Jul. 15th, 2017

thewayne: (Default)
6/3 PotC Dead Men Tell No Tales
6/1 Wonder Woman

5/30 PotC (v)
5/10 Colossal
5/? Guardians of the Galaxy 2 x2
5/6 Guardians of the Galaxy (v)
5/1 The Zookeeper's Wife

4/30 Sleight
4/28 Their Finest
4/23 Paris, Je T'Aime (v)
4/22 Moana (v)
4/21 Pixels (v)
4/20 Tangled (v)
4/15 Ghost in the Shell
4/9 A United Kingdom (Fountain)
4/7 Going in Style
4/2 Mighty Morphing Power Rangers

So starting with the earliest....

Mighty Morphing Power Rangers was a lot of fun for what was, more or less, YA entertainment. It was pretty much as silly as the TV series as I recall, but they did a good job updating it for more modern times. I look forward to seeing what they do with future releases.

Going In Style: also lots of fun. A heist movie starring: old people! And they get caught! And they still pull it off! Very clever.

A United Kingdom probably didn't see wide release, we saw it in an art house theater. It's a true story about the creation of Botswana. The king, Seretse, is a student in London and falls in love with a white British girl, Ruth. Initially he reveals himself to just be a student, but things get complicated. He's destined to be the king and marry a local girl to solidify political alliances for the good of the country, etc., which is a British protectorate. Eventually Seretse and Ruth marry, against Ruth's parent's wishes, and move back to Africa. Seretse ends up exiled for five years and has to move back to London. Meanwhile, Churchill is running for Prime Minister again and promises that he'll rescind the exile if his party is elected. They are, and he doesn't: in fact, the exile is made permanent. It was a heck of a movie, definitely recommended. And it is a feel-good movie, all works out in the end: Ruth and Seretse are buried side-by-side on a hill overlooking the village where they lived most of their lives in Botswana.

Ghost in the Shell would have been an excellent movie if they hadn't cast ScarJo in the lead. Very good story, excellent visuals, but she brought absolutely nothing to the movie IMO. As much as her stunt sequences were wire work, any competently-trained actress, PREFERABLY ASIAN, could have done the job. And their oh-so-clever alteration of the story to justify casting a white woman in the role of The Major did nothing to justify casting a white woman in the role of The Major. It was a sa attempt to retcon her that did not work.

Tangled. I decided to start logging and talking about videos that I/we watch that I hadn't previously seen, and this is one. It is original Disney material based on a classic story, but honestly, it didn't do too much for me. Enjoyable, but not particularly memorable.

Pixels. More video. I saw this in the theater and enjoyed it. My wife had not seen it, and we were looking for something mindless. And trust me, this is pretty mindless. Still, it is fun, and as Adam Sandler movies go, it's better than most. But that's not saying it's a good movie, just that it's mindless fun.

Moana. Even more video. We saw it in the theater and quite liked it, I kinda wish we'd seen it at least once again on the big screen. I find it interesting that even on our dinky little 36" or whatever LCD in 720p (since our receiver blew up, that's the only resolution we get, and that's fine by me) that I appreciate subtleties in effects that I don't notice in the theater. Things like water reflections, or fire effects, knowing that these are fiendishly difficult for animators to get right. we also worked through the bonus features which were quite interesting.

Paris, Je T'Aime was the last of this block of videos. This took me by surprise because I didn't know what it was. It's actually a collection of VERY loosely-connected short films, typically about 5 minutes long. They're made by some VERY big names, and have some VERY big name stars in them. The vampire sequence was quite good, as was the blind guy sequence. Most of them were very good. It just took me some time to realize that it really was a short story collection. Still, recommended.

Their Finest is one of the best movies that I've seen this year. Seriously. It's about a group of people in World War II London who make propaganda films for the British government. I don't know exactly when it's set, but it's shortly after the rescue at Dunkirk, which is interesting because there's a Dunkirk movie about to come out. Anyway, they hear a story about two very young women who take their dad's fishing boat without permission and sail out on their own to sail across the channel and rescue soldiers, but the boat breaks down on the return and they have to get a tow. There's a lot more to the story than that, obviously, but it's just a tremendously entertaining story. I'd say it's light drama with a great cast, featuring the likes of Bill Nighey, who was prominently featured in Love Actually. He plays an older actor who is just constantly chewing up the scenery. This is definitely on my Must Purchase list.

Sleight was actually a mistake. I did not intend to see it, I had gone to the theater to see Zookeeper's Wife. I bought a ticket for Zookeeper's Wife. But I'd put away my reading glasses, so I asked the ticket clerk which theater, she said #1. So I go to #1. It was a full-service theater, so I order munchies and a drink, settle in, and the previews don't really seem appropriate for what I was going to see. And it was starting REALLY late. And then I realized it was the wrong film. I look at my watch and what I'd wanted to see had started a good 40 minutes earlier, so I was kinda screwed. So I watched something that I was kind of prejudiced against. It turned out more interesting than I thought. Technically, it's science fiction, but it's gang-related. Our hero is a sleight of hand street magician, really good at what he does. He can do coin tricks and levitation like you would not believe. He graduated high school and had a scholarship to university, but after he turned 18, his mother died unexpectedly, so he's taking care of his kid sister. So he does magic tricks during the day, picks up his sister at school, fixes her dinner, puts her to bed, then he goes out at night working for a crime boss and sells drugs. At first he's just driving around town, making deliveries and collecting cash. But then he gets in deeper and things go bad, jeopardizing the lives of himself and his sister. And this is where his magic tricks and the science fiction comes in, and I can say no more about it. Again, it's not bad, just not what I was interested in and not something that I would have sought out.

The Zookeeper's Wife. World War II movie based on a true story, set in the Warsaw Zoo, starting shortly before the German invasion of Poland. When Poland falls, the zoo comes under the purview of a former friend, the head of the Berlin Zoo, who is in close with the Reich who has their larger animals slaughtered as they can't afford to feed them when so many soldiers and civilians have to be fed. Then he starts an animal eugenics program to bring back a super race of animals to please Hitler. Meanwhile, the zookeeper is smuggling Jews out of the Warsaw Ghetto back in to the tunnels under the zoo, supplying them with fake paperwork, and out of the country. The wife is serving as a distraction to the Berlin zookeeper, much to her unhappiness. A very interesting and ugly story.

Guardians of the Galaxy. Whenever one of the Marvel superhero movies comes out, we try to watch the previous one as a refresher, so we popped this in the player and had a lot of fun. Like Moana, we dug in to the bonus material, which apparently we hadn't previously taken the time to do. It was nice seeing it again as there are a lot of good bits in this. But if you want to have a lot of fun, look up the YouTube channel How It Should Have Ended and see their treatment of this movie....

Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Lots of good stuff, it's definitely a character growth movie. Everybody gets some introspection time. LOTS of background story on the Ravagers, Peter Quill meets his god daddy, sisters get bonding moments and get to shoot lots of stuff. But honestly, I think I liked the first movie more. I'll watch them back to back when it comes out on DVD and we'll see if my opinion changes.

Colossal was a huge amount of fun, pun intended. A giant monster starts attacking Seoul, South Korea, for no obvious reason. It appears, attacks, then disappears. The summary in IMDB say: "Gloria is an out-of-work party girl forced to leave her life in New York City, and move back home. When reports surface that a giant creature is destroying Seoul, she gradually comes to the realization that she is somehow connected to this phenomenon." It's a strange little movie that is quite interesting. Excellent trailers are available all over the place.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Since a new Pirates movie was coming out, we re-watched the first one on DVD. And fundamentally, it's a fun movie. It has that amazing sword fight in the cave where people turn in to and back from skeletons while they move in and out of moonlight. It's impressive. But the subsequent movies? Meh.

Wonder Woman has to be one of the most talked about movies of the summer, not the least bit because of all of the little men-boys getting their feelings hurt over stupid things like Alamo Draft House having women-only showings. When some men complained, ADH had a second showing. Overall, I thought WW was a very good movie. It had some weak points, but all movies do. I think it could have stood another pass through the shooting script by an outsider to say "Wait a minute - what is this scene supposed to do?" It's entirely possible that scenes had to be cut for time which caused things to appear broken, and they'll look better when a director's cut is released. Some of the misdirection was a little too obvious, but that's OK. All in all, a lot of fun and I hope to see it again in the theater. Another one on my Will Buy list. I'm looking forward to seeing Ms. Godot in the future ensemble movies, I need to make time to see the Bats vs Supes movie if I ever buy a copy.

Pirates: Dead Men Tell No Tales. So as I said, I haven't been impressed by the Pirates movies that came after the first, they've been pretty much a waste of time for me, and I wasn't exactly chomping at the bit to see the new one. But I did actually enjoy it, much to my surprise. Which is not to say that it was an excellent story, it had plenty of weaknesses that could have been improved by tighter editing and inserting some explanations. But all in all, much better than the sequels that have come before.


All in all, a heavy quarter for seeing movies: 17 movies seen, including videos, 11 first-run.

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