ChrisReynolds's comments - page 7

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ChrisReynolds

Reasonably strong thriller with good performances (Malkovich and Headey are standouts), but nothing else, cinematography, script, music, etc., really stands out, though nothing was bad. The story does get pretty shaky towards the end, and at the resolution a lot of threads seem to be hanging. I think they were trying to cash on the success of Hannibal (2001) to some degree: this Ripley lives in a huge palace in Venice and plays the harpsichord.
9 years 4 months ago
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ChrisReynolds

The concept is brilliant and quite well handled, but the central mystery is poor and predictable. Overuse of flashbacks slow the film down a bit as well. Worth watching for some of the imagery and amusing situations but it's pretty average overall.
9 years 4 months ago
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ChrisReynolds

The life of Dido Belle (the mixed-race daughter of a white English aristocrat) is a fascinating one, yet the film is more intent on setting up two standard Brit-flick plots: 1. Should the heroine marry for money or for love? (spoiler: she chooses love) 2. The political campaign where the plucky underdogs buck the system to the horror of the stuffy elites but at the end they win and everybody cheers and cries. To do this a lot of the real history goes out the window: the film portrays Belle as extremely rich (she had a small annuity, nothing worth marrying over), and Belle's true love is an activist British lawyer fighting against slavery (IRL he was a steward). I don't care about the true history if the film is good, but here it's just a symptom of turning reality into another generic feel-good movie.

What the film really has going for it is an excellent central performance from Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and great supporting turns from many top-notch actors, particularly Tom Wilkinson and Emily Watson as Belle's grandparents, though these are balanced out by an awful simpering performance from Sam Reid as Belle's true love. Tom Felton is hammy but acceptable when he turns up to reprise his Draco Malfoy performance as a posh racist bully. Cinematography is pretty weak and televisual, with a very static camera.
9 years 4 months ago
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ChrisReynolds

Many things in this film are stupid or inexplicable, yet it's more entertaining than you think it will be, especially the satisfying comeuppances of a whole range of Bond villain stereotypes.
It shares some of the same gags as Austin Powers, and I liked it more than the second and third films in that franchise.
9 years 4 months ago
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ChrisReynolds

A good movie. There's a very shaky second act as it transitions from social realism to sci-fi, but it keeps getting better and has an excellent haunting ending that makes up for a lot. There's also some impressive cinematography with a lot of good use of deep focus.
9 years 5 months ago
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ChrisReynolds

Surprisingly bad. From the beginning it sets out its stall as being completely unable to tell its story visually, so Neville has to explain the plot out loud and the scenes of him wandering the empty city are boring. Worse, it undermines the themes of the original story to tell a simplistic story of good vs. evil. Some decent action at points.
9 years 5 months ago
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ChrisReynolds

Mildly diverting ghost story with some beautiful cinematography. It tries to do too many things, the atmosphere is generally the nostalgic but threatening smalltown world of Ray Bradbury stories, but then there are slapstick comedy elements that go against the more threatening aspects of the atmosphere and a racism subplot (including some explicit racist language) that goes against the nostalgic aspects and takes up a lot of time but doesn't really have much relevance to the main plot. Also, the identity of the murderer is easy to guess. Despite all this it's worth watching for the occasionally beautiful images it achieves.

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9 years 5 months ago
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ChrisReynolds

Darkwolf was awesome - the film should have been about him rather than the bland hero and heroine.
9 years 5 months ago
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ChrisReynolds

Seems so long ago that Shyamalan was being heralded as the next Hitchcock. Anyway, although he only provided the story, this feels like a Shyamalan film and fits comfortably into his long slide into awfulness: a slick-looking but indifferent production that is essentially And Then There Were None set in a lift, and with a stereotyped superstitous Hispanic man to explain the plot and ramble on about el diablo. At the end there are a couple of big twists: one concerns the crime of the last survivor which was heavily signposted and obvious and the other concerns the identity of the devil, which was impossible to predict with any confidence because it is irrelevant: it literally could have been any of the others and would have played out the same.
9 years 5 months ago
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ChrisReynolds

Amazing cinematography, editing and acting from the two leads, but the direction the plot took at the end felt really wrongheaded, conflating drive with talent:
spoiler
9 years 5 months ago
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ChrisReynolds

Above average superhero fare that effectively juggles several timelines, multiple subplots and masses of characters, despite feeling a bit overstuffed and unoriginal. The real strength of this film is the number of high calibre actors: it's just enjoyable to watch them. I'm also happy that it nullifies the events of X-Men: Last Stand.
9 years 6 months ago
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ChrisReynolds

For some reason, for their first CGI film, Disney decided to expand the fable of Chicken Little to feature length. For the first half hour it's set in a high school and seems to be pushing the message that the way to be popular and fit in is to succeed at sports. Then that story runs out and the rest of the film is about an alien invasion. This time there's a heavy-handed message that adults should be there for your kids. At least that's a message I can get behind, but it also inverses the message of the original fable, so that a warning against blind belief becomes the opposite. It's also filled with obnoxious characters, pop culture references and pop music. I wasn't surprised to see that this had 11 writers, and even after only ten years it already feels quite dated.
9 years 6 months ago
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ChrisReynolds

I find a lot of these 70s sci-fi films like to do world-building and create atmosphere by just portraying everyday life in their future societies, which is the complete opposite of modern sci-fi films that try to inspire awe and amazement with special effects and action. That said, Soylent Green could definitely be a lot more tightly written and a lot less boring at times, but it does effectively create a melancholic atmosphere and a sense of doom for its future society.
9 years 6 months ago
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ChrisReynolds

It moves along too fast to be boring, and there's some competent action scenes, but none of the characters have any development, and the ending is bad. spoiler
9 years 6 months ago
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ChrisReynolds

Despite the claims of this film, people generally use 100% of their brains, although Luc Besson was only using 10% of his brain when he made this.
9 years 6 months ago
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ChrisReynolds

Amazing fast-paced sci-fi action, full of humour, great dialogue and beautifully drawn characters: even the minor parts and quirky and memorable. The story is so involving and entertaining that it hides how multi-layered it is: it's not only a great satire of modernity and corporatism, it's also an existentialist metaphor for the search for self, a commentary on a man struggling to come to terms with his place in a mechanised world, and an allegory of the Christian death and resurrection.
9 years 6 months ago
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ChrisReynolds

After a lot of thought I have have decided that Vincent Price's performance in this film is my favourite performance of anybody in anything spoiler
9 years 6 months ago
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ChrisReynolds

I'll complete the spectrum of opinions by stating that the third segment (Fellini's) is by far the best, with great cinematography, and feels like La Dolce Vita mixed with Mario Bava.

By contrast, Vadim's "Metzengerstein" is superficial and boring: it looks good but the story is a mess and is stretched out to breaking point, and Malle's "William Wilson" captures some of the atmosphere of Poe and is entertaining but ends unsatisfyingly and doesn't really have much interesting about it.
9 years 6 months ago
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ChrisReynolds

The first Fantasia is a masterpiece, and the segments in this film, while generally good and never bad, only match the original's with the beautiful Firebird finale (and the Sorcerer's Apprentice, but that doesn't count because it's just repeated from the first film). Honourable mentions to the Tin Soldier and Rhapsody in Blue. The celebrity cameos are unhelpful and lend it a variety-show feel.
9 years 6 months ago
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ChrisReynolds

Brilliant camerawork, lighting and acting. A powerful film though I think changing the ending was a mistake and doesn't fit the tone of the story.
9 years 6 months ago
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ChrisReynolds

The plot is weak and it's rarely laugh-out-loud funny, but the film is entirely carried by the excellent performances of Cary Grant, Ginger Rogers and Marilyn Monroe.
9 years 6 months ago
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ChrisReynolds

After seeing Cyborg Cop II, I had to seek out the preceding film in the franchise. It still doesn't contain any cyborg cops (dialogue makes clear that the makers of the movie don't understand any distinction between federal agents and cops), but it does have John Rhys Davies playing a Haitian drug lord who is building cyborg assassins. For reasons unknown Davies keeps slipping into a strong Derbyshire accent.
9 years 6 months ago
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ChrisReynolds

Spoilers for the ending: spoiler
9 years 6 months ago
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ChrisReynolds

Lewis' Monk is one of the most important works in Western Gothic literature, as influential as Frankenstein though much less well known these days. This version seems embarrassed by the supernatural elements and tries to downplay them as much as possible. The material is famously gruesome and drenched in gothic atmosphere so it really needed a director who'd take a febrile and shocking approach, but Moll instead makes things slow and restrained.

There are brief flashes of inspiration where Moll uses some interesting silent movie techniques of superimposition and irising, but he doesn't seem to have much confidence in them because they're only used about five times throughout the film. The film's strengths are Cassell who fits the part perfectly and gives an impressively intense performance, and some nice photography of the Spanish landscape, but overall the film is bland and fails to hold the attention. I see Buñuel attempted an adaptation in the 1960s, but the project stalled and he went on to make Simon of the Desert instead which has the same basic theme of a holy man being tempted by Satan in a desert.
9 years 6 months ago
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ChrisReynolds

The first of Jonathan Liebesman's crimes against cinema. Although the post-credits scene holds promise, the film is subsequently never scary or suspenseful, and mostly consists of bad actors being grabbed by a monster in badly shot and edited action scenes. It is mercifully short, and that running time includes the credits going on for 11 minutes to pad it out.
9 years 6 months ago

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