What Movie Have You Seen Today?


#283

Bohemian Rhapsody

The first rock band I ever heard and instantly became a huge fan of was Queen. I was 11 years old. Their music became a companion for me ever since. When Freddie Mercury died it was the first death of a beloved artist I experienced. There would never be a new Queen song again (a real Queen song, with all the members of the group involved), and it opened my mind to the inevitable truth: nothing lasts forever.

So the news about Queen and especially Mercury´s life being made into a feature film excited me - the opportunity to relive the past. But I was also worried that it would turn out disappointing - just like the band´s decision to tour and record with other lead singers (which never clicked for me and only proved that Queen was the sum of its parts, the extremely rare rock group that was so great because every single one of its members was hugely important; take out one and it all falls apart).

Then came the bad reviews. So many critics hating the film because it did not delve deep enough into the excesses and Mercury´s illness, making fun of its “PG-13” rating and Brian May and Roger Taylor influencing the film to stay “family friendly”, vetoing Sacha Baron Cohen´s ideas.

However, Rami Malek´s portrayal of Freddie Mercury in the previews and clips seemed to satisfy most critics, so I remained hopeful and wanted to see the film on the big screen instead of waiting for it to come to home video.

Yesterday, I saw the film and I must say: it is FANTASTIC.

It really is a celebration of Freddie Mercury’s legacy and Queen´s ongoing appeal. And while it does not focus on the excesses and lows, it does not shy away from it either. It shows the effects of Mercury´s loneliness and longing to belong in a very touching way, immensely helped by Malek´s phenomenal acting and mimicry. And the allusion to drugs and sexual excesses works so much more effectively than any R or even X-rated film could have. In the end, I as a Queen fan would not even have wanted to see all that. I wanted to see the human being, yes, but I also wanted to see the triumph, not the deconstruction of the legend.

And since this is not a documentary, I understand that the narrative had to be streamlined, the chronology of events and songs had to be slightly shifted, in order to tell an emotionally captivating story. But it all worked for me magnificently. To see even the recreation of the band´s triumphant Live Aid gig on a big screen left me exhilarated and actually tearing up because again it made me realize that nothing lasts forever. Except maybe the great connection Queen was able to forge with their fans through timeless music.


#284

Really? I will ask him when I next see him. I never knew about that.

SAF - Cracking review there sir.


#285

He’s Out There (2018)
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Yvonne Strahovski
dir. Quinn Lasher

Considering that this film had a very tiny theatrical release and very little fanfare surrounding its release, getting lost in the shuffle of the massive couple of years that horror has been having with the likes of IT and Get Out taking the genre to new heights, it would be easy to dismiss He’s Out There as another film that is of the straight-to-DVD quality that its release would suggest that it is. That’s not the case, however,

It is true that this film doesn’t break any new ground. We’ve seen a lot of this before. Essentially, it’s a home-invasion film in the vein of The Strangers or When a Stranger Calls, with a villain in a scary mask tormenting our protagonists with increasingly vicious and frightening images, sounds, and deeds as they try to escape their surroundings and make it to the safety of civilization.

Yvonne Strahovski plays Laura, who takes her two young children to a secluded lake house for their annual getaway vacation. Once they settle in for their first night in the house, things begin to go wrong, and eventually they are being tormented by some force from outside the house who clearly has ill intentions for them.

Where the film is the strongest is in these moments before we really see the masked man up close, which thankfully takes a while for the filmmakers to build up to. In the lead-up to the film’s climax, there are some genuinely tense moments that actually do leave the heart thumping out of concern for Laura and her two small children. Effective sound effects, solid performances, and excellent work behind the camera by director Quinn Lasher really has the viewer on the edge of their seats for a large stretch of the film’s middle section, continuously teasing the first face-to-face meeting between our three heroines and the masked man terrorizing them. The film runs out of steam a bit once this happens, but by that point it had already exceeded expectations and delivered more thrills than anyone could have expected going in.


#286

Halloween (2018)
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Jamie Lee Curtis, Will Patton, Nick Castle
dir. David Gordon Green

I wasn’t at all disappointed with my first trip out to the cinema since Spectre, taking in David Gordon Green’s take on the Halloween franchise. To say that this, the eleventh film in the franchise, is the best since the original film is to damn it with faint praise.

That’s not to say that there aren’t missteps in this film, because there are, including an absolutely massive one towards the end that very easily could have derailed the entire film, but everything else that is here is good, so good in fact, that it covers up whatever issues the film might otherwise have going against it.

Jamie Lee Curtis returns as Laurie Strode, now not the sister of deranged killer Michael Myers. Curtis plays Laurie as an absolutely broken mess of a woman who has carried the trauma of “the night HE came home” in 1978 with her ever since. She has a very strained relationship with her daughter (Judy Greer) and granddaughter (newcomer Andi Matichak) due to her lifelong obsession with preparing and fortifying for the inevitable return of Michael Myers to Haddonfield.

Where Halloween is at its most successful is when it’s something of a character study on the effects of trauma on a variety of people. The interplay between Laurie and her family is the backbone of the film. The audience comes in with firsthand knowledge of what happened to her at the hands of Michael Myers back in 1978, but her daughter and granddaughter don’t have that information, so at the same time you can feel Laurie’s pain when her family doesn’t listen to her or heed her warnings, but you also feel strongly for the rest of her family as they plead with her to let Myers go and move on with her life. The emotional journey that Judy Greer’s character, for example, takes through the film is a compelling one, as we see her lying to her daughter about talking to Curtis’ character in the beginning of the film to having to slowly march headlong towards Curtis’ “final” (how many times have we said this in this franchise?) with Michael Myers.

Myers, on the other hand, is an interesting character in this film, thanks to the dual portrayals of him by James Jude Courtney and the originator of the role, Nick Castle. Castle portrays The Shape in his pre-mask moments, and does an outstanding job, giving Myers a surprising physicality for an older man who is perhaps somewhat vulnerable without his venerable mask and trademark coveralls. The two actors in this film pull off an impressive feat, returning the character of MIchael Myers to actually being “The Shape”, a faceless void of evil that subsequent filmmakers after Carpenter tried desperately to understand, while also bringing a depth to the character that, in retrospect, Rob Zombie could only have dreamed of bringing him. It is clear in this edition of the franchise that Michael Myers is a flesh-and-blood man (albeit one with a ridiculously high pain tolerance), and Castle manages to bring enough of a semblance of humanity to him while also reclaiming that idea of the blank void of evil that made the original so frightening. It’s a terrific performance by both actors.

With all of this terrific work being done by veterans such as Curtis, Greer, and Castle, it would be easy for the film’s younger cast to get lost in the shuffle, but thankfully David Gordon Green has stocked this film with some absolutely tremendous supporting characters. Although technically a supporting character, Andi Matichak is a revelation as Laurie Strode’s granddaughter. Enough can’t be said about how good she is in this film, doing more than justice to the concept of the type of role that Jamie Lee Curtis helped to bring to the mainstream with her original turn as Strode in 1978. I can’t wait to see Matichak in more films, and hopefully some more Halloween films, as we move forward. She’s a rising star, no question.

Will Patton is also on hand as Officer Hawkins, who is essentially the stand-in for the usual sheriff character that we’ve gotten in most of these films. Patton is his usual excellent self, bringing a credibility to this type of role that we’re not used to seeing in these films. Also a highlight among the supporting cast are Virginia Gardener as a babysitter named Vicky and Jibrail Nantambu, the actor who portrays the young boy that Vicky is babysitting for on Halloween night. Their scene is at the same time both hiilarious and absolutely terrifying. Nantambu’s character is one of the best non-Strode characters to be introduced to the franchise on quite some time. It’s a bit part and doesn’t connect to the overall narrative of the film, but it’s definitely a highlight of the film.

The only misstep that Halloween makes is in the twist it tries to force down the audience’s throat towards the end of the film as the film moves into the mode of trying to bring us to the confrontation between Strode and Myers. Without going into spoiler territory, the motivation for the twist can be decoded if you really think back on the film afterward, but in the moment, it leaves you completely scratching your head in the moment and takes you completely out of the film for a few moments, also thanks in no short measure to the brief blend of horror and potentially unintended comedy that immediately follows. It should be said that it’s an absolute testament to Curtis, Greer, Matichak, and Courtney for pulling this film back on track as the film comes to its climax, as the twist threatened to completely derail the film.

The climax itself is one of the most heart-pounding stretches of any Halloween film, including the original and, thankfully, makes you forget the misstep that sets it up. The confrontation is everything you’d want it to be and more, and the four principal actors involved completely knock it out of the park.

David Gordon Green, despite a misstep here and there, has effectively crafted a horror masterpiece with his follow-up to John Carpenter’s original. Speaking of Carpenter, he provides a truly excellent score for the film as well, mirroring his original score in 1978 while breathing new life into it as well. With the Halloween franchise now back on track, hopefully Green can be enticed to return to bring us more.


#287

Great review, Dalton. Loved this film. I do want to mention that Nick Castle only had one scene in the film, and it was a masked scene. All scenes without the mask was Courtney.


#288

I had unfortunately found that out later last night and had forgotten to come back to amend my review. Apparently wherever I had read about the Castle/Courtney dynamic previously had been mistaken. Still, Courtney did a fantastic job. I remembered having been very impressed with Derek Mears’ performance as Jason in the reboot of Friday the 13th a while back, but Courtney did an even better job here.


#289

Bohemian Rhapsody

Thoroughly enjoyed this music biopic on Freddie Mercury and Queen. Though I knew their hits, I did not know much about their front man. Despite the outgoing persona, he was quite a sensitive and sweet man. Queen was a very inventive and innovative band, the closest thing the 70s got to the Beatles’ genre crossing and experimentation. But by the 80s, their star began to fade here in the states. As a kid on losing soccer teams, I got sick of hearing the victors sing, “We Are the Champions” all the time. But the genius of the lyric is Freddie got 12 year old boys to sing what many interpret as a gay rights song (“I’ve done my sentence, but committed no crime”.) There’s a brilliant cameo by Mike Meyers lambasting the song he made famous again with Wayne’s World.

Some of the factual history is out of order, and some characters glossed over or rolled into one, but it captures the spirit of the music culminating in a mini-concert at Live Aid by the end. Had chills down my spine during three separate songs, from how they crafted “We Will Rock You” to the final product stadium performance, to “Radio Gaga” and the last song of the Live Aid set performed. Rami Malek was fantastic, and the other members of the band so spot on it’s hard to tell them apart from the actual band footage over the credits. Enjoyed it even more the second time.


#290

Hi.

I did ask him but he wasn’t aware of anyone else being auditioned for it. He himself did not audition; he was just called up by his agent and told to be somewhere.


#291

Thanks. I remember this was about 2002-3 when Fish was taking a break from music and looking into acting. There was some chatter about him possibly being in a Bond film, and that was the role that seemed to fit the description.

Anyway, if you see him again, tell him I absolutely love the ‘Clutching at Straws’ album.


#292

You might have missed the point.

I know Steve Pirie, of minor DAD fame.

I do Not know Fish, of Marillion fame.


#293

Ah. Well, thanks for asking him about it.


#294

Thanks to a buy one get one free promotion and a computer glitch at Dollar General I was able to pick up a boatload of Blu-rays for 1.24 each! So I’ve been watching a LOT of movies lately, many I’ve never seen before but at such a cheap price it was worth the blind buy. Using the four star system.

Fletch (1985) ***
I really enjoyed this one. A laid back detective film that plays it serious enough to be compelling but without losing any of the laughs. It may not be Chevy Chase’s best film but it’s one of his better roles.

Uncle Buck (1989) **1/2 stars
Pleasant enough film but I felt it dragged a bit. John Candy is excellent of course but its no Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

The Breakfast Club (1985) ***
Really engaging film. The cast is across the board excellent but I think Judd Nelson was the standout here. I’m glad I finally took care of this cultural blind spot in my film watching experience.

Say Anything (1989) ***
I bought this one main mainly because John Mahoney from “Frasier” was in it. Above average teen romance. John Cusack is really good but I really liked the girl played by Ione Skye. Plus there were two more Frasier connections. The film is set in Seattle and Lilith herself Bebe Neuwirth pops up for one scene.

Neighbors (2014) ***
I generally find most modern comedies to be too vulgar, explicit, and frankly unfunny. Neighbors is certainly vulgar and explicit but it’s also actually funny. A simply concept played to the hilt with some very funny performances. I laughed out loud multiple times which rarely happens with recent comedies. More Rose Byrne please.

Office Space (1999) ***1/2
This one I am kicking myself for waiting so long to finally see. Good lord is this one funny and satirical and 100% accurate. This is basically a documentary. No wonder this has become a cult classic.

Cobra (1986) ***
For those who think Dirty Harry is too subdued I give your Sly Stallone as “Cobra.” This movie is so ridiculously awesome. It starts off legitimately good with a great opening sequence in a grocery store with some good one liners from Sly. Then it becomes a weird slasher film mixed with a police procedural action film. This is goes completely off the rails and becomes so bad it becomes awesome again.


#295

The Endless (2017)

Two brothers living just above the poverty line in LA receive a cryptic video message inspiring them to revisit the desert-based cult they escaped a decade earlier. Hoping to find the closure that they couldn’t find as young men, they’re forced to reconsider the cult’s beliefs when confronted with unexplainable phenomena surrounding the camp.

This is an eerie, well-made low-budget horror film. Very subtle, starring the directors themselves, the plot gets more and more weird as it unravels. It has some very nice creepy moments without showing much, just the kind of horror film I like.

Very impressive and worth checking out.


#296

I finally watched MI:Fallout…

Firstly, it’s a ton of fun. Cruise still owns the role, even if he is starting to look a little AVTAK. The rest of the cast are without exception very solid. The plot is meh, but it’s MI… it’ll do. The direction is also solid, if a little workman-like at times (mostly between set-pieces).

However, i must admit that i wasn’t as blown away as i’d expected, after all the amazingly positive word of mouth. It does what it says on the tin very well, but all things considered it lacks the depth and nuance - the more arthouse direction and more detailed performances - of Craig’s Bond movies.

Many here, who aren’t fans of the Craig Bond’s more risky arthouse tendencies of late will obviously see the absence of such pretensions as a major virtue of MI: Fallout and reason to rub this accomplished rollercoaster ride of a movie in Bond’s face.

But personally i welcome Bond’s recent skewing towards the arts, even when it fails and find that far more interesting and re-watchable. Whereas, despite the enormous fun i had with MI: Fallout, once credits rolled it was all but forgotten; next please!

Great movie, but Bond’s still No.1 in my book.

…Oh, one last thing… What on earth were they thinking by sticking much of the coming movie into the opening titles? As thrilling and well cut as this sequence was it most definitely spoiled a great deal of the movie; “Oh, i know exactly how they’re gonna do this, or that, because i just saw Cruise doing a bit of it at the beginning!”

Perhaps they thought the trailers had already revealed this stuff, but i watched all of the trailers and felt far more was revealed in the opening credits - as well as being directly before we see it all again in the movie, taking off some of the shine.

Or perhaps Cruise just can’t get enough (or thinks the audience can’t get enough) of seeing him ‘do action’! It was like a showreel / ego-reel for Cruise The Stuntman.

On tv shows the reason ‘pre-titles’ coming-up sequences are there is to hook the viewer and stop them changing channels. I don’t think anyone’s gonna change channels in a cinema, at least not in any screenings i’ve been to!


#297

The preview scenes in the titles is a long-standing tradition that goes back to the original TV show, intended as teasers to entice you to stop changing channels. Maybe they went a little far this time around. It didn’t bother me.


#298

I remember it from the tv show, but don’t recall it from any of the previous movies. But then i don’t recall a whole lot from any of the previous movies, save perhaps the auteur touches from De Palma in the first one, which themselves are often love letters to Hitchcock.

As we’ve both pointed out now, in tv show they have a function. In the movie they’re merely unnecessary branding. Sure i don’t mind a little unnecessary branded (i love a gun barrel Bond opener), but not when it spoils what’s yet to come.


#299

I disagree with everything but the tons of fun.

Cruise looking like Moore in AVTAK?
The direction workman like?
Characters in the Craig films more sophisticated?

To put it in the word of Darth Vader: Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

:wink:


#300

I knew I’d get some stick :slightly_smiling_face:


#301

I finally got round to seeing MI: Fallout. I really enjoyed it, and I look forward to seeing more.

But I have a confession to make…

It’s very hard to say this but

I,

unfortunately

have an affliction that allows me to really enjoy both Mission Impossible under Bad Robot and Craig’s Bond films!

This affliction also means, and it pains me to confess this on the internet, that I can enjoy things without having to start criticising something else.

image


#302

Die Hard 4. On UK Netflix

Has anyone seen both the UK and US releases of this film? There are a number of changes, or if having started with the UK film, additions to the US version.

McClane is a lot more chatty in the US version. Far more quips and jokes that, having started with and loved the UK version, do seem rather excessive.

Changes I noted and of perhaps only interest to UK dwellers.

  1. In escaping from Matt Farrell’s apartment, in the corridor when exploding the fire extinguisher, McClane utters, ‘That’ll wake the neighbours.’

  2. After the Capitol building has exploded, and McClane is trying to convince Farrell to step up and help, when walking away from Farrell’s words, I don’t want to be shot at, McClane says, ‘You get used to it.’

  3. Having got into the East Hub Power thing, Mai (Magie Q) shoots someone at a computer desk. In the UK version, she wipes the blook off the screen. Not sure that happens in the US version.

  4. McClane calls Warlock ‘Dump Truck’ when in his Command Centre. Doesn’t ring a bell in the UK version, but can’t remember what he does call him.

  5. When leaving Warlock’s house, and before getting into the car, the US version has a quieter, ‘Things are going to get messy’ kinda speech. In the UK version, he is more like what we saw in the trailers. First I’m gonna kill… Then I’m gonna kill…

  6. When McClane is fighting the free runner in the pipes and masher chamber, in the UK version it is just fighting with one, ‘Damn hamster’ line. In the US version, McClane says ‘It’s time to think what you want on your tombstone’ mid fight.

Think I prefer the UK version. Or maybe only because that is what I have become used to…