Apex Predator's Film Discussion Thread

Joined: Jan 2015
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Apex PredatorDiscouraged by the whole "I've picked up the production pace, but nobody's joining me".

I understand how stressful it is for nobody to comment on your threads. I used to have that issue with my Science Fiction thread. Before I first commented on this thread, I happened to notice one of your comments somewhere else where you mentioned that you sometimes feel like a one man army. After reading it, I went over to this thread to see that you recently reviewed Selma, one of the films I recently saw at that time, so I decided to leave my thoughts on it to help this thread out. It can be hard to make comments on films I haven't seen yet, but I try to reply whenever you review films I have seen.
Jul 8, 2017 3:11 AM
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Appreciate that you're still with me, Takoma and Popcorn. I suspect others might be as well. I've seen Thief comment on some of my reviews for Letterboxd.

Just occasionally get frustrated. And it's not just that, but it's the job search as well.

Anyway, partly through Youth in Oregon. My recommendation so far is that you don't watch Youth in Oregon.
Jul 9, 2017 1:01 AM
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I've sometimes held myself from commenting here because I've already commented on Letterboxd, and didn't want to sound like I was just rehashing comments. But I'm reading here and there.?
Jul 9, 2017 2:15 PM
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Apex Predator
Popcorn ReviewsIf you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend McQueen's Hunger. It's not for the faint of heart, but it's really powerful.

Had been needing to see this ever since I saw 12 Years a Slave. Will add to the list!

I saw Hunger in January. I thought it was good and worth a watch, but I wasn't crazy about it. There's a certain detachment to the way he directs it, as well as some odd narrative choices that didn't quite work for me. But it's aptly carried by Fassbender, and that middle scene with Liam Cunningham? Damn.
Jul 9, 2017 2:19 PM
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Apex PredatorSharknado:

After some heavy films, I felt like now would be a perfect time to watch something dumb, silly.

Such as an Asylum release of Sharks forming tornadoes and attacking LA.

First, the bad news: it takes about an hour for a Sharknado to form in a film called Sharknado. Its humor tends to be heavy-handed at times. It does feel a bit chintzy and cheap, although considering this was made for a low-budget cable channel, this was to be expected. Claudia (Aubrey Peeples) brushes fairly close to the survivors who should be left to their own devices at times. Sharks tend to eliminate unnecessary people at narratively convenient times.

Now, the good news: Film zips by quick enough to not think about the implausibilities and the wait, whats? You can buy Ian Ziering as the intense, problem solving Fin (he can display a seriousness and gravitas that allows you to go along with it). Fin and April (Tara Reid) are plausible as both the dissolved couple and the couple who might be revived due to a trying set of circumstances. Just as importantly, they don't really annoy in either aspect.
You can buy Claudia as April's daughter and Matt as Fin's son as they share similar characteristics. Although it's clear that they're made of CGI, there's no lack of sharks in Sharknado.

Dumb fun that somehow feels innocent, it's a step below The Room, Miami Connection, and Who Killed Captain Alex but a step above the films that are so bad, they're bad. And that's something.


I think I said this on Letterboxd, but here's again anyway... I thought the first Sharknado fit the bill of "so-bad-it's-good" perfectly. So cheaply absurd that you just can't help but laugh at it. However, I thought the two sequels (I still haven't seen the fourth) embrace the absurdity better and feel more in on the joke.
Jul 9, 2017 2:22 PM
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Thief12
Apex Predator
Popcorn ReviewsIf you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend McQueen's Hunger. It's not for the faint of heart, but it's really powerful.

Had been needing to see this ever since I saw 12 Years a Slave. Will add to the list!

I saw Hunger in January. I thought it was good and worth a watch, but I wasn't crazy about it. There's a certain detachment to the way he directs it, as well as some odd narrative choices that didn't quite work for me. But it's aptly carried by Fassbender, and that middle scene with Liam Cunningham? Damn.

I can understand why someone might dislike certain narrative choices such as shifting attention away from Davey Gillen and Davey Campbell and only first showing Sands' hunger strike quite some time into it, because it does seem like an odd choice. I've never been bothered by it though. I'm fine with the movie shifting attention away from the 2 characters, because I feel like they're meant to introduce us to the violent setting of the world (Lohan's death seems to be the middle point to the 2 parts of the film) and I was okay with starting quite some time into the hunger strike, because by doing so, the film cut out the unimpressive parts to it in my opinion (I thought it was depicted realistically). I agree with you on the middle scene. I loved it as well. It's an amazing scene of dialogue.
Jul 9, 2017 2:35 PM
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Thief12
Apex PredatorSharknado:

After some heavy films, I felt like now would be a perfect time to watch something dumb, silly.

Such as an Asylum release of Sharks forming tornadoes and attacking LA.

First, the bad news: it takes about an hour for a Sharknado to form in a film called Sharknado. Its humor tends to be heavy-handed at times. It does feel a bit chintzy and cheap, although considering this was made for a low-budget cable channel, this was to be expected. Claudia (Aubrey Peeples) brushes fairly close to the survivors who should be left to their own devices at times. Sharks tend to eliminate unnecessary people at narratively convenient times.

Now, the good news: Film zips by quick enough to not think about the implausibilities and the wait, whats? You can buy Ian Ziering as the intense, problem solving Fin (he can display a seriousness and gravitas that allows you to go along with it). Fin and April (Tara Reid) are plausible as both the dissolved couple and the couple who might be revived due to a trying set of circumstances. Just as importantly, they don't really annoy in either aspect.
You can buy Claudia as April's daughter and Matt as Fin's son as they share similar characteristics. Although it's clear that they're made of CGI, there's no lack of sharks in Sharknado.

Dumb fun that somehow feels innocent, it's a step below The Room, Miami Connection, and Who Killed Captain Alex but a step above the films that are so bad, they're bad. And that's something.


I think I said this on Letterboxd, but here's again anyway... I thought the first Sharknado fit the bill of "so-bad-it's-good" perfectly. So cheaply absurd that you just can't help but laugh at it. However, I thought the two sequels (I still haven't seen the fourth) embrace the absurdity better and feel more in on the joke.

I'll give part 2 a go later on this summer. I am just hoping that the relative innocence of part 1 doesn't get lost in the sequels.
Jul 11, 2017 2:32 PM
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I feel like the next film deserves its own thread, but suspect that nobody would read it anyway.

Last Men in Aleppo:

In some ways, this reminded me of what happened at Murray State a couple of weeks ago.

I had just gotten back from eating something and had gone to the bathroom at the Curris Center before heading to the library to resume my job search.

As I stepped out of the door, I heard a loud explosion. I saw some smoke in the distance.

Deciding that I'd rather be safe than brave, I moved away from the gathering cops and ambulances in the distance.

As safety personnel, they could handle these matters far better than I could.

Needless to say, I could never be a White Helmet.

The documentary Last Men in Aleppo deals with the heroic men who dig through the rubble to find survivors of the siege in Syria during 2012-2016.

But Aleppo also showcases the humanity of three of the White Helmets.

Khaled saved a baby trapped in a building in 2014. He's a family man who's worried about his wife and children being caught up in the conflict and is trying to get them to escape to Turkey.

Mahmoud is younger, and worries about his brother Ahmed who is also a volunteer for the Helmets.

Subhi is also in this film, but I didn't get a great sense of who he was in the grand scheme of things.

Anyway, there are smattering moments of humanity (planting a tree, placing a little pool for fish, letting their kids play in the playground, attending a wedding), but there's always the risk that another attack could come, warned through air sirens.

What one gets from this film is a sense of weariness from the conflict that not even a couple of protests against Syrian leader Bashar can relieve. ?The White Helmets are stretched up to their physical limits as they rescue people, sometimes alive but more likely dead, deal with car bombings, shootings, and humanity at its worst.

There are films like Aleppo which remind you that a) things can be so much worse and b) that sometimes you're just little more than a helpless speck of dust in the face of the world.
Jul 11, 2017 3:13 PM
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I'm going to keep an eye out for that film.
Jul 11, 2017 3:18 PM
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Youth in Oregon

For the record, there are no kids or teens that make an appearance in this film. And Oregon is simply the destination in a long road trip.

Film is about Raymond (Frank Langella), an 80 year old former doctor who is in the doctor's office for a check-up on his ticker.

The heart's not going too good. Ray declines surgery.

That night at a dinner party celebrating his 80th birthday, Frank announces that he's planning on going to Oregon to a clinic where he can die in peace (Oregon is one of those places that believe in right-to-die laws or the Grace Quigley amendments)..

Both his daughter Kate (Christina Applegate) and her husband Brian (Billy Crudup) express their concerns. Meanwhile, Raymond's wife Estelle (Mary Kay Place) gets drunk.

A plan is made where Kate and Estelle will take Raymond on the road and "hopefully" talk him out of it. They also suspect that Raymond's request will be denied, that there's nothing wrong with him (Raymond hasn't revealed the diagnosis to them for reasons that will be known as plot stupidity)

But the morning of, Kate has to stay behind due to finding out that her daughter Annie (Nicola Peltz) had sexted topless pics of herself to her football player boyfriend Colt.

She got suspended from school and grounded by Mom. She was lucky.

But Brian whose marriage to Kate has been strained by having her parents live with them agrees to take over.

What follows is a road trip with three unlikable people who argue and bicker their way to Salt Lake City to see Frank's estranged gay son Danny (Josh Lucas) and later to Boise to see Brian's college dropout son Nick (Alex Shaffer).

Cliches pile up like mile markers as we see the trio fall down while peeing, go on a prescription drug bender (replete with wolf shirt), and fail human relations 101 time and again. It leads to an ending that's a cross between a cheat and a non-committal.

Just what I should have suspected of the combined output between a first time writer and a director best known for being the guy in The Hottie and the Nottie.

Poor Frank Langella.
Jul 12, 2017 7:09 PM
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Going through Secret Life of Pets. Needed something light to clear the mind following the heavy topics of the last few films.

So far, it's alright. Would have preferred it if they had gone deeper into the basic concept though.

On the plus side, Jenny Slate's voice acting is really pretty good.
Jul 13, 2017 6:17 PM
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Secret Life of Pets

This film would have been better if it had gone more into the interesting concept, but the film is alright.

Basically, this Jack Russell terrier (Louis CK) has the perfect life. Except of course for the fact that he doesn't know where his owner (Ellie Kemper) goes during the day.

One day, she comes home with a big stray brown mutt (Eric Stonestreet) and they don't care for each other despite some early attempts to get along.

The next day, both end up on the wrong side of a fence and end up involved with dogcatchers and the bunny leader (Kevin Hart) of an anti-human abandoned pet group.

Did you know there's such a thing?

Meanwhile, this white Pomeranian (Jenny Slate) with a crush on the terrier (of course she'll deny it to those who will listen) decides to rescue him and his new roommate along with friends old and new. Such as a hawk (Albert Brooks) and Pops (Dana Carvey), a dog which uses wheels for his hind legs.

Film is cutesy and funny with some nice production designs. New York City looks lovely animated and it appears to be busy at all times. Outside of the great Slate, voice acting appears to be energetic enough with no paycheck performances.

But the story doesn't hold your interest enough and none of these characters outside of the Pomeranian are memorable. When the second most interesting character is the poodle that switches from classical to metal and changes his whole personality, that's not good. Mainly because he gets so little time in the film.

Overall, a cute diversion. But any talk for this being another Toy Story or Looney Tunes needs to go back on the shelf. Unless they spinoff the Pomeranian.
Jul 14, 2017 2:07 AM
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I'd like to pass my nephews (8 and 5 years) endorsement of Secret Life of Pets, but then again, they like any cartoon film that comes around
Jul 14, 2017 12:51 PM
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Thief12I'd like to pass my nephews (8 and 5 years) endorsement of Secret Life of Pets, but then again, they like any cartoon film that comes around

This deep dive I've done into 2014 has taught me to be more discerning when it comes to animation.

A few years ago, I would have been more generous to Pets. But I think animation has gotten better and what might have passed muster 5-10 years ago, no longer does.
Jul 16, 2017 1:05 AM
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The Thin Man

Having seen the second one in the series first. I now make up for it by seeing the original one second.

Don't blame me, blame KET.

The fourth one came out a month/two ago and the third one is airing tonight.

Again, blame KET.

But how's the film? I'd put it on equal footing with the second one.

It has less repartee between William Powell and Myrna Loy unfortunately, but some memorable lines make some difference.

Instead of Jimmy Stewart, the original has Margaret Hamilton (years before she became a Wicked Witch) and an early turn for a future Joker (Cesar Romero).

The plot concerns the disappearance of an inventor which affects Dorothy (Hamilton) who is fixing to get wed. Turns out he used to be a client of Nick Charles (Powell).

Although Nick keeps insisting that he's "retired" from detective work, some prodding from Nora (Loy) as well as some twists puts him on the case.

Perhaps the inventor is trying to silence those who have screwed him over (his secretary turned love interest with a need for greed, someone who's into blackmail). Or perhaps he's being framed.

It all gets solved in much like After the Thin Man where all suspects are placed in the same room where questions are asked and things are revealed.

It was less funny than After which felt more comfortable with its formula, but its mystery was more compelling here. A bit of a trade-off, but one which has me interested in Parts 3-4.?

Solid.

Next: Heading for some police and then maybe a coming of age involving a road trip back in time for a family. Or perhaps the oldest parable in modern day action. But the police comes first.
Jul 16, 2017 1:19 AM
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Can't Stand Losing You: Surviving the Police

Roxanne? Every Breath You Take? Other?

From the late 1970s to the early 1980s when they broke up at the peak of their fame, The Police performed good, if not great music that held its own among the best of the era. Every Breath You Take knocked off Billie Jean, Beat It and Flashdance as the number one song of 1983.

Why did they break up? What caused them to reunite in 2007? Why did Andy Summer and his ex-wife reconcile and get remarried again?

None of these questions get answered in Can't Stand Losing You, a thin documentary focusing on the Police and how Andy Summer went from living in a canopy as a baby to finally hitting it off with the Police at an age that might be a death sentence for rock and roll.

An occasional insight here and there (how a pivotal TV performance almost didn't happen due to an errant can of hairspray, how Synchronicity was recorded at three different parts of the studio in the Caribbean) and some clever candid photos (Summer turned to photography while on tour) can't make up for the fact that it feels almost like a rejected episode of Behind the Music.

Perhaps they should have found a more interesting narrator than Summer who feels frankly bored at times. Perhaps they should have gotten interviews with the other band members than relying on Summer's dull memoir. Perhaps the directors should have been more firm in seeking answers to the questions above.

Summer may be a survivor. But of what? Thanks to the lack of detail in this doc, I'm not sure.

NEXT: Odds are it will be either The Discoverers or A Long Way Off.
Jul 17, 2017 1:55 AM
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Will watch one/both tomorrow. Catching up on laundry.

Also in the plans for next week:
Bokeh
Annie Hall?
Presenting Princess Shaw
Moonlight?
Shadow of the Thin Man
Jul 19, 2017 1:14 AM
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As per usual, decided against both. So I'm combining Presenting Princess Shaw with the 2017 Dirty Dancing. Both are finding different ways of disappointing me so far.

May have to find a real gem next to make up for them.
Jul 21, 2017 2:55 PM
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Apex PredatorAs per usual, decided against both. So I'm combining Presenting Princess Shaw with the 2017 Dirty Dancing. Both are finding different ways of disappointing me so far.

May have to find a real gem next to make up for them.

Aw, I really liked Presenting Princess Shaw. And once you get into her family's backstory . . . watching someone who is dealing with so much past baggage, and so much current nonsense and yet is still ambitious and producing creative works is incredibly inspiring to me.
I love her track on Thru You Too. I had no idea about Kutiman's story or her life story.
Jul 21, 2017 3:14 PM
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Takoma1
Apex PredatorAs per usual, decided against both. So I'm combining Presenting Princess Shaw with the 2017 Dirty Dancing. Both are finding different ways of disappointing me so far.

May have to find a real gem next to make up for them.

Aw, I really liked Presenting Princess Shaw. And once you get into her family's backstory . . . watching someone who is dealing with so much past baggage, and so much current nonsense and yet is still ambitious and producing creative works is incredibly inspiring to me.
I love her track on Thru You Too. I had no idea about Kutiman's story or her life story.

Will give it another chance late Sunday/early Monday. Will say this much: I have no issue with Shaw and her life story. I'm more than OK with seeing someone lift themselves up from poverty through their talents.

My issues are more with Kutiman and how the documentary presents things.?
Jul 23, 2017 1:53 AM
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