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What Was The Last Movie You Watched?


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230 Halloween: Resurrection -- Halloween begat Halloween II. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers begat Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers. Even Halloween 2018 begat Halloween Kills. Seems that every high point in this franchise always delivers something much poorer straight after. I don't think it's ever been so stark as it is here. H20 to Resurrection is a staggering fall from grace. In H20, Michael is famously decapitated and Resurrection spends the opening few scenes dreaming up the most ridiculous pish to explain all that away so another 90 minutes can be added to the total. It then kills off Laurie Strode, apparently at Jamie Lee Curtis's insistence, in the most dreadful manner. From there, things happen, Michael kills people, Busta Rhymes turns up a few times, and then it's done and we never have to speak of it again. 1/10

231 The Holdovers -- Paul Giamatti is what the dictionary and no doubt every review is going to call a curmudgeonly teacher at a fancy New England prep school in 1970. There he tries and fails to get his students interested in his classical history classes while dismissively burning them with clever and witty putdowns they don't understand. Over the Christmas break, he's left looking after Angus, a troubled 17-year-old student who has been abandoned by his mother and stepdad. Along with the school cook, Mary, who has recently lost her son in Vietnam, this motley crew kinda learns to get on with each other over the next two weeks in the empty school. The movie really doesn't offer much in the way of surprises, particularly as teacher and student discover they have much in common, but it's the performances that really set this apart. Giamatti in particular does a fantastic job as a functioning alcoholic at a time when no one really knew what a functioning alcoholic was, who manages to bury his true self. Da’Vine Joy Randolph as Mary is also excellent although disappointingly her character is demoted to the sidelines just as it was getting interesting. It's the sort of heartfelt movie that becomes a traditional rewatch at Christmas, and for those of a certain age from a certain part of the US, I'm sure it'll keep those member berries satisfied into New Year. 7/10

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53. Bottoms - Cinema

Great supporting cast which makes the world feel alive while also being an exaggerated version of high school life. The football team never change out of their kits, the (only?) teacher openly reads a magazine depicting scantily clad women, a random student is locked in a cage - these all add up to make it feel like this high school is a living, breathing place despite the stupidity of it all. And the film is stupid. I was smiling along during the climax due to just how stupid it was. It's disarmingly violent at points, which is just accepted and barely addressed, and uses violence as a punchline to good effect. The worldbuilding from the supporting cast was what I liked most about Bottoms, but that's not to take anything away from the two leads who bounce off of everyone really well, kind of providing a more grounded cynicism to the nonsense going on in their school. This is the third film I've seen Rachel Sennott in, and she's been the standout performer in three pretty different roles. The combination of the riffing between the actors and the stylised setting made for a really funny film, though there were things about it that made me wonder if the script is actually quite weak: the credits take pride in how much improv there was, some of the weaker jokes seemed to be more scripted, and the structure flits between being fluid and dully regimented. Minor complaints, though, as none of that affected my enjoyment of the film, however the dodgy projection in Hamilton's VUE almost did. It was the first time I'd been there since seeing Pearl back in March and, given how bad the projection was in their biggest screen, I won't be back any time soon. 

54. The Royal Hotel - Cinema

I was really looking forward to this, as Kitty Green's other film, The Assistant, was one of my favourites from 2020. That had a pretty good script with a brilliant lead performance from Julia Garner (who also leads this) but, most of all, had a lot of filmmaking techniques that I found really interesting. The Royal Hotel seems to me to have been a bit more conventional in its storytelling compared to The Assistant - not compared to other films of its ilk though - but treads familiar ground thematically as they're both about Julia Garner being landed in a toxic male environment - a movie studio in The Assistant and a dingy Australian hotel pub here. They're also both slowly paced and very reliant on their atmosphere, characters of Death by 1000 Cuts approach to building tension, depicting very real scenarios and inviting the viewer to share the protagonist's discomfort and helplessness. The BBFC gave The Royal Hotel an 18 which, combined with the trailer, led me on that it was going to have a much more bombastic conclusion - despite what I learned about Kitty Green's style from The Assistant - but it's really just about simmering tension and paranoia playing out in a way that leaves enough doubt about characters' intensions for it to be engaging but gives you a fair sense that they're pretty shite people which creates unease. The 18 certificate is just because it's set in Australia and they call everyone "c**t."

Where it felt most different to The Assistant for me was that the toxic workplace of a movie studio is, to an extent, a manmade environment where there is something more societal about The Royal Hotel's setting, sort of like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre where it leaves you asking questions about the set of circumstances that created this environment. Another difference was the fact that Julia Garner had a pal in this one, her fellow backpacker Jessica Henwick who's a bit more of a partier than her. This led to a wee bit of friction, but, more importantly, it results in a greater sense of loneliness when they have a difference of opinion, as losing a friend in a story can often be more impactful than simply not having one in the first place. I've also seen/heard other reviews which said that the film beginning during their holiday poses questions about their friendship, what they're running away from etc., and while that wasn't really going through my head as I was watching it, I can see how it would have that effect on other people. 

It's a solid follow-up to an excellent debut, and I'm still interested to see what Kitty Green does next as she's now made two films with really tactile environments and has a clear style. I wouldn't say that folk have to see this in the cinema though. Hugo Weaving's in it too, but if you're like me then you won't actually know it's him until you get home and check the cast. 

55. Paris Memories - Digital Rental

A film about a woman reconciling with herself after surviving the 2015 Paris terrorist attack. It starts as a day-in-the-life piece which lingers in a serene moment where people have no idea what's coming, then that's immediately cut through by an attack in a restaurant. That jarring tonal shift is a perfect depiction of a terrorist attack and is the kind of thing that is likely to stick with me, but it's only around 15/20 minutes into the film. The rest is about the main character trying to find closure through various means which feel very true to how someone would cope with such an event. 

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Saw Napoleon this afternoon.

An enjoyable film. However, despite being well over two hours long I felt it was very rushed. It often leaped to different years, spending little time in each.

Battle scenes were immense though. Wish they were longer and that there were more of them.

Waterloo is a better film and delivers, big time, on the longer battle front.

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232 Scott Pilgrim vs the World -- After watching the new Netflix anime series, which I loved, I had to come back to this one more time and it's still an absolute joy for me, definitely one of my favorite movies of all time, and despite not really featuring anything I can cling on to as reminiscent of my life, it still manages to speak to me on a personal level, and I feel so connected to Scott, which is as confusing as it is comforting. Hello again, friend of a friend. 10/10

233 Saltburn -- Emerald Fennell's follow-up to Promising Young Woman took me in directions I didn't see coming and has made sure that I will never look at a certain Sophie Ellis-Bextor song in the same light ever again. Mousy Oliver Quick is a bit of an outsider having trouble settling in at Oxford University until he falls into the orbit of fellow student and super-wealthy Felix Catton. After the two become close and Oliver explains the difficult relationship he has with his parents back on Merseyside, he is invited to summer at the Catton country residence, the palatial Saltburn estate where he slowly integrates with the family and its hangers-on. For probably half of the movie's two-and-a-bit hours runtime, I was led to believe that this was a year-late entry into 2022's spread of movies about rich people being p***ks in a place (Triangle of Sadness, Glass Onion, The Menu). However, Fennell has a few tricks up her sleeve to ensure that until the final act, you're never quite sure what you're watching. Barry Keoghan, along with Paul Mescal, is becoming one of those actors who I've come to realize I have no idea how they actually speak. He flits from accent to accent flawlessly and here, he's Scouse, and he brings so much mystery to the role of Oliver in a really confident performance. His eyes search deep into your soul, and it's easy to understand how his seductive character manages to bridge the wealth and entitlement gaps between him and his hosts. Contrasting this, we have Jacob Elordi as Felix, about a million times more engaging here than he was in Priscilla, Rosamund Pike and Richard E Grant as his parents, and Archie Madekwe as cousin Farleigh who puts Gran Turismo firmly in his rearview mirror. The acting talent here is absolutely as decadent and plush as the surroundings. Fennell's script and direction are crisp and precise and it's wonderfully subtle how the power dynamic and expectations shift through the movie, and how the punctuation points manage to revolt and entice in equal measure. If I have a couple of complaints, one would be the aspect ratio which feels inexplicably tight at around 4:3, and secondly, there is a moment when Felix gives Oliver a birthday present that felt purely there, against the characters' better judgment, just so the rest of the movie could happen. That said, though, it's a delicious and often hilarious way to spend a couple of hours, I'd be surprised if it doesn't make it to my top 10 movies of the year. It's just a shame that it doesn't seem to be finding its audience in the US judging by the 90% empty screening I attended. 9/10

234 Arrival -- Arrival is one of those rare movies that I saw twice in the cinema, but this is the first time I've seen it since 2016, after which Amy Adams went on to somehow not win Best Actress at the Oscars. I still love this movie, maybe even more since I read Ted Chiang's The Story of Your Life, which is definitely worth checking out. I love sci-fi like this, where the story is as much about destiny and free will and parenthood as it is about aliens and it's as much seen through the lens of linguistics as anything else. It's a beautiful, slow-paced movie that builds through jumps in timelines that all come together at a singular point and the emotional toll it took on me was not insignificant. The minor problems I had with the movie seven years ago still ring true. Jeremy Renner's character is a passenger that plays no discernible role until right at the end where he delivers one of the clunkiest, stinkiest lines of dialogue I've ever heard that is surely only there to double-check that the audience is following what's going on. And it's a real shame because Denis Villeneuve's direction is so focused all the way through that I'm surprised he let that line go. Tremendous stuff. 9/10

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2 hours ago, MSU said:

233 Saltburn -- Emerald Fennell's follow-up to Promising Young Woman took me in directions I didn't see coming and has made sure that I will never look at a certain Sophie Ellis-Bextor song in the same light ever again. Mousy Oliver Quick is a bit of an outsider having trouble settling in at Oxford University until he falls into the orbit of fellow student and super-wealthy Felix Catton. After the two become close and Oliver explains the difficult relationship he has with his parents back on Merseyside, he is invited to summer at the Catton country residence, the palatial Saltburn estate where he slowly integrates with the family and its hangers-on. For probably half of the movie's two-and-a-bit hours runtime, I was led to believe that this was a year-late entry into 2022's spread of movies about rich people being p***ks in a place (Triangle of Sadness, Glass Onion, The Menu). However, Fennell has a few tricks up her sleeve to ensure that until the final act, you're never quite sure what you're watching. Barry Keoghan, along with Paul Mescal, is becoming one of those actors who I've come to realize I have no idea how they actually speak. He flits from accent to accent flawlessly and here, he's Scouse, and he brings so much mystery to the role of Oliver in a really confident performance. His eyes search deep into your soul, and it's easy to understand how his seductive character manages to bridge the wealth and entitlement gaps between him and his hosts. Contrasting this, we have Jacob Elordi as Felix, about a million times more engaging here than he was in Priscilla, Rosamund Pike and Richard E Grant as his parents, and Archie Madekwe as cousin Farleigh who puts Gran Turismo firmly in his rearview mirror. The acting talent here is absolutely as decadent and plush as the surroundings. Fennell's script and direction are crisp and precise and it's wonderfully subtle how the power dynamic and expectations shift through the movie, and how the punctuation points manage to revolt and entice in equal measure. If I have a couple of complaints, one would be the aspect ratio which feels inexplicably tight at around 4:3, and secondly, there is a moment when Felix gives Oliver a birthday present that felt purely there, against the characters' better judgment, just so the rest of the movie could happen. That said, though, it's a delicious and often hilarious way to spend a couple of hours, I'd be surprised if it doesn't make it to my top 10 movies of the year. It's just a shame that it doesn't seem to be finding its audience in the US judging by the 90% empty screening I attended. 9/10

I also saw Saltburn this week and enjoyed it, despite guessing what the denouement was going to be fairly early on. The aspect ratio didn't bother me past the first ten minutes or so, although I don't think anything was gained artistically from it, which is the usual reason given.

Not surprised if it doesn't find an audience in the US, as it's a very English film. Not sure if they'd know what to make of it.

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Just now, BFTD said:

I also saw Saltburn this week and enjoyed it, despite guessing what the denouement was going to be fairly early on. The aspect ratio didn't bother me past the first ten minutes or so, although I don't think anything was gained artistically from it, which is the usual reason given.

Not surprised if it doesn't find an audience in the US, as it's a very English film. Not sure if they'd know what to make of it.

Exactly! I expect a 4:3 to give it an old movie feel or a sense of claustrophobia, but here it did neither and the side edges just reminded me I was paying full price to see 2/3 of a screen. It is very English and there's class stuff going on that I'm not sure translates all that well. Everyone who saw it with me seemed to love it, though, so there may be word-of-mouth hope for it yet.

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2 minutes ago, MSU said:

Exactly! I expect a 4:3 to give it an old movie feel or a sense of claustrophobia, but here it did neither and the side edges just reminded me I was paying full price to see 2/3 of a screen. It is very English and there's class stuff going on that I'm not sure translates all that well. Everyone who saw it with me seemed to love it, though, so there may be word-of-mouth hope for it yet.

I saw a pirate copy of The Blair Witch Project before it was released here and it worked really well on an old full frame CRT telly in the middle of the night, but within five minutes in the cinema I was wishing I hadn't bothered. Really did feel like I'd paid to watch somebody's camcorder adventures in the woods blown up on a screen it wasn't created for.

Funny to think that full frame used to be the aspect ratio films were generally released in until...what, 1960 or so?

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Got a batch of DVDs for next to nothing in a charity shop and binged them over a couple of days,

(86) Paris When It Sizzles (1964) 

Audrey Hepburn teams up again with William Holden after appearing together in Sabrina a few years earlier. The age difference isn’t as noticeable here and this is a pretty funny film as Holden plays a screenwriter who has two days to finish a film script aided by Hepburn as the typist. There’s a lot of in jokes and several Hollywood blockbusters are parodied as the two of them are seen acting out each scene of his fantasies of the plot. Some good cameos from the likes of Marlene Dietrich, Tony Curtis and Mel Ferrer. 7/10

(87) Earth To Echo (2014) 

This is basically a mash-up of ET and Wall-E as three young boys find some sort of alien robotic life form. They manage to work out a form of communication and find out that it’s trying to locate it’s crashed spaceship and return home. Throw in some adults in the guise of construction workers who know about the alien, and it becomes a race between the kids and adults to decide the fate of the alien. It’s not bad but aimed very much at a younger audience. 5/10

(88) Tea For Two (1950) 

Doris Day stars as an aspiring actress who bets her wealthy uncle that she can say ‘no’ for 48 hours hoping that the winnings of $25K will help her achieve her dream. Based on the play No, No, Nanette it’s not Doris Day’s best film but it’s enjoyable enough. 6/10

(89) The Town That Cancelled Christmas (2009) 

There are a few films going around with a similar plot with neighbours competing over putting on the best Christmas decorations and this one has a new neighbour who is writing a book about social behaviour who decides to imply that his decorations are going to be mega which annoys the neighbour who has won for several years in a row. It’s very amateurish and not very funny at all. 3/10

(90) Ballet Shoes (2007) 

Three young babies are adopted in the 1920s by an eccentric palaeontologist played by Richard Griffiths and brought up by his niece as sisters. As the girls get older they vow to achieve their dreams with Pauline played by Emma Watson as an actress, Posy (Lucy Boynton) as ballet dancer and Petrova (Yasmin Paige) as an aviator. Bit of a fairytale feel to it and good support by Marc Warren and Emilia Fox. 6.5/10

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Blade Runner.

Turned the soundbar up to 25. A bit naughty seeing as I'm a block of flats but hey-ho.

Yet what a great experience. It's  a  magnificent sci-fi film and the FORTY year old special effects are still believable. 

Rutger Heuer's ad-lib at the end would bring a tear to a glass eye...and dissappear in the rain.

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235 Happy Christmas -- Happy Mumblecore Christmas, everybody. Anna Kendrick is Jenny, who turns up at her brother's for Christmas where he lives with his successful writer partner and adorable baby son. And that's kinda it. It's fun watching Anna Kendrick play such a f**k-up, and did I mention the adorable baby, and even though it's pretty funny in places and quite clever in others, 82 minutes is a lot of unfinished improv sentences for my tastes. 6/10

236 Now You See Me -- Part Ocean’s Eleven, part National Treasure, but with magic! It’s flashy hockum with a pretty impressive cast and an excitable score, but it makes no sense whatsoever and the biggest failure comes from its attempt at the illusion that the world gives the remotest f**k about magic. Plus Jesse Eisenberg’s hair knocks off another half star. 4/10

237 Now You See Me 2 -- I actually like this one a bit better than the first because Jessie Eisenberg’s hair is far more sensible. The same nonsense, the same assumption that people think magic is cool, and in losing Shannon from Home & Away from the cast, we gain Janis from Mean Girls. Also, we get Harry Potter who doesn’t do any magic for some reason. Not a bad time, all in all. 5/10

238 Enter the Dragon -- There's so much of this that's objectively poor. The plot makes little sense -- what drug baron *doesn't* invite loads of martial artists to their island? -- the acting isn't great, the dubbing makes everything feel false, and even the fight scenes don't really impress that much thanks to some weird editing choices. And all the squawking by Bruce, and others, amuses and baffles more than anything else. The score, though, is magnificent, and I still love the movie despite its faults and enjoy it every time I watch it. The Warner Bros logo at the start will always remind me of being 10 and at my Uncle Sammy's at New Year and seeing it for the first time on pirated Betamax. 8/10

239 Terrifier -- Torture porn is sooooo 2005, isn't it? It's impressive how a movie as short and notorious as this can be so boring. There's no plot, very little characterization, and once you get beyond being impressed with the practical effects and how oddly amusing Art the Clown can be, there's nothing much left. As an experiment and proof of concept for Damien Leone, it's probably successful, but as a sit down and watch movie, there's just not enough around the gore and the blood, not even much in the way of scares, for it to be enjoyable. 3/10

240 Fist of Fury -- I have fairly fond memories of this one and I can't remember if it's because I saw a different dub or I saw it subtitled, but this version is so badly dubbed it's practically unwatchable during the spells where Bruce Lee isn't squawking and punching lots of Japanese people. The story and its politics are more interesting than Enter the Dragon so it's even more of a shame that the dialogue has to be spoken in such a ludicrous manner. 4/10

241 Game of Death -- I mean, I guess it's impressive that they were able to cobble together a Bruce Lee movie with just 12 minutes of actual Bruce Lee footage after his death, including his actual funeral, but it's also creepy as f**k, desperately cynical, and an obvious cash grab. The original film's concept of ascending a pagoda with increasing levels of difficulty sounds far more interesting than this revenge tale where the only interest comes from how the makers choose to disguise the Bruce Lee stand-ins -- never in the history of cinema has there been so much fighting in sunglasses. The final act, though, with the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar fight, and the real Bruce Lee, is iconic. 4/10

242 Never Let Me Go -- It breaks my heart but I love this movie so much. I don't know that Carey Mulligan or Keira Knightley have been much better than they are here in Alex Garland's adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's incredible novel. The science fiction background allows the story to accentuate the themes of helpless destiny and explore the attributes of what it means to be human. The children of Hailsham are alive with thoughts and feelings and desires as much as anyone but they aren't allowed to have a future where those things can be reality, and the childish ways they invent rumors to cope with this certainty do their best to affect your soul. As much as it breaks me, I adore this movie. 10/10

243 Paper Towns -- A fairly inoffensive coming-of-age drama about a boy's obsession with the girl next door, who after they share a night of high adventure goes missing, and the boy follows clues to track her down. Nat Wolff and Cara Delevinge are charismatic enough as Quentin and Margo, though they don't share much in the way of chemistry. The movie pivots about halfway through into a road-trip and despite a couple of decent gags involving gas station t-shirts, my interest kinda wanes at that point. That said, the story, based on John Green's YA novel that I quite enjoyed, saves a secret til the end that keeps the everything fresh and not too creepy, and Quentin learns some important lessons. And if nothing else, the movie and the book got me interested in tracking down some real-life paper towns, so I guess that's something. 5/10

244 Dream Scenario -- I'm trying to think of the last time I wasn't disappointed with a Nic Cage movie. It certainly wasn't this year. That said, I was with this one for longer than I was for the cowboy or vampire cos-play Nic Cage movies. Cage plays Paul Williams, a quiet, dull, tenured professor who inexplicably discovers that he has played a supporting role in the dreams of countless people. Somewhat miffed at his passive role in strangers' subconscious, he decides to embrace his five minutes of fame, do the breakfast show rounds and think about getting around to writing that book he's always been threatening to do, something his peers have already done. And up to this point, I was enjoying it quite a bit in a weird, understated, A24 drama kind of way. Nic Cage really is great in this role and has the minute details down to the ground. Paul is the kind of guy who shakes his head no, while his mouth says yes. He stutters around his words. He says things that only he finds funny. And yet, his wife -- who notably doesn't have dreams of him -- and his kids love him, and he has this undercurrent of disappointment and lack of fulfillment in his life. It seems easy to write the first act and a half of a movie like this just from the concept alone, but it's altogether harder to bring it home, and it's here that I felt the movie shat the bed. The concept, or the way writer and director Kristoffer Borgli handles the concept, just isn't enough. It takes a turn that has a drastic effect on Paul's character, and made the smile on my face feel more like a grimace. More and more, more even than Renfield, it feels like a wasted opportunity. 5/10

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Funny that Dream Scenario lost you after a while, as the trailer actually had the exact same effect on me. It started with the tone of a somewhat unnerving black comedy before giving off "Feel-good movie of the year!" vibes which is why I never bothered with it. 

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