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Films watched in 2022


Daniel
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Downton Abbey: New Era.  On the whole it was very enjoyable.  Given someone in the cast, I may well be biased but I thought it was better than the first film.  It was both funny and sad, but it was overall a very good addition to the story.  

There was one sub plot that felt a bit unnecessary in hindsight, and may have been there simply to give that character something to do, but other than that I have no real complaints.

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Downtown Abbey: A New Era was alright. Not a fan of the TV series but I admit some of if was entertaining. If you are a fan of the show you'll probably enjoy it.

Edited by Daniel
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  • 2 weeks later...
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A young man climbing up a fire escape to a young woman on a balcony

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. 

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Benedetta 2021 poster.jpg

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).

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Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. I think a lot of the so so reviews are from people who were expecting too much after the last Spider-Man film. But I really enjoyed it, it was a good solid 7/10 with lots of things to enjoy without giving anything away

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Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was very good. It had terrific effects and make up, it certainly wasn't afraid to go darker than some of the recent Marvel adaptations have either.

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Firestarter was an adequate thriller. Certainly not the best adaptation of Stephen King's work. It had some good moments but felt like it could have done better.

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5 hours ago, Daniel said:

Firestarter was an adequate thriller. Certainly not the best adaptation of Stephen King's work. It had some good moments but felt like it could have done better.

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.

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  • 3 weeks later...
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220px-Morbius_(film)_poster.jpg

MORBIUS (2022)

3.5/5 (No spoilers)

Every now and then a critically panned film comes along and its always fun to see how bad it really is. But sometimes you watch it only to be 'disappointed' that you actually enjoyed it and end up feeling guilty or stupid for not sharing everyone else's opinion. For me, this year, that film is MORBIUS.

There are FAR worse superhero films eg WW84 (2021), VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE (2021), the last two or three X-MEN films and both SUICIDE SQUAD films. I didn't think MORBIUS was great but it was a nice blend of superhero and horror although it really should've been rated R so more horror and gore could be brought in - its always gonna be tough trying to make a PG vampire action-horror movie especially when he's a goodie. 

There were quite a few plot-holes and WTF moments but they're relatively minor and for me weren't so bad that they spoiled the main plot - it just took a decent amount of acceptance. With comic-book films, things often don't make sense anyway since they're fantasy-based so it's easy to forgive imperfect writing. The ending felt a bit rushed though and was unsatisfying.

It's obvious Sony really wants this to connect with Spider-Man and Venom so there are more than enough references which kind of get in the way - it almost feels like Sony didn't have that much faith in Morbius as a solo character in his own movie.

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Posted (edited)

220px-Top_Gun_Maverick_Poster.jpg

TOP GUN: MAVERICK (2022)
3/5 (No spoilers)

Being a fan of the original I felt this was overrated. It missed a lot of what made the 1986 film great (machismo, homo-eroticism, music-video vibes) but even as a stand-alone film I thought it was just OK. It was very cheesy in places, the first film was too but it felt at home there but here in the sequel it doesn't fit.

The plot is thin again, Maverick is back to train new pilots for a deadly mission and one of them is his dead best friend's son (Miles Teller) who has a beef with him. Its less about being a pilot and more about Maverick coming to terms with his past. But this is a slightly more mature boring version of his younger self, even the love story is non-existent.

There's too many characters here to try and keep up; the new pilots hardly do anything and the team lacks camaraderie. Their introductory scene is just cringe, so is Jennifer Connelly's flirting. Even Miles Teller as Goose's son doesn't do much, he's just there cos you must have the cliche angry son give Maverick a hard time. This is why the film reminds me of HOT SHOTS! (1991); it becomes a lite parody of itself with all this "I flew with your old man" sentiment, something that Maverick already had with Viper (Tom Skerrit) in the original. The relationship between Cruise and Teller should've been the focal point giving more impact to the ending but it just fell a bit flat and predictable.

There are many repeated beats from the first film drawing on nostalgia/homage, even as far as creating new younger versions of the same characters such as Hangman, another cocky rival like Ice-Man (Val Kilmer). Not subtle at all. The last 20 mins of action is very good though apart from the two cop-out moments that happen within 10 mins of each other.
 
And another thing: The ending of the first film was inconsistent with the sequel. SPOILERS:  Maverick had let go of Goose's death and was happy but here he's still haunted. If you watch both films back-to-back its especially distracting/jarring. I get feelings come back but the filmmakers could've at least acknowledged it, if not for the purpose of exposition then at least as a wink to the audience to say, "Yeah, we know it's different but we're changing it now". They basically retconned the first film's ending, at least Army of Darkness had a recap and narration to cover the inconsistency with Evil Dead 2 but here there's nothing. I also thought the scene showing archive footage of Goose playing piano was unnecessarily over-done and treating the audience as dumb, so was the archive footage dying in the sea - we get it, Maverick is haunted.
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Everything Everywhere All at Once was an entertainingly ambitious film. I think it has been overrated by critics and it seemed difficult at times to know what was going on but enjoyable (if a little too long).

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On 6/5/2022 at 4:49 PM, Daniel said:

Everything Everywhere All at Once was an entertainingly ambitious film. I think it has been overrated by critics and it seemed difficult at times to know what was going on but enjoyable (if a little too long).

It was pure bonkers. It was like if The Cohen Brothers took acid and made The Matrix.

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Jurassic World: Dominion (or Jurassic Park 6 if you prefer) was brilliant. It did seem darker than the other Jurassic Park films but setting it away from an island did make it different enough to simply repeat the previous films. There were fantastic action scenes and it was great to see so many of the characters back together.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Elvis was a brilliant telling of Elvis Presley's life. The performances, music and concert scenes were extremely well done and so was the less well known story of his manager. Enjoyable whether you are an Elvis Presley fan or not.

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