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The Blockbuster Oscar Bait Movie Thread

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I saw Pokemon: Detective Pikachu on Thursday opening night.  Some thoughts:

1. The movie was based on the 2016 video game of the same name, and it was a very faithful adaptation of the source material.   So it was an actual "video game movie". The story in the movie was almost the same with the video game, (which I think was the first for a video game movie.)    

2. The only three major changes from the video game were:

    (a) the main character, Tim Goodman, was changed from a white guy to a black guy; and,

    (b) the junior reporter Emilia and her assistant Meiko in the game were merged into one character in the movie: Lucy.

    (c) the video game had a lot of unimportant miscellaneous side characters, all of whom were eliminated from the movie.

3. The CGI and special effects of the pokemons were amazing.

4. Otherwise, the movie has a mediocre story (which was really the fault of the original material = the video game) and mediocre acting.

5. The story and its execution (storytelling) felt very "anime", i.e., Japanese-style storytelling.  Again,  that was mostly the fault of the movie trying to remain faithful to the source material and video game.  I know Japanophiles love anime, but frankly the storytelling in anime has always been awkward to everyone else. For example: in Japanese anime and video games, (and even Western video games,) characters would sit down or stand around to talk about their backstories and feelings. That is an awkward way to handle exposition. This movie does exactly that. (Compare to, let say, a good well-written Hollywood movie that uses subtext instead of on-the-nose expositions to set up characters and their backstories.)

6. Nevertheless, this is still the BEST video game movie, ever. (Just goes to show ya how much video game movies generally sucked.)

Edited by ktchong

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Blade Runner 2049 (2017).

I did not care for it much. Some of the same issues I had with the original movie (although I still liked the original overall), I felt this one had even more problems and I unfortunately fell on the other side this time. A plot that gave the impression of being complex yet was stupidly simple and ultimately hackneyed (I also really, really hated that they tried to tie it back to Deckard and Rachael from the original - oh boy did that feel like a gigantic mistake about the time the Evil Corporation Overlord started spouting vague, pointless poetics at Deckard for minutes with near total incomprehensibility and inauthenticity). Just like the original, I didn't like our main character or find him interesting at all (actually I was more interested in the motivations and objectives of the replicant assassin lady...which didn't really turn out to be much anything, and she just got murdered in like the movie's only big action sequence that went on for too long with a lot of pointless and weightless kicking and punching which I hate in pretty much every movie). Much too slow at a lot of points (2 and 3/4ths of an hour...). In spite of the things I didn't like, there was some tension at various times, which is good...but it just didn't end up working for me overall.

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Not sure I agree with your take. I think the movie mostly explored a world whose structure hollows out the individual person, and explored different pursuits of actualization within those confines. Whether as human, or replicant. The complexity lies within the characters conception of what the world around them is, but they all watch as the facade falls past their face and they are left only with their hopes, dreams, and egos shattered. I think the main character and Love are the two that most exemplar the extremes of this. It was a film of unknowns and possibilities being whittled down the closer one got to a truth that was mean't to never be uncovered. The happenstance that defined the plot was a fluke, an accident. That the viewer get's to watch play out; taken for the ride just as the character is. A replicant with an echo of another's memory sent on a path he was never supposed to go down. Knowing something was hidden, but mistakenly reading in a conspiracy that isn't there because otherwise you'd have come up shore and your journey would meet it's end. With the risk involved in such a world, there was never a chance to admit the gamble was fraught. It was an all-in gamble, and a race, the only question was if he'd see the end. The character didn't lead an interesting life, but he took an interesting leap of faith, and the humanity underneath that was explored along was very much interesting.

It was very plodding, I'll give you that. I occasionally like a movie like that.

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Yeah, I really only care about more meta stuff like that if I enjoyed the underlying movie to begin with, which I sadly didn't. I was rapidly switching between impatient, bewildered, and tense (that was then often deflated by the other two feelings) too often to like it. I'm not against slow movies, but I was internally groaning at where the plot was heading from nearly the start (for the record, I did not know Harrison Ford was in this movie, and kind of expected a plot completely separate from the original's), there weren't any particularly interesting or likeable characters for me to latch onto, and I'm just not the type of person that's very intrigued or wow-ed by 3D CGI in of itself, even though this movie's seemed very good. Didn't come together for me.

(e): Also, I should repeat (since I've said it a few times before) that generic or bland male sole protagonists is very often one the biggest death knells in fiction for me, and well, yeah, K (Gosling) in this was bland and underacted (no doubt deliberately following the original movie, but still) to the extreme.

Edited by Bartimaeus
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13 hours ago, Bartimaeus said:

Blade Runner 2049 (2017).

I did not care for it much. Some of the same issues I had with the original movie (although I still liked the original overall), I felt this one had even more problems and I unfortunately fell on the other side this time. A plot that gave the impression of being complex yet was stupidly simple and ultimately hackneyed (I also really, really hated that they tried to tie it back to Deckard and Rachael from the original - oh boy did that feel like a gigantic mistake about the time the Evil Corporation Overlord started spouting vague, pointless poetics at Deckard for minutes with near total incomprehensibility and inauthenticity). Just like the original, I didn't like our main character or find him interesting at all (actually I was more interested in the motivations and objectives of the replicant assassin lady...which didn't really turn out to be much anything, and she just got murdered in like the movie's only big action sequence that went on for too long with a lot of pointless and weightless kicking and punching which I hate in pretty much every movie). Much too slow at a lot of points (2 and 3/4ths of an hour...). In spite of the things I didn't like, there was some tension at various times, which is good...but it just didn't end up working for me overall.

wanted to like new blade runner. didn't. weren't as if first installment were free o' angst laden introspection,  but 2049 were like a tom stoppard play, but bloated, w/o any humor and absent any likeable characters. by the middle o' the movie, we wanted the movie to end, soon rather than later. 

HA! Good Fun!

 

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"Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty. To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present, unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."--Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

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12 hours ago, Bartimaeus said:

Yeah, I really only care about more meta stuff like that if I enjoyed the underlying movie to begin with, which I sadly didn't. I was rapidly switching between impatient, bewildered, and tense (that was then often deflated by the other two feelings) too often to like it. I'm not against slow movies, but I was internally groaning at where the plot was heading from nearly the start (for the record, I did not know Harrison Ford was in this movie, and kind of expected a plot completely separate from the original's), there weren't any particularly interesting or likeable characters for me to latch onto, and I'm just not the type of person that's very intrigued or wow-ed by 3D CGI in of itself, even though this movie's seemed very good. Didn't come together for me.

(e): Also, I should repeat (since I've said it a few times before) that generic or bland male sole protagonists is very often one the biggest death knells in fiction for me, and well, yeah, K (Gosling) in this was bland and underacted (no doubt deliberately following the original movie, but still) to the extreme.

Apparently the original cut of the movie was over 5 hours, so it definitely was filmed in a sort of self-indulgent manner. So I'm not surprised that the movie would miss it's mark foundational for a lot of people.

What makes a generic male protagonist? I have my own ideas, but I don't see gosling's character that way. I can see how he might come across as bland though, though I'd say that's tonally justified as he's a gaslighted replicant expected to fall in rank and file. I'm not trying to get you to like it, I just find it to be one of the sci-fi's with more underpinning substance. I think I'd blame the direction and pacing more than anything. Movies that show not tell perhaps shouldn't be subtle or bury the lead? I don't know. I do know it strains the viewer though.

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"Generic" protagonists I tend to think of as fulfilling a few archetypes. The good-natured but otherwise poorly characterized hero is one (most regularly found in stuff more aimed at children like Disney movies, sometimes with the addition of having like one negative trait they have to get over to resolve or otherwise successfully get through the plot of the movie), your generic witty action star is another (note my distaste for Marvel movies here, since that's so many of those characters, both male and female), the ultra-specific objective-driven protagonist is one of my most particularly disliked characters (bonus points if they're annoyingly angsty on top of it - "I have to find/avenge/whatever my father/mother/child or die trying!" is usually enough to make me stop watching or reading about anything), and there's probably a few other such archetypes that I can't think of right now that annoy the crap out of me after having seen them used way too many times. Note that I did not actually call Gosling's character in Blade Runner 2049 generic - just bland and underacted. Which, while not necessarily generic when seemingly done deliberately, can still understandably miss the mark for me when I have to watch nearly 3 hours of him barely being a character. 5 hours? Oh boy, can't wait for that Director's Cut...

Yeah, it's a shame when a movie with apparent ideas and substance and when it was clearly made with a lot of expertise fails to come together as an actual movie to properly and enjoyably convey those things to the viewer. Apparently it was very well-liked by critics, and pretty well by audiences, too...and yet just barely broken even in theatres. Whoops. Shame is, I like the idea of replicants and am very intrigued by what exactly makes one human and intelligent and aware and such (although I'm more inclined towards intelligent machines in this discussion rather than clones or bio-androids or whatever replicants are supposed to be), yet both Blade Runners (and especially this one) have done pretty little for me on that front.

@Gromnir It was about the hour-fifteen mark that we started undeniably having that sinking feeling and wanted it to end. I knew that stupid memory-maker was going to be the prodigal replicant, too, and very audibly groaned when that was the case. The near-OCD need to tie everything perfectly together by the end of a 2-hour movie is something I hate so freaking much for its prevalence. Never does a film feel more artificial. It tends to work better in TV shows and books due to their greater length and your greater investment into the work.

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Pet Sematary remake. It's unpleasant, which can be good for a horror movie, but mostly it's depressing, dull and not scary. The changes are not entirely for the better either. Not recommended, sadly.


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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

My reactions in the intro: Why is this movie so poorly received, this is looking to be great!

My reaction when the two leads start talking: Oh... that's just tragic.

This is some of the worst dialogue I've watched.


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Wine Country on Netflix. I really like these kinds of humorous feel good movies and this was a good example of the genre. A bunch of mostly SNL vets star as aging women friends on a Napa destination birthday party for one of their friends.  The wife and I really enjoyed it. Not a perfect exemplar of its type but a solid entry.


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On 5/18/2019 at 3:53 PM, TrueNeutral said:

Pet Sematary remake. It's unpleasant, which can be good for a horror movie, but mostly it's depressing, dull and not scary. The changes are not entirely for the better either. Not recommended, sadly.

So in other words it's just like the book and the first movie


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I don't know. I don't really like how either of the new terminators look and the music choice for the trailer is just ****. But it does have James Cameron, Linda Hamilton and good ol' Arnold. 

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It also has David S. Goyer als screenwriter, who has awesome material like Batman v Superman, Jumper, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and Man of Steel to his name. Not to mention Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. :p

 

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I just watched the classic Pan's Labyrinth,  its really good. Its in Spanish but with English subtitles. Its a compelling and well directed  fantasy movie and definitely worth watching :thumbsup:

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Saw John Wick 3.  Must be one impressive body count.  Though in the climactic battle, not sure why one side didn't go out with rifles or PDWs.


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4 hours ago, ShadySands said:

 

As I sometimes do, I decided to watch the movie first before the RLM review. ...But I haven't actually done that yet.

Speaking of, I watched Us (2019). I'm not much of a horror person, but I do like the odd one here and there (The Thing, Alien), and I thought this was pretty decent. Certainly better than the cheap jump scare factories that most horror movies are now. There were times where I really had to turn off my brain because of logical realizations killing my suspension of disbelief, probably caused by a little too much overexplaining. Still, pretty decent.

Edited by Bartimaeus

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4 hours ago, injurai said:

Yeah, killer premise. I like the style too, should be good.

I quite like the director too. Berberian Sound Studio was excellent, for one. But back to In Fabric, this is an awesome poster too:

D7fP03tXoAA6vxR.jpg

Edited by algroth
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On 5/23/2019 at 7:57 PM, algroth said:

I suspect it'll turn out similar to the Robocop remake. Also you gotta wonder what the "canon" to the franchise is at this point, if there even is one.

As luck would have it, Scientist Man explained the current Terminator canon a while back:

 

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