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

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

Unread post by Markgway » 28 Nov 2018, 05:12

Peppermint (2018) **
Disappointing vigilante thriller casts Jennifer Garner as one-woman army taking out a Colombian drug cartel.
Never boring, but low on credibility, even for this sort of movie.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Markgway » 30 Nov 2018, 00:07

Kaleidoscope (2016) **
Drab psychological drama in which mother-hating ex-con Toby Jones murders a tart.
Jones is good, but the film's really a giant tease that doesn't add up to terribly much.
Writer-director Rupert Jones (brother of Toby) is no Alfred Hitchcock.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Markgway » 30 Nov 2018, 05:54

Death Wish (2018) **
Not bad (but not exactly good) remake of the Charles Bronson vehicle is different enough to stand on its own feet, whilst horror hack Eli Roth handles the violence capably (with only a couple of moments of his trademark strong gore/torture). The real problem here is, surprisingly, Bruce Willis, whose acting is below the standard we know he's capable of. Whilst Bronson was low key, but believable, Willis is just wooden, and palpably disinterested. I couldn't help thinking how much better this would have been had the originally cast Liam Neeson been retained.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Markgway » 01 Dec 2018, 04:53

Unsane (2018) **½
A woman is tricked into committing herself to a psychiatric facility where her stalker awaits.
Steven Soderbergh's experimental thriller shot entirely on an iPhone is more interesting than satisfying,
though Claire Foy is fine in the lead role.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Markgway » 02 Dec 2018, 00:43

The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) ***
Suspenseful, smartly written follow-up.
The best of the series, despite a final act that should've been saved for JP3.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by HungFist » 02 Dec 2018, 11:42

The Outsider (USA, 2018) [Netflix] - 3.5/5
A highly entertaing twist to the usual yakuza film formula with Jared Leto as gaijin yakuza in 1950s Osaka and Kobe. The unusual protagonist adds a constant tension to a film that, with its depictions of Japanese yakuza, police and prison guards as corrupt animals... is otherwise just like any standard Japanese yakuza film! Indeed, there's is just a little bit too much familiarity to the ingredients as well as some tourist touring with one sumo, sauna or tattoo scene too much. The casting however is excellent (Kippei Shiina, Min Tanaka, Shun Sugata, Tadanobu Asano, Shioli Kutsuna) and the 50s milieu is nicely brought to life with good production values.

Obviously not without flaws, but to me some of the film’s poor reception strikes as a mix of modern sensitivity (oh no, don’t steal the poor Japanese their culture and trick their clueless actors into your film) and lack of knowledge of Japanese genre cinema. Of course you can criticize the film for clichés or being a movie for people who have never seen Fukasaku, Kitano or Miike films, but then, those are the genre’s most unique filmmakers. The criticism is valid if you take this approach, yes, but you’d have to disown 95% of Japanese genre cinema, including a lot of movies by genre favorites like Sadao Nakajima, on the same basis and I don’t see that happening.

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

Unread post by Markgway » 03 Dec 2018, 03:06

The Hunt (2012) ***
Upsetting Scandinavian drama about a playgroup supervisor falsely accused of child molestation and how his friends (sometimes brutally) turn against him. I would've done the ending differently but it gets the point across.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Markgway » 05 Dec 2018, 05:01

Brubaker (1980) ***
Good drama in which liberal warden Robert Redford is determined to reform a hellhole prison.

Kill Me Three Times (2014) **½
Aussie crime caper told in three time-shift chapters.
Has plenty of Tarantino's darkly violent humour, but little of his wit.
Cast (including Simon Pegg as a wry hitman) is fun to watch.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by HungFist » 07 Dec 2018, 15:47

Wheelman (USA, 2018) [Netflix] - 3.5/5
A getaway driver receives a threatening call while on a gig. Tightly paced at just 82 minutes and claustrophobically filmed almost entirely from inside the car, this is less an action film and more of a tense, well written thriller with a good leading performance by Frank Grillo.

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

Unread post by Markgway » 09 Dec 2018, 13:06

Buck Privates (1941) **
Innocuous first starring vehicle for A&C has minimal plot, more musical numbers than laughs.
Vaudeville routines are largely dated.

Abbott and Costello... Meet the Invisible Man (1951) **
Maybe I'm getting grouchy in my old age, but I found this more silly than enjoyable.
I loved A&C when I was a kid, perhaps where these memories belong?
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Markgway » 10 Dec 2018, 18:01

Abbott and Costello... Meet the Killer (1949) **½
This was a bit more up my alley.
A murder mystery-farce with a nice atmosphere and supporting role for Boris Karloff.
Costello is still LOUD and his shtick can be wearying.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Markgway » 11 Dec 2018, 09:52

Green for Danger (1946) ***½
Classic British murder mystery with Alistair Sim's delightfully wry Scotland Yard inspector.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Markgway » 12 Dec 2018, 22:41

Predator 2 (1990) **½
Frantic sequel, not as good as the original, but better than what came after.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by HungFist » 14 Dec 2018, 16:47

Killer Elite (UK/AU, 2011) [Netflix] - 3/5
Mediocre action mayhem elevated by an intriguing early 80s England setting and an unexpectedly good villain/opponent (Clive Owen). DeNiro is good, too. Supposedly based on a true story, possibly all made-up - that's just the way it should be.

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

Unread post by Markgway » 16 Dec 2018, 00:22

Halloween (2018) *½
We waited 40 years for this official sequel... it wasn't worth the wait.
Inert, boring slasher is no better than any of the other sequels this one ungraciously airbrushes from continuity.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Markgway » 16 Dec 2018, 23:11

Ricki and the Flash (2015) **½
Bar-room rocker Meryl Streep struggles to reconnect with her now adult kids decades after ditching them for her career.
Not bad comedy-drama, personable without much to make a fuss about.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Markgway » 17 Dec 2018, 05:11

Assassination Nation (2018) **½
Four teenage girls become the targets of a bloodthirsty mob when the town's social media is mysteriously hacked. Savage, nihilistic satire has cult potential stamped all over it. If only it were a better film. Impressively manages to skewer both the hedonistic, selfish Gen Z culture, as well as the conservative hypocrites who condemn it, but there's an alarming lack of focus and cohesion, giving the impression of a screenplay that doesn't know where it's heading from one scene to the next.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Markgway » 19 Dec 2018, 19:04

London Has Fallen (2015) **½
Gerard Butler's one man army has to protect the US President when seemingly hundreds of terrorists co-ordinate an attack on the UK capital.
Far-fetched, but never boring action thriller packs itself with more violence than sense, but does the job if you switch your brain off (or possibly have it removed to be sure).

Tomb Raider (2018) **
The beautiful Alicia Vikander makes for an appealing heroine, but not the embodiment of Lara Croft one has come to expect.
If you can accept this slightly built lass kicking arse, there's sub-Indiana Jones adventure entertainment to be had.
What's less forgivable is the pervasive CGI that drains any verisimilitude from every action sequence;
Croft is a video game character and this is truly a video game as movie.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Markgway » 19 Dec 2018, 19:15

Breakout (1975) **½
Charismatic Charlie Bronson breaks weedy Robert Duvall out of a Mexican prison.
Not enough action for this sort of movie, but very watchable in the main.
Contains the best bad guy hit by propellers scene ever.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Markgway » 20 Dec 2018, 05:44

Unfriended: Dark Web (2018) **
If you're at all paranoid about social media hacking and sinister goings on in the world of net best not watch this movie, it'll make you want to smash your PC/laptop/smart phone/tablet, etc with a giant mallet. Hard to follow at first, then it gradually gets on track, but whilst I was moderately engrossed, I can't honestly say I enjoyed the experience. Dark indeed.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Markgway » 22 Dec 2018, 00:27

Star Wars, Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015) ***
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by HungFist » 22 Dec 2018, 17:47

Two movies I watched just before a 10 hour flight :lol:

Non-Stop (USA, 2014) [Netflix] - 4/5
Dynamite Liam Neeson thriller never lets go once it gets going. Superb entertainment, other than the C-grade CGI effects at the end. Also, the storyline might not make logical sense in closer inspection, but I was having way too much fun to think about that.

The Gray (USA, 2011) [Netflix] – 3.5/5
Liam Neeson leads a pack of men who crash-land in the middle of snow storm beaten wasteland that is also hunting ground for blood thirsty wolves. Impressively physical survival thriller clearly shot under gruelling conditions.

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

Unread post by Markgway » 25 Dec 2018, 00:08

Agatha and the Truth of Murder (2018) **½
Renowned crime novelist Agatha Christie disappears for 11 days in 1926 during which time she investigates a cold case murder.
Not bad mystery takes a while to hits its stride. Ruth Bradley is very good as the mid-thirties Agatha.
A couple of unnecessary f-words, I expect the BBC's seasonal offering will be worse in this regard.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Markgway » 25 Dec 2018, 07:15

Boomerang (1992) **½
Ad executive Eddie Murphy is the player who gets played in this sort-of romantic sort-of comedy.
Murphy is watchable as ever, but the film is overlong and vulgar.

Happy Christmas (2014) *½
Appallingly self-indulgent indie drama, filmed in 16mm, about a twenty-something screw-up (Anna Kendrick)
and her effect on her sister-in-law Melanie Lynskey (who almost manages to emerge from this unscathed).
Improvised throughout, and boy, does it show. Irresponsible drug use is par for the course.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Guro Taku » 25 Dec 2018, 08:35

The Devil's Doorway (UK, 2018) [BD] - 2/5
It's only on the rarest of occasions that I still bother with a "found footage" type horror film, seeing how the subgenre has become the go-to for untalented amateurs with no budget. This production got my interest because it proposes to have its footage filmed on 16mm stock in the 70ies and its setting is one of the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland, where "fallen women" and their illegitimate children were "taken care of" by the Catholic Church. The two priests sent there are the usual pairing of sceptic and believer and it is the film they shoot for documentation that we are shown. Unfortunately, the interesting setting and technical aspect isn't backed up by an interesting story, as the events unfolding are an uneven hodgepodge of ghost kids, a possessed girl and Satan-worshipping nuns. A missed opportunity.

Pyewacket (Canada, 2017) [BD] - 3/5
A teenaged girl who has developed an interest in the occult after her father's death, summons a demon to kill her mother after they have a fight and spends the rest of the film desperately trying to undo her spell. The central mother-daughter relationship is well acted and rings emotionally true at all times. There is plenty of ambiguity, leaving room for either a genuinely supernatural explanation or one that goes into the direction of mental illness on the girl's part. The only part that didn't work for me is that in the film's reality there are authors who write demon summoning books, include actual spells, go on book tours and are available for Skype sessions when impulsive teenagers conjure up an unstoppable murderdemon.

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