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MrLaserSharkKH

Stand User
The Shack

To use an anology, this movie is like eating one of those school meal desserts you used to have, you get a massive serving of really stodgy pudding topped with some really sickly sweet syrup on top, as your shovelling pudding into your mouth you feel yourself getting ever more queasy as your eating, but you can't stop eating because you've always been told you must finish what you've started, so then after you have finished eating you feel full and have a really sickly sweet feeling inside that you have to get rid of, that is in a nutshell how to kind of describe my experience of watching The Shack.

To summarise the movie, Sam Worthington stars as a grieving father who spends a weekend hanging out with God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost. Based on a best seller. This is a movie that squares aimley for drama and tugging those emotions but it flat out did absolutely nothing for me. The only time I reacted to anything in the movie is some WTF moments (God is a Neil Young Fan, Apparently!) and some unintentionally funny moments (Water Jogging with Jesus, Anyone?!), Soundtrack was really overbearing in that it practically tells you what kind of sequence is playing out on the screen, several plot threads are introduced but not touched upon when they really should have been adressed, the holy trinity's "wisdom" and riddles clash really wildly with the child-murder angle, seeing them smile and answering questions with ambiguity really grates on you and I couldn't really get by with any of the acting. It's not the worst film I've seen this year but it's definitely at the moment on the list of worst, and is certainly the most bizarre!
 
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Professor Irony

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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)

A curious, very eighties follow-up to the landmark original, that plays mainly for grue-soaked laughs instead of genuine chills. There are some interesting beats, with weird Freudian imagery surrounding the use of Leatherface's saw, and the cannibal family now lamenting the plight of the small businessman as they carve up their victims, but it's difficult to know what to make of it all, when it constantly flip flops between camp humour and something genuinely nasty. There's an amusing role for Dennis Hopper as a seedy former Texas Ranger, but he seems distracted, and presumably only turned up for the paycheque. All credit to Caroline Williams, however, who is an absolute delight as the tough, quick-witted heroine - she really gives it 110% all the way through.

A gory oddity that's sure to please video nasty hunters, but ultimately can't reconcile its comedic and horrific elements as well as the following year's Evil Dead 2.
 
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Yami

Straw Hat Pirate
What I don't understand about Prometheus (and, subsequently, Alien Covenant) is why Scott and co. felt the need to tie it into the Alien franchise in the first place. It could have been a decent film along the lines of 2001/2010 (though far inferior to the former) or Interstellar or even Indiana Jones 4 in looking at the possible extraterrestrial origins of mankind / life on Earth. It didn't need xenomorphs, which I think could actually have an adverse impact on rewatches of the original film - it transforms it from a 'wild animal on the loose on a spaceship', into something much more unnecessarily complicated.
 

HWR

Symphogear
AUKN Staff
The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970, Dario Argento)
More Argento goodness since I just got the new Arrow Video release. For a directorial debut, this film was assured, and shows the directors auteurship was present from the start. It's also the origin of the unknown killer trope he's used in a lot of his films. A highlight for me is The art gallery scene early on, it's quite unsettling, and does good to amp up the tension without using any overly dramatic music, just the disturbing imagery of a stabbed victim clawing their way across the floor whilst the main protagonist helplessly watches from behind security glass.
Overall I can recommend this to any Argento fan or someone looking for a starting point for his works. 3.5/5
 

ayase

State Alchemist
So I went to the cinema today with my pass and found myself in the unusual situation of wanting to watch not one but four of the films on offer. I'll probably be back in the next few days, looks like it's really time for this pass to pay for itself) but today I settled on War for the Planet of the Apes.

And I really enjoyed it. I grew up with the original Apes movies as my dad really liked them and we used to watch them whenever they were on TV, which seemed like quite a lot when I was a kid (and he maintains to this day that we will eventually be overthrown by chimps we genetically engineer to replace sweatshop/manual labour when we figure out it's a way to raise all of humanity out of poverty, but that's a story for another time). So I have a lot of love for the franchise, horribly dated as some of those old films might seem now. And so far I've been thoroughly chuffed with the new ones - They found a way to update the concept without falling into the usual Hollywood remake traps of nostalgia and (heh) simply apeing the originals. They are excellent films in their own right and are very much their own thing, but they also do an excelling job of retaining the moral and social messages of the originals - While they're a little different given the different times we live in, they come across as very genuine.

And I was no less satisfied with War than I was the previous two installments. It is somewhat of a change of pace yes, and it doesn't perhaps go where you would expect from the setup. I starts off almost like an Eastwood western, with a small band of major characters setting off to right a wrong done to them (on horseback no less) and from there it channels The Road, and of all things The Great Escape. By the end though I left with the feeling it hadn't been any of those things, it wasn't a messy mish-mash of western and war films - No, it was a biblical epic the likes of which Charlton Heston himself might have starred in, had Moses been a chimp. Indeed he even dies before reaching the promised land after leading the Apes there, though I actually expected him to die a rather more inglorious death in the military base - I didn't expect Red to shoot the soldier rather just to go straight for the fuel tank and take himself and Caesar out in the process. It would arguably have been a more efficient course of action, but probably not as moving or exciting.

The Caesar of War is certainly a long way from the chimp who was pals with the guy from 3rd Rock in Rise. He has almost unquestioned authority over the Apes now but is haunted (sometimes literally) by Koba, the ape who led a rebellion against him and started the war with humans in Dawn, and doubts his own moral convictions. And in Woody Harrelson's Colonel McCullough Caesar finds a dark mirror image - A man who has lost his humanity trying desperately to save his people, now about as rare as the apes themselves. Both are fighting for their survival but the only real threat to the survival of apes and humans alike is each other - It's an unecessary war that never needed to happen but has left both sides in dire straits and both leaders feeling, if not behaving, increasingly monstrous. And you can have sympathy for them - Loss is driving McCullough and Caesar both and those around them can see them better than they can see themselves. If there's a real message to this film it's that escalation of hostilities and eye-for-an-eye thinking, coupled with lack of understanding or willingness to establish dialougues can lead to absolute ruin for both parties - And in that it's not dissimilar to the message of the original film (perhaps eerily relevant again given the events of the past few days).

Some parts of the movie are a little silly - The major escape sequence in particular reminded me of playing a stealth game on easy mode where guards turn around with a "Huh, must have been nothing" even after you just stepped out directly into their field of vision for a full second. I mean how unobservant are these soldiers to say they were engaging in moderately sucessful guerrilla warfare at the start of the movie? Or did all the elites die leaving McCullough with only the dregs? And the introductory text with the title of each of the films in the series emboldened made me cringe in the first minute of watching. It's not quite as bad as working the title of the movie into the dialogue I suppose (which iirc at least one of the original films did). But overall yeah, top-notch stuff. Guess I'll be heading back to watch Dunkirk, Spider-Man and Valerian soon. Besson better not let me down this time.
 
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Professor Irony

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Atomic Blonde (2017)

While the perestroika plot is a bit of a shaggy dog story, confusingly populated with identikit GDR stooges, Charlize Theron shines brightly as the titular hard-as-nails cold warrior, punching, kicking and shooting her way across the screen with tremendous presence and physicality. It's a shame the script isn't a bit tighter, but as a curious marriage of John Wick and La Femme Nikita, it's tremendously entertaining.

It made me curious about the source graphic novel as well, but most of the reviews suggest it's a bit middling and the art is surprisingly restrained, by comparison to the film.
 

Professor Irony

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Hitchcock/Truffaut (2015)

An interesting look back at the meeting of two great filmmakers, whose series of interviews in the early 1960s became the basis of a renowned textbook, and forged a friendship that would last the rest of their lives. With plenty of well-known talking heads offering their input, it's breezily enjoyable and offers occasional insight into Hitchcock's life in particular, but ultimately feels a bit like a ninety minute advert for the book itself, only teasing at what secrets of their craft they might have divulged.

From Paris With Love (2010)

A so-so actioner in which Jonathan Rhys-Meyers's wannabe spy is dragged around the titular metropolis by John Travolta's eccentric CIA man, the film's stylish gunplay is deeply hampered by one of the most cliche-ridden scripts I've seen in recent memory. The two stars make the most of what they've got, but neither feels ideally cast, with Rhys-Meyers too suave to convince as a tightly-wound embassy clerk and Travolta unable to summon the Al Pacino level histrionics that might have made his character work.
 

Morcombe

Student Council President
The Hitman's Bodyguard.
10/10 (only movie so far this year to get a 10)

Funniest movie I've seen in ages, the action is good and Jackson and Reynolds are brilliant.
 

Professor Irony

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The Warriors (1979)

One of those things I've been meaning to watch for a very long time, Walter Hill's urban adventure about a teenage New York gang fighting their way home seems a little camp and fantastical by today's standards, but it's still a remarkable film, with an eerie, dreamlike atmosphere filling the evocatively near-deserted cityscape.
 

Professor Irony

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Moderator
RoboCop 2 (1990)

Based on an apparently unfilmable script by Frank Miller, this second outing for the tin man of Detroit suffered a difficult production, and it definitely shows. Broadly following Murphy's attempt to tackle the psychotic gang leader behind a new designer drug, the film is not short of ideas, but struggles to get them to screen in a coherent fashion, lacking the rhythm and purpose of its predecessor. The practical effects remain impressive and some of the plot strands show promise, but none are resolved in any meaningful way and the clumsy script really struggles to land a one-liner when it needs to.

Miller's original script was later adapted into comic form, which is something I'm sort of curious to see, but the artstyle is so off-putting that it's not really anything I'd want to own.
 

Blaize

Hunter
Flight of the Navigator (1986)

I had always wanted to see this eighties 'classic' from Disney. Pretty much running on the coattails of E.T this film is about a 12 year old boy David who after falling down a ravine wakes up 8 years in the future having not aged and no memory of where he has been. The first 45 minutes of this film are truly genuinely fantastic! I really enjoyed the story which seemed far more mature for a kids film than you would expect, especially in the 80's. The acting of Joey Cramer (the 12 year old boy) was also really good with one of the best child crying scenes I've seen because it felt really genuine.

Now not to spoil the film too much but about halfway through he makes acquaintance with the being that caused his predicament and this is where the films falls down on it's face somewhat and stops being really good and interesting and settles for just mediocre. It's fun but the story basically hits the brakes. The film tries to build a similar relationship between the character of David and this being like that of E.T but it feels forced and worst of all silly. When you first meet this being there is a really fun dynamic between him and David but after a certain sequence occurs it becomes just childish and dumb. The rest of the film is just a chase scene but with little coordination both thematically and coincidentally on the part of the characters for laughs. The ending is fine just not as ambitious as it could have been.

Just quickly it's worth mentioning that the practical effects in this film are really nice (the main reason I prefer films from this period), I'm still not sure how they did the floating steps, it's probably a camera trick and if so it's a great illusion. There is also some very early CG which looks far better than it has any right to though the Jim Henson inspired (I presume) puppets are certainly lacking and maybe because it's on Blu Ray but wirework is very visible.

Anyway I would recommend the film if only to see the first half and marvel at how good and interesting it is. And who knows maybe you'll enjoy the second half more than me. Definitely a film I would happily watch again as the shorter running time of only 90mins makes the second half more easy to stomach.
 

HWR

Symphogear
AUKN Staff
The Player (1992, Robert Altman)

This is a darkly funny and impressively cast satire on Hollywood. Tim Robbins is great as the lead, a Hollywood executive called Griffin Mills, who gets entangled in death threats and makes mistake after mistake. The film has over 60 celebrities and writers scattered around, with some getting dialogue and others blending into the background. It's never gratuitous, and instead adds to the authenticity.

The opening shot is a 7 1/2 minute unbroken long take that superbly sets up the story. The ending too is very clever.

I can easily recommend the film to any enthusiast or someone who has a spare two hours, it was well worth the blind buy. The criterion Collection release has some great features as well.
 

Professor Irony

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The Seven-Ups (1973)

An apparently far less seen quasi-sequel to the French Connection, sans both director William Friedkin and main star Gene Hackman, this tough vintage thriller is a bit of a hidden gem. Following a secretive squad of New York detectives, wrongly blamed for a plot to kidnap and ransom high ranking mobsters, the film lacks the pounding fury of Friedkin's original, but it's a great outing for Roy Scheider, whose sympathetic screen persona is slowly infected by the city's own Jekyll and Hyde mentality. Infinitely more entertaining than the official French Connection II.
 

Professor Irony

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Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)

Although a bit more aggressively aimed at teenage boys than I was expecting, this is still a fair class-war themed spy-fi adventure, obviously keen to revisit the more eccentric elements of the Bond franchise that have been largely left behind in the Daniel Craig era. Colin Firth does a great turn as an unlikely action hero and there's a nice irony in the casting of the original working class spy, Michael Caine, as a sneering aristocrat. For all its impressively choreographed fights, however, I found it curiously lacking in personality, a bit overlong and faintly rambling in its narrative; it really struggles to hide its origins as a serial, to the point where you can roughly guess where each episode would have ended.
 

Blaize

Hunter
Mad Max (1979)

A snoozefest ... that is all.

Thankfully the trailer for the second movie looks far more along the lines of what I expected :D
 

crashmatt

Death Scythe
Mad Max (1979)

A snoozefest ... that is all.

Thankfully the trailer for the second movie looks far more along the lines of what I expected :D
Thankfully the 2nd and 3rd films are much better. I wasn't keen on the 1st film either.

're Flight of the Navigator. Apart from a dodgy haircut the SFX and film itself has aged well. I have fond memories of thia film and its pretty good. The Goonies is much better from that time.
 

Winkuru

School Idol
Wow, usually people praise that film so it's nice for a change to see others who don't like it. The car scenes weren't bad if i don't remember wrong but otherwise it's pretty horrible. I'm not big fan of the second film either but i wouldn't mind seeing it again.
 

Professor Irony

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I always remember reading a tv guide review years ago that described the first Mad Max as being 'good to see what made Max so mad in the first place, but not much else', which is pretty on the money. I guess it's interesting as a snapshot of a society in its death throws, as opposed to the full-on wasteland of the subsequent films, but it isn't nearly as much fun as the second one.
 

Blaize

Hunter

Flightplan 2005
★★★½ Watched 21 Sep, 2017

At least the obvious twist is addressed halfway through even if it isn't totally debunked there and then. The whole action movie ending though was a strange conclusion to a film that doesn't really set it self up to be one. I liked the film despite it's flaws but it certainly had potential to be something alot more interesting.


A Trip to the Moon 1902
★★★★ Watched 22 Sep, 2017

A Superb achievement both at the time and for those that worked tirelessly to bring it back from extinction. The backgrounds were incredible to the point that I'd actually like to see a film with these type of sets made now haha. The Air (Kelly Watch The Stars <3) soundtrack was hit and miss, at the start I wasn't into it much, especially since they added vocals which for a silent film felt wrong. But once the first two scenes are over the OST is fine and at times really well suited.
 

Joe

Hunter
Arrival - ★★★★½
Really, really enjoyed this. A whole movie about attempting to translate the language of the alien invaders to find out why they're here, sounds pretty boring but ending up being really compelling. Though I'm not particularly knowledgeable about linguistics, it is something that I have a minor interest in, and my biggest issue with the film is that, maybe, they didn't lean into that enough. The scene with Adams explaining why they first have to make sure the aliens understand concepts like walking, eating, or what a question even is before asking them their purpose on Earth was great, and I would've loved to see a lot more of that sort of stuff. Granted, that might not sit well with your average moviegoer though. The revelation made somewhere around the mid-point is also brilliant and makes you rethink everything you've seen up to that point. Smart, sombre and really fantastic sci-fi.

Edge of Tomorrow - ★★★★
Is this the best example we have of a Hollywood adaptation of anime/manga (or in this case, light novel)? Because hot damn, this was a fun watch. It was already on my radar, but All You Need is Kill might be bumped up on my plan to buy list now.
 
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