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What Movies Have You Seen Recently?

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Joined
Apr 11, 2013
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Yesterday - 3.5/10

Danny Boyle's decade long streak of total bullshit continues. 'What if the Beatles didn't exist, and then we didn't even try to explore the real ramifications of our premise?' The promise of a fun romp through the music industry the gimmick promises gives way to a half baked rom-com that doesn't even bother resolving the love story at its core. Ed Sheeran gets an inexplicable amount of screen time just pummeling the same joke into oblivion. Then, when you think this bland waste of your last hour and a half is coming to an end, they throw you a twist that feels exploitative and sick the more I think about it.

Points for good music and finding out (hot) Lily James and Keira Knightley aren't the same person.

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Fast Color - 7.5/10

Absolutely criminal that the studio couldn't find a way to sell this movie to audiences. I hadn't even heard of Fast Color until it appeared on several 'best of 2019 so far' lists. A woman with mysterious supernatural powers journeys home to her family through a dystopian landscape with a shadowy government entity hot on her trail. This is not a niche movie. In fact, it's the best superhero movie of the year thus far. Intimate and introspective; think Logan with less violence, director Julia Hart frames this supernatural family drama and the quest for hope in a dying world worthy of the best post-apocalyptic films. Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Black Mirror: San Junipero) is a fine lead, handling the complicated emotions concerning her estranged family and balancing that with the abilities that threaten their lives. But the real standouts are the supporting performances from a phenomenal Lorraine Toussaint (OitNB, Selma) and legendary character actor David Strathairn.

There is enough world building and character writing to support a legit cinematic universe here; at the very least a sequel. Fast Color is an original take on the sci-fi/superhero genre that draws you in from the first scene. But the studio machine failed Fast Color so badly, the audience for it won't even know it exists. We'll get ten more Danny Boyle abortions before we see an original idea like this get any play.
 
Joined
May 19, 2016
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Caught Under the Silver Lake on Amazon last night. It was extremely my shit. Best description I've heard is a cross between Lynch and Hitchcock. Lots of interpretations can be made, but it's worth the journey no matter how literal you take what is shown on screen. Didn't love the final act, but overall just a really cool movie. Just look at her

 
Joined
Apr 11, 2013
Messages
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Caught Under the Silver Lake on Amazon last night. It was extremely my shit. Best description I've heard is a cross between Lynch and Hitchcock. Lots of interpretations can be made, but it's worth the journey no matter how literal you take what is shown on screen. Didn't love the final act, but overall just a really cool movie. Just look at her

Was it me???? ;)



"there are all kinds of call-outs to Hitchcock, Kubrick, and Preminger, UtSL is obviously most influenced by the work of David Lynch."

I need to watch this one again. I really enjoyed the weirdness but it didn't all click for me on first viewing.
 
Joined
Apr 11, 2013
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Midsommar - 8.5/10

Ari Aster's follow up to Hereditary is a different approach to similar themes, making it impossible not to compare and contrast (pun intended) the two. Trapped under the grief of an immense tragedy compounded by the anxiety of a stagnant romantic relationship, a young woman tags along with her boyfriend and his friends on a trek to rural Sweden for a pagan summer solstice festival. While comparisons to The Wicker Man are unavoidable due to the premise, Aster takes the general idea in a completely different direction. Midsommar is far from a horror movie though some horrific shit does happen. If Hereditary was a family drama, Midsommar is a take on the relationship drama. A fucked up black comedy that shocks more than it scares. The violence is slow, imminent, and unstoppable. I loved just about everything about it.

I found myself lost in the story a number of times, forgetting I was sitting in a packed theater. An immersive experience. As with Hereditary, Aster implants you into the point of view of his characters as the madness unfolds around them. The bright whites and vivid colors make you almost as delirious as the characters as they navigate the ritualistic psychedelia of the festival. It's one of the better representations of a bad trip in film. Aster never feels the need to stop and explain the why's in any real depth, counting on the audience to pay attention. Some of the deaths are vague, allowing the viewer's imagination to provide the scares. If there are loose ends, they are immaterial to the character study at the core of the movie. He certainly telegraphs things but the foreshadowing never manages to spoil the results. Watching it a second time will surprise a lot of people.

Where Hereditary taught us to fear the deep shadows of our minds, here Aster and his cinematographer opt for the antiseptic of bright sunlight - apt for a story healing and letting go - and a three-strip technicolor look. This is a goddamn feat in filmmaking. With very little use of a sound stage, I can't imagine how much prep work and principle photography went into harnessing the all out assault of sunlight on everything in frame.

Florence Pugh carries the emotional weight much like Toni Collette did. Can Aster direct women to cry or what? It lacks the gut-punch of Hereditary but Pugh portrays devastation better than I've seen this year at least. As someone who deals with bouts of social anxiety, I respected the defusing dialogue from Pugh's character early on. Often allowing her self-awareness to let her get ran over by her boyfriend in an attempt to not be a burden. It sets the stage for an awesome character arc, leading to the massively cathartic third act. Every supporting character feels shallow and weak by comparison though. I still hate the kid from We're the Millers.

Ari Aster is definitely on my shortlist of favorite newer filmmakers. Jordan Peele gets all of the mainstream horror love but his two movies don't measure up to Aster's work. I know he's interested in things other than horror movies so I'm curious to see what he can pull off next.
 
Joined
Apr 11, 2013
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Welp, slept on buying 70mm tickets to see Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and my only option now is 11:55 pm Thursday. GF likely not down for such a late show. See it somewhere else or go solo...that is the question.

Edit: some of you may be interested in this special edition issue of BirthMoviesDeath dedicated to QT.
I'm doing the 4pm non-70mm showing that Thursday. The 70mm is only playing The Music Box in Chicago and I don't think the venue is worth the extra weekday drive time and price.
 

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