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What are you watching? 2018 edition


#1958

Saw another film she was in Keeping Up With the Joneses - which was a fairly bad knock-off of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, but definitely a different character. This is how Diana was to be portrayed, and she did so. Let’s hold off on rating until the body of work is somewhat deeper.


#1959

They did that with Tony.


#1960

It works, though, where she’s playing an aloof, immortal goddess figure.


#1961

I don’t know what Gadot’s range is? I’ve seen her in this and in the ‘Fast and Furious’ films, where she was cast because she was beautiful, athletic and looked great in a bikini.

She might be a female Arnie; capable of playing an archetype and variations of it, but nothing more. In which case this might be her first, best destiny (it’s not a bad one to have) and I think she’s wonderful in the role.


#1962

Yeah, the Arnold comparison might be good one. She’s quite good as Wonder Woman. And, quite frankly, if it’s her one defining role that’s a pretty great one.


#1963

Mission Impossible 3

This didn’t really work for me. It’s got a great cast, the plot’s not awful (although come on corrupt IMF agents three films in a row?) and the direction’s not as silly as Woo’s, but it didn’t grab me.

Part of that is all the damn shaky cam. You can tell this definitely post-Bourne. Say what you will about Woo’s bizarre slow-mo and shot choices and doves, at least you can always tell what’s happening.

The other problem is that cold open. Doing an in medias res flash-forward opening to go back to is fine for short form stories, but it’s over an hour and a half before the film gets back to its opening tease, which means you’re spending the majority of the film waiting for it to catch up with itself, knowing where everything’s going. It kind of detracts from the suspense and undermines things somewhat.

It’s interesting see the evolution of the genre across these three films. The first is very much about the power of the information age and technology. The second highly stylised with Eastern influences. And then this one is very much in the shadow of the Iraq war, with the questions of morals vs security, ends justify the means attitudes and everything coming back to military industrialism. Even the macguffin is blatantly just that, a hollow plot device to move the story along, which is a big change from the Chimera and other thing in MI2.

I think the bit that’ll stay with me most from this is Keri Russell’s ridiculously gruesome death face.


#1964

It could have been worse; the Simon Pegg part was originally written for Ricky Gervais.

I like M:I 3, mostly for Hoffman, but there’s a lot of stuff, like the in media res thing, that don’t work.


#1965

:flushed:
Although, yeah, I can kind of see that in the phone call scene. Would have been bad.


#1966

I liked the In Medias Res thing.
Got the movie off to a crackerjack start.


#1967

Yes, it wasn’t very good sadly.


#1968

I just rewatched the Alias pilot the other day. And was surprised to see Abrams just recycled that idea from there.


#1969

Alias did that all the time.

For the first season or so, the episodes would run into each other, so the last few minutes of one episode would be the start of the mission for the next episode and would end on a cliffhanger. Eventually they just changed it to almost always starting In Medias Res and flashing back.


#1970

NCIS does something weird with In Medias Res - showing a still image from later in the episode at the beginning. It’s odd.


#1971

Thank you!!!

I was terribly bored by MI:3. Can’t pinpoint why anymore (as I’ve pretty much forgotten the entire movie), but there was just nothing about it that grabbed me.


#1972

Watched “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” yesterday (finally). Damn good movie, obviously, but the one thing that struck me that I wanted to mention here is this: That comic book that the kid is reading and gives to the orangutan is Charles Burns’ “Black Hole”, and thus one of the most singularly fucked up pieces of literature in existence. Reading that will blow that poor ape’s mind and convince him that all humans are insane and beyond help. The idea of him reading it and trying to figure out what it’s about is absolutely hilarious; kudos to the film-makers for that!

Also watched “Colossal”, which was a surprisingly good movie. The trailer back then really didn’t do it justice at all - it really only shows the first half of the movie and not what it develops into. Because this isn’t actually monster movie meets slacker/romantic comedy. It does all that stuff in the first half, and it does it well, but then it becomes a much more serious and deeper movie whose theme is [note: I decided to put in spoiler tags because I really enjoyed not knowing which way the movie would go, but these are really only very light and general spoilers] abusive relationships and how to break free of them. The one thing that the trailer needed to and doesn’t explain also becomes very much clear, which is the why you would make a movie in which someone is randomly controlling a godzilla-like monster. The trailer just makes it looks like, hey, this is funny! But it’s not that; the way they use the giants (there’s actually more than one) as metaphor for an emotional fight to the death between two people actually works great in the movie.

So, yeah. I really liked this movie. And Anne Hathaway is great in it (as is Jason Sudekis).


#1973

Back when Sydney was the go-to cheap setting for action films.

We do have the film to thank for Hugh Jackman as Wolverine - who knows how comic book films would have progressed with a Jackman-less X-Men?

True - which is why although I love Goodfellas to the point of obsession, I have a hard time not favouring sister-film Casino, whose protagonist is far more sympathetic.


#1974

I loved that detail!

While Dawn is probably my least favorite of the modern three Apes movies, it is still excellent. Apes is the current gold standard for film franchises, to me anyway, although I think between the poor box office for War and the Disney sale the party is over.

My kid is very into music so last night we showed him The School of Rock, which I haven’t seen in ages. The movie probably gives Jack Black a bit too much rope to do his shtick but it’s still utterly charming with a really great script. I had forgotten how delightful it is.


#1975

My gosh Robert.
But yeah, I agree that it’s probably the end of the line.
It’s a shame because War for me was a huge disappointment, and I had always liked the idea of them jumping forward in time to the future landing of the space shuttle.

Photo-realistic chimps wearing green tunics. I need it.


#1976

RE BB

I was rooting for Walter the entire time.

Did no-one else?

I think my tolerance of ‘bad’ characters is really high, but surely I can’t be the only person willing Walter on through at least most of the series?


#1977

Much like with Kick-Ass, I rooted for basically no one and enjoyed the rollercoaster ride to destruction.
But I did end up rooting for Hank. He earned it. He had the most put into it.