▶️ I Just Watched (Film reviews) ...
The Gray Man, brand new to Netflix. The Russo brothers clearly want to be invited to direct a Bond movie because this trots to a different location of the globe every five minutes. The plot, and I'm being kind, is 'top hit man's employers want him dead because he stumbles across a usb stick with incriminating data on it'. Yes, that one again. Although none of them are required to do much it's a watchable cast (apart from new prettyboy on the block Rege-Jean Page who, as one of the top baddies, carries as much menace and gravitas as a cut-out of John Major). What does it most harm however, given that it's an action flick, is how much of the action is badly handled, with the bulk of it completely trashed by poor editing. There's a huge shootout and bus chase sequence that should have been a showstopper, but it's a mess. The script is forgettable, the score more so, too much swoopy drone camera work (this decade's wobblecam), the end credits kick in with 14 mins to go, and the ending shows the Russos are hoping for a sequel. I'm not recommending it; on the whole it all felt insubstantial, as if a stiff breeze would blow it all away. I wish it had blown away the horrific de-ageing of BB Thornton in scene 1.
Yeah, we watched it a few weeks ago as a Saturday night, turn off your brain film. Unfortunately, everyone involved in making it seems to have turned off their brains too, and the whole thing was a forgettable mess.
Thirteen Lives on Prime. It's the story of the Thai boys' football team stuck in a cave, and the rescue thereof. Though the credits carry the standard 'though based on real events some events and characters have been fictionalized etc...' I got the impression that embellishment in this respect is minimal. It's remarkably restrained, almost documentary-like in places, and despite big names at the top of the cast there's no big-star grandstanding. Mortensen and Farrell almost disappear into their roles, and director Ron Howard doesn't push them front and centre the whole time. The script stresses the point that the rescue was a huge team effort, and wisely lets the facts of the rescue speak for themselves. No cheese, no booming score, no shoehorned-in lurve interest. I was impressed.
Sounds interesting, thanks @wowbagger
Any mention of Musk proclaiming the rescuer as a paedophile ??
Prey. When everything - script, direction, acting, the camera pointers etc - gels together the results can be amazing. Spoiler alert - this does not happen here. You know when you watch a film then read reviews and suspect you've just watched a totally different film? You get the picture, and I'll concede that so far grumpy old me appears to be in the minority with this one. In what has been praised as the best Predator film since the first (don't laugh) the native American characters are all played by native Americans; so far so good, and credit where it's due. But after a promising couple of lines of subtitled voiceover, all dialogue reverts to fluent Hollywoodese. It seems that the makers bottled out after the casting and weren't brave enough to make us read subs all the way through. Fair enough, really, since in America that's pretty much commercial suicide. But I really struggled to find anything to like about this. There's nothing bad about it, it's just that it doesn't rise above 'mediocre' in any department. Reviews are hailing a star-making performance and authenticity but... just no. Acting is soap opera standard from all concerned, and as for authenticity - okay, we know the cast had been handed their outfits by the costume department, but they shouldn't look as if they have. Action was forgettable too, and the transformation from capable hunter of rabbits to Black Widow in action sequences was, well, predictable for plot purposes. After all, an empowered female has to be seen to be more capable than all the guys.
Full disclosure - after viewing we found there was an option to view with an audio track in native American. If the rest of the film had been better we might have given it a look, but by then it was late etc. I can't imagine that dubbing in a native tongue would have improved the acting noticeably, and unless the dialogue scenes were recorded separately in each language (they might have been, I don't know) there'd be synch issues. I'd be curious to know what it's like but I can't just bung it on again as I didn't watch it at home.
We had a quick look at the Prey dub (see previous post). How fine you'd be with this depends on how you view subs'n'dubs to begin with. I know some folk won't read subs and would be more than happy with a dub. I hate dubs because I find watching lips move on screen that aren't synched with the audio very distracting. It's literally watching two actors give the same performance at the same time and I just can't understand why people put up with it*. Apart from anything else, (in my opinion) replacing an actor's voice with that of another is an insult to the original performer.
As for Prey, it didn't work at all, and the synching issue was enough to sink it for us. To make matters worse the dub actors weren't any better than those on screen; in the end you have average-at-best acting overlaid with a track by actors who sounded as though they were reading phonetic cue cards. While I again applaud the makers for casting native Americans in the first place, they blew it by relegating the native language to an optional extra.
* I'll put up with it when there's no choice, i.e. in Sergio Leone westerns.
I hate dubs because I find watching lips move on screen that aren't synched with the audio very distracting.
This ! ? But what a shame they couldn't do it right. ?
You know when you watch a film then read reviews and suspect you've just watched a totally different film?
Doesn't happen very often with me, but despite being as woke as they come, I was disappointed with both 'Get Out' and 'Black Panther', largely cos the rave reviews meant I was expecting great things, only to be met with "quite good". But then of course, all the anti-woke 1-star reviews on IMDB are a different matter entirely ...
My wife is running an eco-campaign, so we re-visited both 'An Inconvenient Truth' and its sequel. The first one in particular is interesting, very well-made and well worth a (re-)watch - it's shocking to think this was back in 2006 (with earlier research/knowledge, of course) and that progress has been so > v-e-r-y > s-l-o-w ...
Such a massive shame that Al Gore lost against Bush (reminder: Bush won the electoral vote without winning the popular vote, same as later benefited Trump) ... how the world could have been so much better! ?
We watched Paws of Fury with one of the grandkids on Friday. Good fun, basically Blazing Saddles for kids. Would recommend as that.
Then last night we watched the new Netflix vampire thing Day Shift.
It was ok, but for quite a bit of the middle I didn't care what was happening, at least 20 - 30 minutes too long. The plot could easily have been a side-quest in a computer game.
Samaritan on Prime. One to avoid. Stallone phones it in and there's nothing else about it to recommend. An unengaging, cheapo and frequently shoddy superhero vehicle designed to make Stallone look good in a fight, but it's stand-ins half the time anyway. Plays like an extended pilot for something that didn't get the green light.