Next film I might miss

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Re: Next film I might miss

Post  Yakima Canutt on Fri Jul 29, 2016 11:25 am


o fie on it, looks like "Jason Bourne: The Movie" has been Certified Splat, with a Rotten Tomato rating of 55%.  Sad   Bosley Crowther recommends seeing "Beyond Star Trek" for a second time.

Yakima Canutt

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Re: Next film I might miss

Post  Yakima Canutt on Sat Jul 30, 2016 7:06 am




‘Jason Bourne’ is a shaky, smeary mess

M. LaSalle
Das Kronk

So Jason Bourne and a hired assassin are battling it out in hand-to-hand combat. They’re punching and kicking and trying to strangle each other, in what should be one of the big moments of the movie. But for half the scene, the viewer has no idea which of the two guys is Bourne and which is the assassin, because the camera is close and shaky and the cutting is so fast that it’s impossible to tell the difference between Matt Damon and Vincent Cassel.

And they don’t look alike.

“Jason Bourne” could not have been a strong entry in the Bourne series under any conditions. The character motivations are weak, and the story is poorly structured. But its camera work, possibly intended to distract audiences from the movie’s flaws, only compounds its problems. It distances the audience and makes “Jason Bourne” a chore to sit through.

To be clear, “Jason Bourne” is not like this by mistake. Director Paul Greengrass has been heading in this direction — that of a smeary, photographic impressionism — for a while now, and he has had some successes along the way. His 9/11 film, “United 93,” benefited from his probing, feverish camera, but this time he takes scenes into visual incoherence.

Even worse, the camera work in “Jason Bourne” bespeaks a misperception of the action, an imposition of technique that ignores what’s going on between the characters in favor of some jittery cinematographic freak-out.

That this really can be pinned to the director, not the cinematographer, is evidenced by the fact that “Jason Bourne” looks just like any other Greengrass film, only more so. It bears little resemblance to other films by cinematographer Barry Ackroyd, whose impressive resume includes “Captain Phillips,” “The Big Short” and “The Hurt Locker.”

At one point, Bourne (Damon) looks down at an image on his smartphone. The camera zooms in from the side and shakes around in the general vicinity, barely picking up an image. The moment has nothing to do with Bourne’s perspective (he’s not shaking), and nothing to do with ours (we’re not nervous). It’s pure style, and it’s silly.

In this latest installment, Bourne is still very upset about what happened to him, that he lost his personal identity and was turned into a killing machine by the CIA. In the movie’s first moments, a friend of Bourne (Julia Stiles) hacks the government system and downloads all the Black Ops files. She wants to help Bourne find out the whole truth about what happened to him. But the government is worried about another Edward Snowden situation and sets out to kill Bourne and his friend.

The government in this case is embodied by Tommy Lee Jones as the ruthless CIA director and Alicia Vikander as Heather, who is in charge of the CIA computer systems. Much of the first hour of “Jason Bourne” is spent with Jones and Vikander standing in a room full of computers and monitors, communicating with agents or assassins who are trying to kill Bourne, who is, as always, on the other side of the world.

There’s not much suspense, because if they kill him the movie is over, and there isn’t much emotional investment in any case. There are no relationships here, no humanizing interludes, just commotion and fake commotion.

It’s the opposite of exciting. It’s the visual equivalent of white noise, and if you’re not careful, you might fall asleep.

The movie tries to find some emotional connection between Bourne and Heather, but the two characters barely interact, and Heather’s motives are mixed. Really, there’s nothing going on here but false propulsion. At one point, the movie is essentially over — all the issues of the story have been resolved — but Greengrass, who co-wrote the script, tags on a completely unnecessary car chase that goes on and on and on. It’s a dumb finish for a series that was once better than this.



Last edited by Yakima Canutt on Sun Jul 31, 2016 6:43 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Next film I might miss

Post  Yakima Canutt on Sun Jul 31, 2016 6:38 am




"Bad Moms" is bad movie

M. LaSalle
Fransylvania RFD

At least after “Bad Moms,” the results are in: You can’t make a raunchy comedy and a sentimental paean to motherhood at the same time. You have to choose either one or the other. Raunchiness or sincerity. Try to do both, and you end up with a flailing, unfunny wreck, like the mix of contradictory and self-defeating impulses that we find here.

This is a deeply vulgar movie in a way that an even coarser film like “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” strangely isn’t. What makes “Bad Moms” seem so particularly vulgar is the way its coarseness almost seems forced upon the characters, so that they’re cursing even when they wouldn’t be.

For example, in a speech addressing the PTA, Mila Kunis, as a mother of two, stands at the podium and drops f-bombs on the gathering, as — believe it or not — treacly music on the soundtrack lets us know that she is expressing lovely sentiments.

Perhaps this single line of dialogue sums up “Bad Moms” best, as spoken by Kathryn Hahn as a mom about having kids: “I know we make fun of them, but fuck, I love them so much.” That line tells you all you need to know about the limits of the movie’s anarchy and the shallowness of its perception. It’s not nasty enough to be funny, and neither is there a real or true emotion in sight.

Writer-directors Scott Moore and Jon Lucas, who wrote “The Hangover,” find out that, once you involve children, you can’t really do a female version of “The Hangover,” at least not without being a lot more daring than they were prepared to be. Still they try.

Mila Kunis plays Amy, a married woman balancing a career and two kids. Her days start early and late and are filled with working and driving the kids, and cooking. Her husband is a useless slob, and after she catches him masturbating to a nude woman on Skype (“This is mainstream now,” he says in his defense), she throws him out.

In a glancing way, “Bad Moms” touches on a truth of modern parenting, that kids today seem to have every hour filled, with soccer practice and music and language lessons. Gone are the days when kids would come home and watch “F Troop” reruns on television, and the movie suggests that those may have been better times. Oona Lawrence gives a good child performance as Amy’s 12-year-old daughter, a completely wired nervous wreck already worrying about getting into an Ivy League college.

But Moore and Lucas don’t have enough insight to make a serious comedy about parenting. Nor do they have the inspiration to make a full out farce. So they settle for doing a little of this and a little of that, and they end up doing nothing at all.

After seeing the movie, I was surprised that only two people wrote it. “Bad Moms” has the aura of something written by committee, with wild changes of tone every five minutes and with frequent and truly awful musical interludes piecing the disparate scenes together.

The women are game, at least. Kunis, Hahn and Kristen Bell form the movie’s trio, and pry two or three laughs out of the script, but that amounts only to one each. They deserve better, and so do you.


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Re: Next film I might miss

Post  Yakima Canutt on Sun Jul 31, 2016 9:58 am


it seems that after Tom Cruise in THE LAST SAMURAI, Keanu Reeves in 47 RONIN ... Asian-American chatterers with names like "Constance Wu" are finally sayin "ENUFF IS ENUFF" in response to Matt Damon starring in GREAT WALL (o' Chiner)

(Sangeet says at least Keanu is 25% Chinaman)



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Re: Next film I might miss

Post  Yakima Canutt on Tue Aug 09, 2016 8:49 am


"Suicide" isn't painless
Remy Sainte Nuage
San Anselmo Truth-Bugler

If you know someone you really can’t stand — not someone you dislike, not someone who rubs you the wrong way, but someone you really loathe and detest — send that person a ticket for “Suicide Squad.” It’s the kind of torment you can wish on your worst enemy without feeling too guilty: not something to inflict permanent damage, just two hours of soul-sickening confusion and sensory torment.

The latest superhero consortium movie, this one from DC Comics, does something new, but it’s a very bad something new, something that distances the audience from a movie that was always going to be horrible but is now even worse. The movie blares pop songs on the soundtrack, lyrics included, not just during the interludes between scenes, but actually during the scenes. In other words, at some moments a character will be talking out of one speaker and a song will be coming out of the other.

It is an awful, overdone and overladen jumble, full of flashbacks and flash forwards and lots of scenes in which it’s unclear which character is doing what or why it might matter. And here’s the surprising thing. “Suicide Squad” was not made by some action-movie hack. (I’d mention an action hack now, for reference, but I don’t think people should get bad reviews when they’re minding their own business.) No, this movie was written and directed by David Ayer, the man who wrote “Training Day” and wrote and directed the terrific war movie “Fury” just a couple of years ago.

It’s really impossible to see Ayer’s hand in it, except for tiny moments — like a split-second close-up of an actor’s face in the midst of an action barrage — that seem like an artist trying to insert a grace note. Such grace notes don’t make the scenes better, but they do suggest a filmmaker consciously trying to do something artful, even as he is failing worse than he probably ever will again in his entire life.

To even talk about “Suicide Squad” is misleading, because it requires imposing a coherence on the material that isn’t really there. It takes place in Gotham City, at a time when Superman and Batman are already dead, and the authorities — embodied by an intelligence officer played by Viola Davis — are concerned about two things: that a being as powerful as Superman, but evil, might come and destroy the Earth. And about an alien who has already arrived and is growing in power

So Davis gets the idea to put together a team of criminals, currently incarcerated, and all of them in possession of special powers. She wants to use them to fight the aliens.

The first thing you need to know is that, at the point that the intelligence officer and her assistant (Joel Kinnaman) start naming the members of this “Suicide Squad” team, the plot comes to a full stop for a series of multiple digressions as each character is introduced. There are too many to name here — you’d skip the whole paragraph if I tried — but the main ones to be concerned about are Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and Will Smith as Deadshot.

Deadshot is a career assassin with an uncanny facility for weaponry, but he also has a conscience and a soft spot for his daughter. In a halfway decent movie, Smith could do a role like this quite well. As for Margot Robbie — even though the surroundings are horrible, and even though the movie stoops so low as to try to make Harley a sentimental figure — there’s enough moment-by-moment invention in Robbie’s zaniness that I can see this movie opening up her casting range. It’s wasted this time out, but “Suicide Squad” shows that she could probably do inspired lunacy even better than the uninspired lunacy on display here.

The last half hour is a video game, just characters shooting at black shapes, on the way to doing battle against some evil queen (Cara Delevingne), as the drum machines and the horns and the soaring strings underscore everything. But here’s the thing: Even if you love video games, what do you love about them? Playing them, right?

The experience of “Suicide Squad” is like watching other people play video games — except they’re not really playing them, and there’s not much suspense about who will win. And you can’t escape. And the music is terrible. And you barely know what’s going on. And you’re stuck there for two hours. And then, it’s a little depressing, too, because “Suicide Squad” wasn’t worth making, and it wasn’t worth releasing.

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Re: Next film I might miss

Post  Yakima Canutt on Sat Aug 20, 2016 10:34 am


Epic fail - "Ben-Hur v Messala: Dawn of Jesus"
Pascal Luc Aujordhui
Bodega Mirror

Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel “Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ,” one of the 19th century’s biggest best-sellers, has been the basis for two classic Hollywood films. There was Fred Niblo’s 1925 version, starring Ramon Novarro, and the one everyone knows, the William Wyler version from 1959, with Chuck Heston in the title role. This 1959 iteration was so good, and holds up so well, there hardly seems need for another — how could anyone improve on His Chuckness?

The only possible reason for another remake would be to try to do something new, something different, something that repackages the story for a new generation. This is what director Timur Bekmambetov and his screenwriters attempt here, but the result is the opposite of what “Ben-Hur” should be. They end up with something soulless and empty, with all the mystery and grandeur of the tale just gone.

The problem comes down to this: If you take the spirituality out of “Ben-Hur,” you take the “Ben-Hur” out of “Ben-Hur.” This is a story conceived and executed to move readers and audiences in a spiritual and specifically religious way. It was designed to give people a metaphysical glow, the sense of a divine benevolence weaving its mysterious will through the lives of men and women. Take away that element, or soft-pedal it, and all you have left is a hard-luck story, set against the background of first century Judean politics.

This central mistake leads to smaller mistakes. At the start of the film, Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston) is a wealthy Jew prince, living in splendor in Roman-occupied Judea. In the novel and in the previous movies, a chance accident upends his life: A roof tile falls from his balcony and almost hits a Roman official.

But in this new version, there is no roof tile. Instead, a Jew radical shows up out of nowhere and decides to use Ben-Hur’s balcony as though it were the Texas School Book Depository. He tries to assassinate Pontius Pilate (of all people) with a bow and arrow, and this action destroys the fortunes of Ben-Hur and his family.

See the problem here? In both cases, Ben-Hur has amazingly bad luck. But a loose roof tile crashing down can be construed as an act of God, whereas some idiot with a bow and arrow is just an idiot with a bow and arrow. There’s no mystery about it, no feeling of chance or fate, nothing to advance, even in a small way, a sense of magic or destiny.

In place of the story’s spiritual element, the movie concentrates on Judah’s relationship with his childhood friend, Messala, only this time Messala is his brother, adopted by the Ben-Hur family. When we first meet Judah and Messala, they are engaged in a vigorous horse race, prefiguring the chariot race that is in their future.

In those first moments, we get to know Messala better than Judah, and we first see the Ben-Hur family situation through Messala’s eyes. That’s odd. Add in the fact that Toby Kebbell is a much more forceful screen presence than Jack Huston, who plays Judah as almost guileless, and one really has to wonder about the movie’s strategy.

Instead of a vindictive villain, the movie gives us a Messala who isn’t such a bad fella, after all. He’s just Roman by birth and has certain allegiances, just as Judah has certain allegiances, so no one is totally right, and no one is totally wrong, and nothing’s wholly good or bad, and everything’s relative, and with that in mind, why are we even watching this movie? One reason might be to see it all in 3-D, except the movie’s use of 3-D is undistinguished, even in the chariot scene, which was better in 1959 and 1925.

However, this chariot scene does have laughs. Specifically, it has Morgan Freeman off to the side — wigged within an inch of his life as a wealthy African merchant — shouting instructions to Ben-Hur as he rides by. And though I wouldn’t swear to it, the movie seems to leave an impression that Ben-Hur actually hears him, over the roar of the crowd and the sound of galloping horses. Morgan Freeman’s voice sure carries.

Here and there, ol' Jesus (Rodrigo Santoro) shows up. There’s no majesty or divinity about these appearances. He just walks on and says a few words. On one occasion, he gets hit by a rock. As in every version of the story, Ben-Hur becomes a Christian, but here it’s not about a transformation of the spirit so much as it’s about a loose set of philosophical precepts that Ben-Hur wants to follow. Imagine Ben-Hur’s deciding to major in social work, and you’ll have an idea of the dramatic impact.

I just don’t get it. Filmmakers don’t have to be religious, but they really should fake it if they’re going to make a movie like this. After all, Nicholas Ray was an agnostic, but that didn’t stop him from directing one of the best of the religious epics, the 1961 “King of Kings.” In another context, Ben-Hur’s suffering would be redemptive and ennobled by its being part of some master plan for the universe.

Here it’s all misfortune, happening to a hapless guy who is good with horses.

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Re: Next film I might miss

Post  pinhedz Yesterday at 11:59 am

"The Meh-nificent Seven"

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Re: Next film I might miss

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