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  # 1603218 2-Aug-2016 20:46
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Under the Sun, filmed by a Russian filmmaker (Vitaly Mansky) at Te Papa as part of the Wellington Film Festival last weekend. Thoroughly watchable, and I recommend it.

OK, it was in Korean with subtitles, which meant that I had to concentrate. The premise is that it's a documentary that follows an 8 year old girl as she prepares to join the NK Children's Union (which seems to be their version of the Girl Guides on steroids).

Except almost all the film is faked by the North Koreans, who were given scipt approval and had minders at every shoot changing any detail they didn't approve of. So basically a propaganda piece, or at least the North Koreans thought so when it was being filmed.

However, unknown to them, he left the cameras rolling. So you see each scene, sometimes four or five times, reshot as the North Korean minders endlessly interfere trying to make NK look as clean and good as possible. So, it's essentially a documentary showing North Korean censorship and the ludicrousness of extreme state control, rather than it's ostensible subject of a young girl.

 

Full review by the NY Times is here




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  # 1605814 7-Aug-2016 13:28
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I watched The Mist a few nights ago.  Directed by Frank Darabont, adapted from the novel by Stephen King.

 

The CGI is pretty dated, but luckily the story doesn't rely on CGI as much as the tension created by human nature.  It's a really great film and I was pleasantly surprised!  

 

It's also a great way to explain where Darabont got 90% of his cast for the first season of The Walking Dead :)

 

7/10 for me.  


 
 
 
 


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# 1605891 7-Aug-2016 14:54
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Yeah, it's a pretty well done adaptation of King's story.


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  # 1605897 7-Aug-2016 15:09
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That ending though! Never in my life do I remember my jaw literally dropping until that movie. Stephen King has gone on record saying that he enjoyed it more than his own.

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  # 1610825 12-Aug-2016 16:46
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Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice (Ultimate Edition) - 7.5/10

 

It's worth stating upfront that I watched this movie with my eyes wide open, having absorbed all the hate and negativity from critics and fans alike.  I wasn't able to persuade my wife to go and see this when it came out at the films (and I had better things to do as well), but when I heard that there was an Ultimate Edition that improved the film I was prepared to sit down and watch it at home.

 

It's also worth pointing out that the UE is 3 HOURS LONG!  With my evenings invariably truncated by childcare obligations, I was only able to spare 60 minutes each night, meaning it took three sittings for me to get through the film.  Despite all this, I have to say that I generally enjoyed this film.

 

I won't rehash the negative reviews, because there's no shortage of those.  Instead, I'll focus on what I think are the good aspects.  I like that they took a fresh approach to both Batman and Superman.  I may be in a minority but I also enjoyed Man of Steel (though I haven't rewatched it since it came out at the cinema), and I think Henry Cavill does a reasonably good job of Superman.  He is a little broody, but I think it also brings intensity which is appropriate for the tone of the films.  I will agree with some comments that the lighter-hearted Clark Kent role is mostly absent (and people are still apparently fooled by glasses and hair gel as a disguise), but it isn't such a big problem that it interferes with the film.  For the most part, the film doesn't spend too long revisiting origins or "previously on..." (notwithstanding the umpteenth portrayal of the Wayne murders), and it just gets on with telling the story.

 

I, like many people, weren't sold on Batfleck, but I have to retract my original views somewhat.  Affleck as Wayne is believable, and brings a fresh humanity to the character than I think was reasonably absent in his predecessor.  Christian Bale didn't seem to show any particular affection for his fellow humans (unless they were Rachel Dawes), but Affleck was good at conveying the hurt he felt for people affected by the events of Man of Steel.  Affleck as Batman was a little harder for me to swallow, though.  While he had the physicality (in a way that Bale never really matched), and brawled in a more brutal way (where Bale's incarnation tended to rely on weapons and gadgets), I struggled with the Bat-chin and the ever present stubble.  It just made him look too shabby to be believable.  Overall, he wasn't too bad but I think I still prefer Bale as Batman/Wayne.  He's certainly better than the Kilmer/Clooney era.

 

Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman didn't get a lot of time (even in the UE), but what I saw was encouraging.  When she joins the battle in act 3 she absolutely kicks ass.  Her leitmotif (signature sound) is absolutely perfect, and I can't wait for her solo film to come out.  Especially with a period setting, I think it will be great.

 

Jeremy Irons as Alfred is an interesting choice.  He seems to be a mix of Alfred and Lucius Fox, and is far more hands on than any other version of Alfred I've seen.  It was cool to see the Bat operation more of an engineering endeavour than a mythical/mystical one as presented in the Nolan trilogy.  For instance, the Batcave looks designed in this film, whereas the previous films used an actual cave underneath Wayne Manor.  The film definitely gives the appearance of a hard working manservant diligently building the infrastructure to support Batman.

 

It is definitely too long, and I think the blame can be laid at the feet of the director and editor.  While it is an ambitious idea that isn't quite fulfilled, it feels like they tried to make it work by drawing it out and adding more to backfill the gaps.  I think a tighter story that sacrificed a little of the flashy style for a tauter screenplay would have slashed up to 30 minutes of the run time, and sharper editing might have helped to build a bit more tension.  For instance, the trademark Snyder slow-mo and macro shots throughout the Wayne murder recaps seem to unnecessarily linger on those images, and only serves to hammer home the loss that Bruce has felt.  I think Affleck is a reasonable enough actor to portray that loss without showing 2-3 times how his parents were murdered.  There are lots of instances like this throughout the film which tells me that there's a much better film buried somewhere in all of this.  it might make for an interesting film student project, re-cutting the film to create a more honed product.

 

It's taken a while, but I feel that the film definitely doesn't deserve the hate it received (though I accept that the theatrical release may have suffered for the lack of the additional scenes included in the UE).  It's far from perfect, and it suffers for having been released so close (less than 4 years) to the end of the last trilogy featuring Batman.  I think they could have done another Superman film and tried to resolve some of that story first, and then introduced this showdown in a few years time when Dark Knight and Dark Knight Rises weren't so fresh in people's minds.  I know why they didn't (*cough*Avengers*cough*), but if they could have overlooked the profit imperative, they could have created something much better.

 

Planning to go and see Suicide Squad tonight (call me a glutton for punishment), but having now seen BvS:DoJ and assured myself that it's not that bad, I'm not expecting the turdfest that most reviews would have me believe.


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  # 1610841 12-Aug-2016 17:55
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Suicide Squad (6/10, maybe 7?)

 

My response after seeing this was "Not as good as it should have been, but not as bad as it could have been".

 

The first section of the movie (the "intro's") was, in my opinion, the best part of the movie.  Once the "bad stuff" happened and the Squad was unleashed, things became a little less interesting and a little more mundane, for me.  The "big bad" was a bit of a letdown, and I thought most of the scenes with "The Joker" were the weakest parts of the film.   (Disclaimer: Don't like 'The Joker' much as a character, never really have; having said that, I'll admit that Ledger's version was good).

 

I don't think the film deserves all the negativity that was dumped on it; I didn't feel that I had wasted my money.  Neither do I begrudge the small premium I was charged for the 3D.  Is it uneven and rugged in places?  Sure.  But did it entertain?  Yup.  And really, as a film consumer (and I'll note that I'm not a rabid-fan-of-comic-books), that's pretty much all I can ask.

 

I hope that DC & Warner's can get their act together for Wonder Woman - I think otherwise, that'll be the "third strike" that will mean pretty much everyone except die-hard-DC-fans will cease being interested in the DCU.

 

(As a complete aside, I surprised that a Marvel film trailer was played in front of a DC flick, and I was more surprised that the Universe didn't explode.  The trailer itself was for "Dr Strange", was in 3D, and boy it looked good!  I think "Dr Strange" will be a "must-see in 3D" from what I've heard.)


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  # 1611684 15-Aug-2016 08:43
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Seems a little pointless to post a review of Suicide Squad immediately after another review of it (see @jamesrt above), especially when I agree with pretty much everything already said.  So I'll settle for just saying that it wasn't terrible, but I don't think I'll bother rushing to watch it again when it comes out on DVD.  Another review I read compared it (unfavourably) to Deadpool, but noted that this seemed to be DC's attempt to mirror that tone, but utterly failed.  I'd agree with that - Suicide Squad seemed to desperately want to not take itself seriously, but was seriously trying so hard that it completely failed in that regard.  The whiff of studio interference was palpable.  Shame, it could have been a lot of fun...

 

As for Joker, maybe I've watched Heath Ledger's version so often that I'm ruined for any other interpretation (I haven't seen the Animated Series with Mark Hamill's take, so set that to one side for now).  What I liked about Ledger's Joker was his complete commitment to chaos, foregoing all other interests (money, power, love/lust), which made him a far more frightening villain because there was nothing you could bargain with.  Leto, though, showed us a Joker who plainly cares for Harley Quinn (even if the relationship is on the sadistic/masochistic spectrum), which makes his villain far more human, but by the same token, more ordinary.  He's shown as a guy who wears outlandish clothes as a style-statement (Ledger's Joker seemed to wear the same outfit, in much the same way as an executive would have 10 copies of the same suit so he wouldn't have to choose what to wear), who revels in power, wealth, and his "gang", and this does nothing to separate him out from any of the other crime families of Gotham.  There's nothing scary about Leto as Joker, and that makes his inclusion in this film totally redundant.  You could take his scenes out altogether and it wouldn't change the film one bit.


 
 
 
 


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  # 1611686 15-Aug-2016 08:49
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Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens (2016)  I have this one a 4 out of 10 .  Better than the last one but still pure corn. 





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  # 1611687 15-Aug-2016 08:52
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old3eyes: Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens (2016)  I have this one a 4 out of 10 .  Better than the last one but still pure corn.

 

One would wonder why you bothered watching....


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  # 1611688 15-Aug-2016 08:53
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jamesrt:

 

old3eyes: Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens (2016)  I have this one a 4 out of 10 .  Better than the last one but still pure corn.

 

One would wonder why you bothered watching....

 

 

Nothing like a good "B" grade movie on a Saturday nite. 





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Old3eyes


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  # 1611841 15-Aug-2016 11:30
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I can't really understand the critics ragging on Suicide Squad. I watched it Friday night and would give it 7/10. Harley Quinn totally makes that movie (Just like the Hulk is the hero of Avengers movies).

 

 

 

No need to see it again any time soon, but a solid movie. 

 

 


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  # 1611850 15-Aug-2016 11:41
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I just watched Eye in the Sky on iTunes. A taught political thriller about drone warfare, starring Helen Mirren and the late Alan Rickman. Not a huge amount of action but suspenseful and well acted. I would compare it to Bridge of Spies and say if you enjoyed that movie, you will enjoy this one. 8/10.




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  # 1611880 15-Aug-2016 12:33
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Finding Dory (with my kids) seemed to contain quite a few little homages to Aliens.





Mike

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  # 1611884 15-Aug-2016 12:37
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Lizard1977:

 

As for Joker, maybe I've watched Heath Ledger's version so often that I'm ruined for any other interpretation (I haven't seen the Animated Series with Mark Hamill's take, so set that to one side for now).  What I liked about Ledger's Joker was his complete commitment to chaos, foregoing all other interests (money, power, love/lust), which made him a far more frightening villain because there was nothing you could bargain with.  Leto, though, showed us a Joker who plainly cares for Harley Quinn (even if the relationship is on the sadistic/masochistic spectrum), which makes his villain far more human, but by the same token, more ordinary.  He's shown as a guy who wears outlandish clothes as a style-statement (Ledger's Joker seemed to wear the same outfit, in much the same way as an executive would have 10 copies of the same suit so he wouldn't have to choose what to wear), who revels in power, wealth, and his "gang", and this does nothing to separate him out from any of the other crime families of Gotham.  There's nothing scary about Leto as Joker, and that makes his inclusion in this film totally redundant.  You could take his scenes out altogether and it wouldn't change the film one bit.

 

 

Well according to Leto they did take out the majority of his scenes. Not sure if that would have been a good thing or not. I agree with everyone else though certainly not as bad as the reviewers had made out. There was a lot wrong with this film but there was a lot right too. Certainly better than Batman v Superman anyway. 7/10

 

P.S. Heath Ledgers Joker is definitely the best that has ever been on the silver screen however in my opinion Mark Hamill is actually 'The Joker'.




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  # 1611921 15-Aug-2016 13:53
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I get the sense it's just "cool to bash DC" these days.  Suicide Squad was not great, not terrible.  I don't know what type of movie people are expecting to see, but for me it delivered on what I wanted - a fun way to waste 2 hours on a Saturday afternoon.  Anyone expecting Good Will Hunting or a plot that makes sense considering there's a nearly 7 foot crocodile-man is clearly barking up the wrong tree.


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