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Thread: Crispy's Mini-Movie Review Thread (still sans pie)

  1. #61
    UNbelievably Awesome Crispy's Avatar
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    Cool Docu-Drama Dump Edition

    Here are a bunch of films I saw this year based around real people, places, and events--some have more fiction to them than others.


    Bohemian Rhapsody
    A-

    The script is a solid “B” at best, however, the music is “A+” throughout. At first I had trouble buying Rami Malik as Queen’s legendary frontman, but in the last 15 minutes of the film I’ll be damned if I didn’t feel like I was watching Freddie Mercury at his apex. The film has great performances in supporting roles, a decent character arc for Mercury as the protagonist, and some solid social commentary without being preachy. All in all, this film is fun, emotional, and worthy of any Queen fan’s theater dollars.


    First Man
    A-

    Ryan Gosling plays Neil Armstrong as a quiet, reserved, yet deeply passionate man. Chazelle treats the space program as art, iconic—but the film feels more like poetry than propaganda; it revels in the beauty and jaw dropping wonder that is sending a human being to walk upon the face of the moon. And though the film is fiction, it is not a fantasy. Neil Armstrong put his bootprint upon the lunar surface. That reality is beautifully captured in this film for us all to experience


    I, Tonya
    B

    The main cast gives great performances, especially Margot Robbie and Sebastian "Is That Bucky!?!" Stan. It was trying to be a Cohen Bros film by looking at the darker aspects of humanity through the lens of the absurdness of that type of behavior, but the laughs never really landed with the audience.


    The Post
    A-

    Leave it to Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, and Steven Spielberg to make the story of publishing a single issue of a newspaper suspenseful and riveting. Of course the film is more than that—it’s a poignant commentary on the press, it’s place in democracy, and it’s relationship with the government, especially the judicial branch.


    Greatest Showman
    B

    About what you’d expect from a modern Hollywood musical. The songs were quite good, but the plot and characters were rather archetypal and without much depth.


    Glass Castle
    C+

    An accounting of some of the worst parenting possible that tries to make you sympathize with the terrible parents in the last fifteen minutes. It’s got great performance by Woody Harrelson, and the kid actors are pretty great, too. But that last act is just so much nope. Truly WTF?


    All The Money In The World
    B-

    Michelle Williams and the kidnapper Chinquinta’s (sp?) performances save this rather drab, if not one sided, look into the life of the richest man who ever lived, J. Paul Getty, and how his obsession with money (winning) nearly cost his grandson his life.


    Darkest Hour
    A-

    The direction and cinematography are rather mediocre, but Gary Oldman’s performance as Churchill and that of his supporting cast propel this film to emotionally gripping heights. It’s scary to recall just how close Hitler was to winning Europe from fear alone and how courageous Churchill was to not capitulate the British Empire before the first bomb had been dropped on their island.


    Professor Marston & the Wonder Women
    C+

    This is a disappointingly flat biopic about people who lived rather colorful lives—said people being a former college professor who created the lie detector test & Wonder Woman, his wife (a fellow professor), and their, um, “teaching assistant.”


    A Futile & Stupid Gesture
    B+

    This Netflix comedy about the co-founder of National Lampoon, Doug Kenney, is an embarrassment of riches—the cast, script, direction. It’s just an utterly engaging and enjoyable comedy tinged with drama (more than a tinge in the third act).


    Molly’s Game
    B+

    Great character piece written and directed by Aaron Sorkin based on the memoir of Molly Bloom. It takes over two hours to get to a denouement that could’ve been reached satisfactorily in about 20 minutes less. If you know anything about Sorkin then you know whey he is so infatuated with Bloom and her family of genius pro-athletes run by a flawed, stern patriarch.

  2. #62
    UNbelievably Awesome Crispy's Avatar
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    Here are a bunch of documentaries I’ve seen this year. Almost all can be found on Netflix, Hulu, or HBO.


    They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead
    A

    A documentary about the last film Orson Welles tried to make, which spanned over 15 years until his death in 1985. However, in telling the story of Welles’ attempt to make this film you also get the story of the man and his overall body of work. The filmmaker uses a lot of Welles' style and footage from other films to add drama and, mostly, whimsy to this tale.


    RBG
    A-

    It’s a fascinating life, that of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bador Ginsberg, aka Notorious RBG. The section on her confirmation hearing to the supreme court is a stark and unintended contrast to the confirmation hearings of Justice Kavanaugh in 2018. My main complaint with this documentary is the filmmakers could’ve spent a bit more time on her historic career as a lawyer, but it’s a minor complaint. This really is a film about the complete woman, RBG, and not just her time as a member of the SCOTUSA.


    Andre The Giant
    B+

    This HBO documentary turns into more of a WWF/WWE doc about half-way through, and it’s not as complete a look at the man himself—more the persona. However, as a kid I was a huge fan of Andre and it’s great to see a film about him so lovingly done.


    Conor McGregor: Notorious
    B+

    This Netflix documentary mostly covers McGregor’s preparation for the UFC featherweight title bout with Jose Aldo and his two fights with Nate Diaz for the Lightweight belt. This dropped early in the year before all the post-Mayweather drama and McGregor’s recent UFC loss to Khabib happened. I’d be interested to see if a “vol.2” is in the works by the same documentarians.


    Lego House: Home of the Brick
    A-

    Short Netflix documentary on the building of the LEGO House in Billund, Denmark. I already knew quite a bit about the history of the company from their own animated doc on YouTube and the Netflix series The Toys That Made Us, so I didn’t mind the minimal info about the history of the company. Besides, as the title states, this is more about the building of the actual house than an overview of the company in general.


    Filmworker
    B+

    Great documentary on Leon Vitali, the former actor who became legendary director Stanley Kubrick’s right hand man for the last 30 years of Kubrick’s life. The film becomes a bit repetitive in focusing on Leon’s work for Kubrick and leaves out a good chunk of info on the man himself. But this is still a deeply engrossing look into the filmmaking process—especially post production and Kubrick’s infamous demand for detailed perfection.


    Diana, Our Mother: Her Life & Legacy [HBO Doc]
    B

    Diana’s two sons along with her brother and friends give interviews about Lady Di on the 20th anniversary of her death. Honestly, if it wasn’t for my love of the show The Crown I wouldn’t be interested in this at all. So I found her life much more intriguing now than I have for the past 20+ years. Amazing what a good writer and some great actors can get you interested in.


    Walt: The Man Behind the Myth
    A

    At less than 90 minutes, this documentary offers an entertaining and fairly comprehensive look at Walter E. Disney, perhaps the most influential man in modern entertainment. My only gripe is I could’ve easily done with another half hour or so—especially covering the early days and his relationship with his animators.


    Making Fun: The Story of Funko Toys
    B+

    Netflix doc on the history of Funko toys. A bit unevenly paced and meandering, but still an interesting look into the unique history of the company as well as “funatics” and celebrity collectors.
    Last edited by Crispy; 12-04-2018 at 03:36 AM.

  3. #63
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    Lightbulb Now playing at a theater near you...


    Aquaman
    B+

    The action in this film is engaging while the CGI underwater scenes are stunning. However, the bits where the two leads, Jason Mamoa and Amber Heard, are together are mediocre at best. And their on-screen chemistry is nonexistent. Overall, this is a flawed and bloated film, but comparatively speaking it’s a win for the DCEU and worthy of seeing on the big screen if you’re a fan of the genre.


    Bumblebee
    B

    It's got G1 inspired Transformer designs, Autobot v Decepticon battle action on Cybertron, and muhfuh triple changers! All of those are reasons for any Transformers fan to see it on a big screen. However, be prepared to be actively bored and confused by some perplexing script & editing decisions for the remainder of the film.


    Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse [3D]
    A

    Wow. This is an amazing film from start to finish. It’s got heart, humor, action, and a hero’s journey that resonates on a core, collectively human level. I love 3D films, and this one utilizes the technology in a superior fashion to most others. However, some may not appreciate the varying animation styles on screen and how this film is shot at 12 frames per second instead of the usual 24 frames, which gives it a somewhat clunky feel to the movement. Personally, I found the animation to be spectacular, and I look forward to seeing this again on the big screen.


    Ralph Breaks the Internet (Wreck-It Ralph 2)
    B

    This takes on a complicated topic regarding being insecure and overly clingy in friendships, which is ambitious for a kids’ film. It also does a great job of visualizing the “world” of the Web in the same way it did for video games in the original film. However, it’s much too concerned with what’s “trending” and as such leans too heavily on popular trends/phrases that’ve already gone the way of the dodo.


    Mary Poppins Returns
    D

    Maybe you’ll find this latest Disney Studio dig into the pit of nostalgia more enjoyable than I did, but maybe you also like getting punched in the face. No judgment. I wanted to leave the theater 15 minutes in to this film, but I love the original so much that I forced myself to stay in hopes of the film redeeming itself. No redemption was to be found—only cringing and anger over how so many mistakes were made in this remake/soft-reboot poorly disguised as a sequel.


    Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald [3D]
    B-

    The pacing and structure of the film is a mess, but it’s pretty to look at. The plot was much too convoluted and uneven. It felt like a truncated version of a Rowling novel where the B-story became the A-story, the main characters were given short shrift, and the ending is a non-ending pseudo cliffhanger. Meh.


    Widows
    B-

    This film has an outstanding cast, decent script, and abysmally languid pacing. For a heist film it also unfortunately had very little suspense. The reviews for this one definitely over-hyped it, and that ending scene was anticlimactic, to put it mildly.


    A Star Is Born (2018)
    A-

    A really barebones but emotional love story between two flawed people and their passion for making music. Bradley Cooper does a great job in directing and performing as does Lady Gaga and Sam Elliot in an Oscar(bait) worthy performance.

  4. #64
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    Thumbs up Streaming Slices...


    Sisters Brothers [Hulu]
    B+
    This languidly paced, and oddly emotional and comedic film is what you get when a French director adapts a Canadian writer’s novel about two bounty hunters during the American Gold Rush. Joaquin Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Riz Ahmed all give solid performances, but John C. Reily truly shines here in one of his best roles yet.


    Mid 90s [Amazon Prime]
    B+
    It’s an emotional and nostalgia fueled film for me because I was the same age as the protagonist at the same time the film is set, hence why I bumped it up from B to a B+. The film has a really great young cast who deliver great performances. However, the film sadly falls apart in the third act because our very charismatic and destructive protagonist does not really gain any true insight on his own. It’s told to him by the story’s most moral and kind character—Ray. Mid 90s is a coming of age story where the protagonist does not really come of age, so the ending is unfortunately hollow.


    Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot [Amazon Prime]
    B+

    This film based on the life of alcoholic, paraplegic cartoonist John Callahan is emotional, vulgar, and hilarious. Just the type of film the man himself deserves. It’s a bit saccharine in places, but Joaquin Phoenix delivers yet another outstanding performance.


    Brawl in Cellblock 99 [Amazon Prime]
    B
    There were a few plot points and character decisions I found perplexing, but overall it is a film as advertised—a hyper violent revenge flick shot in a 1970s B-movie style. Vince Vaughn’s “Southern” accent doesn’t do anyone any favors either, but he is scarily believable as a one man band of ass kicking, death-dealing destruction.


    Watership Down (2018 Netflix)
    A-
    This four hour animated miniseries based on the novel has excellent voice acting, but the animation has some problems. The rabbits look pretty good, but the other animals come off as budget level CGI, and it took me out of the story more than once.


    Bill Murray Stories [Netflix]
    A-
    If I didn’t absolutely love Bill Murray then this would be a “B+” doc at best with its guy in a supremely creepy Bill Murray mask “reenacting” certain scenes and the director’s mediocre narration. However, I do love Bill Murray, so hearing these stories, seeing some of the grainy phone footage, and the few interviews with people that participated in the occurrences was an hour well spent.


    Paterno [HBO]
    B+
    This is a cleverly biased film that almost appears as if it is giving an unbiased view of college football coaching legend Joe Paterno and his involvement/neglect about child sex abuse scandal involving one of his coaches, Jerry Sandusky. The real story here is not Paterno’s myopic view on winning football games, but it’s how people (not just those in power, but people in general) can infuriatingly ignore horrible facts because they conflict with what they want the world to be. It’s really troubling considering the modern political climate.

  5. #65
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    Thumbs up


    Joker
    A-


    Firstly, I went in to this with really low expectations. The trailer did not impress me. I felt like it revealed too much of the plot (which it did) and that plot seemed very derivative (which it was). And the one review I read prior to seeing the film took a giant shit all over it. Secondly, fuck was I surprised by how much I liked this film!

    The Good: Cast. Characters. Cinematography. Soundtrack. Pacing. The origin of a supervillain.


    Bad/Meh: Plot


    The Ugly: The DCEU
    If they did a trilogy of these Joker films with Phoenix, a la Nolan's DK trilogy, I'd be on board. However, with Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn in her own film, who knows where this will end up. If there is never…

  6. #66
    entertaining in its outrage Volta's Avatar
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    I've not seen Joker and I had an opportunity to go with a friend who would HAVE PAID my ticket.
    I really like your review and will humbly await the DVD/Digital version. It seems like something I'd pick up at Redbox, but not something I can budget considering this is AWARDS SEASON and I have to keep tight on that if I'm going to see the top 10 Best Pic noms like I do every year before the Oscars.
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  7. #67
    entertaining in its outrage Volta's Avatar
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    I called my friend who went to JOKER. She said it as probably the best performance she's ever seen from a single actor and all the good stuff you said.
    She said it could be very triggering to people and that at least a dozen people walked out of her packed screening.
    Who said you were evil?
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  8. #68
    UNbelievably Awesome Crispy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Volta View Post
    I've not seen Joker and I had an opportunity to go with a friend who would HAVE PAID my ticket.
    I really like your review and will humbly await the DVD/Digital version. It seems like something I'd pick up at Redbox, but not something I can budget considering this is AWARDS SEASON and I have to keep tight on that if I'm going to see the top 10 Best Pic noms like I do every year before the Oscars.
    I think if you went to see JOKER for free you would've had to budget for only seeing 9 best pic noms since one would've been in the bag for you already. Maybe you could've even splurged on popcorn.

    Anyway, you're friend is right, Phoenix is deserving of a best actor nomination if nothing else. I went to a 5pm showing on a Monday, so there were only five people in the whole theater. We all stayed until the credits were over. If someone got "triggered" in this film to the point they had to walk out, sigh, then I ain't got nothing for 'em. It's nothing worse than you'd see in an episode of a streaming drama on murderers like Mindhunter or Sopranos as far as violence and/or depictions of a psychopathic killer goes.
    Last edited by Crispy; 10-11-2019 at 02:05 AM.

  9. #69
    entertaining in its outrage Volta's Avatar
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    I've seen it.
    Triggered as in watching someone lose themselves into psychosis and finally insanity. It's a pretty intense film for people dealing with mental health problems, I'm sure.

    But you're absolutely right as you always are. This was an amazing performance and a movie that although not part of the comic book series or DC Universe of films.. has just enough of those elements to satisfy people who are going to see a movie like that.
    I am not sure if it gets into Best Picture because of the controversy and a whole contingency of critics and voters who believe this film being released was irresponsible in a time when white men dealing with issues need very little to push them over the edge.

    The final 15 mins of this movie might be the best ending of a movie I've seen in the last 5 years.

    The dancing:
    Last edited by Volta; 10-13-2019 at 03:39 AM.
    Who said you were evil?
    My SAT scores.

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