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In Topic: The SPECTRE TV Spot thread (Spoiler Discussion)

Yesterday, 08:09 PM

TV spot shown last night during a commercial break for The Walking Dead.

In Topic: Preventing piracy of SPECTRE screenings..

09 October 2015 - 12:20 AM

Avengers: Age Of Ultron popped on online to download a week before it's U.S. release, same with Quantum of Solace. Piracy is inevitable. I remember a screener of Skyfall coming out about a month or so after it was in theaters. As KM16 said, if it isn't from someone inside the auditorium, then it's an employee of some sort.

In Topic: SPECTRE Final Trailer (Spoiler Discussion)

02 October 2015 - 08:46 PM

Something else has sparked my interest. Those few shots of the tunnel car crash at the end? Trying to make out who's behind the wheel but it's near impossible. Could be Austria, it's likely to be but maybe it's in London? M seems to be pretty messed up in the latest TV Spot, could be an ambush? Most probably Austria though.

I think it might be London.

In Topic: MOVIES: What Have You Seen Today? (2015)

30 September 2015 - 11:53 PM

Sicario - 2015 - 5/5 - Directed by Denis Villeneuve - starring Emily Blunt and Benicio del Toro

Sicario is by far the years most dark and haunting film. Denis Villeneuve knows how to capture more perfectly and keep audiences engaged from the first frame until the credits. It's more than just a typical action thriller, there's a lot more going on thanks to a great script by Taylor Sheridan and confident directing from Villeneuve. Sicario never give your heart a chance to slow down.


FBI Agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) is recruited by DOD operator Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) to join his task force in taking down a drug lord. The task force is joined by a mysterious man known as Alejandro (Benicio del Toro). As the mission continues, new discoveries are made and secrets come to life, as Kate questions the mission and those involved as a much bigger and darker picture is involved.


It's easy to say that Emily Blunt's character isn't really much use to the plot, but she's extremely vital. Her character is the usual good cop/agent who wants to do the right thing. However as we're kept in the dark throughout the mission, so is she. We can't help but connect to her as the mission goes on and darker things came to light. We're just as shocked as she is when she finds out the true nature of the mission and those involved. She's our audience surrogate, but written with precision and played ever so wonderful by Emily Blunt. However wonderful Blunt, Benicio del Toro steals the show. There's not a whole lot of backstory into his character, only glimmers into his past that made him the man he is now. If I had to compare Alejandro to another character it would definitely be Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men.) He doesn't speak much, he's calm, cool, collected. There's a shroud of mystique to his character that we're drawn to. Benicio is so outstanding in this, I'd say it's probably his role and acting since Steven Soderbergh's Traffic Those final ten to fifteen minutes with him are riveting.


Roger Deakins and Denis Villeneuve's second collaboration, and already these two are rapidly becoming my favorite Director/DP duo. Deakins has long been renowned for his sensational work, and Sicario is no different. The opening shot builds tension quickly and those aerial shots (while beautiful) that are combine with Johann Johannsson's score are truly some scary stuff. The lighting is very good too. But the one thing I love what Deakins did was his usage of thermal and night vision optics in the climax. We've seen it before in films, but the way Deakins utilized it was just striking.


There is never a moment where the film is anything but intense. Like I said, Denis Villeneuve captures mood perfectly as he takes you on a dark descent into some truly terrifying places. Villeneuve shows the gritty, horrific nature that is the war on drugs & the cartels and the truths about governments, staying on that fine line of realism and never sugar coating. The end result is some of the finest work in a film, I've seen this year. It gripped me from start to finish and had me on the edge of my seat.


It's hard to truly go into greater depths without giving away a lot of the narrative, since quite a few people still haven't seen it (but it goes into wide release this week!), and there's a few things that I'm trying to process still (Enemy still has me in this state).

From Sheridan's brilliant writing to Villeneuve's relentless direction, Sicario is 2015's finest to offer. It's moody, tense, atmospheric, and unforgiving. Those involved in the making of this film, take a bow.


The Green Inferno - 2015 - 2/5 - Directed by Eli Roth - starring Lorenza Izzo and Ariel Levy

Going into Eli Roth's latest film, The Green Inferno I was expecting a violent, gory cannibal film that would also manage to be pretty good too. I guess I sort of got that, but as the credits rolled, I found myself more conflicted. Part of my wants to like it, like I did with Roth's previous films, the other part is me telling myself it's Roth trying to shoehorn commentary on media and activism and tame cannibal film. I guess I'll settle for the middle.


College student Justine (Lorenza Izzo) finds herself drawn to an activism group on campus, led by Alejandro (Ariel Levy) whose goal is to bring awareness of logging companies who destroy the rainforests in South America that are the land of ancient native tribes and kill them. The group travels to Peru and successfully stops the crews from further destroying the land, but on their way back, their plane experiences engine trouble and they crash land in the rainforest. Once they come to their senses, they group is captured by one of the ancient tribes who are revealed to be vicious cannibals after killing one of their friends.


Spoilers ahead, read at your own risk!

Let me start off by saying that this film isn't completely gross, gory, sick, etc. All those people on social media saying that are wussies, because this film was quite tame for me honestly. The only gruesome part is when the first person is killed by the tribe, Jonas (Aaron Burns). How? By having his eyes gouged out, tongue cut out, limbs dismembered and head severed. Afterwards we have someone slashing their own throat (spoilers, sorry) someone being eaten alive by cannibals with munchies, for which you can't completely see, and finally someone being well, abused, by ants. I'd argue in fact that Roth's previous films are more gory and violent than this.


The entire first half hour is some of the worst in cinema this year, as dialogue and actions are absolutely horrid. Most of the bad acting and dialogue comes from Sky Ferreira, who should just stick to singing. Other than that, Justine's choice to join in on the activist movement is questionable. While she takes the topic of genital mutilation to women in ancient tribes serious, her reasons to join and take a stand simply because Daddy is an attorney for the United Nations and because why not? While everyone is doing it because it's what they believe in and they've devoted their time and life too, Justine just seems like she's there for the ride. And ultimately, I could give a damn about her character.


But at the same time, there's a lot of people in this world today who call themselves activists and do f*** all about it. Roth does show this well by having them stop the logging company from further work and saving the natives only to have their plane crash and be held captive by very people they worked towards saving. Ohhh, the irony. That leads me to the natives. Boy are they savage, and you can't blame them, considering these young college students they picked up are dressed like logging crews too, trespassing their territory. But if this angle Roth was going with, he sure made it sympathize with the natives and instead made it clear their evil flesh-eating people. Can't sympathize with them, and you can't give a damn about the college students. Fun!


At this point I'm rooting for the credits to roll and wondering why am I sitting here, I could leave at minute since I used a movie pass and didn't spend cash on this. Instead I stay seated and continue to watch Roth fall WAY short of gore and commentary.

If there's anything good about this, it's that it's visually pleasing, and perhaps Roth's best film in that aspect. But now that I've been able to transfer my thoughts into words in this review, I've come to conclusion that I'm going with the latter claim in my opening paragraph. Eli Roth isn't a master of horror, but I still enjoy his films. The Green Inferno is just a big backwards step for him. There's no middling ground here.


I could've gone home and watched Cabin Fever instead.


Magic Mike XXL - 2015 - 4/5 - Directed by Gregory Jacobs - starring Channing Tatum and Joe Manganiello

I decided to give Magic Mike XXL a chance. I didn't particularly care for the first film. It's well shot & edited by Steven Soderbergh, but the script never clicked with me, and of what could've been a mildly fun film, was a let down by a script I found problematic. MMXXL is an improvement over the first film in the good ways. It's more fun, and less dreadful like Soderbergh's first film. This is pretty much a road film. Dealing with life, relationships & love, and friendship. Oh and MALE STRIPPING.


"Magic" Mike Lane has left his life of male stripping and finally pursued his dream of owning a business that specializes in home furniture. He receives a call from old friend, Tarzan (Kevin Nash) who tells him that Dallas (Matthew McConaughey in the first film) is dead. When Mike meets up with his friends he finds out it was all a lie and that Dallas took off to Macau. The Kings of Tampa, "Big Dick" Richie, Ken, Tito, and MC, Tobias (Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, Adam Rodriguez, and Gabriel Iglesias, respectively) are planning on going on a road trip down to Myrtle Beach, Florida to a stripping convention for last dance and call it a career.


I found the Male stripping scenes in the first film to be a little entertaining, but I actually really liked them this time around. Each strip dance is different than last and their much colorful and vibrant too. Steven Soderbergh's work as cinematographer and editor on this film is better (in my opinion) than the last. Gregory Jacobs' direction is clear on this film, his goal is to a make a film that his just enjoyable and ultimately about having fun. This is what I wanted the first film to be, but it's what the sequel is, and to me, that's better. Even Reid Carolin's script is better than the first, focusing on the positives and improving what didn't work in his script for the first film.


The cast are great, really great, with Joe Manganiello being favorite character in this film. But the entire cast all have their moments to shine, and not just in strip dancing. I strangely found these guys to be relatable, something I couldn't do in the first film. Sure, Channing Tatum is front and center and the focus is largely on him, it's everyone's film. Everyone is having a good time, despite having their own small slew of problems (Kevin Nash's comment hit hard with me). They only have one thing they plan on achieving, Pleasing women, and of course they achieve it. It's everyone having a blast. Ending their careers on a high note.


MMXXL does have some pacing problems in the middle section of the film, and could've used trimming, but the rest breezes on by in playful fashion. It never stops being entertaining, and it's enjoyable for both men & women and aims to entertain or rather please it's audience. I will admit, I was pleased by this film, especially since the first film didn't. I pretty much knew I really liked this film when Joe Manganiello was dancing in a gas station and ripping a bag of Cheetos open to Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way". Never laughed as hard as that scene made me.


MMXXL is much more rounded out and fleshed out than the last in my opinion. Everything is better and it really succeeds in going bigger for better. It's a visual treat and a road trip film. It's easy to why someone may not like this because it's more straightforward on the idea of the dancing/stripping compared to the darker and serious tone in the first film, but I can't stop saying how much more enjoyable this sequel is. A sequel done right, and one of the summer's best.


Fantastic Four - 2015 - 0/5 - Directed by Josh Trank - starring Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan.

Good god, what an absolute mess Fantastic Four is. This film was made for the clear reason of keeping the rights at Twentieth Century Fox so they wouldn't revert to Marvel/Disney. However, maybe they should've reverted or to be more frank, Fox should just hand them over right now. It's clear that only Marvel/Disney would make a Fantastic Four that completely honors the original characters and material as created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.


The first two thirds of the film is the best, or so everyone says. It does introduce us to the characters and sets up everything that follows, but boy is a bore. It's subject to uninteresting dialogue, lack of chemistry, and humor that falls flat. Of course this whole time it's all about working on the "Quantum Gate" to travel to a parallel dimension that is "Planet Zero". All the lead up to the parallel dimension travel is awfully slow and once they group is on "Planet Zero" we're only there for a brief few minutes on a green screen world, but it's where we get those small glimpses of those David Cronenberg, body horror-esque moments director, Josh Trank talked about.


The body horror that was talked about and promised by Trank is dropped in favoring of jumping ahead to a "1 Year Later" title card. After that, it's pretty much showing the group coming to accept, or rather already accepting their powers in little vignettes of the four. From then on out our villain, Victor Von Doom returns to Earth from "Planet Zero" and his endgame is to destroy humanity, and final, rushed battle ensues. So what the hell happened? It's seems to be that between the first two thirds of the film and the "1 Year Later" title card, A LOT happened. Not too long ago on a few message boards, including someone who claimed to have worked for the special effects company, OTOY (who worked on this film) and talked about the big changes to the script and several drafts and how a lot of stuff was changed & how The Thing was inconsistent in size due to Trank. There were talks about both Matthew Vaughn and Simon Kinberg being involved in reshoots. It's believed it went through reshoots because Trank's film all over the place and very uneven, and went through reshoots. Hell, even the 3D conversion was canceled because of the reshoots and going quite over budget.


The finished product is Fox taking over an already trainwreck of a film and trying to salvage what they can (also, rumors of Trank being locked out of the editing room). The final film definitely has Fox's touch on it and it's definitely not good. It's bad, really bad. It's disjointed and uneven and obviously that several people had their hands in this punch bowl. Especially if it seems that Trank went off and made Chronicle 2, since there were talks of him making the film set in the same universe. Who knows those, I can't help but to think a lot of the rumors are true. Especially some of stuff that the OTOY employee talked about regarding the script, are in the film.


If there's any positives, and there's very few -- Reg E. Cathey is very good as Franklin Storm and is consistent throughout as a sort of father figure to all. Toby Kebbell, who's not in this enough, is convincing enough as Victor Von Doom, but doesn't get enough time or proper writing to really shine as the villain, which is shame, because Dr. Doom is a brilliant villain in the comics. And lastly, the score from Marco Beltrami & Philip Glass is way too good for this type of film. Everyone else is just sort of there working with what they have. Especially Kate Mara, who after the "1 Year Later" jump pretty much brings nothing to the table thanks to the writing.


So, who's to blame? Twentieth Century Fox? Josh Trank? Simon Kinberg?


All. Fox's only intention of doing this reboot was a simple rights grab. They had already lost the rights of Daredevil to Marvel/Disney, and the latter studio(s) came out with the smash hit of a television series on Netflix. Fox didn't really care what happened, just as long as they create a film to hold on to the rights. Josh Trank did a great job on Chronicle (also, big credit to Max Landis for that screenplay). I think Trank had a rather good idea on where to take the team, particularly with the body horror aspects. But With all the talks about Trank's on-set behaviors & the rumors & problems that have plagues the set seem all to real.


Fox got what they deserved from a rights grab. If the studio put the same amount of dedication into as they do for their X-Men Franchise, things could've been different. Who knows, we may have received an actually good Fantastic Four film (despite the tired grim & dark tone). Fox instead put no effort into this, and this Fantastic Four which has gone through multiple rewrites (pre-production and through), reshoots blew up in their face because of what they did insert into a final film, is not good. They went into damage control trying to salvage and it because they weren't impressed by Trank's "Vision".


If Fox wasn't impressed by Trank, why'd they hire him in the first place? Because of Chronicle? Maybe they should've hired someone else, someone they trusted and ensured their rights grab film with, instead of a filmmaker who had a $12million film that was a sleeper hit and give him the keys to a major property. Maybe if Trank's initial cut of the film and his original screenplay with Kinberg was good, maybe this could have been something, but it wasn't. Simon Kinberg deserves the heat too because his script (along with the co-writers) is frankly, crap and loaded with exposition.


Of what there is of Josh Trank's film, which is the first two thirds, it isn't good. It may not be as awful as what follows, but it's a big bore and wastes screen time on an origin. Fox's damage control and Kinberg's writing is just the cherry on top. Fantastic Four was DOOMED (sorry) from the beginning. It's bad when the original film that was directed by Tim Story from a decade ago, was much more pleasing and more courteous to the material than this film.


It may seem like I'm running around in circles stating the same issue(s), but I'm amazed that this film saw the light of day because of how bad it is. This film pretty much killed the Fantastic Four. At this point, Fox needs to hand over the rights to Marvel/Disney (and for free too, they don't deserve a single penny of money), because at least Marvel/Disney would deliver a film.


As for a possible Director's Cut that would be Josh Trank's film that some people want to see, it won't happen. It was never fully completed and it would require spending millions to finish, something Fox definitely isn't doing.


The Gift - 2015 - 4/5 - Directed by Joel Edgerton - starring Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall.

The Gift is definitely one of the better summer films this year (despite not being a blockbuster at all). Joel Edgerton's directorial debut is a exceptionally made, taking conventional tropes, and cliches in the genre and does something a bit different. What could have been just another generic psychological thriller, turns to be every bit of surprising. Joel Edgerton nailed it.


Simon and Robyn Callen (Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall, respectively) move from Chicago to Los Angeles after Simon gets a new job. One day, they run into Gordon "Gordo" Moseley (Joel Edgerton), an old classmate of Simon's from high school. Gordo begins leaving the couple gifts and dropping in for visits. This makes Simon uncomfortable and he breaks off the friendship. As time goes by, Robyn feels as if there's more to it between Simon and Gordo and starts looking into a secret that connects the two.


Throughout the film, we're not entirely sure about Gordo. He does appear socially awkward, but there's a shroud of mystery to him. We don't know much about him, his life, his work, other than that he was a classmate of Simon's. As the film progresses, we get little peaks into him, and Gordo feels less and less like this frail, awkward man, and more of a cold methodical man as the ending comes closer. I've always liked Joel Edgerton in just about anything I've seen him in, but this has to be his best work yet. He captures the character and the emotions almost too perfectly, making you feel sad for him one second, then unnerved the other. Rebecca Hall has the most screen time present, and she serves as the films overall emotional foundation. Jason Bateman needs to do less comedies and more dramas and thrillers. There's still a few moments in there where it does appear like he's still playing himself, but honestly, he was perfect to play Simon.


I liked how as the film kept progressing, and more kept unfolding, that it didn't seem as if it would get predictable either. It was full of surprises in the story development department. We were lead to believe that Gordo is in the wrong, but then everything gets flipped on it's head once this secret comes out. I was also more impressed on how Edgerton was keen on letting things play out for themselves rather rush everything.


Joel Edgerton certainly succeeds as an actor, but even more as writer & director, creating one of the years finest thrillers, something that is a must-see. It's every bit of surprising, and I definitely look forward to seeing Edgerton write & direct again.

In Topic: 'SPECTRE' fan art

30 September 2015 - 07:10 PM

Lovely piece, DABOY!