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Everything posted by nicky

  1. It's been panned. I think it lost a lot of people by casting Zac Efron as a father. I've not seen it but it has encouraged me to seek out the Drew Barrymore version which I've not seen since the mid 80s.
  2. BENEDETTA (2021) 3.5/5 (No Spoilers) I love Paul Verhoeven films. ELLE (2016) was a disappointment to me and I feared this new film would be another with its lesbian nuns premise. Thankfully BENEDETTA is a surprising return to form and is filled with the director's trademarks - there's plenty sex, plenty Christianity and some violence. The film's medieval setting amidst the plague and Christian themes reminded me of Verhoeven's first Hollywood film, FLESH + BLOOD (1985). But sex isn't the main focus of the the story although it does seem to be the film's main marketing point - of course, sex sells. The story is more about Christianity and whether Benedetta herself (Virginie Efira) is what she claims to be. It takes a while before the two nuns start having sex and the seduction itself could've been fleshed-out more as there's very little justification as to why the frolicking begins other than just simple curiosity and experimentation. But I guess for some, experimentation and curiosity is a common impetus for engaging in homo-eroticism. There's a (sexual) torture/interrogation scene which is pretty hard to watch even though you don't see anything apart from the torture device itself but that alone and the screaming is enough to make you squirm. Equally memorable is a particular character's death and the reaction of another's. It's all powerful stuff and the story makes clever comparisons to Joan Of Arc and leaves you asking "was it or wasn't it real?" much like Verhoeven's TOTAL RECALL (1990).
  3. WEST SIDE STORY (2021) 2/5 (Spoilers!!) I've never seen the stage-show or the original film, all I knew was that it was loosely based on Romeo & Juliet. The musical sequences are good and the costumes and sets look great but I just found it a bit boring especially the first 20+ mins. I realize the two leads have to fall in love quickly as the film is "only" 2.5hrs long but the whole love-at-first-sight scene was just too unbelievable, they could have at least fallen in love over singing a song together (like in MOULIN ROUGE). But that was only the first thing that troubled me, next up was the fact Maria forgives Tony for killing her brother! Not only that but Anita then forgives Maria and allows her to run away with Tony, her husband's killer! And then for some reason, Anita tells everyone Maria has been killed.
  4. THE DIRT (2019) 4/5 (No spoilers) I had been listening to Motley Crue's Greatest Hits album a lot lately so I looked-up this rock biopic. I really enjoyed it... even though I know it didn't do well with critics but I do agree with their negativity in that it focuses too much on the rock-star party-lifestyle rather than the drama within the plot but I think that's what makes the film more fun to watch. Unlike other rock biopics THE DIRT is more light in tone and has even been classed by some as a comedy. It's no surprise to learn that the director is the same guy behind JACKASS so the crazy antics within the band are at the forefront. Of course sex and drugs play a heavy role in the film but they're presented in such a way as if to glorify the rock n' roll lifestyle and not treated with the same gravity as you'd expect in STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON (2015), BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY (2018), WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT (1993) and ROCKETMAN (2019) etc. The serious issues in THE DIRT like addiction, illness and death could've been given more time to explore but it seems that the writers want to keep the focus on the band's unity so its not a serious heavy hard-hitting drama like those other biopics. There's no 'Pamela Anderson' in this unfortunately but 'Heather Locklear' is in it - I would have liked to have seen more of her and the band's relationships with their families but I guess if I want to see that I'll have to watch PAM & TOMMY.
  5. I like both in the role but you have to remember the Clarice you see in Silence Of The Lambs (1991) is a rookie and in Hannibal (2001) she is an experienced tough agent and a much more mature action-woman so they naturally don't feel like the same character. Hannibal himself on the other hand seems to have become more jovial since being on the run in the latter film, something Hopkins wanted to get away from in subsequent iterations.
  6. I thought it was one of Roland Emmerich's worst films so far. You spend the first 90+ mins impatiently wondering WHY the moon is out of orbit and breaking - WAY too long for the big reveal, I started to get bored in the run-up and the textbook characters couldn't make up for it. The characters are pretty much the same as every Emmerich film: The Action Man, The Scientist, The Estranged Loved-one, The Ex. Then there's the same old Emmerich story-structure where you have one group of characters' narrative running parallel to another group. The film's premise was basically, 'What if such and such conspiracy theory was true?', everything else in the plot you've already seen before and is very unoriginal. It seemed to be aimed at Scientology and reminded me a lot of PROMETHEUS (2012). The ending especially was like THE ABYSS (1989) and ARMAGEDDON (1998) - it was quite predictable.
  7. I liked it until Zoe Saldana showed up - after that the plot got a bit up itself and played-out like a cross between BACK TO THE FUTURE (1985) and TIMECOP (1993). I thought the same as you about the Marvel-heavy casting too; you got Deadpool, Hulk, Gamora and Elektra. I didn't think Katherine Keener was a very good villain but that's not her fault, her head henchman was even worse though and was just a cliche. And they kept playing upbeat vintage rock over the action scenes which reminded me of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2015) - the rock tunes also took away the suspense and threat you should be feeling in an action scene. Overall the film felt like one of those 80s sci-fi kid adventure films like FLIGHT OF THE NAVIGATOR (1986) and D.A.R.Y.L (1985) complete with the typical single-mum-struggling-with-son-who-misses-his-dead-dad trope just like in ET (1982). I was about to watch RED NOTICE (2021) but I'm starting to get tired of seeing Ryan Reynolds in everything lately FREE GUY, HITMAN'S WIFE'S BODYGUARD, RED NOTICE, ADAM PROJECT, 6 UNDERGROUND. The last three of these are Netflix films too so he's all over my Netflix browse page.
  8. THE SILENCE (2019) 3/5 (No Spoilers) It wasn't THAT bad, I actually liked it except for the 3rd act when the cultist shows up. Some of the acting was sub-par (eg. 'Uncle Glenn') and the main kid just looked too much like Emma Watson. Some of the editing was a bit s*** too and it wasn't well-directed, it was kinda shoddy. And it felt like there was still a lot more to come. I liked the creatures more than the ones in A Quiet Place (2018) though.
  9. All I wanna know is, is it boring like Nolan's films? Would a little kid like it and understand it?
  10. THE POWER OF THE DOG (2022) 1.5/5 (No spoilers) Jane Campion basically re-worked her script for THE PIANO (1993); a 'sick' widowed piano-playing mum aided by her kid re-marries into wealth only to form an awkward bond with her new hubby's rugged bro/friend. He gets his knob out. Just like THE PIANO. It's not a film for everyone, including me, and it's very slow and yes, it's boring. It's one of those films. You have to really pay attention or else you'll miss some very subtle plot-points as I almost did. Nicely shot and acted though. It has 12 nominations at the Oscars this year and I'm sure it will do well but since it's so similar to Campion's previous Oscar hit THE PIANO I personally don't think it should be awarded Best Adapted Screenplay.
  11. TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (2022) 2.5/5 (No spoilers) I was surprised to learn the makers of EVIL DEAD (2013) and DON'T BREATHE (2016) wrote this. I didn't think TCM was that bad but I didn't enjoy it either. It is very much like the new HALLOWEEN (2018) in that it ignores the previous sequels in favour of picking up from the first film while bringing back legacy characters. To coin the term used in SCREAM (2022), it's another "requel". It's also an unnecessary hollow addition devoid of anything fresh despite being nicely shot. Gore fans will be happy but there isn't much that connects this film to the first - yes, it features Leatherface with a chainsaw and the original's heroine is back but the chance to do something cool with her is wasted as she's reduced to being an extended cameo. Of course the other characters are just fodder...apart from the lead who has this typical back-story in an attempt to make her appear more 'emotional' but to it's credit it's better than most. Even Leatherface himself lacks any kind of personality and what he's been doing the past 5 decades remains a mystery. Take away the chainsaw and skin masks and it could've been anyone. And isn't he supposed to be in his 70s by now?! The film is pretty short and the pacing reflects this; it's rather slow but not boring at least, it's just parts seem to drag-on especially the scenes with people hiding from Leatherface in cupboards etc which as a result make the film less scary because tension is lost. It's 50 years since the first film and we're reminded of this a lot as the story tries to introduce modern technology into the plot (streaming, self-drive cars, cancel culture etc) but it comes across as a bit goofy. The film is a guilty pleasure at best but only just. I liked the ending.
  12. SCREAM (2022) 3/5 (No spoilers) I was really surprised a fifth film was being made, not because director Wes Craven has now died but because I didn't think there could possibly be anymore stories to tell. But I failed to realize that these films aren't even about the stories anymore, they're about the trends going on in Hollywood - in this case the trend is "requels". The only SCREAM films I liked were the first two. This latest one is only alright but it's at least better than films 3 and 4 despite being a lite rehash of the original 1996 film. However, SCREAM 5 also suffers by being a sequel to just simply just 'pass-the-torch' to new characters and in doing so wastes no time in unashamedly letting audiences know what it is; an excuse to keep the franchise going "to please fans" (aka cash-grab). There's actually a generous amount of kills and it even goes as far as to make fun of cliche horror tropes (eg. doors closing to reveal the killer) but its ultimately lacking in tension - you don't care enough about the characters when they're being chased and some are obviously created just to be fodder or 'suspects' so guessing 'who-dunnit' is more of a challenge which has become one of the franchise's main devices. Just look at all the people on the poster and the tagline, "The killer is on this poster". There's also a STUPID bit where the characters have the PERFECT chance to unmask the killer while he's unconscious but the writers waste the opportunity to have a great tense moment and just f*** it up instead. Without Craven directing and this being the fifth entry (after an 11 year absense) it just feels a bit...lite. It's not quite a cheap imitation but the more time passes from the original trilogy, the more it all seems a bit desperate (like INDIANA JONES 5). The horror name checks are also getting really tiresome too eg. Wes, Carpenter, Loomis etc and Courtney Cox doesn't look like Courtney Cox anymore.
  13. DON'T LOOK UP (2021) 3.5/5 (No spoilers) A very clever, political and funny satire with an all-star cast that has it's cheek firmly in place. It's the kind of film the Oscars love to nominate because of its social commentary but it won't win Best Picture because it's 'too entertaining'. But maybe Best Screenplay.At first I thought the planet-killing meteorite plot was an allegory for Covid-19 but it is in fact an allegory for climate change. Whoops! It's also a parody (inadvertently) of typical disaster movies eg. INDEPENDENCE DAY (1996) and of course ARMAGEDDON (1998) but with a focus on how the media and government responds much like Oliver Stone's NATURAL BORN KILLERS (1995).Script-wise what ought to be a serious drama is actually quite quirky (in a P.T. Anderson way) which is surprising because you're more used to seeing director Adam McKay (ANCHORMAN, STEP BROTHERS, THE OTHER GUYS) making something much more simple and accessible and not at all provocative or smart.Everyone in the cast is great and it's so different (almost distracting) seeing Meryl Streep playing so dumb but I wish we saw more of Jonah Hill. Mark Rylance as the Elon Musk-type CEO seemed more like a cross between a child-like Steve Coogan and Andy Warhol. The ending is great and a refreshingly brave change from the usual disaster flicks but then again this isn't your usual disaster film at all.
  15. GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE (2021) 2.5/5 (No spoilers) I was expecting this to be good from what I'd heard but was VERY disappointed. For a start it wasn't funny at all (I don't think it even tried) and it was sorely missing the fun from the first two films, even the cameos weren't funny. Even worse the characters were so dull which made the film's set-up even slower - it's about an hour into the film until the first ghost is busted. If you're gonna resurrect a franchise with a new Ghostbusters team then at least give the team-members a reason to be there - the only one that had anything to do was the daughter, everyone else was just filler including the Stranger Things kid who served absolutely no purpose except drive. The plot tries to insert serious drama by having the 'single-mom bitter at her dad while having to deal with difficult kids' trope which does nothing but hamper the 'comedic' tone of the film - is it meant to be a comedy or not? The other sub-plots (the son's crush/his age) went nowhere as did the 'science' teacher's love for screening 80s horror videos to his classes - what was the point of this? Furthermore, it's a stupid plot because the whole reason they end-up having to battle ghosts in the first place is because they do something stupid KNOWING what the dangers are. The 3rd act is basically a retread of the first film too. This is a less-than-average film and a 'one-time watch and forget' experience. Is it worse than Paul Fieg's 2016 version? I'd say they're about the same but that at least wasn't boring or slow.
  16. I thought it was horrible, unnecessary and way too complicated - whenever they tried to explain the plot it was just very clunky and drawn-out (the scene when Bugs first meets Morpheus). Wachowski herself didn't even want to make the film and seems to have sabotaged it just to get back at Warner Bros for making her do it hence the cringey comedy and post-credits scene. The film looks nice but that's about it. Weaving, Fishburne and even Yeun Wo Ping (fight choreographer) are sorely missed and the kung-fu is pretty meh and mostly replaced with Neo just using 'The Force'. The cute little robots were stupid too, it was becoming Transformers at that point. Even the end titles song, a throwback to the first film's end credits, was an assault on the ears.
  17. RESIDENT EVIL: WELCOME TO RACOON CITY (2021) 2.5/5 (No Spoliers) There's so much RE media coming out regularly from games to animated movies and a series that it's a shame Sony didn't take more time and care with this reboot coming only 5 years since Paul W.S. Anderson's films. But this reboot was always doomed; after Anderson, directors will only get worse as no one better will wanna take-up the baton. Enter Johannes Roberts, director of 47 METRES DOWN (2017). Gulp. To its credit, the new film is very atmospheric and at least tries to be a horror film (unlike Anderson's style-over-substance action-fests) however director, Roberts, relies quite heavily on cheap jump-scares, dim-lighting and being faithful to the games in order to be entertaining. It's also quite a slow start and it takes its time to introduce characters with loads of expositional dialogue but the "villain" isn't made evil enough (he's a nice family man) and his motives are unclear. The plot also lacks direction and doesn't feel like a complete self-contained story much like a first episode of a new TV series. Its a humble film and quite small in scope - even the cinematography and Raccoon City itself, feels more like a little town and the zombies in the mansion/police station setting reminded me of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968) and ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 (1976) - John Carpenter was obviously a heavy influence on this film right down to the score and end titles. It's not a terrible film, but rather an OK-ish SyFy Channel film with slightly higher production values.
  18. SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME (2021) 4.5/5 (No spoilers) This is my favourite MCU movie so far for the same reasons that I enjoyed AVENGERS ENDGAME (2019); both recalled previous films in the series but NO WAY HOME went as far as to bring back characters from decades ago thus adding nostalgia. Nostalgia however, is unfortunately what this film relies very heavily on and without it would have been a very different experience. I love Alfred Molina as Doc Ock and Willem Dafoe is clearly loving being back as Green Goblin but I wish Sandman and Lizard had more to do; 99% of their role is CG and we hardly see Thomas Haden Church and Rhys Ifans's human faces. I wasn't a fan of Jamie Foxx's Electro before but here he's a welcome and funny addition. It's actually quite a crowded film but it still works although I think more weight could've been added to Aunt May and Peter Parker's relationship as I wasn't invested in her, especially that one scene. The only gripe for me is that some beats were overly-emotional, they just felt over-drawn and slowed-down the pace too much - the same can be said for one particular moment which was simply fanboy banter...or was it dick-measuring? Nevertheless the good out-weighed the bad and it was a solid fun film with an interesting ending leaving you excited for the next film. BONUS: The MCU already started the trend with films set in a shared-universe, perhaps we'll see a new trend with shared-characters in those universes eg. Micheal Keaton's Batman is already returning to the DCU in the new FLASH film. Maybe Mark Whalberg will return in the next PLANET OF THE APES?!
  19. Magnum Force was written by John Milius and Micheal Cimino (Apocalypse Now and The Deer Hunter between them) so it was always gonna be a more fleshed-out story than the first film which was basically written with a focus on setting-up the character of Harry. I like the first two films but the subsequent Dirty Harry films didn't have the same impact.
  20. I see. Doesn't make a great deal of sense but then the audience is just meant to go with it as he did say it was "insane". Kinda like how just saying 'nanobots' equally leads to audiences just going with it as per Screen Rant's NTTD Pitch Meeting.
  21. NO TIME TO DIE (2021) 4/5 (No spoilers) I'm not a Bond fan but I surprisingly enjoyed this film a lot more than I thought I would mostly because the plot felt more straight-forward than Craig's previous outings. Usually all this international espionage stuff makes my head spin but the coupling of a WOMD and interesting characters made it all more accessible. Most Bond films are generally formulaic and when you've seen one, you've seen them all but NTTD pulls a few new tricks I wasn't expecting. For a start it seems to rely more upon Bond's relationships with certain characters thus shining a new light on him we've never seen. Elsewhere the bio-weapon/rogue scientist plot reminded me of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 (2000) even as far as naming the WOMD after a figure from Greek mythology again. I loved the two opening scenes before the main titles finally arrived and even after that the film didn't slow down as the action was evenly spread-out and the comedy kept to a minimum. However, it almost felt like I wasn't watching a Bond film because it's so far removed from the usual pre-Craig era fare. There were a couple of plot-holes though and worse still no clear motivation why the big bad, Safin (Rami Malek), wanted to unleash the bio-weapon upon the world or even why he was disfigured (all three key baddies are disfigured). Not sure why Bond is allowed to keep a fully-armed and operational Aston Martin after his retirement either.
  22. SPENCER (2021) 1/5 (No spoilers) A pretentious load of whack, dull as dishwater and annoying. And that's just the score; a painful assault on the ears. SPENCER is less a biopic and more a psychological exploration of Diana's mental state, a rather one-sided affair as none of the other Royals do anything bar her sons. It kind of reminded me of JOKER (2019) only that film was good. Set over 3 days during Christmas 1991, the film is a fictional account of Diana crumbling beneath the pressures of the Royal family. Yes, Kristen Stewart is good but she babbles and does this thing a lot where she keeps turning her face away coyly when talking to people she's not relaxed with, almost like a parody of Diana. She also comes across as being 'whiny' and insubordinate and avoids the family much like a sulky kid who won't come out of their room for dinner. If you sympathize with her it's only because of what you've heard in the news or Martin Bashir's infamous interview and not the screenplay. That said, the film only sells because it's about Princess Diana, replace her with a fictional character marrying into wealth and no one would care. Not only was the experimental jazz score irritable but there also seemed to be an unnerving use of hand-held close-ups too, perhaps a reflection of the intrusive paparazzi but it didn't really work because it wasn't applied to appropriate scenes. As well as JOKER, the film also seems heavily influenced by THE SHINING (1980) complete with long dolly-shots down hallways, isolation, a crumbling mental state, a big house, an informant head butler, hallucinations and a ghost. SPENCER does it's best to be 'haunting' too. The film was boring, nothing happens; Diana just cuts herself away from the family and defies them, her sanity is questioned and she leaves with her sons. The end. Cue horrible screeching string arrangement or avant-garde jazz score.
  23. VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE (2021) 2/5 (No spoilers) Oh dear, this wasn't very good. It's not terrible just a bit urrrgh...but that hardly came as a surprise to me since it was directed by an actor-turned-director (Andy Serkis is no Clint). I enjoyed the first film because to me it was more like a sci-fi film but this sequel is just a bit camp and the tone is all wrong; it tries to amplify the comedy between Eddie (Tom Hardy) and Venom only to fail. Woody Harrelson is a bit weird in this film and he seems to be wearing a wig throughout - it was quite difficult to take him seriously as a formidable foe. On the other hand, Woody's fiance in the film, Naomie Harris very conveniently has loud shrieking-powers (that can hurt Venom/Carnage) but it's not explained WHY or HOW. And I really don't see why Woody and Naomie were in such a rush to get married either (in a church complete with a huge loud bell tower of course), didn't they have bigger fish to fry like defeating our heroes?! Worse still, we're not told why Carnage is so against Venom/Eddie making it difficult for us to really see him as a solid villain which in turn makes Venom hard to root for. This film is a bit of a mess and the editing is kinda jarring seemingly skipping huge chunks of needed character-development and exposition/explanation - it's not a fun film and the ending was lame. This is one of the worst stand-alone Marvel superhero films in recent memory.
  24. ROCKY IV: ROCKY VS DRAGO - THE ULTIMATE DIRECTOR'S CUT (1985) I've always liked ROCKY IV but this so-called "Ultimate Director's Cut" was sooo unnecessary. It boasts 40 mins of new footage BUT the 'new footage' is mostly just alternate takes of the SAME OLD scenes. There is nothing significantly different here to justify MGM throwing money at Stallone to re-cut this film. The handful of brand new scenes that are there add very little; they just unnecessarily emphasize what we already know. The new cut also reduces the roles of Paulie and Rocky Jr and Mrs Drago especially very heavily, perhaps Stallone is still bitter at ex-wife Brigette Nielsen? It was claimed the Apollo Vs Drago fight was more brutal but all I noticed was a bloody nose and no doubt Stallone just re-inserted some alternate angles. Elsewhere, Rocky gives alternate speeches at the funeral, to his son in his room and after the fight. Also 'Gorbochev' has a different reaction at the end, Rocky meets the boxing committee, Drago gets an extra line ("Yes"), the ROCKY III recap at the start is re-cut and the final song is replaced. Despite the new 40 mins, the new cut is still 90 mins. The original film was fine as it was and didn't suffer from wonky editing unlike the new version. If Stallone wanted to re-cut one of his films it should have been COBRA (1986) which George P. Cosmatos ghost-directed for him and fell victim to studio interference. The director's cut of ROCKY IV is a major disappointment and I felt cheated; ALIENS, T2 or BLADE RUNNER it ain't.
  25. SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS (2021) 3/5 (No spoilers) I was so sad to hear so many people wanted this film to fail simply because it was an Asian superhero film, even after it was proved a big hit. There seems to be both a fear of minorities knocking White off the top of the racial ladder (in mainstream media) and a hatred for anything 'woke'. How is this film woke? It's been in development since 2000 and Stan Lee even tried to get a TV show made in the 90s. And as for 'no one asked for a superhero they never heard of', how many of those people had heard of DEADPOOL, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, BLADE, CAPTAIN MARVEL or THE CROW?! No one had heard of DARKMAN, he was made-up for the movie! I really wanted to like this film but to me it was only 'alright'. It didn't feel like a superhero film cos Shang-Chi doesn't actually have any powers. It felt more like a kung-fu fantasy film like FORBIDDEN KINGDOM (2008) or Stephen Chow's THE MERMAID (2016) and JOURNEY TO THE WEST (2017) with a hint of Vader/Luke-style family-drama thrown in. The action was OK but I wanted to see more 1 on 1 fights with actual baddies that were a threat (Death Dealer's fight was too short), not family-members. Tony Leung is the best thing in the film (finally making his Hollywood debut) but I thought the mid-section took a bit of a dip and the climax just dragged on for too long once the big bad appeared - it was further spoiled by CG overload in the form of mythical beasts and green-screen. Casting-wise, I like Michelle Yeoh but just cos she's Asian does she (and Awkawfina) have to play every older Asian woman in Hollywood now?! She was already in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 2 (2017) plus she, Awkwafina and Ronny Chieng were also all in CRAZY RICH ASIANS (2018) - is Hollywood really so unimaginative that they can't cast anyone outside of the Asian 'Brat Pack'? Incidentally Akwafina does nothing in the film, she's just there for exposition so characters can explain the plot to the audience so I'm curious what her future will be in subsequent MCU films.
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