Home Forums Movies What Films Have You Watched Recently? Thread (Part I)

What Films Have You Watched Recently? Thread (Part I)

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  • Atypical
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    Time to start this up anew!

    Watched “Incredibles 2” recently and liked it well enough. The expectations were so high from the artistic and commercial success of the original, so I was going in wanting a lot from this sequel. The story was interesting and weaved in some knotty ideas about gender roles and mass consumerism. Genuinely funny in stretches with Jack-Jack and Edna Mode stealing the show (crazy that Brad Bird voices the latter character). Voicework was stellar from Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Catherine Keener, Samuel L. Jackson, and Bob Odenkirk (possibly best overall). Judging by lofty Pixar standards, visually it doesn’t reach new heights, and overall it sits maybe mid-tier. Still good and worthy to watch, but at times I questioned the need for it after all this time (though I already know the answer to that: $$$).

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    Richard Aniston
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    I saw Incredibles 2 this past weekend. Liked it a lot. Nice mixture of humor and action. Shame we had to wait this long to get it, yet we had 3 freaking Cars movies in that time span. If we do get a third one, hopefully there is a time skip. Would like to see an odler Jack-Jack with control of his powers.

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    Spenser Davis
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    Chock it up to the power of editing to music; the trailer to WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? was more of a tearjerker than the actual doc itself.

    That said, it did exactly as advertised, and some of the archival footage they uncovered was truly wonderful. If there’s a major fault to this film as a whole, it’s that I found myself constantly wanting to do a deep-dive on some of the film’s later chapters — the idea that Mr. Rogers spoiled the younger generation into thinking they’re special, or his faith being tested during 9/11 — only to watch as director Morgan Neville skim the surface and move on. I understand why; he had 90 minutes to cover everything.

    But still, it does make you understand why a biopic like, say, Lincoln, might zoom in on a single seminal moment of an iconic individual’s life so successfully. To take the approach Neville does here is to cover everything but leave certain segments feeling under-served.

    Really enjoyed myself watching this. It’ll certainly be in the conversation at year’s end. But in the process of marveling at the kindness of this man, I found myself really wishing we’d spent more time lingering on the shadows that crept into the Neighborhood.

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    Elliot Kronsberg
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    I just saw “Ant-Man & The Wasp,” and honestly, I really enjoyed it. The Quantum Zone visuals were cool, there were some genuinely funny moments, and I like that it was in no hurry to move the larger Marvel Universe narrative further. I was talking to my brother, who thought that Walton Goggins’ whole character was unnecessary, but I think he served his function. I enjoyed not necessarily having a “big bad” and kinda wish we got more smaller superhero films where the characters just had fun with their powers instead of having to defend Earth from some giant, international threat – whether its aliens, gods, secret agent assassins, mutants, etc.

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    HotNerdLover
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    Won’t You Be My Neighbor? – A+

    Fred Rogers is the epitome of a national treasure. His singular contribution to children’s educational programming is awe-inspiring. This is a well-deserved frontrunner for Best Documentary. Neville’s direction was engrossing and comprehensive; I left the theatre with a strong sense of what Rogers believed, the scope of his impact, and a genuine desire to salvage the hope and goodness I had as a child.

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    HotNerdLover
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    Ant-Man and The Wasp – C+

    This felt like filler throughout – following Black Panther, Infinity War and Deadpool 2 definitely hurt the film; the stakes just weren’t high enough and the incessant shrinking and expanding (while cool at points) lost its excitement mid-way through – the villain’s powers were essentially the same as the heroes and the fight scenes fell flat. Michael Peña was the standout (excellent comedic timing) and Evangeline Lilly is utterly gorgeous, but this film was inconsequential – even with the end credits scene.

     

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    Atypical
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    “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” (2017): Baffling film to watch despite all of the talented people involved, especially Dan Gilroy, who delivered so well with “Nightcrawler” a couple years ago. Shaving off some screentime from the initial cut after its muted TIFF reception just wasn’t enough. It needed to alter conceptually, and by that point, it was too late. I can say that Denzel was fantastic here and unlike I’ve ever seen him before in a completely inward performance. That’s pretty much worth the price of admission, and I’m glad he landed his Oscar nomination despite the odds. The film didn’t anchor him well at all with errant plot twists that started and stopped for no reason, characters speaking overly writerly (a personal pet peeve of mine), non sequiturs and riddles that I guess could be explained by Roman clearly being on the spectrum (but that wasn’t stated at any point, which might be a virtue to some), a half-hearted love dalliance, scenes that went on for too long (editing flaws?), and then a final stretch that was no better than a random “SVU” episode. Robert Elswit’s cinematography was superb. Los Angeles has never looked more radiant. James Newton Howard’s score was taunt. Colin Farrell was solid for what the odd screenplay allowed his character to do. Carmen Ejogo was sadly wasted. Veryyy mixed bag overall, but yeah, Denzel’s something else, isn’t he?

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    CitizenBlake
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    Leave no Trace – 5/5

    This film is a sheer masterclass, and makes people like Gus Van Sant who may have tried to go for something similar in the past, look amateurish in stark comparison. In reality, it evokes linkage to Captain Fantastic, and director Debra Granik’s “breakout” (well not exaxtly), Winter’s Bone.

    From the very start where we see Tom (McKenzie) and her PTSD afflicted father (Foster) exchange wordless glance after wordless glance, and their routines to survive in an area away from the confines of civilisation, we know we’re in for a survivalist treat. It posesses an avant-garde esque disregard for dialogue or exposition, and in doing so, exudes a tone of sheer naturalism. The actors don’t even seem to be acting; they just exist, they have history and struggle; they’re just people. And that is utterly remarkable in this medium. This exceptionally low-key stylistic flourish permeates into every aspect of the filmmaking, and most importantly into Thomason McKenzie’s breakout lead performance.

    Now, the performances, with such a low key filmmaking style, are essential to the film. An almost intractably great amount of heavy-lifting is required from them because the film so often chooses to be wordless in its approach. It may not seem this way because of how subtle the acting is, but it most certainly is. The actors to need to invoke so much, and McKenzie, who has a greater focus than Foster, is never at a loss despite this potential handicap of intense, dialogue-scant minimalism. Her performance is a brilliant piece of sheer naturalism at every point. This is in terms of creating the state of her character itself which she skirts any quirks, for such fascinating realization of the girl who is acclimated as a healthy person, though with this inherent shyness, and level of distance to the “outside world” that illustrates the reality of what her life has been to this point. She keeps this very restrained quality to her acting, yet never is this hollow husk; always conveying such an emotional truth within it. What is most important is her chemistry/interactions with Foster, which evoke such a rich history, yet also so naturally realizes the central conflict while barely ever having to verbalize it past a few words. Her arc is so subtle and subdued yet McKenzie’s work realizes every point of her transition in terms of lifestyle so beautifully with such a painstaking but truly remarkable naturalism.

    I could rave about Foster even more, but I won’t. All I will say is this; Leave no Trace is a fantastic, beautifully realised film that so seamlessly manoeuvres around any pitfalls of its low-key, survivalist drama shtick. It offers a moving portrait of tortured humanity and our understanding of lifestyle and the need to recapture our youth, and provides a powerful portrayal of father and daughter love. One of the best films I’ve seen this year, and (possibly) my Best Actress win for McKenzie.

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