log.nikhil.io

Posts tagged “hollywood movies” 25

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood · 2019 · IMDb · A

Saw with PLG. Plan on doing things around the house to the soundtrack. When they’re handing him his second Oscar, Leonardo DiCaprio should just maintain silence, stare at the glitterati, play the trailer scene, and walk away 💯 🙏 🙌

There Will Be Blood · 2007 · IMDb · A+

Finally saw this with PLG. Daniel Day-Lewis’ best performance IMO. Astounding, really.

Mr. Day-Lewis’s outsize performance, with its footnote references to Huston and strange, contorted Kabuki-like grimaces, occasionally breaks the skin of the film’s surface like a dangerous undertow. The actor seems to have invaded Plainview’s every atom, filling an otherwise empty vessel with so much rage and purpose you wait for him to blow. It’s a thrilling performance, among the greatest I’ve seen, purposefully alienating and brilliantly located at the juncture between cinematic realism and theatrical spectacle.

– Manohla Dargis “An American Primitive, Forged in a Crucible of Blood and Oil

Paul Dano is great as an ageless vampire-pastor 😑 The excellent soundtrack was written by Jonny Greenwood (!) and features works by Arvo Pärt and Brahms.

The Irishman · 2019 · IMDb · A

The last 15 minutes are the best depiction of old age, loneliness, and isolation I’ve ever seen committed to film. Two masters at their very best.

I love all the memes about its length but (a) the pacing was brilliant and (b) I am someone who grew up watching 200-minute family-values extravaganzas and can take it. Still:

Need to read up more on the de-aging process they used in the film.

Hellboy (2019) · 2019 · IMDb · D

Why?

This travesty should make it very clear that Guillermo del Toro loves and paints his monsters better than anyone else in the business.

Us · 2019 · IMDb · A

Excellent stuff again from Jordan Peele. Thought the first half was about slavery and lost identity. Wisecrack has a great video on the movie’s various interpretations.

Holmes & Watson · 2018 · IMDb · F

An awful, unnecessary, ghastly shitshow.

A Vigilante · 2018 · IMDb · B+

The first two-thirds are brilliant. As for Olivia Wilde and her riveting performance:

[. . .] it’s still good to see a cunning and capable actress rise above her usual projects, such as stupid fodder like Tron or Cowboys and Aliens, or labels like “Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrity of 2010.”

After Enough and five Death Wish movies, the revenge genre is not without its recurring clichés, many of which get defrosted and microwaved again in A Vigilante. The point, if there is one, is that “heinous criminal felonies are acceptable if they are justified by a woman driven beyond the limits of reason.” As one battered wife says, “Every graveyard is full of people who didn’t make it.” The same is true of old movies gathering dust in Hollywood film vaults.

– Rex Reed, Olivia Wilde Goes Full Charles Bronson in the Brutal Revenge Thriller ‘A Vigilante’

Destroyer · 2018 · IMDb · B+

A bit tedious. Nicole Kidman is 💯

Aquaman · 2019 · IMDb · C+

Fell asleep about three times trying to finish this visual overload. Ended up taking a walk right after this exchange

“You expect me to call you Your Highness?”

“No, I expect you to call me… Ocean Master.”

Crazy Rich Asians · 2018 · IMDb · C

I don’t understand the ratings and the hullabaloo over what was affluence porn with a tired Bollywood plot (Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham came to mind but I’m sure there’s something else that aligns better with CRA.) Might be a satirical, over-the-top take on new and old money in Singapore, though I wonder it was construed as such by the target audience.

And then:

Racism against minorities is endemic in Singapore. Job advertisements frequently only ask for those who can speak in English and Mandarin, and even if minorities are able to do so, they are told that only ethnic Chinese are wanted. Muslim women in hijabs are kept out of certain civil service jobs because of their headwear. While there are police bans on speaking in Tamil, there are yearly tax-funded programs to promote speaking in Mandarin. Minority representations are rife with stereotypes and the idea of the quintessential Singapore girl is one that embodies only East Asian beauty standards. The country’s ruling power has stated that Malay-Muslims in Singapore cannot be trusted in the armed forces due to their divided loyalties between religion and state. It has further accused them of being unable to ‘integrate’ an irony considering that Malay people are considered the original inhabitants of the land. The founding father of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, holds views on genetics that would seem disconcertingly similar to eugenicist and white supremacist ideals, as he has touted the genetic superiority of the Chinese as stronger and hardier, with Indians not being as bright, but still better than the lazy, un-driven Malays. Chinese people wear Indians in ‘brown face’ and many elite public schools are reserved for them.

[. . .] Given this context, this movie is actually perpetuating the state of racism and Islamophobia in Singapore. The only Brown people in the movie are opening doors or in service of the elite Chinese in the movie. Minorities only exist in the periphery of the film. Why is this being lauded as revolutionary?

What people celebrating this movie are doing is bringing a Western racial framework to bear upon a Singaporean one.

– Sangeetha Thanapal, “Crazy Rich Asians” Promotes The Ongoing Systematic Erasure And Oppression Of Singapore Minorities On A Global Screen.

Bird Box · 2018 · IMDb · B-

A slasher version of A Quiet Place except The Monster gets you when you open your eyes (but only at key moments that further the plot.) Snoozefest after the first half. Had no idea that the lanky, highly tattooed extra is a famous rapper. A few plotholes that bugged me:

What exactly constitutes a safe barrier between your vision and the outdoors? By the movie’s standards, a thin-fabric blindfold and a sparse canopy of leaves count, but a security camera does not.

How did Trevante Rhodes manage to keep such a defined six-pack over the course of five home-bound years, and would he be willing to share that workout routine?

Elsewhere, Gizmodo on how the unseen monster is an allegory for the pernicious effects of social media on our lives. Huh.

Peppermint · 2018 · IMDb · C-

Recommended by Uber driver. Watched since I love a good revenge flick. Terrible. Had a good nap, though.

Ralph Breaks the Internet · 2018 · IMDb · A

As wonderful as the first one. Could not fucking stand Sarah Silverman’s cloying Vanellope von Schweetz, which I suppose was the intended effect.

Venom · 2018 · IMDb · C+

Venom goes from evil alien mastermind who wants to take over the planet to Toothless in “How to Train Your Dragon” in about five minutes.

Toothless

His new motivations make no sense whatsoever.

But in the case of Venom, the action follows nothing. There’s no reason for Venom to risk his life because he doesn’t seem to care about people, and it’s never been his arc to learn about why caring for humanity is important. Venom is not about an alien symbiote coming to Earth and learning that people are worth saving. It’s about a cannibalistic, violent force who merges with a hapless shmuck and decides to stick around. Venom’s sacrifice means nothing because even if you buy that he’d be willing to save Earth, that’s different than being willing to die to save it.

– Matt Goldberg, “The Ending of ‘Venom’ Is Familiar Except It Makes No Sense

Honest Trailers on the movie. I suppose it’s all forgiven if you make $0.9B. Of course there’s a sequel. Of course I’ll watch it.

Searching · 2018 · IMDb · A-

Watched with LD. Clever, clever! Loved all but the last 15 minutes.

The Equalizer · 2014 · IMDb · B

TL;DW? Denzel Washington is Liam Neeson from Taken (with a lot of that movie’s tropes.) Over on Reddit, an essential discussion of who would win a fight. Features my favorite hipster-henchman, Tait Fletcher whom I last saw in The Accountant.

Loved the first half of this song:

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald · 2018 · IMDb · A-

Dan Fogler is as awesome in this one as he was in the first. A role he was born to play:

Did you feel like you had an advantage while auditioning because you’re actually from New York?

I think I brought some real authenticity to it. I grew up in Brooklyn. When I read the part, I thought, “Oh, man, I know this guy. He’s one of my ancestors.” I have a great-grandfather, Isaac, who was a baker in New York on the Lower East Side. It’s really surreal stepping into the role. I felt like it was written for me. I felt like he was family already, so I loved him.

Then I paid homage to a lot of my favorite actors from that era, like Chaplin and Buster Keaton. When Eddie and I are together, it’s like Laurel and Hardy or Abbott and Costello. I tried to infuse him with all of that great, elegant kind of comedy, that real physical kind of comedy. Also [James] Cagney. I liked how Cagney stood. He was very conservative in his motions – because I’m such a broad, wacky guy, I thought that it helped me stay in the period. Cut to me flailing and running like a maniac. [Laughs.]

– From an interview with The Los Angeles Times’ Meredith Worner

Lutz Ebersdorf

As if I needed another reason to fall in love with Tilda Swinton

Swinton penned a phony IMDb biography to keep the secret, and wore fake genitalia, created by makeup artist Mark Coulier, while in character. (“She did have us make a penis and balls,” Coulier told the paper. “She had this nice, weighty set of genitalia so that she could feel it dangling between her legs, and she managed to get it out on set on a couple of occasions.”) Both she and Guadagnino were miffed when their secret got out. “Frankly, my long-held dream was that we would never have addressed this question at all,” Swinton told the Times. “My original idea was that Lutz would die during the edit, and his ‘In Memoriam’ be the final credit in the film.”

Vulture

Tilda Swinton

😳

Hereditary · 2018 · IMDb · A

Deeply upsetting. One of the best horror movies I’ve ever seen. Anthony Lane of The New Yorker on what gives it its potency

Should you want to measure the psychological disturbance at work here, try comparing “Hereditary” with “A Quiet Place.” That recent hit, for all its masterly shocks, is at bottom a reassuring film, introducing people who are beset by an external menace but more or less able to pull through because, as a team, they’re roped together with enough love to fight back. “Hereditary” is more perplexing. It has the nerve to suggest that the social unit is, by definition, self-menacing, and that the home is no longer a sanctuary but a crumbling fortress, under siege from within. That is why there are no doctors in Aster’s film, and no detectives, either, urgently though both are required; nor does a man of God arrive, as he does in “The Exorcist” (1973), to lay the anguish to rest. Nothing, in short, can help Annie, Steve, and the kids, and they sure can’t help themselves, stationed as they are inside their delicate doll’s house of a world. There is no family curse in this remarkable movie. The family is the curse.

The amazing Colin Stetson did the soundtrack which is somehow even more unsettling than Brian Reitzell’s Hannibal.

10/25/18 If this was a movie:

Mission: Impossible - Fallout · 2018 · IMDb · B

😴. Watch for Tom Cruise being a stuntmaking beast (esp in the helicopter chase scene.)

The Invitation · 2015 · IMDb · B+

Watched with Catherine. Dark, tense, predictable. Uashamed to admit that I thought Logan Marshall-Green was Tom Hardy for the duration of the movie (even after watching “Upgrade” … must’ve been the hair.) Excellent stuff by Lindsey Burdge.

Upgrade · 2018 · IMDb · B

Sicario: Day of the Soldado · 2018 · IMDb · B+

This is the jingoistic view of American force so familiar from films like ‘Black Hawk Down.’ This is American power as an unstoppable beast.

Yep.

You would be forgiven for asking what religious extremists have to do with a film series that previously focused on Mexican drug cartels. You would also be forgiven for finding this film problematic as it focuses next on a craven terrorist attack in a grocery store. Three suicide bombers enter the crowded building and commit mass murder. We are not spared the image of a mother begging for the life of her little girl. We discover that the terrorists are being smuggled across the border by the cartels. Two of our greatest enemies have now become one.

– Joshua Ruth “Sicario: Day of The Soldado’ is Violent, Problematic and One of the Most Satisfying Sequels in Years”

Watch for a masterclass in tension, Benecio Del Toro being a badass again, and for Isabela Moner’s excellent performance.

Isle of Dogs · 2018 · IMDb · A-

Michael Cavna at The Washington Post with a roundup of the cultural appropriation controversy around the movie. Steve Rose at The Guardian:

Some critics are barking “appropriation!” on Twitter and online, but where Ghost in the Shell and Doctor Strange (and there are many more) took a Japanese story and cut-and-pasted in white people, here Anderson engages with Japanese culture and references on an almost scholarly level, while the cast is filled with Japanese names1, from Ken Watanabe to Yôjirô Noda, lead singer of Radwimps to, er, Yoko Ono.

Isle of Dogs is a movie that seems custom-made to set off appropriation dog whistles but, for all its questionable moves, the result is a story that’s one of a kind. If we police boundaries too strictly, we’re stifling the possibility of cross-fertilisation and invention. If you do it well enough, it’s not appropriation, it’s conversation.

Also from that article: “cultural Pinterestism”.

I can watch stop-motion “making of” videos all day and here’s a dismayingly short one on Isle of Dogs:

The sushi scene took 8 months to craft!

  1. Numbers alone aren’t compelling arguments but I counted 26 Japanese actors out of 49 on the (partial?) cast list here 

Deadpool 2 · 2018 · IMDb · B+

Too much Ryan Reynolding but hey, with a ~900% ROI, whatever works 🤷‍♂️