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Made in us
Courageous Space Marine Captain





SoCal

It’s still the new Bond in my book.

   
Made in gb
Battlefield Tourist





On an Express Elevator to Hell!!

Ad Astra [2019]

Finally got to see this after it has appeared on Prime.

I would be really interested to know what happened during the editing/final version discussions because the film varies massively from the trailer. Not only did the trailer paint the film as more of an action film, but there are entire scenes which don't appear in the full film (I think Liv Tyler suffered most here, barely appearing as a foot note and probably had more screen time in the trailer).

So the tone of the film is very introspective and slow paced. It was like they had tried to go for a 2001 or Solaris-type effect of mournful space drama but they managed to miss any of the intensity of 2001 in particular. We know the sequence in that film where David is planning to unplug HAL and the computer can lip-read, that feeling of dread and panic. This film had an opportunity to do something similar (we are told that literally the fate of life on earth is in the balance) but singularly fails to grip you throughout. This might be in part because Brad Pitt's character is purposefully unflappable, but it makes for quite dull sequences even when exciting things are happening on screen.

Also the action bits, when they do occur, seem forced. The 'pirates on the moon' bit, while cool as a concept, felt out of place (and damaged the suspension of disbelief), also the (spoilers if you want to see the film)
Spoiler:
baboon in space (!) and sequence where the crew on the ship he boards behave like crazed berserkers in trying to stop him, killing themselves in the process
. I actually laughed out loud at both of those sequences, which I'm not sure was the intent. Did the studio get cold feet about releasing a slow burner and asked for some of these sequences to be changed, for the purposes of the trailer?

Another spoiler on the ending:
Spoiler:
Had they tried to go for an Apocalypse Now style ending with Tommy Lee Jones as Colonel Kurz and Brad Pitt entering his domain? If so again it failed

So not a bad film by any means; a good cast (I felt largely largely wasted) and some lovely cinematography and SFX, but the pacing was poor and it felt confused by what type of film it wanted to be.
I would be interested to know what anyone else that has seen it thought.

2.5 / 5

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/11/16 10:18:51


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Vienna, Austria

 BobtheInquisitor wrote:
It’s still the new Bond in my book.


Totally. First (and last) bond I saw in cinema funnily enough was "The World Is Not Enough". I really like Casino Royale though. And ....the other one. In which digitalization sucks.



I watched Half Past Dead (2002), possibly for the first time from beginning (well, almost) to end. Fun fact: That one was shot in Germany. I guess that tax law hole was still in effect back then.

Steven Seagal (FBI man with russian name. I like how Seagal very often plays people of very clearly immigrant backgrounds.) goes undercover to prison, of course he befriends all the cool black guys, among them Morris Chestnut and Ja Rule. In a surprisingly easy breakout Seagal and his friend escape the prison and go on an adventure to get money or revenge or whatever.

What a strange film. Seagal is the coolest, and everybody is very readily accepting that. At 2002, his hair looks rather odd already, he's rather bulky, and he moves rather slowly. Lots of gun shooting not that much aikido or otherwise kicky things.

Don't Watch Remember how good Seagal used to be back then? Above the Law, Hard to Kill, Marked for Death, Out for Justice, Under Siege, Under Siege 2. These are the ones to watch. Half Past Dead is not.

   
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thats cos you forgot the Seagal law, if co-joining his name and the film title with "is" makes sense it'll at least be 3 star stupid, Stevie Seagull IS Half Past Dead just sounds depressing...

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/11/18 10:12:41


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Italy

 Pacific wrote:

So not a bad film by any means; a good cast (I felt largely largely wasted) and some lovely cinematography and SFX, but the pacing was poor and it felt confused by what type of film it wanted to be.
I would be interested to know what anyone else that has seen it thought.

2.5 / 5



I fell asleep at the theatre and missed 5 minutes just before the ending, basically the whole "shield scene". IMHO it had good visuals and convincing acting but the plot never really picked up my interest, resulting in a quite boring movie overall.

 
   
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Battlefield Tourist





On an Express Elevator to Hell!!

That is always a bad sign!

Ravenous [1999]

Following Disney's acquisition of 20th Century Fox's back catalogue this film with Guy Pierce and Robert Carlisle has now appeared on Disney Plus/Star. You have now the (I think) really funny situation of all of the Disney classics lined up, your Alladins, Bambi, Dumbo, mixed in with 20th Century stuff like Predators, the Alien films, and this film Ravenous which is about a rather peckish (to the point of cannibalism) individual in mid 19th century America.

I really enjoyed this film. The central premise (of massive vitality and virility through the eating of human flesh) is nonsense and the film just about strikes the balance right between humour, of not taking itself too seriously, but also horror, without falling all the way into schlocky B-movie territory. Guy Pierce as the quiet, cowardly anti-hero underplays the role perfectly, and Robert Carlisle is at his Begsby-best as the films antagonist.

Special mention also to the cinematography (lots of uncomfortable close-ups) and the soundtrack, with a plinky-plonky score composed by Damon Albarn (of Blur fame) which again suits the film down the ground.

Knocked down the score slightly as it now makes me a little more uncomfortable around bloody steaks

4 / 5

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/11/18 15:12:23


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Finally saw Black Widow.

It was... fine. Undercut a lot by coming out after the character is dead, and the last third of the film is just a mess of nonsense.
Secret base is a flying building? No one ever saw that?

Taking out one engine causes the whole thing to fall to pieces in an overly dramatic fashion? Even in bits not really connected to the engine block? (Seriously, why did the runways just transform into rubble from the outer edges inwards? I could have vaguely understood if their anchors to the main building broke, but those stuck around)

Plus the end was just boring. Watching physics cry itself to sleep in the corner isn't engaging.

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Vienna, Austria

 Turnip Jedi wrote:
thats cos you forgot the Seagal law, if co-joining his name and the film title with "is" makes sense it'll at least be 3 star stupid, Stevie Seagull IS Half Past Dead just sounds depressing...


That is a very good rule of thumb.

   
Made in gb
Dakka Veteran





Oxfordshire

Those who wish me dead

Angelina Jolie, traumatised fire jumper, kid with a secret, mysterious conspirators out to kill everyone. So far so bland. There were a ton of movies in the 90s where you pick a random career and drop a conspiracy into it and you've got a film. Cliffhanger, Backdraft, Dropzone, etc, etc. All of them at varying levels of badness.

This one is very different. While Angelina Jolie and Aiden Gillen are the two star names, the dialogue is spread fairly evenly over six main characters who all feel intrinsic to the plot.
Spoiler:
Jolie's and Gillen's characters never actually meet but this doesn't matter because the other characters are equally as strong.


The fire jumping career elements are deliberately prevented from being overpowering (unlike in those awful 90s efforts) and the director is self conscious enough to delicately kill off anything that starts getting cheesy or hopelessly sentimental.

While there are moments that stretch into escapist fantasy all of the characters are grounded and none are presented as super heroes so the action has a weight to it that can be missing from modern high budget flicks.

All in all this is not a film that will blow your socks off but it is a well balanced piece that I feel satisfied for watching and can recommend.
   
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Vienna, Austria

Tiger King 2 (2021)

Well, what can I say, I'm only human. It's just 5 episodes this time. Joe Exotic is in prison, none of the others is. At first the show (it's not really a documentary, this becomes especially apparent in this second season. I don't watch True Crime shows, but I'm pretty sure that this is what those are like) shows a bit about how the show changed the lives of the protagonists and updates us on the insanity. Then they basically just throw bits and pieces of old stuff they found or new stuff that happens at us, and it's not that interesting. If anything, it's a bit of a mirror of society. A parade of freaks, hanging on to some sort of 'american dream' by being egotistical, narcissistic, greedy crooks who get high on attention and get really whiny and 'murcan ("stand mah ground", "will kill all the animals and myself", "got a gun", "god gave me this and that right..", swearword, ...) once they're being called out on their misbehavior.

An interesting thing is that they for some reason centre almost an episode on some 'internet detective' who runs a youtube show/podcast and 'investigates' crimes. A few weeks ago I heard about those people in relation to the Gabby Petito case, and they're rather scaring me. I get it, it's a fun past-time for the listeners to google around and do 'research', but the people who run those podcasts have to keep their listenership/patreons/whatever somehow. Possibly by presenting new 'findings' and 'developments' on the cases they talk about. And in the usual self-presentation fashion economics of attention require and if this is maybe even just the only source of income for these people, along with an audience who egg them on (possibly simply by listening to what this person has to say), I think there's a lot of potential for scary stuff to happen.

Maybe it's just me and my very basic distrust of every single person being able to get an audience via the new media who may well get very much into it. But in that regard I found that bit interesting.

In general though it's a pretty messy thing, and very much shows how the Tiger King thing was basically the right piece of entertainment at the right time and in the right place rather than having any extra merit or point of interest. While the first series was more focused on the feud between two highly eccentric people, the second series very much feels like a reality show with a ton of manufactured reality tv characters doing silly things without much structure or a story to it.

Carole Baskin's husband seems to be a funny dude though. So there's that.

Don't Watch.

   
Made in gb
Ridin' on a Snotling Pump Wagon






Ghostbusters Afterlife

It’s….perfectly enjoyable. Importantly, whilst it clearly has a reverence for the original, it’s not afraid to be largely it’s own thing, and isn’t particularly fan service.

The dialogue is good, the actors are good. McKenna Grace in particular really shines, as does Podcast.

Is it as good as the original? No. But that’s hardly a crime in itself. I’d say it’s probably better than Ghostbusters 2.

If you’re on the fence, I encourage you to go see it.

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MN

KIng Richard

This is the Will Smith movie about the Williams sisters of Tennis fame.

This was a solid, character driven sports movie of the "uplifting" variety. Richard is not a hero, or a villain.... he just is. The film let's you decide what you want to think about him.

Solid, but no need to rush to the cinema to see it. It would be perfectly serviceable on a small screen. However, if you want to prove that non-super movies can make money..... you better run to see it!

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Leader of the Sept







I'm just glad they didn't go for the whole schtick of Will Smith playing all the family parts a-la Michael J Fox in Back to the Future 2... Oh god... I now can't get the idea out of my head!

Please excuse any spelling errors. I use a tablet frequently and software keyboards are a pain!

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The Daemon Possessing Fulgrim's Body





Devon, UK

Weird you went there when The Nutty Professor exists.

We find comfort among those who agree with us - growth among those who don't. - Frank Howard Clark

The wise man doubts often, and changes his mind; the fool is obstinate, and doubts not; he knows all things but his own ignorance.

The correct statement of individual rights is that everyone has the right to an opinion, but crucially, that opinion can be roundly ignored and even made fun of, particularly if it is demonstrably nonsense!” Professor Brian Cox

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Leader of the Sept







My brain did go blank and bttf was the first thing that surfaced

Please excuse any spelling errors. I use a tablet frequently and software keyboards are a pain!

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On an Express Elevator to Hell!!

 Easy E wrote:
KIng Richard

This is the Will Smith movie about the Williams sisters of Tennis fame.

This was a solid, character driven sports movie of the "uplifting" variety. Richard is not a hero, or a villain.... he just is. The film let's you decide what you want to think about him.

Solid, but no need to rush to the cinema to see it. It would be perfectly serviceable on a small screen. However, if you want to prove that non-super movies can make money..... you better run to see it!


Out of interest how much of the film is about the dad and how much the girls?

I know he was instrumental on bringing them through into pro tennis and its a remarkable story, but it did seem like an odd choice to not have the daughters as the focus of the movie, as they are some of the most successful female tennis players of all time. And then I saw who was cast as the dad, and I thought "Ah" that is why, because no film with Will Smith exists in which he isn't the absolute centre of attention (I don't dislike him and he has been in some good films, but just an observation) - and wondered if that had lead to the detriment of the story overall.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/11/24 12:12:26


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Vienna, Austria

Wait, the boy in the new Ghostbusters film with the kids is actually named Podcast? Is there a reason to that, or is this strictly down to some SEO bs?

   
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Gargantuan Gargant




Italy

 Sigur wrote:
Wait, the boy in the new Ghostbusters film with the kids is actually named Podcast? Is there a reason to that, or is this strictly down to some SEO bs?


Not his real name, but he explained that's how everyone calls him (or maybe how he wants people to call him ), so he introduces himself as "Podcast".

 
   
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Vienna, Austria

Well, that's interesting.

Anyway, Squid Game. I finished the show last night. What an entirely ordinary show which comes with two or three sympathetic faces (the main guy, the thug and the dodgy funny lady).

It quotes a ton of things we've seen before. It's a typical Netflix thing: it's okay to look at, because it does things we've seen before numerous times, with some recognizable branding added (the mask guys, the big red light green light puppet). It goes on for too long.

Spoiler:
There is no point what so ever to the whole policeman-brother storyline, is there? The doctor storyline was at least somewhat interesting in that it showed that this system which praises itself for being oh so fair obviously NOT being fair at all, and not everybody is equal, even within this isolated, simple and entirely artificial system.
Especially the last few episodes [the bloody marbles game!] and the ending are overly long, tries to be twist-y, but is in no way, and of course they can't have anything changed about the system, because they NEED to have another season, right?



All that being said, I loved the VIPs. They were hilarious. Sure, sinister people with animal masks. We've seen it a TON of times and simply is for effect. Still, a sinister rich dude putting on antlers is always funny. And then they started commenting on everything. If this got a DVD release I'd love for the VIPs to add commentary to the whole show, just pointing out bleeding obvious things, cursing and being childish about the number 69.





Don't Watch.
I think that this would have worked much better as a film, and with a stronger ending.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/11/24 15:24:59


   
Made in gb
The Daemon Possessing Fulgrim's Body





Devon, UK

Venom: Let There Be Carnage

I was never a huge fan of what Venom did with the character, but if one ignored the connection and just treated it as a movie about a guy who got possessed by an alien creature there was some entertainment to be had.

But, after the inexplicably stellar success of the first film (it was apparently a big hit with teens and 18-24s, and I am.. not that) a sequel was inevitable.

So does the second film bring the whole thing more in line? Does Tom Hardy's Eddie Brock now look more like the rage fuelled vengeance machine I'd expect from a Venom film and less like a baffled puppy who needs a pooh?

In a word no.

I'm not sure if the production was affected by Covid, or what we get is what was intended, but the film feels utterly weightless. Exposition aside, the whole film is pretty much "Cletus becomes infected, becomes Carnage, Venom and Carnage fight, the end." In an era where films seem to be getting longer, we have a film that seems to skip over any attempt to build any jeopardy in favour of more or less leaping straight from the opening act to the final confrontation, and could really use a little time to raise the stakes.

That said, the final fight is quite entertaining and Naomi Harris is clearly having a ball with her part. Woody Harrellson is a proven actor with convincing psychopaths on his CV, yet feels criminally underutilised (a recurring theme with the whole film.) The Carnage symbiote itself looks great and acts in a suitably callous manner, just pretend they haven't magically given it the ability to turn into a whirlwind and it's fine.

Frankly, the most exciting part of the movie may be the post credits sequence, which may give a hint of greater, and more familiar, things to come. But in essence LTBC is movie junk food, you'll probably enjoy it while it's happening, but it won't do you any good and you might feel a bit bad after its over.

We find comfort among those who agree with us - growth among those who don't. - Frank Howard Clark

The wise man doubts often, and changes his mind; the fool is obstinate, and doubts not; he knows all things but his own ignorance.

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Shang-Chi

Watching this after getting shots, so I feel like it might be a fever dream.

Because, really, an MCU film with:
personal stakes
fight choreography (on film!)
a villain with actual motivation!
complexity and nuance (not just 'heroes fight baddies because baddies need to be fought')

Doesn't seem real.
Good though.

Efficiency is the highest virtue. 
   
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Battlefield Tourist





On an Express Elevator to Hell!!

I enjoyed Shang-Chi too.

The fighting sequences were awesome, loved that they were (predominantly) using wire work rather than CGI for much of it.

Great sense of humour running through it yet, believable bad guys (Marvel does a good job I think of adding believability to their characters, they are not just 'bad' for the sake of it)

Good casting too, I like that Tony Leung (who is a legend of Hong Kong cinema) was in it.

 Sigur wrote:
Well, that's interesting.

Anyway, Squid Game. I finished the show last night. What an entirely ordinary show which comes with two or three sympathetic faces (the main guy, the thug and the dodgy funny lady).

Don't Watch.
I think that this would have worked much better as a film, and with a stronger ending.



I will counter this with a Do Watch!

I really enjoyed it. I know it has been done many times before as a concept, but I loved the characters in it and it had a very quirky (very dark) sense of humour running throughout it. I kept finding myself laughing out loud at sequences, then stopping myself as it was something I really shouldn't have been laughing at.

I did used to live in Korea and I wonder if that might be why I liked it so much, my partner was pretty ambivalent about it and I think only watched because I was.
So the guy taking off his mask at the end was an actor Byung-hun, which was a real bombshell if you know Korean cinema (he is normally a movie A-lister, I would say a Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise equivalent that takes a lot of strong man roles). But I think that would have been lost on most non-Koreans watching.

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Vienna, Austria

He did look like a very striking man. He reminded me a lot of Mads Mikkelson. Was the girl they introduced halfway in a famous actress or pop star or something like that as well?

Yeah, it's not a bad show at all, and the actors were perfectly fine.
There were lots of concepts in there, but none was elaborated in. Instead there was another bunch of violent deaths or maybe some shot reminiscent of instagram photos. I liked the little twist of them being allowed to end it all via democratic vote. And they did, but the show showed that ultimately they had no choice at all. So that was good. Also nice: The ladies who tried to outplay the system via toilet climbing and poop jokes, but that led nowhere either. In the end the participants submitted to the inhumane system and realized they HAVE to play along to get the money (which in their situation basically meant life or death in the outside world).

I think that with what was done it could have just as well worked as a film, but I'm sure that my personal feelings towards Netflix and how they produce their stuff has somethign to do with it. I'm certain that this would have just as well worked as a film, but they wanna have people spend time on their platform. And have a second season, and it's WAY easier to maked people watch a second season of something rather than have them watch a sequel film.

And i'M sure that several things were lost on me due to how little I know about South Korea. As I said, it's not a bad tv show. I heard two people who know more things than I do claim that the show is way less interesting than the incredible success it has right now and why that might be. But maybe those people are wrong too, who knows. It's cool that you enjoyed it so much. I did too at times, and I did laugh as well (mostly at the VIPs of course).


I watched it in Korean with German subtitles. I really enjoyed the slightly stilted language used in those subtitles too, I have to say. I don't really get why in every single film or tv show people have to talk "like they do in real life" and use lots of swearing. Not that I have any idea about the way the characters talked to each other in the original language, but I think that especially in this show a slightly artificial way of speaking works nicely.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/11/26 14:03:34


   
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MN

It is that time of year for me to start watching a lot of Christmas movies......

California Christmas

In an inversion of the usual trope, this time a city Himbo goes tot he country to find love and that it is the simple life that matters! Plot twist!

Overall, a perfectly enjoyable, well-executed, and cheesy little romantic Christmas movie. Pretty inoffensive if you recognize it for what it is*.



*Note- to me the whole genre is typically inherently offensive by its very nature. For the "Holiday Movie Formula" to work, you have to make a lot of icky genre tropes fit into your movie. Most of those are offensive, broad, and stereotypical by nature. This one is no different.


Then, not Christmas related.....

Self/Less

Ben Kingsley takes over the body of Ryan Reynolds and hijinks ensue.

Ryan as at his least Reynolds-ish, which actually helps the film. He does not spend the whole time smirking at the camera, and instead does a good job seeming like a man over his head most of the time.

The violence is pretty straight forward, and brutal. The conspiracy is fine, but they could have played up the "who can you trust" aspect a bit further.

Pot-boiler thriller which is workmanlike and solid.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/11/26 14:39:55


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On an Express Elevator to Hell!!

I'm not sure about the girl I was probably in the country too long ago and I think she is quite young, but looked her up and apparently she is a model turned actress. And she went from having a few thousand Instagram followers to about 20 million after the show! So I guess she has done quite well for herself.

I did find some of the deaths quite haunting. One in particular (without spoiling, I will say it relates to a game of marbles) was playing on my mind for several days afterwards and really upset me! Which again my partner found really amusing as it hadn't affected her in the same way at all.

Yes I agree it probably could have worked as a film as well. I have found that with a few series recently, the other Korean drama Sweet Home, which started brilliantly but then lost momentum with some serious padding. Sometimes less is more.

I also liked the social commentary and satire; it has been in a few Korean films and dramas recently (most notably Parasite), commenting on the increasing gap between rich and poor. And what are the lives of the poor worth, especially considering Korean society was already quite hierarchical. So I thought there was a good, darkly comical view about those things.

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Vienna, Austria

Oh yes, there were some haunting deaths. They're all grizzly. The marbels episode just did me in though. I found the most exciting game was between the sneery gangster thug and his underling.



 Pacific wrote:
...

I also liked the social commentary and satire; it has been in a few Korean films and dramas recently (most notably Parasite), commenting on the increasing gap between rich and poor. And what are the lives of the poor worth, especially considering Korean society was already quite hierarchical. So I thought there was a good, darkly comical view about those things.


Absolutely, that observation the series makes works globally. But what films like Parasite and Snowpiercer did was show ways how the poor circumvent that system, either by overt rebellion or via 'becoming the other'. Squid Game said 'that's a thing', but inherently also said 'well, can't do anything about it' except if you're the one person who by wild chance and interference from above wins all the money. I would have liked to see that system being derailed.

I wrote a whole lot more ranty rambly stuff, but I don't wanna be the guy who explains why he doesn't like something without anybody having asked them. It's cool that you enjoyed it. I enjoyed it too, but found it very tame. But it was a good time, because I watched with people, so that's nice.

   
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Devon, UK

Boss Level

Ray (Frank Grillo) is having a bad day. For some reason a team of professional assassins have been hired to kill him. The worst part is, every time one of them succeeds he gets to wake up and do it again.

A curious mix of Groundhog Day and Die Hard, for a low key movie that was released straight to streaming, this is a surprisingly superior action film with a solid core of big names and well choreographed sequences, both big and expansive and small and precise.

Grillo, who prior to this was only really known to me as Crossbones in the MCU, carries the film pretty effortlessly as Ray, with Mel Gibson playing absolutely not the villain and Naomi Watts as the love interest/one that got away. Throw in brief appearances from the likes of Michelle Yeoh in what is barely more than a cameo and plenty of good work from the supporting cast (including one Rob Gronkowski) and you have a film that falls firmly in the "hidden gem" category.

Sure, it falls into a few of the time travel movie and action film clichés, but that's ok because it's not pretending to be high art, and it often does so in a knowing way (the film structure clearly mirrors the way players would approach video games back before save games were a thing, and a retro video games convention is a significant location, as an example.)

Throw in some solid humour, a little heart and a touch of pathos, and an ending that is brave enough not to tie everything up in a bow (or open for a sequel for the cynical) and it really isn't hard to see that, at time of writing, Prime Video has it rated at well over 4 stars.

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Red Notice

Kind of average. But who knew after her DCEU misdirection Gal Gadot has at least a modicum of acting ability?

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/11/28 20:29:20


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MN

The Holiday

So, Cameron Diaz gets to get coupled with Jude Law; but Kate Winslet gets coupled with Elli Wallach or Jack Black after ditching Rufus Sewell? Odd for a romantic Holiday movie.

As you can see, this movie has a lot of big names and was released into the theatres at the time. This was before streaming was a thing and mid-budget, character driven, ensemble cast movies were a thing.

That said, it is a bit long, meandering, and over-stuffed. It kind of dragged, but I can think of worse things to watch around Christmas time while snuggled up by the fire.


A Castle of Christmas

This has Brooke Shields and Cary Elwes, yes; the Dread Pirate Roberts himself.

This is much more traditional, Hallmark style Christmas movie writing. The "dramatic conflict" in this flick is paper thin, and when it is used it seems super forced and artificial. It would have been better if they would have skipped it, and just left it a courting/wooing story instead of trying to add a weak "will they/won't they" element.

I think I would rather watch a California Christmas instead of this one.

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Hobbs & Shaw

What a bloody stupid film.

Fun, but bloody stupid.

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