Let's Talk Movies #35 – Sparrows and Panthers and Dinosaurs…Oh My!

Which Movies Might You See? (Multiple Votes Allowed)

  • Feb. 16th - Black Panther – Action adventure with Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan and Lupita Nyo

    Votes: 32 61.5%
  • March 2nd - Red Sparrow – Mystery thriller with Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton and Mary-Louise Pa

    Votes: 14 26.9%
  • March 9th - A Wrinkle In Time – Adventure fantasy with Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine and Oprah Winfr

    Votes: 26 50.0%
  • March 16th - Tomb Raider – Action adventure with Alicia Vikander, Walton Goggins and Kristin Scott T

    Votes: 10 19.2%
  • March 30th – Ready Player One – Sci-fi adventure with Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke and Simon Pegg

    Votes: 10 19.2%
  • May 4th - Avengers: Infinity War – Adventure fantasy with nobody famous

    Votes: 27 51.9%
  • May 18th - Deadpool 2 – Adventure comedy with Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin and T. J. Miller

    Votes: 19 36.5%
  • May 25th - Solo: A Star Wars Story – Adventure fantsy with Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover and Woody

    Votes: 27 51.9%
  • June 8th - Ocean's 8 – Action thriller with Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett and Anne Hathaway

    Votes: 24 46.2%
  • June 22nd - Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – Action sci-fi with Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard and

    Votes: 22 42.3%

  • Total voters
    52

watchthis!!

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I saw Second Act today. I expected a (slightly) above average comedy with some romance and maybe a bit more. There were only about twenty people in the audience, but the laughter over the course of the first half of the movie was quite strong. The second half of the movie made me cry about three times (I should have been warned to have extra Kleenex on hand!). This movie is pretty much what one would expect, but it's a bit better a comedy than I expected, a bit better of a drama than I expected and a bit better of a movie addressing societal issues than I expected. The supporting cast is all very, very strong, the casting director did a wonderful job. So many good performances! Leah Remini was so good. And of course, Jennifer Lopez had to do things right or the movie would just not work. She does everything right. Two thumbs up!

Trailer for Second Act: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsVo5necW6Q
 

Vash01

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Saw Vice last night. I enjoyed the movie and would call it good, but not great. The performances, however, were fantastic. Christian Bale, of course was awesome and I was expecting that. But Sam Rockwell WAS W and that was a surprise. After the first sighting, I never thought it was Sam, I only saw W. The speech and mannerisms were spot on. OTOH, I always saw Steve Carell in Rumsfeld and couldn't lose sight of that. On the whole, the movie seemed more of an SNL skit to me than a movie to take seriously, even though I learned things. I worked for the feds at the time of 9/11 and reliving that is always emotional, but also being reminded of the craziness and going on at the time regarding the decision makers - sobering. Personally, I think the embedded part during credits gook away from the movie and made the whole thing seem like a farce.
You are right about Sam Rockwell as W. I hope he gets a supporting actor nomination, come Oscar time. I also agree about Steve Carrell, especially when he played the younger version of Rumsfeld.

I think the embedded credits should have been edited out. Overall, the movie was a comedy, similar to SNL. I enjoyed this movie but I won’t put it in the top five.
 

Japanfan

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Appreciate your review of Roma, Vash01. I have to wait to see it on TV because it's no longer playing here - we went on the last day and it was sold out.

I am interested in whether the slow pace will bother me as well, and expect it might.

I don’t understand the fascination of critics (and some viewers) for slowness and gimmicks. As good the cinematography is, it is somewhat gimmicky. May be it is what the director wanted. If I wanted to see just art, I would go to a museum or an art gallery. A movie has a different purpose. There needs to be Some entertainment and we shouldn’t have to wait for 40 minutes to see something happen. Small things do happen, but often there are individual scenes without much connection with each other.

I haven't seen If Beale Street Could Talk yet but I wonder of Barry Jenkins also suffers from a bit of derivativeness from his filmmaking idols as Cuaron kind of does in Roma. But at least they have strong POVs and are making movies to actually express something beyond mere entertainment. I also appreciate some deviation from the basic Hollywood storytelling structures because I'm honestly really bored of them right now.
Vash01, cinema is an art form no less than painting (there is commercial painting just as there is commercial cinemas) As a previous film studies major, I can attest to the fact that entertainment is not required for a film to be considered 'great art'. Take the films of Ingmar Bergman for example. He did make one little-known comedy (forget the title), but for the most part his films were very bleak - and seen as great because they penetrated the (often dark) soul of human existence.

That said, I couldn't watch many of the films I watched multiple of times (sometimes actually using a picture to analyze a film frame by frame) and wrote about as a student. Part of that is having learned how poorly women were sometimes treated by those directors - for example, Maria Schnieder said she felt raped by both Marlon Brando and Bernardo Bertolucci in the scene said to be obscene in Last Tango in Paris, even though she consented to it. I just couldn't consider 'Last Tango' to be my favourite film anymore after learning that.

But for the most part I couldn't watch them because they are so woefully lacking in terms of appeal or story. I couldn't sit through Scenes from a Marriage or Dersu Uzala: The Hunter ever again. Both great films, particularly Scenes from a Marriage IMO, but it was a painful.

My favorite 'great' directors remain Robert Altman and Stanley Kubrick. Eyes Wide Shut and Short Cuts are two of my favorite films of all time.

Both are 'art', but both also have compelling characters and an interesting story. I need the latter two if I'm going to enjoy a film that is also see as 'art'. In saying that I acknowledge that all films are art in that they are made by artists. The fact that some films are seen as 'art' films whereas others are classified as 'entertainment' or 'commercial' is probably interested to discuss/debate, but I'll say no more in this post.

Basically, I am much less an intellectual film-goer than I was when I was a student. I still appreciate film as art and really appreciate good film-making, particularly the visual components and especially editing. In general, I still hold the view that film is an art in Europe and an industry in America, but art alone is no longer enough for me.

When I can get art, compelling characters and an interesting story all in one film, I'm over the moon.

One example was the Russian film Leviathon, which I believe won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film or was nominated?

A simple story about a man fighting the city, which wants to demolish his house (not putting this as a spoiler because knowing this won't ruin the film). And an absolutely brilliant and haunting film, highly recommended.
 

Vash01

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Appreciate your review of Roma, Vash01. I have to wait to see it on TV because it's no longer playing here - we went on the last day and it was sold out.

I am interested in whether the slow pace will bother me as well, and expect it might.






Vash01, cinema is an art form no less than painting (there is commercial painting just as there is commercial cinemas) As a previous film studies major, I can attest to the fact that entertainment is not required for a film to be considered 'great art'. Take the films of Ingmar Bergman for example. He did make one little-known comedy (forget the title), but for the most part his films were very bleak - and seen as great because they penetrated the (often dark) soul of human existence.

That said, I couldn't watch many of the films I watched multiple of times (sometimes actually using a picture to analyze a film frame by frame) and wrote about as a student. Part of that is having learned how poorly women were sometimes treated by those directors - for example, Maria Schnieder said she felt raped by both Marlon Brando and Bernardo Bertolucci in the scene said to be obscene in Last Tango in Paris, even though she consented to it. I just couldn't consider 'Last Tango' to be my favourite film anymore after learning that.

But for the most part I couldn't watch them because they are so woefully lacking in terms of appeal or story. I couldn't sit through Scenes from a Marriage or Dersu Uzala: The Hunter ever again. Both great films, particularly Scenes from a Marriage IMO, but it was a painful.

My favorite 'great' directors remain Robert Altman and Stanley Kubrick. Eyes Wide Shut and Short Cuts are two of my favorite films of all time.

Both are 'art', but both also have compelling characters and an interesting story. I need the latter two if I'm going to enjoy a film that is also see as 'art'. In saying that I acknowledge that all films are art in that they are made by artists. The fact that some films are seen as 'art' films whereas others are classified as 'entertainment' or 'commercial' is probably interested to discuss/debate, but I'll say no more in this post.

Basically, I am much less an intellectual film-goer than I was when I was a student. I still appreciate film as art and really appreciate good film-making, particularly the visual components and especially editing. In general, I still hold the view that film is an art in Europe and an industry in America, but art alone is no longer enough for me.

When I can get art, compelling characters and an interesting story all in one film, I'm over the moon.

One example was the Russian film Leviathon, which I believe won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film or was nominated?

A simple story about a man fighting the city, which wants to demolish his house (not putting this as a spoiler because knowing this won't ruin the film). And an absolutely brilliant and haunting film, highly recommended.
Leviathon was a powerful movie. When it ended, everyone just sat there for a few minutes, speechless, instead of walking out. It was nominated for the Oscar but the Polish film Ida won. That too was deserving (and a bit more traditional) but I would have voted for Leviathon. It did win the Golden Globe though.

I liked many other Russian movies (e.g. Burnt by the sun, Prisoner of the mountain, A soldier's ballad, etc.) but I have not seen one in the last one year. I have nearly run out of Russian movies on Netflix, so I may have to watch them on my computer. I liked some Danish movies too.

Sure there are movies that are artistic and dark, violent, etc. If they are well made, I can enjoy them, depending on how they are made. I am really hung up on the screenplay part though. I want the movie to flow, like music, or like a good painting (unless it is abstract). I am particularly offended when the screenwriters spoil a good story (like Beale street...). I am bothered by the recent tendency to slow down a movie, just to make it artistic. The slowness can work for some movies but sometimes it is forced, and it does not work. I think Seven years in Tibet was a good example of a slow but good movie. Many people found it boring, but not for me because the story was moving and interesting.

I think one of the reasons Steven Spielberg is so successful because he is a great story teller. I want a movie to have a story. Going back to my comments on Roma, it did have a story, but I had to wait for one hour before I realized that. Afterall, how long can you sit in a theater and watch an egg being slowly broken and slowly eaten, for no real purpose? Those are the kind of moments in that film I am criticizing. There are some very good scenes in it too.

I am rambling.
 
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Japanfan

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I liked many other Russian movies (e.g. Burnt by the sun, Prisoner of the mountain, A soldier's ballad, etc.) but I have not seen one in the last one year. I have nearly run out of Russian movies on Netflix, so I may have to watch them on my computer. I liked some Danish movies too.
Don't remember Burnt By the Sun, but know that I loved it.

Sure there are movies that are artistic and dark, violent, etc. If they are well made, I can enjoy them, depending on how they are made. I am really hung up on the screenplay part though. I want the movie to flow, like music, or like a good painting (unless it is abstract).
Too many screenplays are formulaic, especially in Hollywood, and especially in established genres like romantic comedy. Competent screenplays are common, as are bad ones (IMO) - great screenplays are not.

'Flow like music' is how I think of editing. When I was studying film editing was still done with a cutting implement and a tape-like thing to glue the frames together. I really salute the editors who masters that form, as it was much more difficult than digital editing.

I dabbled a bit in digital editing, and loved it. If could do it all over again, I'd pursue documentary film-making and do my own editing.

I am particularly offended when the screenwriters spoil a good story (like Beale street...). I am bothered by the recent tendency to slow down a movie, just to make it artistic. The slowness can work for some movies but sometimes it is forced, and it does not work. I think Seven years in Tibet was a good example of a slow but good movie. Many people found it boring, but not for me because the story was moving and interesting.
I agree with that slowness can and can not work. Whether it does or not depends on cinematography and editing to a certain extent, and also on acting/characters. There are certain actors I never tire of watching.

I never saw Seven Years in Tibet. Not much a Brad Pitt fan (my favorite role of his is Twelve Monkeys)

I think one of the reasons Steven Spielberg is so successful because he is a great story teller. I want a movie to have a story. Going back to my comments on Roma, it did have a story, but I had to wait for one hour before I realized that. Afterall, how long can you sit in a theater and watch an egg being slowly broken and slowly eaten, for no real purpose? Those are the kind of moments in that film I am criticizing. There are some very good scenes in it too.
I fear I may find Roma boring as well. I am quite sure I will find an egg being slowly broken and eaten terribly boring.

I am not feeling so badly now about not seeing it in the theater. I will post my opinions when I finally see it on television.
 

VIETgrlTerifa

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'Flow like music' is how I think of editing. When I was studying film editing was still done with a cutting implement and a tape-like thing to glue the frames together. I really salute the editors who masters that form, as it was much more difficult than digital editing.
Speaking of editing and flow, I think you'll enjoy this video dissecting how the Coen Brothers film and edit the common shot-reverse shot in their dialogue scenes to create a rhythm and flow and sense of comedic timing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UE3jz_O_EM

I think nobody films dialogue scenes quite like the Coen Brothers and they really mastered a specific tone that many of their films have. It's really quite brilliant to see at times.
 

Vash01

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I finally saw Mary Poppins Returns. I had watched the original last week on dvd, so it was fresh in my mind. I was rather disappointed in the Return, even though it is a well made movie. For me, it lacked the charm of the old one. I felt that Emily Blunt looked a bit stiff as Mary Poppins, again comparing with Julie Andrews (probably not fair).

I thought the dance number was way too long. Did they really need Meryl Streep and Colin Firth for those roles, or may be they wanted to be in that movie? Angela Lansbury was a pleasant surprise though, and the kids were great. I knew Dick Van Dyke would have a cameo appearance.

The movie is visually stunning and the new technology certainly helps, but I always rely on the story. This one had a good story, but the stunt toward the end was a bit overdone.

While watching the old movie I knew most of the songs. In this one I knew none.
 

Nell411

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I finally saw Mary Poppins Returns. I had watched the original last week on dvd, so it was fresh in my mind. I was rather disappointed in the Return, even though it is a well made movie. For me, it lacked the charm of the old one. I felt that Emily Blunt looked a bit stiff as Mary Poppins, again comparing with Julie Andrews (probably not fair).
There were a lot of changes made to Mary Poppins by Disney (which enraged P.L. Travers) when they were making the first movie. Emily Blunt read the books before filming started and found the character of Mary Poppins very different from the first movie, decided to base her interpretation of the character more on the books. Which is probably why you found her a bit stiff in comparison to Julie Andrews portrayal.
 

VIETgrlTerifa

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That's how she was in the Broadway version as well. P.L. Travers only allowed them to do the musical if the creatives were all British and Disney was not involved. Once she died, Cameron Mackintosh contacted Disney and they did the musical together. However, they kept a lot of Travers' wishes including taking out the suffragette storyline for the mom; making Mary stiffer and more like the book; and the kids were actually brattier so you get why they went through all of those nannies. In the movie, I had no idea why the kids went through so many nannies as they seemed perfectly nice and sweet and mostly well-behaved. I guess the movie version made it seem like the kids weren't the problem but the adults around them.
 

Vash01

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I saw 'Cold war' (Poland) and 'Capernaum (Lebanon) back to back today. I liked Capernaum more than 'Cold war'. It was gut wrenching to watch what poverty can do.

Earlier in the week I had seen 'Roma' (Mexico) and last November I had seen 'Shoplifters' (Japan). Three out if the four were Golden Globes nominees for foreign language films. I liked them all, but I feel that Roma is overrated in the sense it is winning nearly every best picture award, and it should not have dominated. I have already discussed its flaws in an earlier post.

Cold war should have been made in color. There were so many beautiful dance costumes in it! The B&W cinematography didn't do it justice. The Cold war is only a background for the movie, which is basically a love story. It moves from 1949 Poland to (I think 1957) and in between covers many countries they visit, either together or separately. Joanna Kulig is very good, but Yalitza Aparicio (Roma), is also very good.

I had already posted about Shoplifters in November, as a very good movie about human relationships and characters.

Capernaum is about a 12 year old boy who is street smart and kind. The actor who played him looks about 8 or 9 years old. That is its only flaw, IMO. The direction and acting are both very good, as is the screenplay. The 12 year old (Zain - his real name is the same as the name of the character he plays) is a very good actor, but he definitely does not look 12.

IMO Cold War was the weakest of the four foreign films I saw. One more I had seen 'Woman at war' was not nominated anywhere.

All in all, a very good year for foreign language films (as usual). I have to see the other two nominated movies at GG - Girl and Never look away. They are not playing here currently.
 
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VIETgrlTerifa

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I saw 'Cold war' (Poland) and 'Capernaum (Lebanon) back to back today. I liked Capernaum more than 'Cold war'. It was gut wrenching to watch what poverty can do.

Earlier in the week I had seen 'Roma' (Mexico) and last November I had seen 'Shoplifters' (Japan). All four were Golden Globes nominees for foreign language films. I liked them all, but I feel that Roma is overrated in the sense it is winning nearly every best picture award, and it should not have dominated. I have already discussed its flaws in an earlier post.

Cold war should have been made in color. There were so many beautiful dance costumes in it! The B&W cinematography didn't do it justice. The Cold war is only a background for the movie, which is basically a love story. It moves from 1949 Poland to (I think 1957) and in between covers many countries they visit, either together or separately. Joanna Kulig is very good, but Yalitza Aparicio (Roma), is also very good.

I had already posted about Shoplifters in November, as a very good movie about human relationships and characters.

Capernaum is about a 12 year old boy who is street smart and kind. The actor who played him looks about 8 or 9 years old. That is its only flaw, IMO. The direction and acting are both very good, as is the screenplay. The 12 year old (Zain - his real name is the same as the name of the character he plays) is a very good actor, but he definitely does not look 12.

All in all, a very good year for foreign language films (as usual). I have to see the 5th nominated movie at GG.
You saw more foreign films than I have this year. I need to step up my game so I can share my thoughts with you.
 

Michalle

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That's interesting that you guys liked Leviathan so much - I was really looking forward to it but found it disappointing. It's been awhile since I've seen it so it's hard to remember exactly why, but I liked the director's earlier movie The Return much better - The Return was so solemn and so focused in its storytelling. With Leviathan, there was something in it that I remember as feeling more cliche than I expected. Maybe I just had too much of an idea of what it would be like going in and couldn't adjust my expectations.
 

Vash01

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That's interesting that you guys liked Leviathan so much - I was really looking forward to it but found it disappointing. It's been awhile since I've seen it so it's hard to remember exactly why, but I liked the director's earlier movie The Return much better - The Return was so solemn and so focused in its storytelling. With Leviathan, there was something in it that I remember as feeling more cliche than I expected. Maybe I just had too much of an idea of what it would be like going in and couldn't adjust my expectations.
I loved The Return, and I also liked Leviathan. I didn't realize they had the same director.
 

Aussie Willy

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Another one who saw Mary Poppins yesterday.

I was bit disappointed but didn't help that I was really really tired. Funny one of my friends was also very tired and we were alternating yawning.

I think they tried to hard to capture the way the original was done. I agree with someone who said the music wasn't very memorable so that was a problem. The moments that did work for me was when Michael told the kids about the house and when Dick Van Dyke made his appearance. And Angela Lansbury appearing was a lovely touch. I do think Emily Blunt was really good as Mary Poppins.

Still I think kids will love it and I can expect to see a heap of Mary Poppins skating programs done at local competitions this year.
 

Kasey

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Just saw "Green Book" today. Absolutely loved it, and think it was better than every movie nominated for Best Picture last year at the Oscars. Solid acting throughout, and I love movies based on real stories.
 

judiz

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Just saw "Green Book" today. Absolutely loved it, and think it was better than every movie nominated for Best Picture last year at the Oscars. Solid acting throughout, and I love movies based on real stories.

Agreed, I also saw it and thought the same. Side note: Tony Lip went on to become an actor, he had a recurring part on the Sopranos as Carmine.
 

watchthis!!

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I watched Adrift last week and enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Maybe it's because they started with a current scene and then did a flashback. Then kept doing that, which usually annoys me so I was grumpy with the beginning of the movie. But then both storylines pulled me in and the more the movie progressed, the more it made sense for the movie to be made this way. I guess other movies I've seen that jumped back and forth in time didn't need to do that, or did it poorly. So I recommend this one (Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin are the stars).
 

VIETgrlTerifa

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You guys know I’m not a fan of Marvel films but I honestly think the new Spider-Man Movie is my favorite movie of the past year. Unlike the others this one is super creative and new and it understands and loves everything about Spider-Man and Peter Parker.
 

Aussie Willy

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Just saw "Green Book" today. Absolutely loved it, and think it was better than every movie nominated for Best Picture last year at the Oscars. Solid acting throughout, and I love movies based on real stories.
I saw it today. Totally agree. What a great movie. Out of all the movies I have seen lately, this is my favourite. Great performances by both the leads. Came away feeling the same as I did after seeing Hidden Figures. Similar themes but a positive feel good movie too and really enjoyable.

Also say Mary Queen of Scots. Very good performances by Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie. It was good but not great. And I think easy to get a bit lost with the politics of the times.
 

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