love all the actors in it, but Ana Taylor Joy and Nicholas Hoult in particular are two of my favorite actors working today. Couple that to the fact that I also adore fine dining, I thought it was a wonderful combo. I didn't have time to continue watching it, but I did manage to finish episode 4. It does seem to be going in an interesting direction with the intra-agency rivalry of the Empire. I was also surprised by the weaponry on display
  9. There are people who think Us is good? Wow, that surprises me.
  10. I also forgot I watched Minamata (2020) with Johnny Depp on the plane. I vaguely remembered reading about this story years ago and the movie made me look up the photographs of protagonist W. Eugene Smith, which are incredibly powerful. Such a shame that this story had to become a Depp vanity project. it's a very muddled film, which is terrible at suggesting the passage of time and it is too focused on Depp's performance to really carry any weight. The people of Minamata really deserved better than this, as this was quite an important story that is still relevant to this day. No, it was the original one with Charles Bronson, Kojak and Lee Marvin from 1967.
  11. After almost a month away, I'm finally back in a spot where I can post again Belated Merry Christmas to all of you Let's see, over the past month, I watched Nope, The Dirty Dozen, Old Henry, Elf and Saloum. All in all, not a great month for movies for me as will be evident from the reviews. Luckily, over the last couple of days I was able to catch up with some great TV. The three episodes of Rick and Morty's sixth season I had not seen yet, an episode of Andor and the three seasons of HBO's Barry. I was particularly happy with Barry. I gave it a chance based on the board's recommendations and I really enjoyed myself. It's been a while since I had a series that could hold my interest throughout a binge and I'm looking forward to season four. Now on to the quick and dirty reviews. Nope was a disappointment. It's definitely better than Us, Jordan Peele's terrible second film, but it's still a long way from the brilliance of Get Out. I wasn't able to catch this in theatre, but I don't feel like I missed out (and this despite the fact that the visuals were probably the best part of the film). On to The Dirty Dozen, which is probably the worst film I have seen in a while. Not only was it not engaging in the slightest to see a bunch of pensioners take a crack at some cartoonish Nazis, it was also morally reprehensible. I finished it because I was stuck on a flight and there wasn't anything else to do except for counting all the war crimes committed by the film's protagonists. I'll be the first to admit that the allies weren't white knights themselves (Looking at you Bomber Harris and Bombs Away LeMay), but the scale, glee and institutional support for all sorts of violations against the conventions of Geneva seen in this movie was just revolting. Old Henry provided a welcome relief from the prior disappointments. It's a small western from 2021 that I had never heard about, but it's actually a really good film. There is nothing revolutionary about it, but it has a cast of ace actors who execute the script to perfection. The action is great and the whole film moves along very briskly. It was a real joy to see. Elf is another movie that was better than anticipated. After first giving the Emilia Clarke's Last Christmas a go and having to shut it off after 10 minutes because it was just too terrible, I ended up watching Elf. Aside from Anchorman, I have never been big on Will Ferrell, so I was surprised that I liked it so much. On occasion, the LOTR references where a bit overbearing, but I get why this has become such a modern Christmas classic. I will probably watch this again in a couple of years. Saloum is an African supernatural horror film that attracted some buzz last year. All in all it wasn't worth my time, although you could definitely see the potential. Visually it was quite capable and there were some intriguing characters. Too many of them remained ciphers however and their relationships were never adequately sketched out. The supernatural threat was also ill-defined and frankly quite tame. I think this film's script could have used a couple of additional rewrites before being turned into a film. Out of the series, I think Rick and Morty had a decent ending to this latest season. There were good jokes and the characters progressed so if you are already on the hype train you'll like this as well. I'm still struggling to get through Andor. I can see that it's better than Disney's previous series, but for some reason it hasn't yet clicked for me after three episodes. I think on some level I would have liked it better if this wasn't connected to Star Wars at all, seeing how that is almost a law of diminishing returns at this point. Barry then was really great. I love how absurd it is and how good this series is at helping me to suspend my disbelief. In real life, Barry would get caught by the police every single episode, but for some reason the convenient lack of camera's, witnesses and GPS tracking doesn't bother me. The show just sells you on the emotional journey and that's quite remarkable.
  12. I mean, why else would you cast Charlie Sheen right? I liked the 1993 version of The Musketeers. Saw it a great many times when I was younger. Not sure I'd dare to revisit it now, but I do remember it as a very fun action romp. A bit like the Robin Hood movie with Kevin Costner and Morgan Freeman. Cheesy as fuck, but they were so earnest in their attempt of making a good movie that it becomes endearing.
  13. I tried to rewatch the 2010 remake of The Wolfman earlier today. It failed to maintain my interest. Perhaps if I can see it on a flight, I might watch it in its entirety, but when there is other stuff to do it just isn't interesting enough. I got blocked early on exactly at the scene in which It's this type of frustrating bullshit that made this such a mediocre effort despite the fact that it is filmed quite stylishly and has an amazing cast (Including Crassus from Spartacus and Emily Blunt in what is probably the first mainstream role in which I took notice of her). To clarify, Top Gun 2 is better obviously, but that doesn't take away from the fact that Puss in Boots 2 was an unexpected delight in its own right. Did anyone really expect anything from another film in the Shrek universe? This movie could have coasted on its reputation like so many forgettable animation (and other) franchises do nowadays, but instead it chose to invest in quality. It tried a new animation style, new characters and a new story and in the end that paid off. I hope I will be able to say the same (at the very least) about Avatar 2 when it arrives. It will be quite some time before I can see that one due to travel, but if it is as good as Puss in Boots 2 I'd be very happy.
  14. I went to see Puss in Boots 2: The Last Wish today. No idea why it took so long for them to release a sequel (11 years), but between this and Top Gun 2 it has been a year in which the delayed sequel has definitely shown that it can deliver in spades. I thought the film was excellent. Exactly the type of movie you can go and see with your children without having to fear for their cognitive development. The animation was great, definitely some Into the Spiderverse influences to be seen, because it was very dynamic and colourful. The wolf in particular was a highlight. Very different from the original film, but I am glad that they went this way. The voice work was excellent. Banderas is someone I miss seeing in films. He's a class act and is supported in the film by a great cast of known and unknown voice actors. I also thought the story flowed superbly, with a heart-warming message delivered at the right moments. You see where it is going to go, but the fact is that as an audience you want to land there as well, so when they deliver the appropriate story beats it is very satisfying. Finally, I greatly enjoyed the humour. There were some good call backs to the first instalment, as well as the Shrek franchise, but the pop culture humour wasn't as overbearing as in some of the Shrek films I remember (I wonder how they hold up after all these years?). Anyways, I wouldn't mind returning to this universe if they can deliver this quality. Warm recommendation for the holidays.
  15. The latest new episode of Rick and Morty was exactly what I needed, even though I did not know I wanted it.
  16. I love this. Uncle Roger is great XD
  17. I went to the theatre twice yesterday. First, I watched Mark Mylod's The Menu and then afterwards I watched Luca Guadagnino's Bones and All. Definitely one of the better nights at the movies that I have had in a very long time. I'll begin with The Menu, which was definitely my favourite film of the night. I love haute cuisine, I adore pretty much the entire cast (with Nicholas Hoult as a particular stand-out in an entirely amazing cast), and I thought that this film almost perfectly managed to ride the fine line between "great art" on the one hand and "accessible to the general public" on the other hand. On top of that, it was also hilarious throughout, which I did not expect but should have seen coming given Mylod's involvement in Succession. All in all, The Menu is the type of film I like a lot that is not made enough nowadays. It's more ambitious than the average film that gets a wide release, while not succumbing to its pretentions and remembering that the audience paid to have a fun night out. Bones and All on the other hand was less my cup of tea. I still enjoyed it and would recommend it to people who are not too squeamish (because the cannibal scenes were appropriately disgusting), but it won't be my favourite movie of the year. Part of my apprehension is that it reminded me a lot of films like The Badlands and Natural Born Killers, which are movie classics that also did not really strike a chord with me when I saw them for the first time. Part of it might be the utter insanity of the plot (not to mention the fact that the film is a tad too long for the amount of story it needs to tell). That being said, it is a film that makes you think. There were some things about the plot that bothered me and on looking up the source material, my appreciation for the film has grown tremendously. Guadagnino has basically taken a trashy YA Twilight-type of book and turned it into a gorgeous art-house flick. That is a considerable achievement in and of itself that makes me curious to see more by this director and these screenwriters. It seems to me that they managed to sift the few grains of gold out of the YA filth and combined it with their own artistic sensibilities (as well as tremendously strong performances by Mark Rylance and Chalamet) to create something much grander. I would thus say that from an artistic perspective, this type of ambition and daring is what you want to see in more adaptations.
  18. Fair point! Although I always assume things probably turned out bad for Denna and that was what really broke him. I have zero pithy for him though. The author of the video @butterweedstrover links sums it up pretty nicely. We are not entitled to book 3 in the same way that we are not entitled to tWoW by GRRM. It is not how the creative process works. T That being said, going back on his word with the stretch goals as well as all the douchy behaviour (one thing the video doesn't mention is that I believe Rothfuss used to advertise that his trilogy was already written) is something we may definitely blame him for.
  19. Or he might be framed for it. I think its heavily implied that it's Ambrose's father and his allies who are doing the killings that happen during the course of the two books we have. Kvother might actually be tricked by them to kill Calanthis or he's framed for it by them. I wonder why he does it though. Does he scam people to use the money for himself or is it just an ego thing and does he really give the money away?
  20. It's already out in full? I thought I had to watch in on a weekly basis on the BBC XD
  21. Haven't had much time to watch much of anything lately. Patiently waiting for the time, I need to binge Emily Blunt's The English Western on the BBC. In the meantime, I did manage to see two films in the theatre. The first was Zillion and the second was Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever. Zillion was a rather delightful surprise. It's a Belgian movie that I accidentally walked into thinking it was a documentary on the legendary club of the same name. It turned out it was a movie telling the story of that same legendary club. It was quite engaging. You could rather tongue-in-cheek describe it as The Wolf Of Wallstreet In The Disco. Narratively there is definitely a relation, although the Zillion guy would certainly give Leo's character a run for his money when it comes to craziness. What makes the film better than a mere knock-off is the directing acumen of Robin Pront. There are some stunningly beautiful scenes in this movie, rather surprising. It definitely isn't on the same level as something like Rundskop but it feels like a popular cousin of that same film. Black Panther 2 I also enjoyed. It is way too long however, and the bloat does hurt my overall enjoyment. Visually speaking the film is achingly well put together though. You feel that Ryan Coogler plays a few levels above the average journeyman MCU director (like Champions League v. Conference). I just wish they had a tighter script. Still, overall they did a pretty good job, especially in the difficult circumstances they found themselves in. There were a lot of good performances (I liked the antagonist) and they also had one absolutely brilliant scene in the movie
  22. An interesting article in the Guardian on the environmental impact of Rings of Power and other shows/movies like it in New Zealand: Serious concerns raised in NZ about environmental impact of major productions including Amazon’s Rings of Power | New Zealand | The Guardian
  23. We all thought Top Gun Maverick couldn't be improved upon, but someone found a way
  24. Good to hear that this is your impression. I started the fourth season last week and I find it really hard to get into again after binging the other seasons during the pandemic. It's probably me not remembering correctly, but it feels more juvenile in the early episodes in the beginning of season 4 than I remember from previous seasons (and not in the Pixar/Disney Renaissance kind of way where there is plenty in the background for parents to enjoy).
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