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[MOVIE] July 2016 Movie thread

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It's the second of July and people are still using the June thread. So time someone started this.

Trollhunter (2010) is a Norwegian movie that's kind of a Blair Witch knockoff (it's found footage, in the woods at night) but kind of not (because it's more of a CGI spectacle than a no-budget scares deal). It's kind of hard to judge it fairly, because what was decent CGI six years ago is bad CGI today, and the found footage thing ran it's course long ago. But in terms of creating a version of the modern world where Trolls exist and there are people who work for the Norwegian government who work in Troll control, it's great.

Righteous Kill (2008) is a sad indictment of modern Hollywood. Because if they sent this script to both Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, and they both thought "This is the best script I've been sent in months! I'll totally do this movie!". So they both agreed to do it. And it's terrible.

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Righteous Kill is a huge bummer because Pacino and Deniro both had to feel like time was running out on them being leading men. They knew they needed to prop each other up with their combined star power so they could continue to be payed to shoot fake guns and have on screen relations with women their daughters' ages. 

They saw their futures, and it was VOD and foul-mouthed grandpas. 

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They are both kind of too old for their roles, too. If both characters were guys in their early fifties, they'd be the right age. But Pacino and De Niro were both over 65, and looked it. New York cops retire younger than that, or go to desk jobs if they want the twice-twenty years pension. But this film pretends that guys of retirement age are actually at the peak of their careers. Also, there's shoe-horned in running scenes, like in the baseball bit, where the person running has their back to the camera, and it's really obvious why. I'm sure actual Al Pacino jumped off that entrance ramp in the foot chase.

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Trollhunter is really good. I love how it slowly opens up to what's going on and the resigned pessimism of the trollhunter. Then the funny little twists regarding religion that throw a wrench in the gears too. Very intelligent movie disguised as something pretty goofy. 

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So, the thing I didn't say about Righteous Kill was how Curtis '37 Pence' Jackson was in the film, even though he clearly can't actually act very well at all. But then I sit down to watch Escape Plan, because I figure, I've seen one bad movie where two ageing icons team up for the third time sort of, why not watch the Stallone & Arnie version? And who turns up in the third scene? Curtis '37 Pence' Jackson! How is he getting these gigs? And the worst part is, at least in RK he's playing a 'tough hood guy who made it big' which shouldn't be much of a stretch because he plays one of those in real life as well. Whereas in Escape Plan, he's some sort of computer genius guy. He doesn't really radiate intelligence on screen.

He's got great teeth though. He's like a little Bob Sapp, if Bob Sapp needed bodyguards.

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John Wick was really good.

I've half-way or accidentally or grudgingly watched all the slick stylish video-gamey assassin movies from Liam Neeson to Jason Statham and from Hitman to Max Payne.  And I was assuming John Wick was just that.  And it kind of is.  Same paper thin plot, same sets and lighting and Russian mafia guys, same conveyor belt from setpiece to setpiece. Same technoey fight music.

But it was just so much more fun to watch. So much.  And I'm not sure why.  Rhythm? Mixture of audaciousness over Wick's invinsibiltiy but without going too flippy, flippy? It just somehow looks better even though in every descriptive sense it's the same?

Can someone explain this to me?

 

Okay I think I've got an answer after watching Ian McShane's scenes.  Instead of pretending this is totally in the real world or inventing a fake superhero-y world like Gotham, they give us a mythical New York where everything looks the same and the basic laws of physics are the same, but where there is this shadowy underworld which is vaguely like the Gods of Olympus having their battles behind the scenes.

So there is no real emotional investment because these aren't quite people....but there is because even though they are not-quite-human, they are still living in our world.  But they don't go and fuck it up by actually making them angels or demons or something.

Like when Viggo tell John he could never really change, it was almost like a God telling another he should not have tried to be mortal and live among the humans or something.

Although it begs the question.  How many people are there that need to be assassinated for there to be that goddamn many elite assassins running around?  It's almost like Grosse Pointe blanc played not for laughs but with that basically funny premise behind it of this deep organization of blase killers who all kind of know each other and have this almost petty professional jealousy.

Like in Grosse Pointe Blanc when John Cusak is looking up one of the guys after him and he's "Oh, I know that guy...he's an asshole."

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I think besides just being technically well-crafted and efficient with it's time, John Wick feels clever enough to know it's stupid while a lot of its contemporaries think being stupid is clever enough  because everything's ironic now. 

Also, that's not New York, it's Philadelphia bruh. I recognized all those jawns. 

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John Wick is definitely my favorite Taken clone

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I just found out they made a sequel to SPL last year. It's a sequel in name only and Wu Jing and Simon Yam are in it again, only as different characters, with Tony Jaa now in the mix. This was good. Real good. The fight scenes dense pick up until the second half of the movie, but I thought it was a good story. I really enjoyed it. Wu Jing and Tony Jaa's styles meshed well

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Basically, I'm watching a bunch of movies to free up TiVo space for all the UFC this weekend. So, The Last Stand (2013) was the second half of my post-Governer Arnold mini-season. It's a lot better than Escape Plan, because EP is one of those clever-clever 'You didn't see that coming' movies that wants to think it's outwitting the viewer - only it's not, because movies that actually outwit the viewer hide the clues in plain sight, and you kick yourself for not seeing them. Whereas this doesn't actually have clues, it just does a big reveal at the end and it means nothing because it wasn't set up. Last Stand is a lot better, because it shows you and tells you what's going to happen, builds to an exciting conclusion, and then delivers that conclusion excitingly. And also, the 'we have only cast one black actor in this movie' character is played by Forest Whitaker instead of Curtis Jackson, so it can't help but be an improvement.

Why does Johnny Knoxville always play the idiotic redneck sidekick? Does nobody notice that the hick accent he puts on to play those characters isn't the way he actually talks? Or that he's actually a fairly smart guy who acted stupid for a while to get noticed (and then for a while longer, to get rich)?

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Because nobody gives a fuck about Johnny Knoxville.

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The new Star Trek film comes out on my birthday so I guess I'm probably going to see it? I wish I was more excited about that, but the hype has been lukewarm at best.

I was super amused by the old guard backlash against Rhianna doing a music video hype piece and claiming to be a Trek fan though. As if it's completely shocking news to these people that the first and for ages only science fiction series in the world where black people actually made it into outer space might have some black fans.

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Only one black person, really, which makes it kind of sad how far ahead of everything else it was at the time.

 

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The Next Generation had a far more integrated crew for background actors which was still sadly way ahead of the sci fi curve (and frankly still is), and that started in like '87 or '88.

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After Alex Salmond stepped down as head of the Scottish National Party (following the Scottish break-up referendum) there were a bunch of articles discussing how he'd be concentrating on his love of Star Trek more in future. The Guardian then decided to do a follow-up story looking for other politicians who loved Star Trek. One of the first ones they found was Martin Luther King.

EDIT to add because nobody posted after me: I was looking through my backlog for something else to watch, and I saw Get Carter was on there. Awesome, classic 70s film, can't believe I just left it sitting there and didn't re-watch it already, let's get that on. 2 minutes later... shit,it's the Stallone remake, why the fuck did I record this?

Starring Sylvester Stallone... and Rachael Leigh Cook AND Rhona Mitra? In the same movie, and Alan Cumming as well? Sly cast all the little known actors I irrationally love. That must be why I recorded it. Shame it probably sucks.

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We've seen Spotlight and Hail, Caesar this week. We've enjoyed movies this week.

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OK, so Get Carter wasn't actually that bad. It's just, the title. If this had just been a film that ripped off Get Carter (1971)'s plot (which was arguably a ripoff of The Searchers in any case) but had a different title, it would have been an OK Hollywood revenge flick. But because it said it was a remake of Get Carter, it doesn't measure up and is - on those terms - a massive disappointment.

It was weird, in that most movies which feature main villains who are sleazy porn producers and pimps and that, they go all out to have their cake and eat it by having loads of female nudity in as many scenes as possible. Whereas this film condemns men who exploit female sexuality for profit, whilst not having any tits in it. Even in the scenes where they're in brothels or watching porn, it's just brief cuts of underwear mixed with long close up shots of people's faces. I bet loads of people who paid to watch it in the cinema 16 years ago were really disappointed on that score.

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Repo Men (2010) is not a sequel to Repo Man. Which is a shame, because if ever a movie deserves a sequel, that's the one (apparently there is an unofficial sequel called Repo Chick that went straight to DVD, but I've not seen that). Anyway, this stars Jude Law as an ex-military tough guy character that Vinnie Jones really should have been playing (it's odd how they have the same height and build, but you buy Jones as an ass-kicking tough guy in a way you could never buy Law), and Forest Whitaker as his old schoolfriend. Now they mention that Whitaker was held back a few years, but he's 12 years older than Law in real life, Law doesn't look that old for his age, and they have accents from different sides of the Atlantic Ocean. So not especially credible casting there. It's directed by Miguel Sapochnik, who went on to do some bloody storming episodes of Game of Thrones, so I was hoping it would measure up to those.

Not so much, there.

It's one of those high-concept Sci-Fi movies (it's set in a bizarre future where every car in the world is made by Volkswagen*; The Last Stand (which I watched a few movies ago) is set in an alternate reality where every car in the world is made by Chevrolet) where the set-up is intriguing, the world-building is intriguing, but it quickly leads into a fairly formulaic story that stops showing this bizarre possible future in favour of action scenes and furrowed brow moral quandaries. In a way, big ideas like that don't really work as movies per se. In a book, in a videogame where you have space and time to let people explore the world and see a lot of people's lives, hear a lot of people's stories, that where you can actually explore a deep concept. In a movie, you've only got 90-120 minutes, and you've got to squeeze in character arcs and action set pieces, so the world-building ultimately amounts to a bunch of background details that, once they'e provided an impetus to your protagonist, are ultimately irrelevant from that point on.

*nb: This is not the actual "What if..." that the sci-fi world is based around, that's a moral quandary on the non-ethics of privatised healthcare. I just noticed a bunch of VW badges in every street scene, and wondered why nobody in the world ever bought a Ford or Fiat or something. And why, once Volkswagen had won the car marque war, they then made sure every old car made by any other manufacturer in the world had to be destroyed. It's set in the near future, if every car firm except VW went out of business tomorrow, you'd still be seeing non-VW cars on the road in 20+ years, because old road-worthy cars still get used. By 17 year olds who can't afford anything even slightly new, usually, yes, but they are out there.

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It's got a basically similar setup/high concept as Repo! The Genetic Opera, right,?

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Yeah, very similar. Very similar indeed.

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On ‎7‎/‎4‎/‎2016 at 3:57 PM, (BP) said:

I think besides just being technically well-crafted and efficient with it's time, John Wick feels clever enough to know it's stupid while a lot of its contemporaries think being stupid is clever enough  because everything's ironic now. 

Also, that's not New York, it's Philadelphia bruh. I recognized all those jawns. 

John Wick does have some scenes that were shot in NYC. 

The Continental Hotel (which most people assume is the Flatiron on Fifth) is actually The Beaver Building on 1 Wall Street Court. 

On ‎7‎/‎2‎/‎2016 at 8:08 PM, AxB said:

Righteous Kill (2008) is a sad indictment of modern Hollywood. Because if they sent this script to both Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, and they both thought "This is the best script I've been sent in months! I'll totally do this movie!". So they both agreed to do it. And it's terrible.

The really horrible thing about this movie is that it has a very interesting premise that was totally betrayed in the complete shit way the plot set you up for the ending.  This would've been so much better if it had just been a buddy cop movie with an actual villain.

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I was just watching Lifeforce on Chiller and looked it up on Wiki, and the same weekend it opened so did Cocoon. The Thing (1982) opened the same week as E.T. as well. Weird coincidence. 

As is Maniac Cop being on Chiller right now. 

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Watching Lifeforce on a censored television network just doesn't seem right.  Mathilda May will be a colorless blob from the neck down for 90% of the movie and Space Vampires were not the reason we stupid adolescents with raging hormones snuck in to see Lifeforce..

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Yeah, that's just one of those movies that would be totally ruined in a censored version.  Like when Scarface comes on a non-premium channel and so much is blanked out half the movie is silent.

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As happy as I was to see Ennio Morricone win his Oscar this year, I just watched THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. and while the movie was pretty bland, Daniel Pemberton deserves something for that score.  It was about 70% of what was engaging (clothing being most of the rest).

 

Here's a nice article on some of it:

http://www.esquire.com/entertainment/music/a37195/the-man-from-uncle-soundtrack-music-secrets/

But some of the best tracks are left out of that:

 

 

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