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  #1301  
Old 02-11-2020, 01:27 PM
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Yeah, my bad. The "Family" came under Manson's influence in 1967, but the murders were two years later. Still, the planes were a glaring error.
Yeah, for a film that went so heavily into an accurate historical look the planes should have been a detail they didn't skimp on.
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  #1302  
Old 02-21-2020, 08:06 PM
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I watched Jordan Peale's Us this afternoon. I didn't get it.

I didn't really get Get Out when I first saw it either, but I at least enjoyed the ride; figuring out all the subtext after the fact just made it all the better. But Us was just a prolonged Twilight Zone episode that turned into a prolonged pseudo-Zombie Land rip-off and didn't really pay off in the end for me. I knew there was some big twist coming, or at least I hoped there would be, and when it was revealed I realized that my overwhelming sentiment was ... who cares?

Spoiler free because, hell, I just saw it, I don't want to ruin it for someone else, but the ending just wasn't as shocking as the whole rest of the movie was so, what was the point?
  #1303  
Old 02-22-2020, 08:43 AM
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^I 'got' Get Out when I saw it, but I still didn't think it was all that great--not nearly as good as the hype led me to believe it would be. I haven't seen Us, but it seemed to get a lukewarm reception in general.
  #1304  
Old 02-23-2020, 09:57 AM
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I watched General Magic last night. The spouse (who works at Apple) heard about it from a coworker who said it was good. Both of us worked at Xerox in the late '80s, so we're very familiar with the sadness of working for a company that invented amazing, before-their-time things but fumbled monetizing them because they didn't know what they had or people just weren't ready yet.

I thought it was excellent and very interesting, but I don't know how much it would appeal to people who aren't interested in Silicon Valley or computer history.
  #1305  
Old 02-23-2020, 11:42 AM
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I saw the General Magic documentary about a year ago, I think on the Showtime cable channel. Really interesting to see.
  #1306  
Old 02-27-2020, 01:32 PM
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Nobodyís Fool (1994). It wasnít listed in the viewing guide and I noticed it was on about 20 minutes in. Iíve posted here before about a scene (gratuitous nudity), but this is the first time Iíve rewatched since it was in the cinema. I liked it then and even more now. Very well-made film with an outstanding cast of actors, although many of us didnít realize it at the time. In addition to Paul Newman (who IMO is channeling Brando in many scenes), thereís Jessica Tandy, Pruitt Taylor Vince and Philip Seymour Hoffman, all delivering stellar interpretations, as well as fine performances from Bruce Willis, Margo Martindale, Melanie Griffith and others, too. Although Newman lived another 14 years, he was getting on in years, like his character, and I wonder if they used unflattering lighting, makeup, etc. to make him look older. He looks a little frail in certain scenes, maybe more so than in his next film (Twilight), released four years later. Director of photography John Bailey (Groundhog Day and other films) did an excellent job, too, with the ubiquitous snow and frost. One of the characters is the young grandson of Newmanís character. I though he was the same actor who portrayed the kid in A Perfect World, but it turns out theyíre different people. Both of them (back then, anyway) and Jim Parsons (Sheldon) sometimes wear a cluelessly bovine expression on their faces that reminds me of a lot of Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean). I donít think itís my imagination, but, what the hey. Excellent film that Iíll be recording the next time itís on.

Last edited by jerez; 02-27-2020 at 01:34 PM.
  #1307  
Old 02-27-2020, 05:46 PM
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Jojo Rabbit is as good as they say.
  #1308  
Old 02-28-2020, 08:31 AM
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I've had a bad run of movies, in large part due to having to take a number of long-haul flights.

(mild spoilers)

Running with the Devil - Best of the four. Nicolas Cage and Laurence Fishburne in a story about the narcotics trade. Traces the movement of cocaine from source to end users in a way that's set up well, and the actors are quite fun in their roles. It doesn't really go anywhere though; it feels like the movie just stumbles over the line (If I were not so lazy, I'd make that into some kind of pun vs the movie title).

Dragged Across Concrete - An action thriller seems a safe choice for an in-flight movie, even with Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn as two leads. However, they are somehow even less likeable in this movie than real life. Note that every line in this movie, even apparent jokes, is delivered in world-weary deadpan. Seriously -- the one possible exception is a single line delivered by a tertiary character somewhat enjoying a massage.
There's a pretty disquieting point early in the movie when Gibson and his wife are assuming that the local black kids are probably going to try to rape their daughter at some point (including the line "I would never think of myself as a racist, but..."), where you think the movie is going to be a platform for Gibson's real life abhorrent views.
But in fact, it's not a vehicle for anything, as it doesn't go anywhere. A lot of work setting up Chekov's gun in acts 1 and 2 only for it to be casually discarded in act 3. Several plot threads are like this. Unpredictability is the one thing it has going for it.

Spinning Man - A teacher with a history of inappropriate involvement with his female students becomes the prime suspect when a girl goes missing. The point of the movie is about the unreliable nature of memory, but it plods along too slowly, and I'm not even sure if the ending is supposed to be a twist, as it was executed so badly.

Pikachu Pokemon Detective - Live action pokemon...turn out to be nightmare fuel. Who knew? There's essentially zero detective work in the movie. The acting is reminiscent of a TV advert for skittles or something, and the female lead doesn't even bother to try e.g. in the scene where Pikachu has been mortally injured, she has maybe 50% of the concern of someone noticing a minor scuff on one shoe.
  #1309  
Old 03-04-2020, 04:29 PM
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My latest five:

Amadeus
Saw this great Mozart biopic with the score performed live by an orchestra, and enjoyed it all over again. Fine cast, interesting story, beautiful cinematography, and of course the music - the music!

Pride & Prejudice
Also saw this more recent favorite again. Keira Knightley is luminous as the feisty Lizzie Bennet and Matthew Macfadyen plays a worthy Mr. Darcy; Judi Dench has a small but vital role as the implacable Lady Catherine. Funny, romantic and irresistible, with a terrific classical soundtrack.

Road to Perdition
Tom Hanks, playing an Irish Mob enforcer, and his son go on the run in Depression-era Illinois to escape other gangsters. A bleak but compelling story, with Paul Newman especially good as Hanks's aging boss.

Harriet
Good but not great biopic about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. See it only if you're very interested in the subject.

Contact
Jodie Foster stars in this sf drama about humanity receiving an alien broadcast and how it changes - or doesn't - the world. Not as good as I remembered, but still worth a look.
  #1310  
Old 03-05-2020, 05:52 AM
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The Lobster WTF!?!? If I cared enough to bother I'd look up what that movie was really supposed to be about.
I think there's definitely room for quirky films where you've got to concentrate and it helps to realise that while it looks like this world, it is not this world. Not for when you've had too much beer.

A few of his films are like this, where it looks like here, but it's not. Alps, for instance (I can't link to it in work), is one where people are hired to pretend to be someones dead relative, and reenact important moments in their life, and even sleep with the dead relatives ex. It's a bizarre scenario and it runs into interesting moments as you get deeper into the movie. But it looks like our world initially until it gets silly...

For what the Lobster was, it was another world where you must be attached to a partner, otherwise you in effect get killed (changed into an animal, such as Lobster). Oh, and you must share interests with that partner ("Oh, I also like birds"), otherwise it doesn't work. It leads to stilted forced dating and then rebellions. I see it as more of a genre like Brazil: a dark alternative world satire.
  #1311  
Old 03-05-2020, 12:38 PM
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Ok. I've tried to post this a half a dozen times and it's been eaten every time, so here's one last try.


I've seen several interesting movies in the last little while, but posting about them has been near impossible. The ones off the top of my head are these:

Journey to the West (2013) Ė a Chinese film featuring Qi Shun who I couldn't place for the longest time before it dawned on me; she played Jason Statham's transport package/love interest in The Transporter. The movie is a strange mix of broad emotive, almost operatic, performance and sci-fi demon hunting with special effects that look cheap but, in their comic-bookishness, works perfectly for the movie. It's funny, weird, trippy, heartbreaking, inspirational and it features the Monkey King fighting the creator of everything. It's an awesome movie.

The Killing Fields (1984) Ė The true story of journalist Dith Pran's capture and escape from the Khmer Rouge, which I'm sure the majority of dear readers are already familiar with. I'd seen it in pieces years ago and I don't think I ever gave it the credit it deserves. Every performance in it is absolutely top-notch. I was reading up a little on Pol Pot as I was watching it so I had a much better frame of reference to follow along the with the action. Cinematically as well, it's just amazing. I'm surprised it didn't win more awards.

The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007) Ė I'm a sucker for found footage movies. This one is excellent in plot if a little short on performances. It is presented as a documentary featuring interviews with investigators, victims, victims' relatives, things like that, intermingled with POV hand-held shots from the killer, who is fuckin-A crazy. I don't want to spoil anything in it, and it's really not that gory at all Ė it's the fucked up situations, that are hard to see coming, that send it around the bend. It's the kind of movie that I don't know would survive a second viewing, but I think I'm going to give it a shot.
  #1312  
Old 03-05-2020, 02:28 PM
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...Contact...
There's an extraordinary scene in that film where Jody's Foster's character, as a child, runs up a flight of stairs and continues to the end of a hall, where there's a mirror on the wall. As she approaches the mirror, the camera's perspective somehow changes from tracking her to showing her reflection in the mirror. May not sound like much when described and it's very easily missed when seen, but absolutely mind-blowing when you're watching for it.

Last edited by jerez; 03-05-2020 at 02:29 PM.
  #1313  
Old 03-05-2020, 02:32 PM
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Yes, I remembered that, and was watching for it. An impressive shot. Thanks!
  #1314  
Old 03-05-2020, 02:39 PM
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Han Gong-ju (2013)

The movie starts off with a group of teachers surrounding Gong-ju, a teen girl about 16. Everyone is obviously distraught. "It's not your fault" they tell her, but it is soon obvious that she isn't welcome in her school any more. So her teacher schleps her off to another city and calls in a favor to get the principal of the new school to enroll her as a student. Since her mother and father are obviously absent from the picture, he convinces his own mother to take her in to live with her. The teacher's mother is not real keen on the idea.

I don't think I need to disclose any more actual plot points. The viewer is not clued in to exactly what Gong-ju did, until the movie is ready to reveal that. Sure, there are hints at the nature of the situation, but we don't know the details. We follow Gong-ju as she tries to get on with her high school life, and little by little the film opens itself up to us. And with every revelation, we get to know (and like) Gong-ju more and more.

Unlike the stereotypical circumstance of the school kids not accepting, or making fun, or bullying the "new kid," several of the female students are intrigued by her and try honestly to befriend her. Gong-ju reveals some talents that make the girls like and respect her even more. Gong-ju vacillates between accepting the friendship and setting rigid boundaries that test those friendships.

The last half hour of the movie is some of the most powerful cinema I can recall. We've gotten to know and love Gong-ju...and...and...well, it angers me to think how Korean society obviously considers girls. Like something to be discarded, I guess. Whether as a toy or a piece of trash. Once used, just throw it away. This applies to her parents, (some) of her peers, school administrators, and a large number of other adults. Even her teacher, who does show her kindness, seems to be motivated by getting rid of the problem by hiding it than by offering real help. Other adults in a position of authority behave despicably. There is a scene at the school that is just devastating. When the dad shows up, and we finally realize why, it is doubly devastating. The musical cue at the end is the final straw. I felt like someone reached into my gut and yanked emotions out of me I didn't know I had.

I went into this movie completely cold. I knew nothing of the plot or circumstances of the film. But what makes it even more effective is that the movie is based on a true story. This really happened. I didn't know that going in to the movie, but a few wiki links I researched after watching made it quite obvious that the way Korean society was portrayed in the movie was 100% accurate as to how the girl was treated. This angers me.

4.5 stars
  #1315  
Old 03-05-2020, 02:41 PM
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A Girl at My Door (2014)

Doo-na Bae stars as a police chief recently transferred to a dying seaside village. It seems she had some sort of scandal during her Seoul employment and her supervisors want her to lay low for a while and let things blow over. She does have some problems, not the least being her ability to drink copious amounts of soju each night. Like 3 liters or so as a nightcap. But she's determined to be the voice of law and order, even if it means running up against the town's main economic engine, a volatile lout who exploits illegal immigrant labor.

Ms. police chief soon notices a young teen girl, about 13, who is the town's whipping post. She is called a "whore slut brat" and beat upon--and this is by her own grandmother. She is teased and smacked around by her classmates. Her stepfather (same lout as above) is worse, especially when drunk, which is about every night. The girl gloms on to the police lady, who attempts to shield her from further abuse.

I was very much liking this movie. The main actors are all outstanding. We know Doo-nae Bae, of course. The teen girl is the same actress as the little girl in My Brand New Life, and the girl needing saving from The Man from Nowhere. Both actresses do amazing jobs here--Bae, as the stoic police woman who hardly emotes at all, except via those eyes and her ever-tightening facial expressions, and the young teen, who acts out like you might expect from a girl who has been abused her whole life. Or, maybe, how you might not expect. The actor playing the stepfather will have you hissing at the screen every time he shows up.

The plot and story, also, are compelling and had me along for the ride for sure.

Then, about two-thirds of the way in, some things played out that had me saying to myself "if this movie goes in THAT direction, and gives me yet another vision of nihilism that makes me want to curse the TV, curse the world, and curse humanity, and everything ends like that and ROLL CREDITS, I'm going to give this fucking movie ZERO STARS" and give a hearty middle finger to the Korean film industry that seems to relish not just making you feel bad, but feel suicidal."

But no! The movie does not take that path and instead goes in a different direction that I found unsettling, but interesting and, importantly, completely in line with the characters' experiences and motivations. I bought in 100%. Crisis averted. This is an amazingly good and effective film. Highly recommended.

4.5 stars

Last edited by divemaster; 03-05-2020 at 02:43 PM.
  #1316  
Old 03-07-2020, 08:21 AM
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Midsommar (2019). It seems I'm slowly becoming a horror movie guy. It usually goes like this: 'Well, I don't really like horror movies, but this one looks interesting so I'll give it a shot.' Before I know it, I'm watching a lot of horror movies. I digress.

I'd heard good things about this one from people of the horror movie bent but I'd been putting off for the above stated reasons - I'm just not a horror guy - and I must admit the first act of this movie convinced me that I was right. It was so slow and boring I had to bail. I mean, I understood there was foreshadowing and symbolism going on, but c'mon, man ... pick up the pace a little bit. I turned it back on the next day to let the second act redeem it - and it did, but I still wasn't that invested. The shock worked on me, but then again, it kind of telegraphed where the rest of the movie was going, so that third act had to really knock it out of the park. I'd say it was a solid triple to the gap.

I like it for it's fuck-up-ed-ness, but I saw a ton of shit coming, and in the end I didn't really care about any character in the movie anyway so I kind of chalk it up as a Wicker Man rip-off, albeit a superior one. Especially superior to the Nick Cage version.
  #1317  
Old 03-09-2020, 08:40 AM
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Saturday night, I sat through the entirety of The Paper Chase for some reason. (Note to self: buy some paint, so that the next time you are this desperate for entertainment, you can pour it out and watch it dry).


Was there a thing in the seventies where movie people acted in inexplicable ways and you were just supposed to think it was normal? There were several points in this movie where it happened, but here's an example.


Boy walks out of a pizza restaurant. Girl (who is a stranger to Boy at this point) walks up and grabs Boy by the arm and says, "Will you walk with me? I think there's someone following me." Of course, Boy, being a decent sort, plays along. Shortly afterward, they reach Girl's destination. Boy is talking to her, telling her about himself, when Girl just cuts him short. She clearly hasn't been listening and doesn't care. "Bye", and she's gone, into her house. Bitch!
Boy is now hot for her, and begins stalking her.


Oh, and next time Boy shows up at Girl's door, they have sex. Ooooohhhhhhkay.


Love Story is another good example of seventies movie characters behaving like aliens. It came on right after The Paper Chase, but luckily I'd seen it before and wasn't inclined to suffer again.
  #1318  
Old 03-09-2020, 08:56 AM
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Once Were Brothers, a documentary about the life of Robbie Robertson and his band, The Band, told through archival film clips and talking heads of those who knew and admired The Band, but mostly it's Robertson telling his story.

It's well made and the music is wonderful -- I didn't know much about The Band other than a few of their greatest hits, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Some of those commenting are long-since deceased, like George Harrison. Eric Clapton tells how he journeyed to Woodstock, NY trying to work up the courage to ask to join ... "maybe you need another rhythm guitar?" -- high praise from one of the best guitarists who ever lived.

In some sense it's VH1 Behind The Music episode with a big budget. And I couldn't help feeling that it was self-serving and glosses over any criticism of Robertson. I was surprised at the end to find out that one other band member is still alive -- Garth Hudson -- but he didn't contribute. Hmm.
  #1319  
Old 03-16-2020, 08:33 AM
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Over the weekend I saw All The President's Men. I didn't find it that engrossing at first, but I can never tear my eyes away from Dustin Hoffman on screen. I also found it somewhat comforting to see that American politics has been in dire straits before, and we survived.
The ending was very abrupt...Og willing, the end of the current presidency will be similarly sudden.
  #1320  
Old 03-16-2020, 08:57 AM
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I was at one of the last theatrical screenings in Los Angeles. I saw Bacurau, a nearly impossible to describe pastoral action adventure film. Highly recommended.

A few hours after I got home, the mayor of Los Angeles announced the closure of all theaters for at lest the next two weeks (along with all bars and dine-in at restaurants.
  #1321  
Old 03-16-2020, 11:19 AM
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Watched A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood and the German film In the Aisles over the weekend. Enjoyed both, preferred the latter.
  #1322  
Old 03-16-2020, 07:26 PM
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Watched Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil yesterday. I found the first movie to be disjointed and uninspired, but this one felt much more cohesive, if simplistic in plot. It's spectacularly beautiful, very well acted, but also has a couple of tonal shifts into comedy that undermines the serious impact of the drama in the wrong way. Reviews were much harsher than it deserved, it's worth a watch, especially now when everyone is in lockdown.
  #1323  
Old 03-24-2020, 06:27 PM
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Watched Long Shot, a 40-minute documentary on Netflix. Very much worth 40-minutes of your time. It's about a man accused of murder whose best alibi was that he had been attending a major league baseball game.

The story-telling seems a little stilted, to better to play up some amazing real coincidences, but a good true story. A-

Watched Hugo earlier today. A family picture directed by Martin Scorsese, that starts with some impressive cinematography, and is lovely throughout. It's maybe a little too heartwarming, but it did make me cry a couple of times, so I can't complain. On Netflix. Recommended. A-

Saw Moon, the science fiction film about a man maintaining a fusion powerplant on the dark side of moon. It was directed by the son of David Bowie. Entirely decent, but sad. Extensive model-based special effects. B+.
  #1324  
Old Yesterday, 04:24 PM
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I decided at the last minute to catch The Color Out of Space, pretty decent.
  #1325  
Old Yesterday, 06:11 PM
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Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw. What a dumb fucking movie. Okay, here's the deal. I saw the first Fast and Furious with Vin Diesel and Paul Walker - it was pretty good. I saw another one of them ... something about jumping a car into a boat in Florida. That's the extent of my knowledge of the F&F franchise, outside of knowing that The Rock was somehow involved now.

So there I am watching the first ten minutes of baffling what-the-fuckery with cyborg bad guys and futuristic motorcycles and shit. I was half expecting to see a automated Johnny-Cab come whizzing through. But I roll with it for a few minutes. Until about, oh, I'd say a good forty-five minutes in before I actually stood up in my living room and shouted aloud, "What the fuck does this have to do with street racing and where the fuck is Vin Diesel anyway?"

So yeah. I'm pretty sure it was a Mission Impossible script that they slapped "Fast & Furious" on or something. Either that or I've missed a lot of subtext in the intervening I don't even know how many movies there have been in between the first one and this one.


This is considered part of the Fast and Furious franchise, right? Or is it like a Rogue I stand alone dealio?

Last edited by Jack Batty; Yesterday at 06:12 PM.
  #1326  
Old Yesterday, 06:13 PM
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Contact
Jodie Foster stars in this sf drama about humanity receiving an alien broadcast and how it changes - or doesn't - the world. Not as good as I remembered, but still worth a look.
I saw Ad Astra (2019) a few days ago, and I came out thinking exactly the same thing I remember thinking at the end of Contact: "All that, just to resolve some daddy issues?"

Of the two, Contact was better. And I didn't really like Contact.
  #1327  
Old Yesterday, 06:18 PM
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Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw. What a dumb fucking movie. Okay, here's the deal. I saw the first Fast and Furious with Vin Diesel and Paul Walker - it was pretty good. I saw another one of them ... something about jumping a car into a boat in Florida. That's the extent of my knowledge of the F&F franchise, outside of knowing that The Rock was somehow involved now.

So there I am watching the first ten minutes of baffling what-the-fuckery with cyborg bad guys and futuristic motorcycles and shit. I was half expecting to see a automated Johnny-Cab come whizzing through. But I roll with it for a few minutes. Until about, oh, I'd say a good forty-five minutes in before I actually stood up in my living room and shouted aloud, "What the fuck does this have to do with street racing and where the fuck is Vin Diesel anyway?"

So yeah. I'm pretty sure it was a Mission Impossible script that they slapped "Fast & Furious" on or something. Either that or I've missed a lot of subtext in the intervening I don't even know how many movies there have been in between the first one and this one.
Ever since the fourth movie or so, the F&F films have been pure comic book nonsense - and by comic book, I don't mean Marvel, I mean 1960's Batman TV show. It's like how the Bond series moved from the relative realism of Doctor No to, say, Moonraker.

Last edited by Alessan; Yesterday at 06:18 PM.
  #1328  
Old Yesterday, 06:54 PM
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Jack Batty writes:

> . . . I'm pretty sure it was a Mission Impossible script that they slapped "Fast &
> Furious" on or something. . .

Things like that actually happen. The first four Die Hard films all were based on scripts that had been passing around in Hollywood for years which were then rewritten to fit into a single series. Only the fifth one (which got the worst reviews) was originally conceived as part of the series. That isn't true for Hobbs and Shaw though. It was originally conceived as part of the Fast & Furious series:

https://www.businessinsider.com/the-...nwriter-2019-8
  #1329  
Old Yesterday, 09:34 PM
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So there I am watching the first ten minutes of baffling what-the-fuckery with cyborg bad guys and futuristic motorcycles and shit. I was half expecting to see a automated Johnny-Cab come whizzing through. But I roll with it for a few minutes. Until about, oh, I'd say a good forty-five minutes in before I actually stood up in my living room and shouted aloud, "What the fuck does this have to do with street racing and where the fuck is Vin Diesel anyway?"
I was on a plane, with a pretty poor selection of movies but could only get through about 30 mins of Hobbs and Shaw before giving up.

It's everything wrong with most modern action movies:

1. Protagonists are essentially superhuman
2. Protagonists behave as though they know they can't be hurt. They can walk nonchalantly into situations that in real-life would be dangerous for anyone, irrespective of how tough they are.
3. A lot of the dialogue and events are just to set up the hero to do or say something cool. And, presumably, make the audience clap like seals.

Quote:
This is considered part of the Fast and Furious franchise, right? Or is it like a Rogue I stand alone dealio?
It's like Rogue I. It's canon, but it's also something of a branch off the main franchise.
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