Movies you've seen recently

Just watched the 2000 Hamlet with Ethan Hawke, set in New York. Kind of weird, but enjoyable, and short. (They cut the "alas poor Yorick scene.) Cameo by Paley Park, my favorite NY mini-park.

I watched ‘Those Who Wish Me Dead’ with Angelina Jolie on HBOMax. It was very much in the style of a 90s action movie (that specific action movie being Firestorm or Cliffhanger). Just…boring.

I’ve also come to the conclusion that Angelina Jolie is so pretty that she is unable to convincingly play any role other than “sexy international assassin”.

Ironically, the actual international assassins played by Nicholas Hoult and Aidan “Littlefinger” Gillen were quite convincing in their various disguises as a pair of schlubs trying to blend in.

Jon Bernthal played his usual role as “no-nonsense cop”.

I saw “Saving Face” this last weekend after a recommendation on another website. It’s a non-traditional rom-com about a Chinese lesbian woman and her widowed mother and very traditional grandparents and community. She keeps her romantic life a secret, until one day her mother unexpectedly shows up on her doorstep and moves in. Turns out she’s pregnant, and won’t reveal the father.

It was made by Will Smith’s production company on a shoestring budget, but they managed to stretch that by piggybacking their shoots with Hitch, which was filming at the same time.

I’m not really a fan of the genre, but I appreciated the risks the picture took- half the dialogue is in Chinese, for example.

In The Heights

★★★★ out of ★★★★★

Gist: Beautifully shot and choreographed, a fun and uplifting musical for fans of the genre.

I am guilty of having not really heard of Lin-Manuel Miranda before Hamilton began to take off on broadway a few years ago. I have to admit, having seen The Heights, I realize that he is a uniquely and deeply talented individual and is in many ways, a true national treasure. The Heights pre-dates Hamilton by a few years, and despite some flaws, it is a high-quality production and this movie is a very well made version of that musical. Note: this is a full movie production/version, not just a recorded stage performance like the Hamilton movie.

Pros:

  • Amazing cinematography

  • Amazing dance choreography, especially a sequence at a pool near the middle of the movie($96 g’s)

  • Great performances from every single lead performer

  • About 2-3 big hit songs that stand out as the best moments

  • Again, really just a gorgeous movie musical that was top-notch of its genre

  • Charming, a movie you are drawn to by its personality and positive feeling

Cons:

  • The musical has a lot of down-time that is less interesting

  • Some songs are forgettable and while not filler, kind of feel like it.

  • A happy, but surprisingly predictable and kind of generic story

I would recommend this movie to anyone who likes musicals. It is not a musical to draw in people that are not fans of that genre, but it will satisfy anyone who likes these types of movie. After seeing it, my wife and I wondered why they haven’t gone and made a full movie of Hamilton, not just record the stage performance. If they can make a Hamilton movie like this, it would be even better.

Agree with your pros and cons–especially the level of performance from the entire young, talented, diverse cast.
A couple of more cons, though: Personally, I consider the stage show “In the Heights” to have 10x more impact both musically and emotionally than “Hamilton”–so my expectations were high, especially after viewing the full opening number when it was released earlier this week. Was sad to see that the movie cut two of my favorite songs from Nina, wrote her mother out entirely, and cut back on her dad’s role (also cutting his songs). Some was probably necessary to make the storyline more suitable for film–but I felt it diminished Nina’s character a lot, and actually softened some of the impact of a certain character’s death. Likewise, the Lotto storyline was treated differently than in the stage show, and I was taken out of the movie a couple of times wondering where it was going.
I did like that the story seemed to center more on Usnavi, whose role on stage was more of a narrator/tour guide than protagonist. The film brought immigration and racism themes more clearly to the front, too, elevating the multiethnic cast.
Finally–if you go to the theater for this, STAY AFTER THE CREDITS, especially if you’re a Lin-Manuel fan. :smile:

I watched I, Tonya today (biopic about Tonya Harding with tounge firmly in cheek) because I was bored, too hot to go outside, depressed and nothing else on. Oh, and Margot Robbie. It was actually pretty entertaining and fun to watch, but no cure for depression, I assure you.

Okay, first time back in a theater… just got back from A Quiet Place, Part 2.

Do you just love to be tense? Well, go buy a ticket.

Although hardly anyone did… I went online to buy tickets this morning, and the theater schematic came up all blue… no one in that theater yet. Turns out there were three other couples, that was it.

I enjoyed the movie, especially the scenes redone from the different perspectives of the characters (they couldn’t all be lying, could they? Sure they could!). Allison Janney really earned her Oscar as The Stage Mom from Hell.

“Well, My storyline is disappearing right now. What? The? Fuck?”

Seconded.

I would’ve rather had the stage version than the adapted for screen one. It lost something.

I don’t know about that. The pool scene was amazing. And while waiting for the surprise at the end, notice the immense list of dancers.

I do agree with you about the pool scene. It was amazing. And yes, not having the flat tableau of the stage added so much. I just was not a fan of the missing songs and changes to the story as a whole.

On Amazon+ I came across a quirky comedy called “Diani & Devine Meet the Apocalypse.” It was apparently self-funded by the guy/girl comedy team who wrote, produced, directed and starred in it, and came out in 2016. I’d never heard of them, and I didn’t have high expectations. I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. The two leads are engaging and funny, and there’s a great supporting cast playing some really oddball characters. I’m surprised we haven’t heard or seen more from Diani and Devine since then.

The Salvation

★★★ out of ★★★★★

Gist: A very well made, but not wholly groundbreaking Western.

The Salvation is a very well made Western starring Mads Mikkelsen and it is essential that he is in it because I think only he has the ability to sell the intensity of his character in that unique way that he does. The movie is about a man whose family is killed by some local criminals and his mission to seek revenge/justice against the criminal organization responsible.

Pros:

  • Beautiful cinematography

  • Great score by Kasper Winding

  • Solid performances from Mads Mikkelsen and Jeffrey Dean Morgan

  • An all around solid Western movie

Cons

  • Not particularly groundbreaking or original

  • Fairly predictable

  • Does not make a lasting impact

I would recommend this movie to people who like Mads Mikkelsen or are fans of the Western genre. It’s nothing new, but it is well made and worth a watch.

The Wailing

★★★★½ out of ★★★★★

Gist: See this incredible, intense horror movie immediately. Just go see it.

Holey Moley, what the heck did I just watch? The Wailing is an amazing movie and you should add it to your movie queue immediately if it is not already on there. One of the most intense movies I’ve seen in a long time, easily up there with Possession(1981) or I Saw The Devil(2010).

The movie is, for the most part, about a town in Korea where people begin to act violent and irrational, attacking their own family members. A local police officer investigates the situation and it leads him to a Japanese man, who he believes to be responsible. From there……well, you are just going to have to see it.

Is this movie a comedy? In parts, yes it kind of is. I laughed quite a bit.

Is this movie about xenophobia in Korea? Yes, it definitely is.

Is this a cop movie? You know, it kind of is that too, at least in parts.

Does this movie involve what I hesitantly describe as Korean Voodoo? Yes, it does.

Is this an intense horror movie? You bet it is. Yes, you definitely bet it is. You have to see this one even begin to understand.

Pros:

Totally insane and intense
Comedic, horrific, thrilling
One of the best horror movies of the past decade
An instant “essential movie” for anyone

Cons:

Slightly overlong

I would recommend this movie to anyone who likes movies unless you are sensitive to intense and scary films. It’s quite a ride. In terms of Korean movies, I’d put it up there with I Saw The Devil, Oldboy, or Parasite. Just a totally essential movie for everyone.

Oh My God. What did I just have on the TV? I think I’m going to have to throw it away and buy a new one.

Woke up at 4 am and couldn’t fall back asleep, turned on the tube and Congo was just starting. This is without a doubt the stupidest, most ridiculous movie I have ever seen, and that is saying a lot.

Bad acting from No Name people, talking Gorillas, volcanos that erupt RIGHT NOW!, revolutions… I just can’t go on. The Worst Movie I have ever seen. Just… senseless. Asinine.

How on Earth does something like that get made??? It must be some kind of elaborate joke.

^ The novel was by Michael “I Could Publish My Laundry List” Crichton, the screenplay was by John Patrick Shanley, who was a big deal at the time and the director was Frank Marshall from the Spielberg cadre. Consider yourself lucky ET didn’t put in an appearance.

What burpo said. Hollywood was hoping that they could recreate the goldmine of Jurassic Park by making every Crichton book they could. If you hated Congo, you’ll love Sphere. (And by “love” I mean “also hate with an all-consuming passion”.)

I’m sure the success of Jurassic Park caused this to get greenlighted, but it had been in the works for quite a while:

I read the book long before the film came out – it’s abysmal. I’m baffled by Crichton’s string of successes.

Sort of ironic, too, that Connery eventually DID end up playing Allan Quatermain in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

My TV was quickly rehabilitated! Watched Citizen Ruth (again). A delightful movie. Understated, well written, well acted with a bunch of big names in smallish parts. Great movie. It cleansed my RCA and saved it from the Shit-can.

Thanks for the Heads-up. It’s also on Heavy Rotation on the stoopid Showtime channels I am forced to pay for. Besieged by record setting heat-wave, I’m stuck inside watching some real bad TV. What is it with these channels? Every Rambo movie, Rollerball (the original) and RAD (Yes, the 80’s BMX movie), over and over and over. What year is this again???