To the Bone, another Netflix original film with Lily Collins (after Okja) presents yet another frustrating case on their own behalf. It’s easy enough for me to say that Netflix’s original features never have been particularly great ones at that, and after breaking away through Bong Joon-ho’s Okja, we’re left with Marti Noxon’s To the Bone. This semi-autobiographical portrait of anorexia makes clear its good intentions, but there’s a Hallmark-esque feeling it leaves behind that only leaves me feeling cold. Sure, it’s better made and better written than films that anything from said catalogue but at the same time it was also what I feared it would be, something that has an eating disorder placed in the center only to be sidelined in the name of a story that has already been told several times before. Suddenly, all my interest has faded away.
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It’s easy to find influences from Terrence Malick spreading everywhere, for David Lowery’s debut Ain’t Them Bodies Saints is only making itself clear its own homages to Badlands and Bonnie and Clyde among a few. But the fact that it lays upon these influences only is one thing that keeps me from coming closer, for it tries its best to feel soothing as a sight for the eyes and a sound for the ears, and yet on the inside it still feels so thin. I’m not even sure that writer-director David Lowery seemed especially interested in going beyond these stylistic influences to make something all the more compelling. It’s easy to see why Ain’t That Bodies Saints has drawn such a divided reaction towards the manner to which it is channeling Malick for some say it is a loving homage and others say it is a flagrant copy, and unfortunately I happen to be on the other side of the fence.
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I’m still not sure how exactly did something like Atomic Blonde, carrying so much unexpected promise from the idea of one of the original directors of John Wick going solo to helm this, with Charlize Theron leading the way, with a soundtrack that goes from The Clash, New Order, Depeche Mode, and David Bowie – would end up becoming as disappointing as this. After Chad Stahelski has found himself achieving success from directing John Wick: Chapter 2 solo, I’m not sure what is left of David Leitch’s future after this, because the lack of Stahelski by his side shows that there’s still something missing in what could have made itself a female equivalent to John Wick. And given as it was exactly what I was hoping for, I was disappointed that it wasn’t a female equivalent in such a sense, more just a hollow imitator.
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Despite my own love for Pixar’s work, the Cars films have always stood out to me as their least interesting films for I have never particularly been a big fan of the first and I also outright hate the second film (the only Pixar film I’ve held in such a strongly negative light). Now that they’ve come out with a third film, I’d only wonder how much more merchandise would they have wanted to produce from an elaborate universe that also manages to be one of the least imaginative that I’ve seen Pixar sink themselves down to. But at the very least it’s nice that in Cars 3 they didn’t go too far-fetched like they did with the second, yet it still reaffirms how I’ve always felt about the world of Cars from the first day. This doesn’t feel like the Pixar that I’ve loved on a consistent streak, it’s just them doing what’s typical of an animated film for the family out there, and I can’t find myself buying into it.
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There are so many things about The Immigrant that would almost ring as appealing towards my own sensibilities: whether it be from the setting or the film’s leading performances, and yet everything feels only as if half of a promise is delivered. This was my own introduction to the work of James Gray as a whole and from there onward, I’ve only run into a series of disappointments as I try my best to warm up to his own aesthetic but I can never find myself drawn into how they tell their stories. I recognize that James Gray’s films have their admirers but aside from a few exceptions I’m on the other side of the fence, for he has always remained a filmmaker that I try to warm up to rather than one whose work captivates me on the spot. Hoping I’d enjoy The Immigrant more after having been taken back by the theatrical experience of The Lost City of Z, what happened instead as a result was reaffirmation in regards to my general indifference towards Gray’s work.
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Probably a “not for me” case that we’re coming to look at here because there was so much about Going Places that seemed almost appealing to me in some way, yet I found so little coming out. This sexy comedy-drama by Bertrand Blier has a lot to say, but I can’t help but feel like whatever it was that Going Places had intended for only ended up getting lost. And I’m not going to deny that there were moment during Going Places that have ever had me waiting for something more, but then there was another point to where I was wondering why all of that joy only had made a really sudden stop – the last thing I would have wanted a film with this sort of premise to do. I still kept hope for where Going Places would head with its stance on the actions of its characters and how it defines them but then came the point I just decided it was completely not for me after all.
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Zach Braff’s presence, let alone involvement in anything is enough to turn me away from watching something. The thought of a Zach Braff-directed remake of the 1979 comedy of the same name was already set to put me off no matter who would have been cast, and add the fact that Theodore Melfi of St. Vincent and Hidden Figures would be writing the screenplay, I’d only have imagined that the most it can possibly be is a harmless comedy that’ll come and go. It caught me by surprise that this was also the first time Zach Braff had ever done something that didn’t leave me feeling any sort of anger or annoyance given the bad taste his quirk in Garden State and Wish I Was Here had left in my mouth – but at the same time it was also the most I could even have expected Going in Style to be. Something that’d come and go without any real impact.
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I don’t carry any sort of nostalgia for the Power Rangers series since I never watched it much when I was a kid but I always recognized its impact during its run. Initially I was skeptical of a new film because of my lack of connection to the series and the generic approach for the marketing but I was made even more skeptical with the notion that we had a superhero who was on the spectrum alongside one who is a lesbian according to reports which contrast what one would remember of the original series. Coming out of Power Rangers, my thoughts could never have been any more mixed rather than what my low expectations would have foreseen. What’s to be said is that it was far better than what first impression may have presented although I’m still unsure how I really feel in the end.
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Yves Saint Laurent is a fascinating figure to study when looking into fashion history, yet the thought of a biopic about him running for two and a half hours always seemed like an intimidating one to myself. On one end it could have worked effectively as a psychological case study of what happens to his mind as a result of the newfound influence he had acquired, on another end it could have been an overlong display of pretty colour while offering so little refreshing on Yves Saint Laurent himself. Unfortunately, Bertrand Bonello’s biopic finds itself in the latter, a film whose potential is lost inside of its own bloated length in spire of pretty visuals which never come off as a surprise given its subject. Nevertheless this experience proves itself rewarding to some extent.
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Garth Davis’s Lion feels like a debut film, not exactly on the count that it is in fact one such but since all he was known for prior was directing episodes of Top of the Lake together with a few television commercials, something quick were only set to come forward. With Lion he takes a powerful true story and the sort of mood it carries all throughout is not a particularly assuring one. On one hand you have what already is what you can recognize as material that could easily be so compelling and heartbreaking then suddenly said mood is gone creating a frustratingly disjointed product. Every awards season there’s a film with this sort of feeling that comes out, pertaining to how it seems only around to garner awards: Lion is arguably the biggest case scenario for 2016.
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