The Films of 2018

Discuss films of the 21st century including current cinema, current filmmakers, and film festivals.
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hanshotfirst1138
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The Films of 2018

#51 Post by hanshotfirst1138 » Tue Jul 24, 2018 9:36 am

Skyscraper was perfectly acceptable action movie junk food. It’s nothing more or less than that, and mostly coasts on Johnson’s charisma, but it’s a decent time-killer. Unlike most blockbusters these days, it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome; the running time is pretty lean. It’s more a disaster movie than an action picture. It’s infinitely superior to The Rock’s collaborations with Brad Peyton. Thurber does occasionally give you a good sense of vertigo from the heights, but there’s little of the tight suspense or memorable characters and quotable dialogue from Die Hard. Campbell’s damsel in distress does at least get to do something somewhat useful, but the Hong Kong setting brings to mind the Golden Era of Hong Kong action cinema, and this movie doesn’t come anywhere near those classics.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was disappointingly dull. It desperately tries to shake things up with a change in the setting, and it’s hard to talk more without spoiling too much, but the paper-thin script and characters don’t do it any favors, and Bayona’s direction can’t do much to spice it up. The whole franchise is one-note: dinosaurs escape. Chase humans. Rinse, lather, repeat. There’s just not much that’s new to do. It’s just Harryhausen with pixels, and none of his retro charm. The wow factor novelty value is totally gone, and it hasn’t been replaced with anything resembling good storytelling or compelling characters.

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Re: The Films of 2018

#52 Post by Dr Amicus » Tue Jul 24, 2018 1:26 pm

Re Skyscraper - I much preferred Rampage in all its glorious silliness, but this passed the time pleasantly enough. However, it seemed to me to be a very close-up oriented film which was really strange (unless it was being filmed primarily for a home viewing audience) and seemed to limit the impact of the FX and setting. And don't get me started on the idiocy of huge crowds standing AT THE BOTTOM OF A BLAZING SKYSCRAPER with no worries that it might, you know, collapse....

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The Films of 2018

#53 Post by hanshotfirst1138 » Fri Jul 27, 2018 7:42 am

Dr Amicus wrote:Re Skyscraper - I much preferred Rampage in all its glorious silliness, but this passed the time pleasantly enough. However, it seemed to me to be a very close-up oriented film which was really strange (unless it was being filmed primarily for a home viewing audience) and seemed to limit the impact of the FX and setting. And don't get me started on the idiocy of huge crowds standing AT THE BOTTOM OF A BLAZING SKYSCRAPER with no worries that it might, you know, collapse....
I liked Rampage more than the Rock’s previous collaboration with Peyton, the dull San Andreas. It at least embraced its own silliness, and the Rock’s central relationship with George did offer genuine amusement in places. Johnson can sell fist-bumping with a giant albino gorilla in a way that I really don’t think any other actor could. But most of it’s action sequences feel like video game cutscenes without much suspense or style. Regarding the people standing at its base, that didn’t altogether bother me that much and seemed rather depressingly realistic. How many news reports do we see nowadays of people standing by recording disasters with their cell phones?

Mission: Impossible: Fallout- While Christopher McQuarrie doesn’t have the almost musical sense of cutting with a touch of screwball that Brad Bird did or Brian DePalma’s beautiful precision and operatic camera work, on his own terms, there’s a lot to admire. His clean lines and sense of spatial geography are certainly better than JJ Abrams frantic cutting. Anyway, this isn’t as good as the original or Ghost Protocol, and as with pretty much all blockbusters these days, the length could use a little trimming. But Cruise commits to things 100%, and the movie rolls out one set piece after another with lots of panache and style. Compared to the vanity project that is John Woo’s crushingly disappointing second film, Cruise has widened things out to more of an ensemble, and giving his co-stars room to shine too. Not quite up to the breathless hype of being “one of the best action films ever made,” it’s still an immensely enjoyable popcorn movie. On a side note, this was one of the worst cinema experiences I’ve had in a long time, I moved to another seat and still couldn’t get away from people talking. Nice that this is one of the last big franchises which still shoots on 35mm. Go down swinging, Kodak. Go down swinging.

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Re: The Films of 2018

#54 Post by domino harvey » Thu Aug 02, 2018 1:28 pm

A Floresta das Almas Perdidas (José Pedro Lopes)
The title for this Portuguese "horror" film translates to the Forest of Lost Souls, but a more accurate title would be Hipster QT Stabs People. The film contains two disparate but promising ideas and discards both for a third, non-idea. First we get what appears to be a dark comedy, in which two people, a young indie music-loving girl and an old man, lock horns in criticism of each other's life choices and ending life choices as they meet in a large forest known for suicides. The film isn't clever and the interplay isn't funny enough to sustain this, but it's at least an idea and I could see another, better movie take this kind of interaction into a comical long-winded two hander. Soon thereafter we get the second idea: the young woman is a serial killer who murders people who come to the forest to commit suicide as a way of offing people guilt free. That's also an idea. Now the film will quickly ignore this idea as the girl slowly tracks down the old man's family at their home, kills them, and then blames him for their deaths, making it look like a murder-suicide. That's not an idea, that's typical zero-motivation slasher bullshit that hasn't been fresh in thirty years no matter how many coats of artsy black and white photography and rampant "spooky" ambient music is overlaid on top. Oh man, the score for this is obnoxious, highlighting every last moment when the girl walks in the background inside the family house, and moments that could have been eerie are made completely rote as a result. There is no point to this movie, and at 70 minutes including about nine minutes of beginning and end credits, the film feels padded when it should be lean. There's no escaping that this was a short someone stretched out to feature length, but there's also no length at which a film that goes for narrative option three was worth making at all.

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Mr Sausage
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Re: The Films of 2018

#55 Post by Mr Sausage » Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:20 pm

I wrote up some of the 2018 films I saw at the Fantasia Film festival here.

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Brian C
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Re: The Films of 2018

#56 Post by Brian C » Tue Aug 07, 2018 3:06 pm

The Spy Who Dumped Me (Susanna Fogel, 2018)

I imagine one's tolerance of this is entirely dependent on one's tolerance for the two leads. I love Kate McKinnon, so was happy to check it out. But of course, this kind of spy humor has been done to death a million times over, and this one too is basically a case of what-you-see-is-what-you-get. A few laughs work, a few don't, and a good (enough) time is had by all, or at least those predisposed to like it in the first place.

I will say, though, that the film is just weird enough that I would have appreciated seeing the weirdness really pushed a lot harder. Feels like with these two leads there was an opportunity to get something really gloriously, transcendently surreal. At times, it almost gets there, but never quite commits to being more than a programmatic time-waster.

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Re: The Films of 2018

#57 Post by hearthesilence » Tue Aug 07, 2018 3:40 pm

I generally like McKinnon too but I've never been a fan of Mila Kunis's comedic roles.

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Re: The Films of 2018

#58 Post by Brian C » Sun Aug 12, 2018 11:36 am

The Meg (Jon Turteltaub, 2018)

Truth be told, I only saw this because I'd never been to the AMC Navy Pier IMAX before, and felt like checking it out since it's basically free under their A-List plan. It's not like I expected the movie to be good, and of course it's not, but still I was perhaps a bit surprised by how indifferently put together it feels. I've seen worse, but this is not a film that shows much sign of actual effort being made - even the big climactic beach attack is bafflingly generic in its conception and execution. The feeling I got from most of the film was that, while it's not grievously incompetent, basically no one could be bothered to make it any better. Straight off the assembly line.

There is one minor detail that stood out, though - some enterprising CGI artists actually added some remoras attached to the shark. Given the scale involved, these must have been gigantic remoras, so it raises some questions about whether they were native to the meg's deep sea zone or attached themselves later. Although then again, as is often the case with big CGI monster movies, the scale of the meg seems to change throughout, so it's probably an unanswerable question.

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Re: The Films of 2018

#59 Post by DarkImbecile » Sun Aug 12, 2018 12:10 pm

How was the IMAX?

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Brian C
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Re: The Films of 2018

#60 Post by Brian C » Sun Aug 12, 2018 12:17 pm

Venue-wise, it was fine. I’d guess it was built back when IMAX was still a distinctive thing and hadn’t yet started to slap their name on any megaplex auditorium with a slightly bigger screen than normal. Watching an actual IMAX movie there would probably be a good experience.

But I continue to believe that “large format” releases are generally an industry scam. This movie obviously wasn’t made for IMAX - it’s just the same DCP projected with no 2.35:1 masking and a hefty upcharge. Big whoop.

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Re: The Films of 2018

#61 Post by DarkImbecile » Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:35 pm

I've been an apologist for Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg's collaborations in the past - preferring Lone Survivor with all its flaws and inaccuracies over other equally jingoistic but less kinetic Forever War features like American Sniper, and enjoying Deepwater Horizon as a fairly grounded big budget disaster movie - but their latest, Mile 22, is absolutely atrocious. The action sequences, plot, politics, and InfoWars-long-time-listener-first-time-caller ramblings of Wahlberg's character that serve as a framing device for the entire film are all utterly incoherent, while Wahlberg's performance as an autistic murder patriot emphasizes all the most irritating elements of his personality to the point that I was dying for the nuance and complexity of Ben Affleck's character from The Accountant.

I mistakenly believed that my expectations were low enough going in that Mile 22 couldn't piss me off too badly, but Berg's mind-boggling waste of the talents of Iko Uwais (martial artist and star of The Raid films) on choppily edited and impossible-to-follow fight scenes more than did the trick - and that came long before he spends the final quarter of the runtime on a lifeless and repetitive rip-off of the first Raid movie that only heightens the deeply unflattering contrast between the films.

That this was apparently supposed to be a franchise starter is laughable enough on quality alone, but the idea that anyone would be chomping at the bit to see the next chapter in this particular story is dumbfounding when
SpoilerShow
the film ends with literally every member of a deeply unlikable team led by a deeply unlikable Wahlberg (the, uh, lone survivor) killed because they were all outsmarted by the Russians, who are seeking (a not totally unjustified) revenge after Wahlberg callously executes the teenage son of a Russian official in the opening scene of the film. The film is so inept that despite all the pseudo-realist jingoism and nationalism in the script, it actually positions the Russians as the clever heroes who wipe out the amoral American death squad.
A couple of other minor notes:
SpoilerShow
*This film continues the weird trend of fetishizing suicide bombings in American action movies, which are always cowardly and terrifying when committed by jihadists - but so stoic and cool when done by wounded American heroes grittily taking a few of the evil bastards with them before they can be taken alive.

*Also not interesting: killing your primary antagonist with a drone strike. Could there be a less visually interesting climactic moment for an action movie than calling in a missile from the sky without having to so much as break a sweat?

*I really can't emphasize enough how moronic Wahlberg's character sounds throughout this entire debacle of a movie; it's a perfect storm of a completely clueless performance and transcendentally insipid writing, like an over-caffeinated Jonah Ryan from Veep reading aloud something John Bolton scribbled down in a fever dream about geopolitics and modern warfare.

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Re: The Films of 2018

#62 Post by Brian C » Thu Aug 30, 2018 3:59 pm

Alpha (Albert Hughes, 2018]

I don't know if I'd go so far as to recommend this, but it's at least watchable, and there are some things here that I liked. It has an interesting premise - a prehistorical young man gets separated from his tribe during a dangerous hunt and is left to his own devices to survive - and at its best, it's evocative of a time when the whole world was nothing but open wilderness. For my tastes, the film gets stuck in between being a harrowing survival story and a campfire story for Boy Scouts, and I'd have liked for it to feel a little more rugged and urgent, but others might like the more fantastical feel of it. And despite some beautiful places being listed in the credits as presumed filming locations, the settings mostly feel like CGI creations, which is unfortunate.

Still, it's imaginative enough not to need an actual antagonist, and the drama never feels especially forced or the scenarios particularly outlandish. And I admire the decision to have the characters (in what relatively little dialogue there is) speak in an invented language. I did not know this about the film going in, and I spent the first half wondering what language they could possibly be speaking before it occurred to me that maybe they just made one up. It works, though.

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Re: The Films of 2018

#63 Post by DarkImbecile » Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:06 pm

Watergate - Or, How We Learned to Stop an Out-of-Control President is in many ways very much in line with Charles Ferguson's prior work on Inside Job and No End In Sight — he lays out his evidence in the layered, thorough fashion of a prosecutor making a case to a jury, with shifting onscreen diagrams illustrating complex relationships, repeated coverage of key moments and concepts, and targeted, judicious use of talking heads, all building to a strong historical and thematic conclusion — but adds two notable elements not present in those earlier documentaries (to varying degrees of success): a sense of humor and reenactments of vital White House conversations between Nixon and his staff.

Ferguson went out of his way while introducing the film to emphasize that the reenactments were a necessary evil so as not to subject the audience to what cumulatively would add up to probably 45-60 minutes of Nixon tapes rife with poor audio quality and discursive, confusing conversational asides, but assured us (as does the film in its opening titles) that while some irrelevant comments were removed for clarity and brevity, everything said in the reenactments is accurate and in order to the word; to further underline that point, these segments often start with a snippet of audio repeated verbatim by the actors as the lead in to a longer scene. The reenactments are fine, but are primarily valuable for getting across the content of the tapes of internal White House conversations in unobtrusive interludes between the interviews of key figures and contemporaneous news footage. Some performances are better than others; while recognizing how hard it is to do Nixon — one of the most imitated public figures of the 20th century — without coming off as a caricature, Douglas Hodge is at times uneven, while John Hopkins, Will Keen, and Elliot Levey do solid work as Haldeman, Ehrlichman, and Kissinger respectively.

Probably the most pleasant surprise of the film — and one particularly noticeable in viewing with a large audience — is how funny much of the film is, both in just the simple absurdity of some details of the scandal (as when John Dean recounts having to explain to Nixon's staff why firebombing the Brookings Institution to facilitate the stealing of some of their documents may be inadvisable) and in Ferguson's choice of footage and juxtaposing of strident assertions by the Nixon team with the documentary editing equivalent of Ron Howard's Arrested Development narration. These humorous moments also set up a contrast with the seriousness of the situation that helps the more somber moments of eloquence on the part of players like first-term House Judiciary member Elizabeth Holtzman or Representative Barbara Jordan resonate more deeply than they might have if the proceedings had been more one-note throughout.

While the film is long - I believe the intention is that it will air on cable later this year - it is packed with detail and characters, and though Ferguson spends more than 30 minutes of the opening of the film setting up the context for Nixon's presidency, Vietnam, and the Pentagon Papers, many of the people and details sprinkled throughout these early table-setting moments pay off two or more hours later when their stories sometimes unexpectedly intersect with the final stages of the Nixon presidency.

Where Ferguson's prior work addressed hot-from-the-presses issues of the moment that were fresh in the memories of its audience, Watergate is a 45+-year-old story that still happens to be infused with topicality, though the director noted that he took on the project five years ago to get away from contemporary issues only to find himself forced to reckon with unpredictable present-day recurrences and echoes throughout the development and editing process. The parallels between Nixon and Trump in their paranoia and attitudes toward presidential power, the press, and objective truth are hard to ignore, but I think Ferguson mostly avoids the pitfall of weighing down his story by overemphasizing the overlapping themes, more often letting the connections go unstated and allowing the audience to primarily focus on the specific peculiarities of the Watergate saga. As to how it speaks to our current moment, it certainly inspires some hope to see how a handful of individuals committed to good government and the rule of law can overcome the reckless, imperious behavior of a president adrift in his own paranoia and hubris, but it's also deeply disconcerting how key inflection points in the process of holding the president accountable for rampant misbehavior relied on only a handful of individuals acting against their own personal best interests or the best interests of their party. How much faith one has in whether the individuals in similar positions now will put the country's long-term best interests ahead of their own myopic goals will determine whether one finds Watergate a promising reminder of the resilience of American democracy or a melancholic indication of how decayed our institutions and how cynical our populace has become in the half-century since Nixon stepped down.

Ultimately, the film doesn't break any new ground in terms of form or new information on the subject matter (I tried hard not to hold Watergate up to an unflattering comparison to Errol Morris' Wormwood, which had the ambition to do both in this same Telluride slot last year) but is one of the better summaries of Nixon's downfall I've seen or read, and is edited and structured in such a way that its four hours fly by as entertainingly as possible (I hope the film eventually becomes available in this consolidated form even if it is initially presented in a more episodic format for television).

Some fun moments from the world premiere screening:
*I sat directly in front of Jill Wine-Banks and Richard Ben-Veniste - special prosecutors on Archibald Cox's team who continued to show up for work and press the case forward even after the Saturday Night Massacre, both of whom were interview subjects in the film - and they seemed as enthused as anyone by the final product and the appreciation from the audience.
*The woman sitting directly to my left mentioned during the intermission that she remembered vividly being part of a crowd outside the White House in the summer of 1974 cheering at the sight of Mayflower moving trucks — and she nearly jumped out of her seat when news footage of that scene popped up 90 minutes later in the film, whispering intensely to her husband, "That's me, that's me!"
*To illustrate the point above that the reenactments had to be accurate to the syllable, Ferguson told the audience in his introduction how Douglas Hodge (playing the notoriously foul-mouthed Nixon) would coyly request precise line readings from the very proper British transcript supervisor, who would be forced to repeatedly say some version of, "The end of that line, Douglas, as you surely are aware, is 'those cocksuckers'."

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Re: The Films of 2018

#64 Post by cdnchris » Sun Sep 16, 2018 12:27 am

I rather liked A Simple Favor. I mean, it's story is, you know, a wee bit ridiculous and not too hard to predict but the movie at least just goes with it. I didn't know anything about it going in, just that it was a thriller. So I was shocked to see Paul Feig was the director, which probably explains the biggest surprise: the film was really funny. And it's not in a wink-wink manner or making fun of the film's overly complicated plot, which would have been the easy and cheap route. The plot plays pretty straight and the film is essentially a thriller but the humour comes out just naturally through the characters and the situations, which then may come up as a plot point later (like a rather graphic painting). The film balances that humour and the thriller aspect rather well (short a couple moments like a chase scene whose only purpose to exist is to have a punchline) up until the end where the climax plays one character's comeuppance straight for a laugh where the film really tried to avoid that before. Kendrick and Lively were also both good in this.

My wife pointed out that there was at least one other film geek in the audience since I and one other person were the only ones to laugh at one line:
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"Are you trying to Diabolique me!?"

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Ash Is Purest White (Jia Zhangke, 2018)

#65 Post by Cronenfly » Sun Sep 16, 2018 3:43 am

Anyone know when Cohen is putting this out, or if it’s getting a UK release? I’m remorseful about missing it at TIFF and am hoping the wait will not be all that long.

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Re: The Films of 2018

#66 Post by alacal2 » Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:19 am

Cronenfly. Ash Is The Purest White is showing at the London Film Festival on 12 and 13th October. New Wave Films have distribution rights so a Blu Ray (and limited theatrical release?) cannot be far behind.

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Re: The Films of 2018

#67 Post by DarkImbecile » Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:12 pm

Peter Bogdanovich's The Great Buster is a mostly delightful, if somewhat slight, overview of Buster Keaton's career — and to its credit, the film really does limit its focus almost exclusively to his work, with only the necessary details regarding his personal life — that I give extra credit (despite not containing any major revelations about or reevaluations of its subject) for two main reasons:

One, Bogdanovich's editing ably shows off the best of the physical comedy, stunt work, and attention to detail that made Keaton so entertaining while also imbuing the documentary itself with a pace and sense of humor to match the work, of which we get comprehensive coverage — from the earliest Fatty Arbuckle shorts to the late commercials and game show appearances. That deft touch made a viewing of the film in a packed house delightful; it's so rare to see silents with such a large audience, and to hear the crowd react uproariously to the gags and stunts really enhanced the experience in a way that a drier, more biographical documentary likely couldn't have matched.

Secondly, Bogdanovich makes a structural choice that I'm going to spoiler tag totally unnecessarily but which is the key to the film working as well as it does and might come as a pleasant surprise for anyone reading this:
SpoilerShow
While going chronologically through Keaton's life and career, Bogdanovich chooses to glide past the five-year, ten film pinnacle of Keaton's work to get to the story of the downward spiral of his career and personal life before ending the documentary with a joyous analysis of each of those films and some of their key sequences, sending the audience out not on the downslope of the melancholic final years of a fading and forgotten star but on the heights of his finest and most deliriously entertaining contributions to the world of film and comedy. Capping this ecstatic overview with a description of the standing ovation Keaton was stunned to receive at a career retrospective at the Venice Film Festival late in his life — not having realized that he was viewed as an iconic master of early film by a substantial and growing segment of the cinematic community — delivered some genuine emotional payoff to the documentary while keeping the spotlight on the brief but amazing pinnacle of Keaton's career and not the more familiar story of the decline of a film star.
I have no idea what the distribution plan is for this, but I imagine at least some will have the opportunity to see it in a theater and I highly encourage those who can to cajole as many friends and acquaintances who know little about the man or that era as possible to come along to see a broadly appealing, feel-good documentary. The experience of watching a film like this alone on the couch at home — which would still be enjoyable or valuable to a degree depending on your familiarity with the subject — can't possibly be as unexpectedly exciting and fun as watching a crowd react to seeing what made Keaton so singular a talent.

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Re: The Films of 2018

#68 Post by DarkImbecile » Fri Oct 05, 2018 3:39 pm

(I should contextualize the below by saying that I like Predator quite a bit and even find things to enjoy in Predator 2, so I should have been a fairly easy sell for this.)

This is old news at this point, but Shane Black’s The Predator is remarkably bad, a pointless blend of the worst of the mindless jingoism and ultraviolence of the 1980s and the incoherent action and cheap CGI of the 21st century, held together with the least funny, most inane Shane Black script I can remember. For reasons either completely unexplained or unnecessarily contrived, an Army Ranger — Boyd Holbrook, unfortunately giving us the most absurd attempt to be a hardcore badass since maybe Shia LeBeouf in the fourth Indiana Jones movie — runs into a Predator (in a part of Central America that happens to look remarkably like the forest outside of Vancouver), steals some of the Predator's gear, and ships it to his estranged wife and kid's house (in a small American town that happens to look remarkably like suburban Vancouver) because he somehow knows that the government will try to kill or institutionalize him to keep him from talking about the alien he saw (despite the fact that he's already secretly murdering foreign/Vancouverian nationals and presumably can be trusted with a secret or two) but apparently not realizing that this might put his family at risk. Loaded onto a bus with a crew of charmingly damaged yet somehow still highly effective mentally ill soldiers on their way to a VA hospital, Holbrook leads a breakout to save himself and his family from the government — led by the inexplicably murderous Sterling K. Brown — and scary aliens and their alien hunting dogs.

In what media appearances he's made after the whole failing-to-inform-cast-members-about-the-sex-criminal-cameo scandal, Black seems to be trying to sell his motley group of institutionalized soldier protagonists as a post-Iraq/Afghanistan PTSD subversion of the original Predator's hypermasculine group of spinal donors, but there's nothing particularly interesting — and plenty that's stereotypical, stupid, or offensive — about the film's depiction of the soldiers; for example, Thomas Jane's character somehow developed Tourette syndrome after losing his entire unit in combat, which is not as far as I'm aware medically possible but does allow him to yell "Eat your pussy!" at Olivia Munn, so I guess the ends justified the means. The film only rarely stops either humping the military's leg* or delighting in the uninventive gore thrown at the audience long enough to characterize anyone or explain their actions, and when it does it's on the level of introducing us to Holbrook's twice-exceptional kid (Jacob Tremblay) who learns an alien language in five minutes but can’t handle loud noises (yet conveniently doesn’t seem particularly affected by the non-stop explosions and gunfire surrounding him for the last half hour) or Munn’s hot scientist who can inexplicably hang with special forces in a gunfight, both of whom mostly seem to exist as deus ex machinas and an “ass burger” joke and an ongoing undercurrent of rape threat, respectively.

The very ending of this film is awful for so many reasons I guarantee I've left some out, but here's a quick summary if anyone wants to know and this will save them from spending time or money on The Predator:
SpoilerShow
After almost literally every speaking character except Holbrook, Tremblay, and Munn are eviscerated or dismembered, apparently everything is forgiven — by the same fascistic, paranoid US government that tried to mercilessly execute everyone not wearing a black ski mask for the preceding two hours — and so Holbrook is back in uniform and Tremblay literally has a desk in the lab studying all the alien equipment. The Predator that Holbrook ran into originally apparently came to Earth to — for no reason other than the goodness of his heart, apparently — give us a superweapon to stop the eventual climate-change-induced takeover of the planet by the Predator species, who have been using the spinal fluid they've been harvesting from each planet they hunt on to genetically modify themselves with the best traits of their prey. That superweapon is a modified set of Predator armor called "the Predator Killer" or something like that, which Holbrook immediately calls dibs on. So awesome, right? Right?
In conclusion, this movie was very bad and no one should encourage the people who made it by giving them their money.

*One of the more insidious elements of this movie in particular but many like it is the fascistic combination of an extreme fetish for the righteousness and power of soldiers and the military and an equally extreme demonization of "the government" in the form of coldly amoral civilian bureaucrats and their murderous secret militias — as if these things were or could ever be totally distinct and unconnected. The extent to which this dynamic is taken in this film is extreme, but unironic adoption of Heinlein-esque views seems more and more disturbingly common in popular culture these days.

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Re: The Films of 2018

#69 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Fri Oct 05, 2018 5:31 pm

I really liked Predator 2 watching it again recently, putting a monster-movie spin on the kind of action-crime stuff Joel Silver had made his stock and trade up to that point.

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Re: The Films of 2018

#70 Post by MrHongKong » Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:18 pm

Brian C wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 3:59 pm
Alpha (Albert Hughes, 2018]

I don't know if I'd go so far as to recommend this, but it's at least watchable, and there are some things here that I liked. It has an interesting premise - a prehistorical young man gets separated from his tribe during a dangerous hunt and is left to his own devices to survive - and at its best, it's evocative of a time when the whole world was nothing but open wilderness. For my tastes, the film gets stuck in between being a harrowing survival story and a campfire story for Boy Scouts, and I'd have liked for it to feel a little more rugged and urgent, but others might like the more fantastical feel of it. And despite some beautiful places being listed in the credits as presumed filming locations, the settings mostly feel like CGI creations, which is unfortunate.

Still, it's imaginative enough not to need an actual antagonist, and the drama never feels especially forced or the scenarios particularly outlandish. And I admire the decision to have the characters (in what relatively little dialogue there is) speak in an invented language. I did not know this about the film going in, and I spent the first half wondering what language they could possibly be speaking before it occurred to me that maybe they just made one up. It works, though.
I enjoyed the film. I did seem to notice that the film may have had some of the Boy Scout campfire stuff you mentioned imposed on it by the studio. They put out a cornball family trailer not long before the launch that was pretty cringy. Also, the Morgan Freeman VO at the beginning and end seemed tacked on by the studio and was entirely unnecessary, and, indeed, quite distracting from the more pure visual storytelling of the film itself. I have no knowledge of the history of this film but suspect perhaps a bit of studio interference.

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Persona
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Re: The Films of 2018

#71 Post by Persona » Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:18 am

Gareth Evans' Apostle is the kind of movie you could probably nit-pick to death but I was really drawn into the world created here, Dan Stevens was magnetic as the protagonist, and there's such an incredible verve to how they shot and edited this film (and the music and sound design were also fantastic). There's a very cool unfolding mystery thriller vibe to the first half of the movie or so and then towards the end it goes folk horror beast mode. Messy but dope.

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PfR73
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Lazzaro felice (Alice Rohrwacher, 2018)

#72 Post by PfR73 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:12 pm

ianthemovie wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 9:48 am
[EDIT: It's really a shame Giamatti hasn't gotten much film work lately (unless I'm missing some things?). This movie was a reminder of how good he is and it's wonderful to see him play a decent guy and a good husband as opposed to the pathetic loser/schmuck roles that he specialized in--and played very well--in the early 2000s.]
He's been starring in the Showtime series "Billions" for the past couple years, so that may have affected his availability for film work.

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Mr Sheldrake
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Re: The Films of 2018

#73 Post by Mr Sheldrake » Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:12 pm

Bad Times at the El Royale
Cynthia Erivo belts out several great pop songs of 50 years ago at some unlikely moments. When the cleverness flags have Cynthia sing, and it's a good idea. Jeff Bridges is the other reason to see this, he invests, I don't know, dignity maybe, to this pulp extravaganza, a performance not just for completists.

Colette
Great chemistry between Keira Knightley as Colette and Dominic West as her philandering, charismatic scoundrel of a husband lends to a liveliness rarely found in costume biopics. Interesting that Colette liberates herself (early 20th century) and reaps the rewards, in relation to the curious self-effacement (late 20th century) of Glenn Close in The Wife, both facing similar situations (hubby unfairly gets the literary credit), and playing in adjoining theaters at my multiplex.

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Mr Sheldrake
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Re: The Films of 2018

#74 Post by Mr Sheldrake » Wed Oct 17, 2018 8:04 am

^ Once Willi (Dominic West) exits, the movie loses its steam. I fear West will be overlooked at awards time as this is viewed as a signature role (properly so) for Keira Knightley, just a notch below her Elizabeth Bennett and (for those of us besotted) Anna Karenina.

^^ The only novel I've read by Colette is Cheri which somewhat perplexed me. Can you recommend another, mr sausage, that you think illustrates her genius?

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Mr Sheldrake
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Re: The Films of 2018

#75 Post by Mr Sheldrake » Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:56 pm

Thanks for the extensive write-up, mr sausage. The Pure and the Impure has a nyrb edition, on order, and I'll also try the first Claudine, my library has all of those.

Searching
I would never have believed the central conceit of this after the first ten minutes could be sustained. A single dad's teenage daughter disappears and he must discover who she is (they aren't close) and what has happened to her, all through google search. We see Dad, we see what he sees on his computer.

John Cho is excellent in presenting the iconic image of contemporary life- that of a human being intensely absorbed in staring at a digital screen. The clues pile up, I became surprisingly riveted, as Dad morphs into a cyberspace Sherlock Holmes.

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