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Today, I had a mini-marathon of the Alone franchise.  I watched the finale of season 9.  I really liked the winner.  Used some unusual strategies.*  Also, I watched the first episode of Alone: The Skills Challenge and a preview episode of Alone: Frozen, which introduced the 6 participants.

Spoiler

Fattened up by drinking a gallon of milk and a half liter of olive every day, built a stove and then didn’t use it for about 60 days, didn’t boil the river water before drinking it.

Next up for me is The Sandman.

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Watched three films on the flight during my recent visit to the US, and a fourth with my family while there:

C'mon C'mon -- A Mike Mills film shot in black-and-white, about a radio journalist (Joaquin Phoenix) and his relationship with his sister (Gaby Hoffman) and especially his young nephew (Woody Norman) while Gaby's ex (Scoot McNairy) is having a mental crisis. A really sweet and touching movie, it's deeply humane and empathetic. Terrific performances all around. Love the black-and-white cinematography from Robbie Ryan, who lensed Slow West and Philomena, among other things.

The Lost Daughter -- Maggie Gyllenhaal's directorial debut, an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Elena Ferrante. Olivia Coleman plays Leda Caruso, a professor of comparative literature on a working vacation in Greece when she encounters a boorish clan of Greek-Americans who hang out in the same town. Things get dark in a lot of ways, as what the film is really about is parenthood, and the resentment of it that can grow in someone's heart when it looms inescapably over every facet of life. Colman is, of course, wonderful, but so too is Jessie Buckley playing a younger Leda as we flash back to her younger years when she was an up-and-coming academic and felt endlessly constrained and distracted by her two young daughters. I think I first noticed Buckley in Charlie Kaufman's I'm Thinking of Ending Things, and more recently saw her in Alex Garland's Men where she held her ground against Rory Kinnear is his... uhm... "role", so to speak, in an otherwise somewhat disappointing film. Again, great performances. Dakota Johnson also features as Nina, a young mother whom Leda sympathizes with (sort of), and Peter Sarsgaard (Mr. Maggie Gyllenhaal) plays a brief but memorable role as a firebrand of an academic.

Last Night in Soho -- Oh dear. What to say about this? Terrific performances from Thomasin McKenzike and Anya Taylor-Joy, a nice menacing set of performances from Matt Smith and Terrence Stamp, and some real verve and ambience in the first... third or so of the film, as it dives deep into the 60s London nightclub and music scene. Some relatively terrific, inventive use of mirrors as McKenzie's character Eloise dreams of herself as being a sort of passenger in the life of Taylor-Joy's Sandie. Really propulsive, smile-inducing bit of work, that start.

And then it progressively flies off the rails, until the last quarter is just... what's the right British slang? Completely barmy, maybe? I don't blame the actors featured in that last quarter -- it's purely a writing issue. Wright just loses the plot, and I'm not sure how/why. Very disappointing, especially given how fun the start of the movie was.

Encanto -- Watched this for the first time with my mother and sister while visting. Nice enough film, I thought, but it felt more abstract somehow than the classic Disney movies. I know the big viral hit was "We Don't Talk About Bruno", but for me the stand out song was the very beautiful "Dos Orguitas", performed by Sebastián Yatra. Of Latin-American focused 3d animated movies, this is certainly the second best. Did like John Leguizamo's performance, and the writing of his oddball character. Everyone did fine, and there was some nice and inventive moments in its paean to family, but in the end it didn't really grab me.

 

Edited by Ran
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6 hours ago, Teng Ai Hui said:

Today, I had a mini-marathon of the Alone franchise.  I watched the finale of season 9.  I really liked the winner.  Used some unusual strategies.*  Also, I watched the first episode of Alone: The Skills Challenge and a preview episode of Alone: Frozen, which introduced the 6 participants.

  Hide contents

Fattened up by drinking a gallon of milk and a half liter of olive every day, built a stove and then didn’t use it for about 60 days, didn’t boil the river water before drinking it.

 

I have been watching these lately as well. I really thought the winner was crazy for his strategies.

Spoiler

Purposely not having a fire. Then deciding to fast because he knew that the little food he was getting was costing him more in calories to get it and that his body was responding poorly to the food. I thought he was batshit crazy but then remembered that he was trained in cold weather survival in the military in Canada so he clearly knows his body and way more about survival than I'll ever know. I was kind of rooting for the woman to win it. She annoyed me with her songs but I liked her spirit and IIRC no woman has won it yet.

I'm looking forward to the Frozen season. As if the challenge they face isn't tough enough already!

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19 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

Prey is live! B)

Please don't suck.

I thought it was pretty good! Some of the CGI animals looked like shit though. Plus of course it lacked the body-mass of the original. 

Spoiler

The gun reveal + post credit scene imply things are not going to go well for the tribe. Apparently they might do a sequel. 

 

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Prey was good. Not great, still definitely below the original and I would say below Predator 2 as well, but on par with Predators and miles better than the shitty Predator reboot from a few years ago.

Spoiler

The orange flower, not sure if it's a real thing, but it certainly worked like too much of an easy gimmick for the protagonist. The protagonist also had a couple of plot armor moments.

The Predator seems nerfed down at times, and extremely tough at other times. In the final fight it doesn't even flinch after losing an arm. I did like his design and weapon arsenal.

I also liked that the movie spent the time establishing the characters and it didn't rush into the slaughter, which we sill got plenty of; and I liked the Predator studying the wildlife and testing itself against various predatory animals.

Not sure about the setting, i.e. we see winter was approaching. Shouldn't the Predator have come at the height of summer?

 

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2 hours ago, RumHam said:

I thought it was pretty good! Some of the CGI animals looked like shit though. Plus of course it lacked the body-mass of the original. 

  Reveal hidden contents

The gun reveal + post credit scene imply things are not going to go well for the tribe. Apparently they might do a sequel. 

 

I only watched the first 20-30 minutes last night before going to bed, but it looked good. About to fire it up in a minute. Vamos!

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11 hours ago, dbunting said:

I have been watching these lately as well. I really thought the winner was crazy for his strategies.

  Hide contents

Purposely not having a fire. Then deciding to fast because he knew that the little food he was getting was costing him more in calories to get it and that his body was responding poorly to the food. I thought he was batshit crazy but then remembered that he was trained in cold weather survival in the military in Canada so he clearly knows his body and way more about survival than I'll ever know. I was kind of rooting for the woman to win it. She annoyed me with her songs but I liked her spirit and IIRC no woman has won it yet.

I'm looking forward to the Frozen season. As if the challenge they face isn't tough enough already!

Spoiler

Like you, I was rooting for Karie, even though her songs were annoying.  Since I'm old enough to receive mail from AARP, I was hoping to see the oldest player beat the 30-year-olds.  Hopefully, a woman will win Frozen.  

Also, the third-place finisher Teimojin was the one who has the cold weather survival military training.

  

 

Recently, I also watched Paper Girls.  I really enjoyed everything about it.  It stayed fairly faithful to the plot from the comic book.  The character development given to the paper girls greatly inhanced the source material.  The four lead actors did a great job.  I expected the highlight of the season to be the interactions between young Erin and adult Erin (Ali Wong).  However, in the end I found myself mesmerized by the conversations between young Tiffany and adult Tiffany.  Hopefully, adult Tiffany will be featured again in season 2.

Currently, I'm 3 episodes into The Sandman.  So far, the pacing seems to be one issue of the comic book per episode.  If a whole episode is dedicated to "24 Hours" (issue #6), I'll probably have to skip it.

ETA: I survived the episode that I was fearing, though I did skip about 2 minutes of it.

Edited by Teng Ai Hui
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18 hours ago, Ran said:

Encanto -- Watched this for the first time with my mother and sister while visting. Nice enough film, I thought, but it felt more abstract somehow than the classic Disney movies. I know the big viral hit was "We Don't Talk About Bruno", but for me the stand out song was the very beautiful "Dos Orguitas", performed by Sebastián Yatra. Of Latin-American focused 3d animated movies, this is certainly the second best. Did like John Leguizamo's performance, and the writing of his oddball character. Everyone did fine, and there was some nice and inventive moments in its paean to family, but in the end it didn't really grab me.

 

Was going to ask what the first-best Latin-American-inspired 3D animated movies is in that case. But then I remembered Coco.

I liked but did not love Encanto. Thought it could have done with more sense of hazard/peril. 

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4 hours ago, Corvinus85 said:

??? In what major way is it problematic?

Coming to it 

4 hours ago, Spockydog said:

Probably Jesus-related. 

Nope, or else I wouldn't like some of Scorcese, Gibson, Mallick, Eastwood at al

3 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

The Green Mile is excellent, as is the book. 

Technically fantastic. Cinematography, editing, sound, music, acting, screenplay especially all great. 

But the Magical Negroe stereotype...shrug. And wanting to die conveniently causing no harm to the white folks jobs, which wasn't the case when a white woman needed curing. The Fred Astaire scene effectively made him a puppy. The lawyer's canine comparison was reflective of society then, so no probs. But the rest...I just wasn't comfortable. It wouldn't have been a problem if the film was mediocre like The King's Man, Djimon Honsou there, but this film was solid hence disappointing in that aspect. I'm exhausted or I'd have come up with other minor but troublingly disturbing facets. 

Edited by TheLastWolf
S-word
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8 minutes ago, TheLastWolf said:

Coming to it 

Nope, or else I wouldn't like some of Scorcese, Gibson, Mallick, Eastwood at al

Technically fantastic. Cinematography, editing, sound, music, acting, screenplay especially all great. 

But the Magical Sambo Negroe stereotype...shrug. And wanting to die conveniently causing no harm to the white folks jobs, which wasn't the case when a white woman needed curing. The Fred Astaire scene effectively made him a puppy. The lawyer's canine comparison was reflective of society then, so no probs. But the rest...I just wasn't comfortable. It wouldn't have been a problem if the film was mediocre like The King's Man, Djimon Honsou there, but this film was solid hence disappointing in that aspect. I'm exhausted or I'd have come up with other minor but troublingly disturbing facets. 

I think that was part of the point. Also, not sure it could have worked the same without the "stereotype" you mentioned.

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22 minutes ago, Spockydog said:

Yeah, I have nothing to say other than advise you to leave out the S-word when discussing that trope from this point forward. 

Duly noted, knew it only as a technical cinematic jargon, just found out that it's offensive in modern context. Apologies if anyone was offended. Damn, ignorance is a sin. 

20 minutes ago, Corvinus85 said:

I think that was part of the point. Also, not sure it could have worked the same without the "stereotype" you mentioned.

I agree but I was vaguely left with the feeling that I couldn't love the film as much as I wanted to because of the racial thing. It wasn't a problem in Shawshank Redemption, same director, same author adaptation, similar racial theme albeit minor-er more nuanced. 

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