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  1. #12501
    Viv Anderson
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    A Boy Called Christmas

    A boy called Nikolas, along with his loyal pet mouse and a reindeer, set out to find his father who went on a quest to discover the fabled village of Elfhelm.
    This film is based on the best-selling book by Matt Haig. I haven’t read the book, so can only comment on the film itself. And as such I’m unsure how this story would play out on the page because on the screen it plays out like a rip-off of many other famous authors pieces of works. You can almost literally see the world of Tolkien and CS Lewis and Roald Dahl and The Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson. The problem is that as much as most authors are following in their paths, there has to be some change, some way of slightly changing it. Otherwise you are left with a story like this that when put on film reminds you that there are far better stories out there that have been put onto screen than this.
    The majority of the film feels like Lord of the Rings-lite. Nikolas is on a quest to find his father (no rings included here, instead it’s a hat). This journey he is on has some very non-perilous moments in it. There is nothing here. You never fear that Nikolas might not make it. It’s all very easy for him. Even when the evil Mother Something turns up, a Maleficent-lite if I’ve ever seen one, you just know that Nikolas will defeat her and in a way without any real fight or anger. Also, herein lies another problem with the film. It is overflowing with messages and metaphors for kids. Dialogue such as “We all need hope” and “There is no impossible” and “I always tell the truth. Lying is bad” and so on and so on. If you thought Disney were bad with hammering home their messages in their films then you haven’t seen anything yet.
    What stops this film from being a complete turkey is Stephen Merchant as the pet mouse. A wonderfully deadpan and sarcastic take. It’s really the only thing that made me laugh. Also, I enjoyed Sally Hawkins as Mother Something. Clearly going for a sort of panto villain character style and actually making it work. In fact, her acting here elevates the material to good. It’s a shame the rest of the film is below average.
    This is a film that is desperate piece of revisionist history when it comes to the origins of Father Christmas. It’s a boated mess that has been way, way overcooked. An instantly forgettable Christmas film.


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  3. #12502
    Viv Anderson
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    House of Gucci

    When Patrizia Reggiani, an outsider from humble beginnings, marries into the Gucci family, her unbridled ambition begins to unravel and triggers a reckless spiral of betrayal, decadence, revenge, and ultimately… murder.
    I’m not a fan of the phrase Guilty Pleasure. I just think, you like what you like. No need to feel guilty about it. I say this because House of Gucci is going to be labelled Guilty Pleasure by many of the next few years. But it really isn’t. It’s a sprawling, epic family drama, almost akin to The Godfather in many ways. Just this time with more fashion. This is also a rags to riches story for the character of Patrizia. The problem is that the riches are never enough and she is like a Lion feeding off a wounded deer when it comes to pushing her husband to be more aggressive within the Gucci company. It’s a phenomenal turnaround from her humble beginnings. But Patrizia doesn’t know when to stop, and this causes many problems within the Gucci family.
    The great thing about this film is that the central characters all have their own storylines that intertwin with each other. It’s like a never-ending spiders web of double & triple crossing. There is so much packed into this film that even at two and half hours it does feel like it is missing a few more bits and maybe it could have been even longer in-order for us, the viewer, to fully comprehend not just the size of the Gucci empire, but also the love/hate between the family members. It is, at times, difficult to think this all actually happened, all based on real events because some moments are so outlandish that they seem too far-fetched. But they aren’t. This are real people and these things really happened.
    One small negative in this film is the accents. Not one person is doing an authentic Italian accent. They are horrible to listen to. However, I believe that works perfectly with this film because it is all so tongue-in-cheek, almost Panto-like characters and performances. They are such big characters that scaling them down from what they are in the film just wouldn’t have worked. We needed these panto villain performances in-order for the film to be so outlandish. It’s a film that revels in it’s larger-than-life performances. For which I must say everyone involves, and it is a heck of a cast, is having an absolute blast here. Adam Driver is stoic, Al Pacino is shouting, Jared Leto is doing… well, I’m not quite sure what he is doing, and then there is Lady Gaga who delivers one of the most perfect soap opera performances you are ever going to see. She is brilliant here, in all the ways you wouldn’t imagine.
    This film has it all – Love, Sex, Marriage, Death, Deception, blackmail, family, fashion and about a hundred more things going off. It’s an Operatic film, a Soap Opera-tic film. And I love it for that. Easily one of the most enjoyable films of the year.


  4. #12503
    Ian Storey-Moore
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBS View Post
    House of Gucci

    When Patrizia Reggiani, an outsider from humble beginnings, marries into the Gucci family, her unbridled ambition begins to unravel and triggers a reckless spiral of betrayal, decadence, revenge, and ultimately… murder.
    I’m not a fan of the phrase Guilty Pleasure. I just think, you like what you like. No need to feel guilty about it. I say this because House of Gucci is going to be labelled Guilty Pleasure by many of the next few years. But it really isn’t. It’s a sprawling, epic family drama, almost akin to The Godfather in many ways. Just this time with more fashion. This is also a rags to riches story for the character of Patrizia. The problem is that the riches are never enough and she is like a Lion feeding off a wounded deer when it comes to pushing her husband to be more aggressive within the Gucci company. It’s a phenomenal turnaround from her humble beginnings. But Patrizia doesn’t know when to stop, and this causes many problems within the Gucci family.
    The great thing about this film is that the central characters all have their own storylines that intertwin with each other. It’s like a never-ending spiders web of double & triple crossing. There is so much packed into this film that even at two and half hours it does feel like it is missing a few more bits and maybe it could have been even longer in-order for us, the viewer, to fully comprehend not just the size of the Gucci empire, but also the love/hate between the family members. It is, at times, difficult to think this all actually happened, all based on real events because some moments are so outlandish that they seem too far-fetched. But they aren’t. This are real people and these things really happened.
    One small negative in this film is the accents. Not one person is doing an authentic Italian accent. They are horrible to listen to. However, I believe that works perfectly with this film because it is all so tongue-in-cheek, almost Panto-like characters and performances. They are such big characters that scaling them down from what they are in the film just wouldn’t have worked. We needed these panto villain performances in-order for the film to be so outlandish. It’s a film that revels in it’s larger-than-life performances. For which I must say everyone involves, and it is a heck of a cast, is having an absolute blast here. Adam Driver is stoic, Al Pacino is shouting, Jared Leto is doing… well, I’m not quite sure what he is doing, and then there is Lady Gaga who delivers one of the most perfect soap opera performances you are ever going to see. She is brilliant here, in all the ways you wouldn’t imagine.
    This film has it all – Love, Sex, Marriage, Death, Deception, blackmail, family, fashion and about a hundred more things going off. It’s an Operatic film, a Soap Opera-tic film. And I love it for that. Easily one of the most enjoyable films of the year.
    Based on the press releases, the wardrobe, as you should expect, is top-notch.


  5. #12504
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    Default Re: The LTLF Film Thread (sponsored by FBS!)

    Quote Originally Posted by FBS View Post
    People Just Do Nothing: Big In Japan

    After Brentfordís largest pirate radio station has ended, the boys from Kurupt FM find their fame in Japan.
    For my money, People Just Do Nothing was the best comedy show the BBC have produced since The Office. It was irreverent and satirical and incredibly funny because it was taking a real-world situation of pirate radio station and mixing it with twenty-something boys who speak in slang terms when they are on-air and with their mates. But away from that they were upstanding citizens who spoke in nice tones and were all in relationships. The show really was joking on millions of teenagers and twenty-somethings who are actually like that. It was also the idea that they were the biggest pirate radio station in the world and would do anything to keep it alive, even if that meant going to prison (which never actually happened). The show finished a couple of years ago on a high note. So a film wasnít really needed I didnít think.
    How wrong I was. This is a brilliant film that continues the brilliance of Allan Mustafaís characters. I love the idea that they are actual stars in Japan thanks to their song ďBangĒ being used on a sort of Takeshi Castle type show, and they knew nothing about it. Then they are flown to Japan to appear live and with this all the hopes & dreams of the crew start to grow bigger. But what we see in this film is that sometimes being a huge pop star isnít all its cracked up to be. This is a fish out of water storyline that plays heavily on the music angle and also that the boys struggle to adapt to real-world fame. Which is actually what they have been craving all this time. They even struggle to adapt to Japan. For example, they have all the culinary delicacies they can try but end up getting excited about eating at McDonalds.
    Then we have this ruthless music industry executive who wants to turn the Kurupt FM boys into an actual boyband. This is when the film separates the crew and it becomes a story that we have seen time & again in music where one of them becomes a big star and the others fade away. But this is done all under the lights of the crazy and violent game show that their song is being used for.
    I think on some level this is the perfect opposite film to A Star Is Born. Not that this is bad, because it really isnít. Itís just that this takes a group of boys and launches them into success that they wanted but canít deal with. I think it is brilliantly written (much like the TV show) and I think it is hilariously acted as well. Sure, this is just an elongated TV show episode. But stretching 30 minute TV show into a 90 minute feature film doesnít always work. Thankfully, it does here and this is a really terrific send-off for the Kurupt FM crew.
    That's good to read, PJDN is outstanding. I can't wait to see the film.


  6. #12505
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    Default Re: The LTLF Film Thread (sponsored by FBS!)

    Following FBSĎ review, I finally managed to catch Last Night in Soho yesterday.

    And I tell you, it was as good as Iíd hoped. Better, in fact.

    Without spoiling the story, itís brilliantly written, blending several genres together into a film that fairly hurtles along and leaves you guessing right up until the end. There are some fantastic performances from Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith is an absolute sleaze and Diana Rigg and Terence Stamp are brilliant.

    The soundtrack and setting of the 1960s is superbly well done.

    Fantastic movie, Edgar Wright is a genius.

    Watch it if you get chance, you wonít be disappointed.

    ĄI believe in socialism because it seems more humanitarian, rather than every man for himself and 'I'm alright jack' and all those arsehole businessmen with all the loot. I made up my mind from viewing society from that angle. That's where I'm from and there's where I've made my decisions from. That's why I believe in socialismď

    ĄDon't forget you're alive. 'Cause sometimes when you walk around the city and you're in a bad mood, you can think, hey, wait a minute, we're alive! We don't know what the next second will bring and what a fantastic thing this is. This can get easily forgotten in the routine of life, and that's something I'm trying to bring to my attention at all times. Don't forget you're alive. We're not dead, you know. This is the greatest thing.Ē

    ó Joe Strummer

  7. #12506
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    Default Re: The LTLF Film Thread (sponsored by FBS!)

    Really looking forward to Licorice Pizza from Paul Thomas Anderson.

    Sent from my SM-A920F using Tapatalk


  8. #12507
    Viv Anderson
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strummer View Post
    Following FBSĎ review, I finally managed to catch Last Night in Soho yesterday.

    And I tell you, it was as good as Iíd hoped. Better, in fact.

    Without spoiling the story, itís brilliantly written, blending several genres together into a film that fairly hurtles along and leaves you guessing right up until the end. There are some fantastic performances from Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith is an absolute sleaze and Diana Rigg and Terence Stamp are brilliant.

    The soundtrack and setting of the 1960s is superbly well done.

    Fantastic movie, Edgar Wright is a genius.

    Watch it if you get chance, you wonít be disappointed.
    Trip to the Toucan next time you are in London?


  9. #12508
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    Default The LTLF Film Thread (sponsored by FBS!)

    Quote Originally Posted by FBS View Post
    Trip to the Toucan next time you are in London?
    I would, to be fair.

    I have to say, without prejudice, that in a year with a new Bond movie and Dune, Last Night in Soho is my favourite movie of the year.

    Edgar Wright is a Genius, and I would drink his bathwater.


  10. #12509
    Ian Storey-Moore
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    Default Re: The LTLF Film Thread (sponsored by FBS!)

    Steady on, you've been spending too much time with those German types. A firm handshake is more than sufficient here.

    Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.

  11. #12510
    Viv Anderson
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    Default Re: The LTLF Film Thread (sponsored by FBS!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Strummer View Post
    I would, to be fair.

    I have to say, without prejudice, that in a year with a new Bond movie and Dune, Last Night in Soho is my favourite movie of the year.

    Edgar Wright is a Genius, and I would drink his bathwater.
    I once had a job interview in the downstairs bar. Wasn't to work there. Just turned out that the company liked to do their interviews out of the office.
    Was more interested in looking at the stuff on the walls rather than actually doing the interview.


  12. #12511

    Default Re: The LTLF Film Thread (sponsored by FBS!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Strummer View Post
    Following FBS‘ review, I finally managed to catch Last Night in Soho yesterday.

    And I tell you, it was as good as I’d hoped. Better, in fact.

    Without spoiling the story, it’s brilliantly written, blending several genres together into a film that fairly hurtles along and leaves you guessing right up until the end. There are some fantastic performances from Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith is an absolute sleaze and Diana Rigg and Terence Stamp are brilliant.

    The soundtrack and setting of the 1960s is superbly well done.

    Fantastic movie, Edgar Wright is a genius.

    Watch it if you get chance, you won’t be disappointed.
    I'm itching to see this. Looks and sounds mint.


  13. #12512

    Default Re: The LTLF Film Thread (sponsored by FBS!)

    Good vid on a very underrated classic.....



    Hot presenter too.


  14. #12513
    Viv Anderson
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    Default Re: The LTLF Film Thread (sponsored by FBS!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Alf-engelos Mindminackers View Post
    Good vid on a very underrated classic.....



    Hot presenter too.
    I appreciate your taste


  15. #12514

    Default Re: The LTLF Film Thread (sponsored by FBS!)

    Quote Originally Posted by FBS View Post
    I appreciate your taste



  16. #12515
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    Default Re: The LTLF Film Thread (sponsored by FBS!)

    The Beatles Get Back

    Now finished it. Loved it. Absolutely loved it. So nice to see the guys happy, everything I've ever read has been about how horrible it was. The rooftop show truly outstanding.

    I could go on forever. Absolutely incredible.


  17. #12516
    Viv Anderson
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    The Power of the Dog

    Charismatic rancher Phil Burbank inspires fear and awe in those around him. When his brother brings home a new wife and her son, Phil torments until he finds himself exposed to the possibility of love.
    This is the first feature film from writer/director Jane Campion in over twelve years. I think many will still remember her remarkable film The Piano from 1993. With The Power of the Dog, Campion takes it back to that sort of storytelling. This is a slow-burning movie with desire and plenty of aggression. In fact, the aggression is possibly the most fascinating, and scary, part of the film because we see this macho man, a man who is all about being the head of everything, realise that his aggressive attitude has got him nothing in life really. Yes, his employees respect him, but that’s more an employee/employer respect than anything else. He strikes fear into most people because that is the only way he knows how to live. That is until he meets the beautiful Rose. But the only way he knows how to woo her is by being aggressive and forthright with her and towards her. This then puts Rose and her husband, Phil’s brother, in a quandary as to how they can still all live in the same house when this hate/love relationship is pulling everyone in different ways.
    This is a movie that burns with intense anger and aggression. There is no getting away from any of that. And it is very easy to side with Rose and her husband and her son because Phil is such a nasty piece of work. But then he knows no other way to be, so on some level you start to feel sorry for him. With is a contradiction of what you’ve been feeling for a large percentage of the film’s runtime. And the reason that works is because of the superb performance by Benedict Cumberbatch as Phil. I’ve never seen him give such an evil performance like this before. Usually this type of role would have gone to Christian Bale or Daniel Day-Lewis, yet Cumberbatch excels in this role because he can take the character to places he, as an actor, has taken one to before. The complexities in that character and the other main ones really plays into the film’s narrative.
    This is a movie that is full of menace yet also some sorrow. It’s also quite a study on toxic masculinity and how it can be changed in even the most hardened of men.


  18. #12517
    Viv Anderson
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    Blue Bayou

    As a Korean-American man raised in the Louisiana bayou works hard to make a life for his family, he must confront the ghosts of his past as he discovers that he could be deported from the only country he has ever called home.
    I always worry that films about immigration can be a little bit too melodramatic. A little bit too earnest for many film goers. I’ve seen many that have been. Thankfully, Blue Bayou is not one of those. In fact, this is one of the most honest depictions of the struggles that a family in poverty and having to fight against immigration has been seen on-screen. Written, directed and starring Justin Chon, this is a film that will make you happy one minute and crying buckets of tears the next. We are introduced to Antonio. A young man trying to make the best of what him and his family have got. It’s not a lot. In fact it is very little, yet they all smile all the time. Already there is a wonderful message about enjoying what you have right at the start of the film. They are an instantly likeable family. But when a loophole in the immigration policy is discovered about Antonio then he is fighting not just for his own life but also for his family’s, and that’s when the film really gets into the weeds on this stupid immigration policy that hasn’t been closed in North America. The more the film moves on the more I got angry at how this policy is even a thing in this day & age. It is senselessly and needlessly ripping families apart, and that is what Chon film is shining the spotlight on.
    This film would be so much less without the wonderful performances by Alicia Vikander and Justin Chon as Kathy and Antonio respectively. They bring so much humanity to each character and they are the type of people who you just warm to straight away. Vikander’s performance as Kathy is so much more than wife and mother. There is a little spark to her. She has a little edge to her that only appears occasionally yet is needed in those times. Whereas Chon’s Antonio is exhausted from everything he has to go through. It seems like there is only going to be one outcome. I think Chon brings a certain sensitivity to a character that could so easily have been a macho man. This is a very delicate portrayal of a man with nowhere left to turn.
    In fact, I think the whole film is very delicate. It’s a heart-breaking story that really grips due to two outstanding performances. It’ll leave you angry and full of emotion. It is a really good film.


  19. #12518
    Viv Anderson
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    Candyman

    Artist Anthony McCoy is told the harrowing story of Candyman, the killer from his old neighbourhood. Over time his artwork begins to be inspired, and more, by the hook handed urban legend.
    Candyman is a sequel to Candyman. Basically, this is a some years later sequel to the original Candyman ignoring the terrible sequels to the original. It’s a tall order to make a film as scary and haunting as the original Candyman. Yet I think director Nia DaCosta’s movie is a worthy sequel. It delves into the mythology of Candyman even more. We discover where it all started and how it came to be in Cabrini Green and how Candyman’s legacy still lives on. There is a lot to pack into the 90 minutes runtime, yet somehow it has been managed very well.
    We see the slow descent of Anthony into becoming obsessed and addicted to the Candyman stories. He starts to get very obsessed, to the point where his girlfriend is genuinely afraid of him and what he might do. I think in some ways the way that the central character becomes obsessed with Candyman is almost a possession like story. There are a lot of similarities between this an many possession films down the years. This is very much a throw back to those 1960s/70s films that didn’t go all out on blood & gore instead choosing to making haunting imagery with real people in real cities in real life, and that’s what this Candyman sequel does very well.
    Sure it does get gruesome on occasions, yet this film is so much more than just a horror film. It’s a film about politics and race and social standing. Once again, a huge amount o pack into a 90 minute horror film, yet it is done impressively. This is a movie that plays with the legend and also harks back to the first film yet forges its own path in the new era. I love the imagery in this film as well. Incredibly haunting. The scenes of Candyman appearing in the mirror, and other places, continue to be some of the scariest moments in horror ever.
    I don’t want to say too much more about this film because the experience of watching it is a genuine delight. It is a forward-thinking horror film that is scary and terrifying. This is how you make a sequel to a much-loved horror movie.


  20. #12519
    Viv Anderson
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    Wendy

    Lost on a mysterious island where aging and time have come unglued, Wendy must fight to save her family, her freedom, and the joyous spirit of youth from the deadly peril of growing up.
    This very different re-telling of the Peter Pan story comes from Beasts of the Southern Wild director Benh Zeitlin. It is an atmospheric and ethereal piece that takes a legend and screws it up in favour of being all Lord of the Flies-esc. The idea of a slightly twisted take on Wendy’s story from Peter Pan is such an interesting one. But Zeitlin, who also wrote the screenplay alongside his wife, makes hard work of a story that should be fun, joyous but also a little bit terrifying. Instead we have a film that basically has kids running around an empty island playing by their own rules without any thought as to how the story progresses from those initial moments of freedom. Moving Wendy to be the central character should, in theory, give a different perspective on how the kids live and survive on the island. But the film is much more interested in making an almost flight of fantasy viewing experience than a solid main plot.
    It is hugely annoying to watch a film with so much potential throw it away in favour of being a film that drifts through a plot via the means of hazy writing and woozy cinematography. The camerawork in this film is so infuriating. It is clearly done with a chest camera, which means that many shots jump all over the place as the camera tries to keep up with the kids running through the forest. It also manages to cut off some of the top of the heads during some scenes. It looks slap dash. As if the director only had one take per shot. Of course he didn’t, and anyone who has seen Beasts of the Southern Wild will know that Zeitlin’s work is very rough shod. Some of it works, a lot of it does. It is infuriating as to how non-structured this film is. I like a director that doesn’t stick to conventions, but there has to be some operating within the confines of cinema. This feels like it wants to expand minds. Instead it comes across as frustrating.
    This is not a film for kids. It is very much an adult film that leans heavily on spiritual experiences. It is so difficult to know who this film is even aimed at because even the Wendy storyline, which ultimately doesn’t do much as she is an un-engaging central character, doesn’t connect on any level. This is a flight of fantasy piece that fails to take off.


  21. #12520
    Ian Storey-Moore
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    Default Re: The LTLF Film Thread (sponsored by FBS!)

    Quote Originally Posted by FBS View Post
    Candyman

    Artist Anthony McCoy is told the harrowing story of Candyman, the killer from his old neighbourhood. Over time his artwork begins to be inspired, and more, by the hook handed urban legend.
    Candyman is a sequel to Candyman. Basically, this is a some years later sequel to the original Candyman ignoring the terrible sequels to the original. Itís a tall order to make a film as scary and haunting as the original Candyman. Yet I think director Nia DaCostaís movie is a worthy sequel. It delves into the mythology of Candyman even more. We discover where it all started and how it came to be in Cabrini Green and how Candymanís legacy still lives on. There is a lot to pack into the 90 minutes runtime, yet somehow it has been managed very well.
    We see the slow descent of Anthony into becoming obsessed and addicted to the Candyman stories. He starts to get very obsessed, to the point where his girlfriend is genuinely afraid of him and what he might do. I think in some ways the way that the central character becomes obsessed with Candyman is almost a possession like story. There are a lot of similarities between this an many possession films down the years. This is very much a throw back to those 1960s/70s films that didnít go all out on blood & gore instead choosing to making haunting imagery with real people in real cities in real life, and thatís what this Candyman sequel does very well.
    Sure it does get gruesome on occasions, yet this film is so much more than just a horror film. Itís a film about politics and race and social standing. Once again, a huge amount o pack into a 90 minute horror film, yet it is done impressively. This is a movie that plays with the legend and also harks back to the first film yet forges its own path in the new era. I love the imagery in this film as well. Incredibly haunting. The scenes of Candyman appearing in the mirror, and other places, continue to be some of the scariest moments in horror ever.
    I donít want to say too much more about this film because the experience of watching it is a genuine delight. It is a forward-thinking horror film that is scary and terrifying. This is how you make a sequel to a much-loved horror movie.
    I would recommend watching the first film before this one, as it fleshes out the backstory much better than how it's explained in the sequel. I enjoyed this. Candyman as villain has many similarities to Freddie and is just as memorable. I certainly won't be saying his name in a mirror any time soon.


  22. #12521
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    Default Re: The LTLF Film Thread (sponsored by FBS!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Trents View Post
    I would recommend watching the first film before this one, as it fleshes out the backstory much better than how it's explained in the sequel. I enjoyed this. Candyman as villain has many similarities to Freddie and is just as memorable. I certainly won't be saying his name in a mirror any time soon.
    What have I done wrong now?


  23. #12522
    Ian Storey-Moore
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    Watched The Last Duel last night. I've always got one eye on new stuff from my fav actors of which Adam Driver is one. This film seems to have gone slightly under the radar especially when you see Ridley Scott's name on it along with best mates Damon and Affleck.

    The setting is 14th Century France. Whilst Driver could pass off as a musketeer all day long, Damon and Affleck stuck out like sore thumbs. Damon has gone with a mullet and Affleck has gone short and bleached. The hair pales into insignificance compared the the accents. They seemed to have created their own. A sort of American does English trying to do French.

    All in all though, those negative aren't so obvious as to destroy the film, a story of abuse told from the perspectives of the 3 main protagonists. At 2 and a half hours I felt it dragged on a bit but all in all was worth it as the end scene teased at the start explodes into action.

    Despite the 3 big male names here, I came away thinking Jodie Comer did the best job of all, not bad for a scouser anyway.


  24. #12523
    Viv Anderson
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    The Last Duel

    King Charles VI declares that Knight Jean de Carrouges settle his dispute with his squire by challenging him to a duel.
    I really love Ridley Scott. The man is still making films even into his 80 years of age, and not only standard films but films that we don’t see that much of these days. Films that don’t water down anything. Films that aren’t franchises. Individual, adult feature films that pull in big star power and create big entertaining spectaculs. The Last Duel is one such film. Co-written, and starring, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. This is a movie that demands your attention. It makes you work at the main storyline because it is split into three different view points. So we see the lead up to the duel from Jean de Carrouges and from Jacques Le Gris (his squire) and also Marguerite de Carrouges (Jean’s wife). Each of them run the same story but have slight alterations to them. It’s that age old adage of having different sides to the same story. I found this style fitted perfectly for the story that was being told. It gave it a different edge than just playing out through one set of eyes. It makes you question who is really telling the truth and should this duel be happening in the first place. Because don’t forget this is about a woman who is rising up against male dominance and demanding action for what happened. She could so easily be killed without an afterthought due to the male dominance at that time. So she is literally risking her life to see justice is done. It is a supremely confident character.
    It's also a movie that grows with confidence. A lot of the film is dialogue throughout the three separate stories. As I said, it’s a film you have to pay attention to because there are little bit scattered through each storyline that could, depending on your stance as to who you believe, change your mind. It’s a film that keeps twisting and turning. However, by the big finale – the duel – Scott goes all out on bloodletting. He really knows how to direct action, and I mean proper bloodthirsty action that doesn’t pull away in the final moments. I found myself being wow-ed by Scott’s aggressive filmmaking during the duel because I doubt many directors would have dared make a finale like what Scott does for this film. It is a rambunctious, heart-pounding duel that never lets up. You can feel the film leading up to this big, rousing finale and hope that it doesn’t disappoint. And I can say that it does not disappoint.
    Also, the acting doesn’t disappoint either. I think Matt Damon is on fine form. Adam Driver is excellent once again. Ben Affleck is having an absolute ball. Yet it is Jodie Comer who beats them all. Her performance as Marguerite is one of mystery and intrigue. She is a cunning character and one that Comer really understands who this person is.
    We don’t get many medieval films on this type of level artistically or stylistically either. Ridley Scott really has given us a top draw action drama here. It’s grand scale filmmaking with a very brutal and raw edge.


  25. #12524
    Viv Anderson
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    Stealing Chaplin

    Two brothers plot to steal the body of Charlie Chaplin and ransom it for a fortune.
    Hollywood loves a true story. However, this isn’t a Hollywood picture. It is a British production that has slightly twisted a few of the events surrounding the actual real-life events. In this film, the two brothers are English and the grave robbery happens in Las Vegas (neither are actually correct). However, the main crux of the story is still the same as to what went on. Two bumbling fools steal Chaplin’s body and then try to sell it on for a fortune. This film is part-gangster movie part-comedy of errors. The two brothers who are nicking the body are bumbling fools. They get by on luck and a bit of the gift of the gab. There storyline is very entertaining and, at times, funny. The film really benefits from making them both a bit foolish. Case in point, there is a brief scene where they are trying to carry the casket with Chaplin’s body inside into their apartment. However, one of the brother’s gets a phone call from a woman he has been chatting up and goes to answer it. So the other brother is just stood there holding one end of a coffin while the other tries to smooth talk his way into a date. It’s little moments like that that make this film fun to watch.
    The surrounding gangsters and their storyline does not fully work. That reverts to a typical gangster movie and if they were all British then it would be a Cockney gangster flick. It’s not that it isn’t entertaining, because it kind of is. It’s just that compared to what is going off with the robbing of the graves it feels like a completely different film. Its juxtaposition throws the entire film off a bit.
    However, overall, I think this film wins out because of its fascinating story and then the filmmakers slightly twisting it a bit so it is set under the blazing hot sun and/or the neon lights of Las Vegas. It may not be wholly true some of the events yet taking licence with real events is what Hollywood has done for decades. And nobody cares about it if the film turns out to be an entertaining watch (Exhibit 1: Once Upon A Time In Hollywood), and I think Stealing Chaplin may well play fast & loose with the actual story yet what is on-screen makes, for the majority of the film, a really entertaining watch.


  26. #12525
    Viv Anderson
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    Wrath Of Man

    H takes a job at a Los Angeles cash truck company who are responsible for moving hundreds of millions of dollars around the city each day. H and his partner Bullet have to be on their guard as armed robberies have started taking place on their company’s trucks and they could be the next target.
    Guy Ritchie directing Jason Statham for the first time since 2005’s Revolver. That was a stinker of a movie. This one is less of a stinker and more of a middle of the road, nothing exciting, seen-it-all before action heist movie. The preamble of how H gets the name is ludicrous but exactly in keeping with how you would expect a character in a Guy Ritchie film to get a letter as his name. The same goes for his partner Bullet. All of this is done via locker room talk and lots of swearing.
    Then H and Bullet go out in their armoured trucks doing their day job. They don’t really get to know each other because H is a quiet guy. He just likes to get the job done. So, we have no way of connecting with him as a central character. He is a cold, disconnected person that literally nobody can warm to even when he is beating down bad guys. Now, Jason Statham knows how to beat down a bad guy or ten, and here is no different. It’s just that we’ve see this all before and it all feels very generic and very dated. But Guy Ritchie seems to think that this sort of action flick is what everybody still wants. So, it’s just a lot of macho posturing and plenty of punching and even more swearing. But even by Ritchie’s standards, this is an insanely uninteresting action film. There is action happening right in-front of your face and it just doesn’t feel like anything of note. As I said, all very dated and unengaging.
    One huge problem the film has is that it is a heist movie set in L.A. where some of the bad guys wear face masks. Now instantly that conjures up throwbacks to Michael Mann’s epic heist flick Heat. And then the problems really begin because all I thought was, I’d much rather being watching Heat or even it’s cheap TV original version L.A. Takedown than this weak homage.
    I’ll say this, Wrath Of Man is not Guy Ritchie’s worst film. The two-ing and fro-ing between Statham and Holt McCallany, who plays Bullet, is actually really good. But the film as a whole is a middling effort that sinks under its own nothingness. Also, when is someone going to tell Guy Ritchie that swearing isn’t big or clever??!! Move on from it Guy, move on.


 

 

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