Joe Wright’s films come off to me as the sort that show off whatever is possible without offering much beyond that. I remember trying to watch Atonement for a history class and I was struggling just to stay awake, and his Pan film was just about one of the most awkward experiences for myself (I think the anachronistic soundtrack was already jarring enough whether it be the inclusion of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” or the Ramones’s “Blitzkrieg Bop” that gave everything away for me) – and yet I find Hanna strangely enchanting. Quite frankly I also remember it as the first time I had seen Saoirse Ronan in anything, and her performance here was enough for me to say that Wright had opened me up to what seems missing from the action genre in this day and age. She doesn’t hold back and it only creates something all the more tense in Hanna.
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I’m at the point where horror movies that market themselves as being based on true events don’t phase me anymore because they’ve already killed my willingness to stay on board with what goes on if they’re going for a basic haunted house route. Exceptions and outliers to the rule have come along the way (I still enjoy the Conjuring films a fair amount, even if they aren’t particularly the most original) but Winchester was a story that had fascinated me for a while. Given as the Winchester House has already established a reputation as one of the most haunted mansions still around today, I was made even more skeptical of what the Spierig brothers would have made from the titular setting – and all my suspicions were proven right; it was the same generic haunted house story as any other.
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If only my own game nights together with the few friends I have were nearly half as exciting as what Game Night had shown that they can be like. The most recent film from Vacation directors and Horrible Bosses writers Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley proves itself to be a more entertaining ride than their names would have expected at first. What I expected was something merely silly like the most entertaining comedies can be, only to have been proven wrong by the fact that Game Night is being treated like an actual game night and as the pieces of the puzzle are being put together, the enthusiasm rises up on the spot. That’s the best thing that you can also say about Game Night, it’s about as energetic and feels competitive like an actual game night with friends.
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I feel like there’s a great movie that could have been made out of Red Sparrow but it seems buried among boring exposition that doesn’t ever find itself going anywhere. The one thing I was wondering about Red Sparrow was why did it have to be Francis Lawrence of all people to direct this, because there’s nothing about his direction that feels like he has already established a distinctive style – and given the subject matter of Red Sparrow, it feels like a project that could have worked better under the eyes of someone like Paul Verhoeven. As is, it just leaves an odd taste in the mouth because it never seems to warrant much of what you can already feel that it wants to become.
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UPDATE: The film ended up winning and I couldn’t have been any happier that it did.
You know that old saying where we don’t care about the Oscars in regards to their effect on our opinions of the films that were either nominated or have won? It’s easy enough to say that, but we still make ourselves watch the ceremonies at least because of the hope we retain in ourselves that maybe something we love so dearly has indeed been nominated and has a chance at winning. But considering just how strong a year this has been looking at the Oscar contenders this year, with Lady Bird, Get Out, and Phantom Thread up in the running for Best Picture, it’s easy to be satisfied with any of them. But if I had to pick one film from all of these, I think that The Shape of Water would be my go-to. And without further ado, here are among the many reasons that not only do I think it would be a suitable winner, but why it is also my favourite film of 2017 while we’re at it.
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One knows already how predictable the Academy Awards can become after the route of the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards among many more, but in the 90 years that we have seen them moving onward, what they had managed to turn forth was not only one of the strongest lineups in a while but also one of the most pleasantly surprising, knowing where their own habits lie. If there was anything else to be said about what the Academy Awards have in store for us this year, then it only makes this year’s ceremony – unlike the past few at least, worth looking forward to.
Bold indicates my vote for said category.
Underline indicates who I think will win.
To read more about the picks this year in the major categories, click “read more.” Continue reading “General Thoughts: The 90th Academy Awards”
I don’t find torture porn entertaining to watch. The most that ever seems to come out from watching such films for me is a showcase only of gory violence without any sort of purpose coming forth. These films aren’t especially scary, but when they get around to the violence, the only thing that I can think of is how disgusting these films are. Which is a part of why I find The Loved Ones to be an interesting case scenario. What we see isn’t just a film that makes the torture of its protagonist the sole spectacle, but something far more entertaining. What Sean Byrne had created with The Loved Ones puts torture in the other side in order to form a haunting piece of work, one whose intelligence has made itself even clearer amidst all the relentlessness and the gore.
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Nekromantik is an interesting film to experience, because there’s no doubt that what one is set to experience will either be off-putting to the human eye or fascinating. For the longest while I’ve wanted to see it because I’ve always been drawn forth by transgressive art and Jörg Buttgereit’s work seemed to be a perfect showcase for boundary-pushing content, almost like John Waters. To say that I got what I expected out of Nekromantik is only the very least of what made this experience worthwhile, but how does it all add up? If I’m being perfectly honest, I can see why others wouldn’t find the material especially appealing but at the same time I think it’s worth watching at least once. Yet that having been said, I also struggle even trying to call it “great.” The ideas are enough to sell me in, but something about its own delivery still feels lacking.
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For starters, I have been a massive Pink Floyd fan since high school and although I know The Wall is one of their best-selling and most highly regarded albums, to me it has always been one of their least interesting efforts. That’s not to say I have ever disliked it, but next to the likes of other big albums in their discography like The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here (my favourite of theirs), it still sounds highly underwhelming because too much of it seemed like meaningless filler and the occasional great song comes then and there. As a matter of fact, I hadn’t really loved a Floyd album after Animals because it almost felt to me as if Roger Waters was wearing the Floyd name to back up his solo efforts and it leaves everyone else feeling suffocated. So what’s to be said about a film based around said album, written by Roger Waters?
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I haven’t always been on board with Netflix’s run of original feature films but amidst a group of entertaining and otherwise mediocre genre efforts, a standout comes by and The Meyerowitz Stories is yet another one of these. Written and directed by Noah Baumbach and starring a frequent collaborator of his in Ben Stiller, he hits once again with yet another comedy-drama about a family broken apart on the count of an artist of some sort having been a part of why everyone is so distanced. While I still believe that Noah Baumbach has yet to top The Squid and the Whale, his work continues to remain charming enough yet still feel meaningful. But Baumbach also seems to carry a great power in drawing empathy from his viewers towards what they see on the screen, and it works wonders once more.
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