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Bml93's Film Experiences for 2017: First Half
Movie list created by Bml93
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Friday the 13th (2009)
This film is trash in its most beautiful form. It knows exactly what a franchise like Friday the 13th is and gives me exactly what I want from it. Murder, blood, tits and ass. The kills are great. Some are better than other, but overall they're delightful. The nudity in this film is off the charts. Which is amazing. The tension works well enough. The film is never scary, but that's not really the point either. The point is to entertain in a trashy way. This is a film to watch with pizza and beer, and it's one of the most enjoyable films in this franchise.
Mio in the Land of Faraway (1987)
Based on a very famous children's book, this cheap adaptation really failed to capture the magic of its source material. In a world with so many better films in this genre, this film doesn't offer anything that's really new (even for its time) nor does it do a good job in showing it. There is however a flying head with a kid hanging on a very long beard though.
Dead Men Tell No Tales does a lot of things right and is in many ways a minor improvement over this franchise previous sequels, but it does also share some of the same flaws. The most obvious one is adding unnecessary scenes that slows down the pace and serves no purpose, while failing to be funny or entertaining in one way or another. Johnny Depp continues to do a fine job, though his character is potentially starting to get a bit too one-note to serve much more interest for potential further films. The star of the film is however Kaya Scodelario. Not only is she a very beautiful female specimen, but her character steals every scene. The characters in the film is over all handled very well and there are quite a few emotional moments that work very well. Particularly if you've grown fond of the characters from the previous films.
The story is not as convoluted as it has been in the previous films, and despite a few unnecessary scenes, the pace is mostly good. The action is well-done, with two early scenes being very fun. There's also a lot of humor in this film that works very well, and it's probably the funniest Pirates of the Caribbean film so far.
The Huntsman: Winter's War (2016)
Operating as a prequel and a sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman with Liam Neeson narrating quite a lot of first third of the film, The Huntsman: Winter's War feels a bit lazy with a lot of cheap short cuts before it finally gets going. Once it starts going, it's fine. There's a lot of talented actors and actresses involved, so while the script is not as neatly tuned as it should be, it's passably entertaining.
It's a massive improvement over it's dreadfully boring predecessor. Yet it's not quite there. It does a lot of great things in keeping the atmosphere going and the characters are interesting enough to keep the momentum up. The problem is that none of the atmosphere or suspense that film have crafted ends up being scary or interesting. The film doesn't go anywhere outside of things that we've already seen. I can appreciate that didn't try go for a big finale, like they do in The Conjuring films, but ultimately I felt that there wasn't much of a pay-off here.
Get Out is first and foremost a well-made film. Jordan Peele have skilfully managed to craft a film that continuously builds up the suspense and mystique while giving away slight clues at the same time. The comedic touches are also well placed and work beautifully. There's also some social commentary on racism here, that might be a bit too much at times, but it works fine within the film.
It does fall a bit apart when everything is starting to come together at the end. The conclusion is not as satisfying as its build-up. The film also seems to abandon more and more of its horror elements during the last third, and it does get a bit too silly. Some straight horror at the end, with a slightly less predictable outcome, would have been much more preferred.
Alien: Covenant (2017)
Prometheus didn't get the fondest reception when it came out, and over the years, it seems that less and less people actually like it. I still like it, and I think that Alien: Covenant is slight step down from what Prometheus offered. My issue is that Covenant feels like a collusion between two worlds. That being Ridley Scott's Prometheus idea and the philosophical themes that film brought with David and the ideas of creation and so forth, and the studio wanting to show us more of the alien. The alien is cool and it provides some tense moments. The plethora of blood and even some nudity is very much welcome.
So Covenant is essentially just not quite there. It's a visceral masterpiece for sure. The cinematography and production design is top-notch and the visual effects are as great as one would expect from a major Hollywood release. It's just in the story department the film is limping. I would like the studio to either let Ridley Scott go all in for his Prometheus idea, or just hire someone to do a full-blown Alien film.
Miles Teller does an excellent job in this film, but his performance is completely overshadowed by J.K. Simmons, whom delivers the performance of a life time in Whiplash. Rarely have an Academy Award been more deserved than the one he got for this film. I did not really care for the characters in the film. They were all unlikeable as characters, and not someone who deserved my sympathy. That was most likely the point, but I would have liked to have someone that I could emotionally resonate more with.
The brilliance of this film lies in the editing however. As an aspiring film editor myself, this was a great and valuable watch. The rhythm and pace of the film is wonderful, all due to really great editing. Something for every film class out there.
I very rarely watch stuff like this, and I do not particularly care for Amy Schumer in one way or another. The only reason for me to check this out was due to all the negative hype surrounding it and claims that "alt-right trolls" were purposely giving it one star ratings on Netflix, indirectly causing Netflix to change their rating system from stars to thumbs.
It didn't really take long until I started regretting watching this. It's quite simply not funny. It's gross and juvenile, but completely lacks the wit and cleverness to make humor like that work. It's just disgusting. Worse is that it never really changes. It plays one the same note the entire time, with the exception of a sudden and out-of-nowhere change to Amy talking about gun politics. Amy talking about cum and her vagina, and then trying to make serious points about gun regulation is as jarring as it can possibly me. This deserves all the negative hype it has gotten and even more so. One of the worst things I've ever seen.
I liked the first Guardians of the Galaxy. It was a very refreshing take on a slightly tired Marvel formula. It was however brought down by a weak villain and less than interesting main story. Vol. 2 fixes everything that was wrong about the original, and is a much better film.
The greatest aspect is still the characters and how fun they are. Even the secondary characters each have their own unique arc that makes them interesting, and they blend in well with the rest. It's all very humorous. The villain in the film is by far one of the more interesting villains that Marvel have tossed at us so far, and I must say that I was much more fascinated by him than all the Thanos teasing they did in the first film. This is by and large a well-made film and one of the best in this cinematic universe. Characters and emotion with solid action sprinkled in.
As a horror film, Don't Breathe doesn't do much for me. But as a pure thriller, it's great. The characters are dull, but they're given a really interesting antagonist that gives the film a much appreciated nerve. It's a rather refreshing take on a villain, and one I would possibly like to see explored in further films.
It got surprises enough to keep the momentum going. It's nicely shot and the pacing is great. It's all around a well-crafted thriller.
Decided to give the original Toy Story a rewatch. It used to be a film I really liked when I was young, but over the years I've gotten more increasingly cold towards it. This still stands. I'm quite simply not as emotionally invested in it as I ought to be. That being said, there's still a lot of fun scenes in the film and I respect it for the foundation it laid for Pixar and future animation in general.
This film is however starting to look really outdated. It's at times rather ugly. This is of course to be expected with CGI animation, but the enjoyment of Toy Story is slightly detracted from the outdated look of it.
Rarely do we get to see horror that lasts as long as It. It's originally a mini-series, but the blu-ray have merged it all into one film. It suits it fine. This is a great horror film and one that manages to capture a lot with a very limited budget. There's a feeling of dread and uneasiness laying over the entire film. Modern audiences are likely not to be particularly scared by It, but the film really managed to create an uncomfortable atmosphere.
Another thing they succeeded with was the characters. While they certainly feel a bit out of this world, they're all fully fleshed out and engaging in one way or another. Directly causing me to care about whatever might happen to them. Tim Curry as Pennywise is brilliant in itself. The first part of the film is definitively the best one, and the last "fight" is rather disappointing, but It is a film that I'll continue to watch every couple of years.
Café Society (2016)
Woody Allen is a director that is all over the place when it comes to the quality of his films. He have made some great ones, some awful ones, and quite few films that oozes of mediocrity. Café Society is unfortunately another film that failed to win me over. Despite me really wanting to like it. My biggest celebrity crush have, more or less, always been Kristen Stewart and with her having a prominent role in this film, I hoped for something special. Sadly, this was just not meant to be.
My biggest issue with the film is how little memorable it is. As I'm writing this, it's probably a week or so since I saw it, and I can't remember anything from it. I vaguely recollect that it was sweet and quickly done, but even with all the talent involved, there was nothing that stood out. It was nicely shot and everything, but I felt like there was no passion or soul in it.
I appreciate that they tried to take a step in slightly different direction with this fourth installment in the franchise, and that they ditched a lot of the characters and story elements from the previous films. I do like the idea of seeing Jack Sparrow on various different adventures throughout the Caribbean. While the film is a lot of fun, it does suffer a bit from some half-baked sub-plots and some less-than-engaging characters.
Most obvious is the attempted romance between the religious guy and the mermaid. It's unnecessary and shoe-horned in, and it doesn't go anywhere. I find the film entertaining, but due to parts like that, I can see why a lot of people dislike this film.
At World's End does share a lot of the same flaws/strengths as Dead Man's Chest. It's just as big, convoluted and long. Yet it's also equally entertaining with quite a few memorable moments. Like it's haunting opening or the exhilarating final battle. It also does a good job of bringing the emotion home.
It would benefit from a trim of course. The whole section with Jack Sparrow in Davy Jones locker is way too long for instance. But this film was, and is still, worth my hard-earned cash.
It seems to have gotten a rather bad reputation over the years, which is something that I find slightly undeserved. It's certainly big, bloated, a bit too long, overly convoluted and slightly dumb in some places. None of the diminishes how entertaining it is. It looks and sounds great. The music is wonderful. The action is well-made.
The best new addition is however Bill Nighy as Davy Jones. Not only is Nighy a terrific actor, that despite being covered by a CGI character, manages to create the best performance of the film, but Davy Jones is a truly memorable villain. It's a fully fleshed character with sides of him that one can emotionally resonate too. He makes much of the film, and makes it easy for me to forgive the film for taking silly side steps to islands with cannibals and so on.
This is perhaps my earliest favorite film. I was about ten years old when I saw it for the first time and I absolutely loved it. It's fast-paced and thrilling swashbuckling action at its absolute best. Great actor giving wonderful performances to quirky and memorable characters. Even the minor supporting characters have some trait that makes them worthy of remembering, which is getting rather rare in today's blockbusters. This is perhaps Johnny Depp's most iconic role, and he truly owns it. My favorite character has to be Geoffrey Rush as Captain Barbossa though. He's lovely.
The plot of the film didn't have to be overly complicated in order to sell in a fun pirate film, but The Curse of the Black Pearl does a lot more with its story than necessary. It's not massively complex, but there's quite a few turns and back-stabbing here to keep the momentum and fun going for its entire running time. It's a long film, but it's a film that is consistently great all the way through.
The Shallows (2016)
As far as killer shark films go, The Shallows is pretty great. I'm not a big fan of Blake Lively, but her performance is the driving force of this film, along with great pacing and a clever usage of the shark. The shark is not over-exposed, and we really only get to see the shark whenever Lively's character sees it as well. This puts us right in to her head, and drives the tension forward.
The pacing is great, but there are some story elements in this film that doesn't work. The film is really scarce on story, but they have attempted to create some back story here to force some emotion in to this film. It falls completely flat, and I would have preferred the film to be a pure and simple survival story without any plot points disturbing it.
Beauty and the Beast (2017)
It's essentially the exact same film as the animated masterpiece. There's a few new songs and some expanded backstory, but it's more or less the same. So there's a ringing sense of needlessness to it. It feels more unnecessary than most other films. That being said, it was pretty delightful to see Emma Watson as Belle, and I'll be damned if I didn't enjoy myself quite a bit.
It's also worth mentioning how visually pleasing and impressive it is. A lot of the magic from the animation have truly come to life here. Beast looks, at times, slightly clunky, but Dan Stevens performance and singing voice is nonetheless great. While Luke Evans is perfectly cast. Yet, it is Emma Watson that will make me see this film quite a few more times on blu-ray. She's a celebrity crush for sure.
London Has Fallen (2016)
This is a cruel, disgusting and dumb film. It's political message is simplistically naive and wrong. The dialogue and story is shockingly stupid.
However. A lot of the action is well-made, and despite its flaws, it¨s occasionally entertaining. With someone slightly more charismatic than Gerard Butler in the lead, it probably would have overcome its massive faults.
Stuart Little 2 (2002)
The funniest thing about Stuart Little is that it throws a huge plot twist at us. This is funny because it's a film that's written by M. Night Shyamalan, so of course it was going to have a plot twist. Despite it being a children's film. The twist itself is predictable, but fine enough.
That being said, I was not entirely amused by this film in itself. More by girlfriend's persistent desire to watch this film and some the jokes we made between each other in regards to this film. It'll probably do well with children.
Check out this list to see my opinion of the The Lord of the Rings franchise.
The Middle-Earth Saga - Ranked.
Check out this list to see my opinion of the The Lord of the Rings franchise.
The Middle-Earth Saga - Ranked.
Check out this list to see my opinion of the The Lord of the Rings franchise.
The Middle-Earth Saga - Ranked.
At times, this is everything I want from a Tim Burton film. A visually impressive film that delves into the macabre and strange. There's some really creepy imagery present here and Burton certainly knows how to have fun with that. A lot of the elements here are straight in his wheelhouse, with even stop-motion (done with CGI though) looking skeletons appearing. There's a lot of fun here, but as an overall experience, I found it to be one of the more disappointing Burton films.
The problem is that the story is a convoluted mess with glaring plot holes appearing essentially everywhere. The film is full of exposition, yet none of it really helps me connecting the dots. The overall idea of the film is easy enough to understand, but there are so many minor things that doesn't make any sense, that it in the end adds up to a whole lot. Another problem is the huge amount of characters. Very few of them are given any characterization beside their powers and they're more or less just blank slates. I adore Eva Green, but she's a bit under utilized here.
I did have my fair share of fun with this film, but it's a shame to see that Burton didn't make more out of this film, seeing as every ingredient for an amazing Burton film is present here.
The hype that has been circling around for Logan is massive. I'm here to bring it all down a little. It's a great film, but it's not as good as people are claiming it to be, nor do I even think this is the best film with Wolverine in it. It does a good job in separating itself from the rest of franchise, and the somber tone fits the story well. The performances are excellent and the R-rating adds some well-appreciated violence.
My issue with the film is that it, aside from being a good 20-25 minutes too long, is that much of the action feels a bit repetitive. I'm happy to see that they avoided going full schlock with the action, but during the entire running time I felt like I saw a bit too much of the same type of action. It doesn't really help that the film lacks a proper antagonist.
It's a solid film and worthy closure for Hugh Jackman's Wolverine. The final shot in particular is brilliant. Yet, 8.6 at IMDB (as I'm writing this) is a bit too high, in my opinion.
Hidden Figures (2017)
I take it that Hidden Figures is a slightly important film. It's certainly an important story to tell that's present here. I guess it's also nice for black women to see themselves represented on the screen in such a way. The film is decently told and the performances are good. It's all solid work.
The problem is that there's not really a lot going on here, and the emotion is definitively lacking. I really didn't care too much for the characters involved, and for me personally, they were mostly blank slates.
That Hugo Weaving didn't get any award recognition for his supporting performance in this film is an outrage. Andrew Garfield is excellent, but Weaving's performance was emotionally devastating and powerful. The film itself is brilliant. A thought-provoking and emotive film that is stunningly told.
It took the risk of getting too preachy, but director Mel Gibson managed to steer it all the way home. The battle scenes are intense and brutal. The gruesomeness and meaninglessness of war is truly felt. It's really good.
The Brothers Grimsby (2016)
I'll give this film credits for taking its comedy to the very extreme. Which is essentially the only credit I'll give it. I despised it. It was everything you would expect from a Sacha Baron Cohen flick, but the vile, crass and disgusting humor failed to provoke any laughs from me. Instead I found myself painfully bored.
I don't doubt that this film will find its audience, but that's definitively not me.
Hell or High Water (2016)
This film is first and foremost an example of excellent writing. The dialogue is top-notch, the characters are skillfully crafted and developed, and the film manages to steer clear away from genre cliches. As far as modern westerns go, Hell or High Water is among the best. It definitively should have won an Academy Award for best screenplay.
It's a film that truly understands that fully embodied characters are far more important than mindless action. They've managed to create characters that emotionally resonate with me in one way or another, causing me to care about them. This directly causes the gun play to feel much more tense and impactful when the bullets suddenly are flying. This also has a direct effect on the pacing on the film. Seeing as I'm interested, thrilled, moved or amused by whatever is going on, there was never a moments where I thought the film moved too slowly or dragged a bit. It's an excellent film.
Today's audiences are likely to find The Shining to be not particularly scary, and possibly even bored by it. Nevertheless, The Shining stands solid as a true horror film that scares more on a psychological level than with cheap effects. Watching jack Nicholson's descent into madness is truly terrifying, and this film is bound to leave you scarred with at least one of its many iconic scenes.
The ensemble cast of Everest is rather large, and for the most part, we get to know and care about most of them. This causes us to have an emotional connection to the film and what we're being shown as it ventures into its tragic and disastrous third act. It's not a feel-good film. It's emotionally effective and satisfying, on top of being visually stunning. Which is essential when making a film about Mount Everest.
There is nothing that breaks new ground here and I don't really think I would watch it again, but this is solid and competent filmmaking that's definitively worth a look.
Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens (2016)
Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! (2015)
It's not as annoying and insultingly lame as the second Sharknado film. It's essentially just boring. I do appreciate how it just gets started immediately and how it, for the most time, avoids wasting time on irrelevant stuff. Yet, there's nothing even remotely clever in it for it to justify its existence. Nor does it cross the threshold of being so bad it's good. Just dull.
Billy Elliot (2000)
Soaring with energy and fun, Billy Elliot is a feel-good film that manages to hit just about every right note while adding a hefty amount of emotional gravitas. It's light and well-made entertainment that should warm a lot on cold evenings.
The film falls in the trap of being overly predictable. Every plot point is seen from the very beginning and there are no initial surprises to be found here. Still, that shouldn't diminish how fun Billy Elliot is. Because it offers you pretty good time.
I found this to be a difficult film to write about, so I'll try my best to put my thoughts down.
One would be forgiven for thinking that Moonlight is nothing more but a film that is tailor-made to cater to society's SJW's, as well as ticking of most boxes to be validated by the Academy Awards. A film about a poor gay black man who's being bullied at school with a non-existent father and a drug abusing mother. Seeing as we're right now living in a world of constant virtue signalling, Trump paranoia, and deep political divisiveness, this is a film that's likely to split its audience. This is a shame really, because at its core, Moonlight is a rich and rewarding emotional experience, at the top of being an important film.
Moonlight is a subtle and complex character portrait. The film is thinly plotted, but for whatever it lacks in narrative, it makes up for that by giving us a haunting, calm and insightful glimpse into the mind of its main character. It's a film that appreciates the quiet moments. A film that truly captures the complexity of humanity and human nature. A film that truly embodies the vulnerability that's to be expected when someone undergoes a sexual awakening. Moonlight doesn't feel lik a complete film. There's no real ending to be found here, nor does it answer a lot of question that arrives during the film. This is something that may potentially be a turn off to a lot of viewers, but it works well enough within the nature of the film. It's focus on being an emotional and thoughtful character piece is what truly matters, and in that regard, the film does come full circle, and leaves us with a satisfying emotional experience, as well as some sort of awakening and understanding of the complexity of human feelings.
That being said, I do not think that Moonlight is this huge masterpiece that some people are claiming it is. Here's the tricky part though. This is more due to what I wanted out of the film, which goes against what clearly was the filmmakers intentions. This is a slightly flawed position to have, as I honestly believe one should judge a film accordingly to the intentions of those making it. My issue is really that it neglects the supporting characters too much. The film is a true portrait of its main character, but there quite a lot of supporting characters here that deserved to be explored further. Particularly Mahershala Ali, who is dropped out of the picture way too early. This is a shame because he, aside from delivering the best performance in the film, is shown to us with huge amounts of nuance and empathy. The most emotionally devastating scene in this film is a scene involving his character, and it's a shame that film never goes more into this. I understand why the film doesn't, but I see it as a wasted opportunity. With that said, Moonlight is a must-see.
Dead Silence (2007)
See this list for my thoughts on this underrated horror film.
The New Master of Horror - James Wan.
The Lego Batman Movie (2017)
Batman were one of the greater parts of the surprisingly excellent The Lego Movie and it's not surprising to see that he got his own film. It's almost a masterpiece. It's spoof comedy done absolutely right. The film is filled with references, but skillfully manages to avoid the trap of having the references being the jokes themselves, but instead the filmmakers have managed to cleverly incorporate the references into jokes that serves the film in a delicate way. It goes without saying that The LEGO Batman Movie is hilarious. It's also spectacularly colorful and heartfelt, and a treat to behold.
The Gift (2015)
The Gift does for quite some time work rather well with a well-crafted story and a few surprising twists along the way. Yet the film is brought down a notch by a few too many unbelievable character decisions and developments. Actions that pulls me straight out of the film. For every solid thing about The Gift, there's almost one equally dumb one.
Pan fails to wake up the sense of adventure and wonder in me. Some sort of prequel idea to Peter Pan is fine idea in itself, but the story that we're presented with within the film doesn't really offer anything that we haven't already seen in this genre. The visuals are unimpressive and soulless, and so are the characters. None of them which we care about.
Worst is however the absolute massacre they do of a Nirvana song. What were they thinking?
The Pyramid (2014)
The Pyramid starts out as a found footage film, but once they actually enter the pyramid it suddenly abandons that genre almost entirely. It still dips back to now and then, but once the action gets going, it's suddenly no longer a found footage film. This was extremely jarring and very confusing. Still, not the biggest issue with this film. It's main flaw is that the story is awful, the characters are absolutely horrendous and unlikeable and the first 50 minutes are painfully boring. The film then gradually starts turning into schlock, in which it starts getting rather amusing. Though, this is not worth a watch.
Beware the Slenderman (2016)
I was intrigued and rather horrified by this story as I'm somewhat knowledgeable about the Internet meme that is Slenderman, so to actually hear about two young girls attempting to murder a friend of theirs due to this fictitious creature is rather disturbing. Now, their trial is still going on, as far as I know, so this documentary doesn't bring you closure on their case, but it does rather try to tell you sort of how this could happen. It's a fascinating subject, but unfortunately, this film doesn't do it justice.
The main problem is complete lack of focus or something that even resemblances of a narrative structure. The editing is all over the place, and the film never seems to figure out what it wants to tell or to which aspect of this story it wants to lay its focus. This causes the film to feel extremely long and for it to drag in plenty of places. It does quite simply get a tad boring.
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Tarantino's first proper film is an impressive debut and a great showcase for how 'less is more' usually works rather well. We're never shown the robbery, yet through the events and dialogue the film decides to throw at us, we're given a much more interesting idea of how everything worked out. As a heist film, that's uniquely refreshing.
Yet, the most fascinating thing here is the characters. While not every character that is present at the diner table at the beginning of the film gets a chance to shine, those who do provides themselves to be instantly memorable with the help of great acting and Tarantino's writing. He has sharpened his grasp on filmmaking over the years, but his debut is very impressive.
The Lobster (2015)
It's weird as hell and definitively not everyone's cup of tea. It took me a little while to get into it, but once I was, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a rather brilliant commentary on relationships and our perception of that, romance, loneliness and human interaction.
The film is well-done, well-acted, insightful, extremely funny and refreshingly original. There were very few occasions where I knew where the film were heading, which is getting rarer and rarer for every day now. It drags a little in the middle, and the abrupt ending is slightly jarring, but The Lobster should definitively be seen by as many people as possible. If only to encourage original work.
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