What I've Been Watching: The Catch-All Film Thread

JDR13

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I think not having Agent Smith was a massive blow to the movie. And the new Morpheus was a very weak character. All the characters were pretty weak, really.

The casting obviously had a lot to do with that. Those actors were not on the same level as Hugo Weaving and Laurence Fishburne. Not that they would have saved this train wreck on their own, but I think there's little doubt they would have made those characters better.

I was also very disappointed with The Merovingian. I thought he was one of the more interesting characters in the original trilogy, but he's a completely different entity in Resurrections despite being played by the same actor.

I'd probably have to give this new one a 4/10. I'm glad I saw it, but I'm sure I'll never want to watch it again, unlike the original.

Someone mark down this date and time! I'm actually agreeing with something SirJames said. ;)
 
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I watched Shang-Chi a few days ago. Decent movie. Like a mix between super hero and kung-fu flick.

I think the female protagonist/side kick, played by Awkwafina, was funny and well enough acted. The main protagonist was alright.

The fights were alright. I enjoyed the first fight the most, though it doesn't live up to great king fu flicks of the past.

Overall I'd give it six or seven out of ten.
 
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I was also very disappointed with The Merovingian. I thought he was one of the more interesting characters in the original trilogy, but he's a completely different entity in Resurrections despite being played by the same actor.

I'd have to agree with you there. That segment was the weakest and most awkward of the entire movie. Quite terrible, honestly.

As for what I found interesting about it was that it tried something different - and was much more focused on the psychological impact of not being able to rely on reality.

I quite enjoyed watching Keanu reacting to the world around him - and the obvious humor approach for the meta stuff. It was self-referential in a non-smug way, which was amusing to me.

I also found some of the action relatively well done - and I don't get all the bitching about how awful it was. The trailer did ruin most of it, though - as you'd already seen it.

But I bet most people were more impressed by those sequences in the trailer - or at least I saw many comments to that effect.

Strange that such sequences turn bad by being in the movie as well, but whatever.

The chemistry between the two leads was as strong as ever - and I particularly enjoyed TPH as that "psychiatrist" - I actually found him to be almost as memorable as Smith in the original - though, as I said, there's no way this movie was going to touch the original.

That never really happens with such a profound movie - so maybe my expectations had something to do with it.

Again, not exactly a great or even good film - but decent and interesting in certain ways.

But, oh well, to each his own :)
 
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bjon045

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Overall I'd give it six or seven out of ten.

Thanks for the recommendation. A 6 or 7 is well worth watching with the glut of mediocrity we have had for the last 2-3 years. I remember I used to be able to watch 2-3 semi-decent movies a month whereas these days I struggle to find one.

I'll have to find some time to watch it.
 
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Thanks for the recommendation. A 6 or 7 is well worth watching with the glut of mediocrity we have had for the last 2-3 years. I remember I used to be able to watch 2-3 semi-decent movies a month whereas these days I struggle to find one.



I'll have to find some time to watch it.
Yes, I thought it was entertaining and a bit different to other super hero movies. Nothing groundbreaking, but pretty good.

For what it's worth, my wife found it really good.

About movies being mediocre, it's often the same to me. I think that could be due to more experience, ie I've seen similar things in movies before, but also due to movies having to sell really well in cinema.

Very few people buy movies on disc anymore, so I read somewhere that the big studios must make movies that do well in cinema.

That means less thoughtful and "slow" movies. Cult movies make almost no money nowadays , while before they could make money for years afterwards.
 
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bjon045

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About movies being mediocre, it's often the same to me. I think that could be due to more experience, ie I've seen similar things in movies before, but also due to movies having to sell really well in cinema.

Very few people buy movies on disc anymore, so I read somewhere that the big studios must make movies that do well in cinema.

That means less thoughtful and "slow" movies. Cult movies make almost no money nowadays , while before they could make money for years afterwards.

I never thought about that and what you say makes absolute sense. I guess something that only gets a few thousand views a week would never make it on to Netflix or a streaming service. That makes me a bit sad.

I was watching the new Mortal Kombat recently and I remember thinking that it was an average movie only made interesting by the fact that I used to like the games when I was a young man. Then I came to the sad realisation that as average as it was it was sadly one of the BETTER movies I have seen recently!!!

I think I am going to have to dig through this thread and find some older movies that I might not of seen that might be worthwhile.
 
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SveNitoR

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I never thought about that and what you say makes absolute sense. I guess something that only gets a few thousand views a week would never make it on to Netflix or a streaming service. That makes me a bit sad.



I was watching the new Mortal Kombat recently and I remember thinking that it was an average movie only made interesting by the fact that I used to like the games when I was a young man. Then I came to the sad realisation that as average as it was it was sadly one of the BETTER movies I have seen recently!!!



I think I am going to have to dig through this thread and find some older movies that I might not of seen that might be worthwhile.
There are some real film lovers in this thread, so I'm sure there are a lot of good recommendations to find.
 
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For many years around the turn of the Millennium I used to go and see about 3 movies a week at the cinema and I can assure you that anyone who ever says "it was so much better in XYZ year" is speaking from rose-tinted spectacles. The benefit of time filtering out the crap and us only remembering the... memorable.

It was mostly shite with just enough decent stuff to keep one going back.

SveN is right in that it's more that in the current cinema scene there's simply less variety, and when you do something regularly a change is often as good as a rest and something different can feel good just because it's something different.

The flood of super hero movies is a classic example. Individually and in isolation, if any of them, bar the obviously shite ones, had been released in 2000 they'd be hailed as masterpieces, but when you have 6 almost identical ones a year it's a different story, we cannot go and see them with a sense of individual isolation.
 
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Someone mark down this date and time! I'm actually agreeing with something SirJames said. ;)
Careful, agreeing with SirJames can be a gateway drug. Next thing you know you'll be preordering Elden Ring. :O

I also found some of the action relatively well done - and I don't get all the bitching about how awful it was. The trailer did ruin most of it, though - as you'd already seen it.

But I bet most people were more impressed by those sequences in the trailer - or at least I saw many comments to that effect.

Strange that such sequences turn bad by being in the movie as well, but whatever.
I think the problem with the action is Neo just gets destroyed for 5 minutes then suddenly pulls a supermove out his arse and does a "force push" and wins. :)
 
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Carnifex

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You couldn't be more accurate about the super hero movie genre. Twenty to forty years ago, I would have loved it, and the majority of them back then would have likely been varied and enjoyable. Now, all we get is a basic formula with perhaps one or two minor changes, repeat ad nauseam.
 
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bjon045

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For many years around the turn of the Millennium I used to go and see about 3 movies a week at the cinema and I can assure you that anyone who ever says "it was so much better in XYZ year" is speaking from rose-tinted spectacles. The benefit of time filtering out the crap and us only remembering the… memorable.

Have to disagree with you there. Have you done a comparison year by year?

Here is 1996:
Fargo, Trainspotting, The English Patient, Crash, Mission Impossible, Independence Day, Scream, Twister etc etc etc. A mix of both popcorn and more sophisticated fare. I would also say objectively better movies. There is another 20+ I would consider highly watchable.

1997:
The fifth Element, Boogie Nights, LA Confidential, Titanic, Lost Highway, Kundan, Full Monty, Austin Powers, Amistad etc etc etc. Great movies and great variation

1998:
Saving Private Ryan, Thin Red Line, Dark City, Pi, Big Lebowski, American History X, Armageddon, Truman show, Simple Plan, Something about Mary etc etc.

2020:

Maybe Nomadland? Tenet was a plodding affair. Nothing even comparable to half the movies from the late 90's.

2021?

Power of the Dog, Dune. Maybe 1-2 others but all highly forgettable.

I have excluded action classics from the early 90's late 80's from this but none of the action movies released these days are half as memorable when compared to things like the original Die Hard, Demolition Man, Terminator 1/2, Predator, True lies etc etc. Compare the remakes/sequels we are getting now with the originals i.e. The Matrix, Stars Wars, Terminator etc.

I really can't see anything people are going to look back and say wow, we had it great for movies in the 2020's. Where is the Godfather of this generation?

The flood of super hero movies is a classic example. Individually and in isolation, if any of them, bar the obviously shite ones, had been released in 2000 they'd be hailed as masterpieces, but when you have 6 almost identical ones a year it's a different story, we cannot go and see them with a sense of individual isolation.

It's a good point and I have to judge it as such. A few of them might of been hailed as masterpieces but I am not so sure. I find them highly forgettable whereas I can remember most of the scenes off by heart of the classics from the late 80's/90's. I'm not convinced that it is just nostalgia at play here. I think the scripts are genuinely weaker and produces have a quota of one-liners that writers need to add to there movies. Like Svenitor said, they need something big to bring the punters in to the cinemas or get the buzz going for Netflix. Of course there will still be some greats - just less I think.

Anyway, I was specifically referring to the last 2 years and who knows, maybe 2022/23 will be better.
 
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Yeah, I'm pretty much with you. Back in the late 90s I moved to a new area, and for a while there I used to regularly stroll down to the local cinema on my own. Maybe it's just the time in one's life, but I really do think there were more notable, memorable films at that point.
 
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I think it's only natural for this to happen. Any new art form stars slow, then it reaches peak maturity where most of the ideas are turned into something, and then as time passes it becomes ever more difficult to come up with new and intriguing ways of using that artform. Theoretically we should be able to at least keep up with the quality at least in terms of volume, but unfortunately most of the people that did bring something of quality once want to try their hand at something different, and not just milk the same idea over and over for some studio.
 
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I'm looking forward to my kids becoming teenagers. Then I will get to see what grown up movies they find profound, and if we agree at all. If we don't agree, then I belive that can be a sign that maybe a lot of the movies I did find great were colored by being young and inexperienced. :)
 
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Hmmm.....have to agree with your thoughts on 2020. Just checked my collection and the only film I have is Enola Holmes which was actually better than I thought it would be, but certainly nothing to rave about. Maybe covid, maybe not, but it was a VERY poor year!!
 
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Have to disagree with you there. Have you done a comparison year by year?

Some glaring issues already from the ones you first think of and choose to highlight:

"Here is 1996:
Fargo, Trainspotting, The English Patient"
- Indy arthouse that just happened to have the luck of being the first big hit for many of the cast and crew. Yes, great films, but the art house scene is still doing this, a modern example being something like Get Out or Mother etc.

"Mission Impossible, Independence Day, Twister etc etc etc" were all pound-shop Spielberg movies that most people mocked relentlessly when they were released. None of them were considered anything more than medicore at the time.

"A mix of both popcorn and more sophisticated fare. I would also say objectively better movies. There is another 20+ I would consider highly watchable." - That you saw at the time or came to see later once the filtering of time had brought you recommendations? In 10 years who can say which of today's hundreds of movies will be recommended.

"Scream" - a standard spoof movie, a genre that Leslie Nielsen & co had already run dry, was not that exciting a prospect back then, just another spoof movie.

"1997:
The fifth Element"
- Was a massive disappointment for most
"Boogie Nights, LA Confidential" - Barely anyone saw these in the cinema.
"Titanic" - LOL
"Lost Highway, Kundan" - never heard of them
"Full Monty" - Downton Abbey
"Austin Powers" - Yet another spoof movie, good film, but ignores the plethora of failed spoofs that filled the era.
"Amistad etc etc etc." - 12 years a slave etc etc etc. Also Spielberg at his peak.

"1998:
Saving Private Ryan"
- Spielberg again. So are you just bemoaning there's no Spielberg? Ready Player One was actually pretty above average truth be told.
"Thin Red Line" - a bit crap after being spoiled by Full Metal Jacket, Platoon and the general malaise around caring about yet another Vietnam movie.
"Dark City, Pi, Big Lebowski, American History X" - Which barely anyone went to see at the cinema.
"Armageddon" - Pound shop Spielberg
"Truman show" - Cherry picked classic. Ironic since Free Guy released this year.
"Simple Plan" - never heard of it.
"Something about Mary etc etc" - standard romcom

"2020:

Maybe Nomadland? Tenet was a plodding affair. Nothing even comparable to half the movies from the late 90's."
Tenet might have disappointed, but it blows the shit out of the 90s pound shop Spielberg wannabees of the 90s, and ironic in that Tenet is a 100% original film where as the pound-shop stuff you listed above is mostly hack reprints of 70s disaster movies and 50s sci-fi movies.

And, yes, 2020 was a pandemic year, I mean, jesus, how can you even compare that year to any other year, for any reason, most cinemas were literally shut for most of the entire year, LOL.

2021?

"Power of the Dog, Dune. Maybe 1-2 others but all highly forgettable."
- you mean you haven't had any recommended to you yet. Ridley Scott would like to wring your neck (feel free to google why).

"I have excluded action classics from the early 90's late 80's from this but none of the action movies released these days are half as memorable when compared to things like the original Die Hard, Demolition Man, Terminator 1/2, Predator, True lies etc etc." - Cherry picked the 'best' of 3 big action star's movies who plied their trade during the boom years of muscleman action movies, completely ignoring the iceberg of mediocrity below them. True Lies was also heavily mocked when it was released.

"Compare the remakes/sequels we are getting now with the originals i.e. The Matrix, Stars Wars, Terminator etc." - Yeah, the sequels to those films were oh so good back in that era too weren't they (sarcasm). Have you tried Nobody, Upgrade, Eva, and The Mission Impossible and Fast and Furious sequels are doing just fine for modern sequels doing an actually good job for their fans.

"I really can't see anything people are going to look back and say wow, we had it great for movies in the 2020's. Where is the Godfather of this generation?" Weirdly enough, the only year that had a Godfather generation was 1971. I'm not a fortune Teller, I can't guess what people will be obsessed about in 10 year's time.

"I'm not convinced that it is just nostalgia at play here." - I am, except in the area of variety and the death of the mid-budget movie, which has nothing to do with what you were saying about talent and everything to do with declining cinema attendance in favour of streaming.

"Anyway, I was specifically referring to the last 2 years and who knows, maybe 2022/23 will be better." - I guess we'll find out in 2032/33 huh.
 
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About movie exhaustion, I'm definitely with you guys.

I used to be quite the movie enthusiast - and I spent an absurd amount of time on IMDB - and, before that was a thing, on Usenet and what not. I was very updated on names of directors, actors, screen-writers and so forth.

I followed a bunch of the work almost religiously sometimes.

I can still remember that old Microsoft CD they put out which was basically the pre-mainstream-Internet IMDB, what was that called again? (googling)

Ahh, Cinemania - that was cool! Man, I spent ages with that thing.

Anyway, I can't say when exactly I started to slowly lose my enthusiasm - but it's been a pretty steady decline for around 10 years or even more.

I do think age and saturation are both big factors, but I can't reconcile myself just with those - because I'm still a pretty enthusiastic gamer, even if significantly less passionate than I used to be. I can still get quite excited and hyped for games - which is all but gone for movies.

Probably the biggest reason is just how smart and powerful the suits have become in terms of curtailing creativity and maximizing profit. Obviously, the two don't necessarily go hand in hand - but if you ask most suits, who're naturally risk-averse - that's more or less the case, I'm afraid.

The final nail in the coffin, I would say, has been the superhero movie craze - which, to me, is just about the peak of blueprint factory products, that are - also, sadly - very successful. I don't think there's another example in movie history of "big movies" of a very pre-determined design that were THAT successful with that level of predictability.

It does seem to have finally slowed down - but my passion is gone all the same.

I know there are exceptions - and I know even the bad ones have at least some creative spark here and there, but it's so obviously reined in by the studios.

I used to be a big fan of "spectacle" movies - so it's not just movie snobbery on my part. I mean, several of my most treasured movies are spectacle movies.

But they need to have enough freedom for the creator - and they need to take a few risks here and there, or it's just the same thing over and over again.

Now, I still stumble upon the occasional gem - but they don't really get my blood up aside from the actual viewing experience itself.

Which is a little strange to me. I mean, I know I can get really immersed and invested - but I can't get hyped anymore for a movie.

I think the only upcoming movie I'm "mildly" excited by would be The Batman - but I'm not exactly holding my breath.
 

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I've been tired of movies for a while, but I don't think it is as much attributable to the movies themselves as how my preferences have changed over time.

I've started anjoying TV shows more because I like the continuity of them.

Very simply, if a movie is good, I want more of it, but it is finished. If it is horrible I can stop.

If a TV show is good there's more to watch.



I have seen a few good movies though in the past few years:

The Founder is really good in my opinion. It's about the founding of McDonald's.

Worth is more interesting than just good, but certainly worth a watch.

The Big Short is from 2015 but really good movie.

The Imitation Game is very interesting and a good movie too.

Death to 2020 and Death to 2021 were funny.

Beasts of No Nation is about child soldiers.

Two Distant Strangers is a good shortie



:) hope you find something you enjoy.
 
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Empire Magazine's review of Armageddon from the year 2000:

It's a million laughs (many of them unintentional), and it even has a mildly revolutionary ending. In a dismal summer for popcorn movies, this epic may be the silliest but still looks like the best shot.

It gave it a 3/5.

You can read the full review here:

https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/armageddon-review/

Who are Empire magazine & why do they matter? They were the best selling movie magazine in the UK at the time & had a popularity because they were generally honest and not obviously shill-like. A lot of their reviews read like how most popular Youtubers approach film reviews today. You get a sense of the meta as much as the films themselves.

It's funny how I can say, hey things were shite back then as well, and someone disagrees citing a certain film, which makes be look up a historical review for that film, which reinforces my point. It's, like, it's not even me doing the cherry picking that took me to that page that I didn't know existed until the person I was debating took me there.
 
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bjon045

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Some glaring issues already from the ones you first think of and choose to highlight:

I think we are talking at odds. All the great movies you are references are not from 2020/21/22. Most are from 2016-2019. There were plenty of great movies in those years i.e. the ones you list and more i.e. Three Billoards. The discussion was about movies in the last few years.

I was also showing that there was a great variety of movies that appeal to wide audience range. I know some people who have seen Titanic 10+ times and think it is the greatest movie ever made. A good movie is not based on how many people have seen it at the cinema. It is based on the longitivity of the film - who is watching it after 10, 20, 50 years. Who is still talking about it 20 years later? You kept talking about Steven Spielberg. I happened to name a few of his movies because he was at his best in the 90's. You can't honestly think "Ready Player One" is comparable to Schindler's List, Jurassic Park and Saving Private Ryan. Twevle academy awards is how many those 3 films recieved - Ready Player One = 1 nomination. Never once I have been in a conversation about the merits of "Ready Player One". It was okay when it came out (2018 not 2020/21) but it certainly hasn't the test of time.

Blaming the pandemic may be an explanation but I am not sure it is so simple. I think Svenitor hit the nail on the head - studios are more interested on particular movies that tick certain boxes for either mass cinema or streaming appeal. Of courses there will still be a few great indie movies coming out but we are certainly seeing a great reduction in variety and quality.

lackblogger said:
"Compare the remakes/sequels we are getting now with the originals i.e. The Matrix, Stars Wars, Terminator etc." - Yeah, the sequels to those films were oh so good back in that era too weren't they (sarcasm). Have you tried Nobody, Upgrade, Eva, and The Mission Impossible and Fast and Furious sequels are doing just fine for modern sequels doing an actually good job for their fans.

Mission Impossible has maintained a reasonable standard yes. I certainly don't mean there aren't good movies being made just less variety and generally lower quality. I can't say I agree with you on your other recommendations though. I did enjoy Nobody and Upgrade but they were both highly forgettable. F&F is not my cup of tea but it is exactly the kind of movie that is being made en mass these days. It ticks all the boxes - 1 liners, star studded, pretty ladies, plenty of flashs and bangs plus a hip hop sound track :)

Tenet might have disappointed, but it blows the shit out of the 90s pound shop Spielberg wannabees of the 90s, and ironic in that Tenet is a 100% original film where as the pound-shop stuff you listed above is mostly hack reprints of 70s disaster movies and 50s sci-fi movies.

Can't agree with you there as well. Tenet is Christophers Nolans worst movie by a long shot, personally I would rate it a 6/10 but the wider internet is a bit kinder with a 7/10. Fifth Element has better reviews across all the review aggregators I have looked at. I listed a tiny fraction of the great movies (note: I personally don't think they are great - I am talking globally here) that were released in the 90's but I could of added some of my favourites i.e. Shawshank Redemption, Heat, Terminator 2, Sixth Sense, Fight Club, Silence of the Lambs, Seven etc. I could easily list 50+ movies I enjoyed far more than Tenet from the 90's.

I just randomly picked 96/97 but there are vastly better years I could of picked - they were probably the worst of the 90's.
 
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