What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Film Reviews and Release Comparisons
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by grim_tales » 14 Jan 2018, 22:20

Batman (TV series - 1st episode): 3.5/5

Silly, colourful camp fun - it's amazing how good this looks on the Blu Ray.

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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Markgway » 15 Jan 2018, 14:11

New Jack City (1991-USA) **½
Groundbreaking urban gangster drama captured the zeitgeist, made a star of Wesley Snipes.
The extras focus on the hip hop culture, which to me is the least appealing part.
The film itself boasts a strong anti-drug message, but that seems to have lost on the 'gangsta' rapper participants.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by HungFist » 15 Jan 2018, 15:44

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Theatrical Cut) (USA, 2016) [Flight] - 1.5/5
I've always liked Batman because he's more rooted in (fantasy) reality than the flying supermen you find in many other superhero films. I was hence hoping this would be more of a Batman than a Superman film. I was wrong. Affleck makes a surprisingly decent Batman and the dark tone is welcome, but it doesn't take long until the film becomes a showdown of mutants other fantasy creatures flying in the sky and firing CGI effects at each other. Messy and boring.

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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Markgway » 16 Jan 2018, 16:31

Wind River (2016-USA-Canada-UK) ***
A hunter (Jeremy Renner) and a fish-out-of-water FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) investigate the murder of a teenage girl on a native reservation.
Sombre, sensitive thriller; well done.

Office Christmas Party (2016) **
Typically broad, crude R-rated comedy shenanigans; only infrequently funny.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Markgway » 17 Jan 2018, 01:35

Killing Ground (2016-Australia) **
Camping couple are stalked in the wilderness by a pair of psycho killers.
Unpleasant, ugly suspense horror, only partially redeemed by refusal to rely on graphic gore.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Markgway » 17 Jan 2018, 07:18

It (2017-USA-Canada) **
Big screen adaptation of Stephen King's novel proved to be the sleeper hit of 2017. Not entirely sure why though; as it's really not that good. If you find CGI effects scary you might be freaked out by this, but the story is a jumbled, random, heavy-handed mess. A near-heartless, rambling Elm Street-like fantasy horror where every adult character is bad, for no apparent reason, and the demonic clown character of 'Pennywise' (the main villain) goes undefined, despite a 135 min run time. Who is he? What is he? Where does he come from? All questions the filmmakers couldn't be bothered to address - at least we know everything there is to know about Freddy Krueger and his M.O. Bill Skarsgard replaces Tim Curry behind the makeup, but isn't given much to do without special effects. Perhaps most crucially, the child (well, early teen) characters are a very mixed bag, and I can't say I ever empathised with them. Where warmth and innocence was needed, we instead get sarcasm and smut (even in the late 80s did 13-year-olds swear that much?). I've never read the novel, and don't remember the mini-series well enough to compare (except to say the second part was naff - but you'll have to wait until 2019 for the film of that).
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by HungFist » 17 Jan 2018, 10:09

American Made (USA, 2017) [Flight] - 3.5/5
Mark Kermode said there's good Tom Cruise and there's bad Tom Cruise, and this is good Tom Cruise. I agree (though I'd add that most Cruise films tend to be good). Slightly clichéd yet original at the same time, it's the usual Scorsese style from-bottom-to-top gangster tale except this time the protagonist is a pilot who starts working for CIA and South American drug cartels simultaneously, as a spy and a drug smuggler. True story (more or less)! Well made and often funny, with interesting historical context. Cruise is also good at playing these type of characters who are cool but a bit of assholes too.

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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by grim_tales » 18 Jan 2018, 22:27

Star Wars - The Last Jedi: 3/5

Overlong, but still exciting in places. Carrie Fisher's tragic death gives her scenes (and interaction with an aging Luke) added poignancy.
Kylo Ren = Han Solo's son, so were Rey and Kylo brother and sister? Thats why she tried to save him?

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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by grim_tales » 20 Jan 2018, 22:35

Back in Action (1994): 3.5/5

Cheesy mid-90's DTV actioner, somehow very entertaining. Heavily pre-cut and butchered by the BBFC back in the day but uncensored on the DVD.

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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Markgway » 22 Jan 2018, 04:05

The Yakuza (1974-USA-Japan) **½
Pretty good on-location thriller in which baggy-eyed Robert Mitchum and Ken Takakura team up to waste some gangsters.
Takes a while to get going and struggles with pacing.
Not sure Sydney Pollack was the right man to direct (apparently Warner Bros turned down Martin Scorsese!)
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by grim_tales » 22 Jan 2018, 22:51

Le Samourai (1967, France): 4/5

A stylish police story, I hadnt seen this since I tried watching it in college. The pace is slow in places and theres not a lot of dialogue, but it's well acted and not boring. There's shades of Woo's The Killer in there.

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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by HungFist » 24 Jan 2018, 06:17

Money Monster (USA, 2016) [Flight] - 4/5
I had held off from seeing this film after hearing some negative feedback. Mistake! This is an excellent, tense one-room thriller starring George Clooney as TV host taken as hostage in live broadcast by a John Doe who lost his money because of bad investment advice given in the show. Clooney is good as usual, and I didn't even hate Julia Roberts this time. I haven't seen Jodie Foster's other films, but she seems like a competent director based on this film.

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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Markgway » 24 Jan 2018, 08:35

Mean Guns (1996-USA) *½
Badly directed, oddly bloodless action movie from Albert Pyun.
Tons of action, with guns and baseball bats as weapons of choice,
but none of it is well-enough choreographed or shot to make up for
a muddled script and its Tarantino-esque pretensions.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by saltysam » 24 Jan 2018, 21:43

Dunkirk 2.5/5
Well made but strangely cold war drama from Christopher Nolan. Hard to care for any of the characters as we don't get to know them.

Blade Runner 2049 2.5/5
Well received sequel didn't resonate with me much. Looks nice but very long and it probably doesn't help that i'm not keen on Ryan Gosling. Nice seeing Ford come back to another of his iconic roles though.

War For The Planet Apes 3.5/5
Bleak,long but very good closer to the new trilogy,though it was a bit obvious how much Woody Harrelson was channelling Colonel Kurtz here.

Black Rain 3/5
Decent Ridley Scott Japan set thriller. Michael Douglas is very good here as is Ken Takakura as his incorruptible japanese counterpart.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by saltysam » 25 Jan 2018, 20:52

The Foreigner 3.5/5
A nice surprise-a good Jackie Chan film. Solid action thriller mostly lives up to the hype generated by it's trailer and Pierce Brosnan is an excellent counterpart to Chan's search for vengeance character.For anyone bothered by these things the USA blu ray is surprisingly Region locked (Universal release).
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by grim_tales » 25 Jan 2018, 22:52

Volver (Spain, 2006): 4/5

Quirky comic drama with a touch of mystery, involving 3 generations of women. I enjoyed it.

Raimunda and her sister Sole lost their parents in a tragic fire years ago... or did they?

Penelope Cruz is so damn beautiful in this film :)

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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Markgway » 29 Jan 2018, 11:29

Ticking Clock (2010-USA) *½
Direct-to-video drivel stars a down-on-his-luck Cuba Gooding, Jr. (and I mean the actor) as a dumb investigative reporter trying to solve a series of grisly killings in which he's implicated. There's a novel twist involving time travel, but with poor writing and direction it has no chance.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Markgway » 30 Jan 2018, 11:09

Evil Under the Sun (1981-UK) **½
Quite good adaption of Agatha Christie novel with Peter Ustinov as a more tongue-in-cheek Hercule Poirot.
Sunny locale, name cast, but the clever plotting is the star of the show (I do love those engrossing third act reveals).
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by grim_tales » 30 Jan 2018, 22:09

Justice League: 3.5/5

A superhero team of Batman (a gruff Ben Affleck) Wonder Woman (the gorgeous Gal Gadot) and others battle against an evil force that could destroy the planet. The idea of a hero with social difficulties and awkwardness (The Flash) who is scared of a lot of things but can run very fast and has great reflexes, is an interesting one. I liked some of the banter between the team and the humour.

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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by saltysam » 31 Jan 2018, 20:50

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978) 3/5
Solid remake of the 50's classic helped by a good cast led by Donald Sutherland and some knowing cameos from the original.

Christine 2.5/5
John Carpenter adaption of the Stephen King novel starts well but flaws become evident-Keith Gordon's transformation from nerd to arrogant prick is too quick and in the end it all becomes a little predictable.

Straw Dogs (2011) 2.5/5
As remakes go this one is fairly well done,slick,harsh but ultimately doesn't offer anything the superior original didn't.

The Fury 2/5
Another Brian De Palma 70's horror about telekinesis, this one has evil cia agent John Cassavettes kidnapping widower Kirk Douglas gifted son. Not bad but rather disappointing,at times Douglas becomes sidelined in his own movie and Amy Irving as another gifted teenager is annoyingly whiny throughout.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Markgway » 03 Feb 2018, 15:38

Top Five (2014-USA) **½
Comedian Chris Rock (also director) is desperate to be taken seriously, which no one, not least his harshest critic Rosario Dawson, does.
Self-reflective comedy-drama works in fits and bursts, with some decent media satire.
I found some of the African-American cultural references hard to understand and relate to (the title stems from Rock's habit of asking people their top five rappers).
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by HungFist » 04 Feb 2018, 13:19

I saw this last year in Yubari. I seem to have forgotten to write a review so here goes.

Tonight She Comes (USA, 2016) [Yubari Fanta] - 2.5/5
What if after decades of masked killers in horror films, we had one who doesn't wear anything at all? And she was a young woman! A rather typical modern genre film conceived by an adolescent mind. Tries very hard to be a real genre film and a post modern parody homage at the same time. The high concept premise wears itself off in about 10 minutes, which is perhaps for the best because the practical effects deserve some attention, and the ritual stuff towards the end is kind of cool. Still, I couldn't help but to think that re-watching Evil Dead Trap or some other real thing would have been more fun.

I usually prefer watching films alone, but this one might work better with a couple of friends and a lot of beer.

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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Markgway » 06 Feb 2018, 06:36

Shakedown (1988-USA) **½
Generic actioner has just enough 80s style violence to paper over a patchy script.
Passably entertaining, save for ludicrous climactic stunt.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Markgway » 06 Feb 2018, 11:56

Fargo (1995-UK) **½
Coen Bros.' black comedy-thriller is quite good, but hasn't held up as well as I'd expected.
The bickering killers feel very Tarantino-esque and very 90s.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Markgway » 07 Feb 2018, 03:29

Shaft (2000-USA-Germany) **½
Not bad update/reboot of 70s blaxploitation franchise.
Sam Jackson is well cast, but the script has its problems, and racial issues.
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