Markoff's blog - dennik z Ciny 2011-2016 a cestopis z Azie 2010-2011

Short notes on recent movies I saw and Oscar nominations

Filmy - 23.01.2014 - Markoff

Just bunch of my notes from the other forum about movies I watched (that means there is already BD/DVDrip/DVDscr available) in last few weeks on our 42" TV. Yes, not everyone is watching pirated movies on some crappy 24" display or worse. List - 12 years a slave, Her, American Hustle, The wolf of Wall Street, Kiss kiss bang bang, Captain Phillips, Departures, The World's fastest Indian, Wag the dog, About time, 127 hours, Heat, Finding Neverland, Sin nombre, Frozen river, Easy A, Elysium, Project Nim, Venus, The Visitor, Disconnect, Don Jon, Escape Plan, Fruitvale station, The Angel's Share, The Spectacular now, Prisoners, Gravity and Mud.

12 years a slave - extremely boring movie which will make you its slave for 2 hours, story is very simple - free black guy from north of States is kidnapped while drunk and taken to southern States where is slavery legal and he has no rights since he lost all his documents. There he slaves for 12 years under few masters (good cop/bad cop and other (romantic) cliche seen elsewhere), we see some wannabeshocking (?) violence (nothing special - some hanging, whipping and kicking), sex off the screen, politically incorrect talk (all the movie nigga here, nigga there) and that's basically all. You will learn nothing from movie you would not know (slavery is bad bad and black dumb people who didn't fight back suffered (how unexpected), it little bit reminded me Jews going to concetration camps without fighting), you won't experience interesting atmosphere/impression, even nice musical score get annoying by repeating same tune all the time, actors (many famous, Pitt as usual saving world without any pretty woman at his side so Angelina won't get jealous, Fassbender playing villain, Sherlock Holmes guy playing soft gay dude etc.) and TQ is good I guess, but extremely boring movie, but at least I could explain to my wife difference between Europe without slavery and NSA..pardon...USA built on slavery with segregation in buses even until few decades ago, that not all white people were same and dumb as those guys running away from Europe and hiding in America. 5/10 (I planned to give it 6 as being merciful, but it's really just mediocre average film and 6 would be overrated)

Difficult to decide what is bigger shite, if American Hustle (you can at least enjoy Amy Adams cleavage there) or this pretentious PC tearjerker crap (I guess in the end AH, since that was really boring movie for sleep, here it will at least ocassionally wake you up with sex and violence, wife didn't fall asleep as at AH or Her, so that's good sign :-)), better not waste your time with neither of them and enjoy Her, Gravity, Captain Phillips or Prisoners, those are much better movies of 2013, most of them tense/thrilling and at least one will make you think while this PC crap just made me slave of bad movie for 2 wasted hours.

Her - movie set in close future about relationship between writer and his operating system (OS, think smarter Siri) showing alienation in society between people, where people are looking up to AI. Sadly one can't overlook clear inspiration by Lars and the real girl which is basically same movie, where instead of OS main character has relationship with realistic (sex) doll, some inspiration probably also taken from S1m0ne, but mostly LARL. Technically outstanding with camera work/colors, amazing beautiful soundtrack I had to download immediately after finishing watching (although first impression after few tracks doesn't seem so great, while it worked in movie), very calm pace, maybe little bit too slow (I guess I'd prefer original Soderbergh cut which was 90mins), there are no twists, there is no final climax scene like in Crash (also deals with alienation in society, but mostly on topic of racism) so end is little bit disapointing (at least not US happy end, or sort of...), movie brings also not so appealing future of feminine men wearing metrosexual/hipster pants/shirts, purses and main character has pedo moustache.

All in all an intelligent movie which makes you think about future and relationships and maybe makes you appreciate more what you have compared to sad main character. At least I appreciated more my wife next to me who fell asleep in the end of movie. :) Anyway the best movie of 2013, if I have to choose from Oscar nominated I saw, although personally I prefer more tense Prisoners, but it beats Gravity, American Hustle or Captain Phillips and it's maybe on par with Wolf of WS, but all these are too mainstream and not enough poetic for Oscar grandpas jury, so I give Her high chances (together with PC 12 years a slave and I have to see Dallas buyers club).

As for romance movies, this gets easily beated by Eternal sunshine of spotless mind, which was also visually more stunning and also more realistic. Btw. it was shot in LA and Shanghai, so if you are located in China this is the reason why it may look familiar to some new developed areas of Chinese cities. When they showed train I thought it must be Europe, maybe German ICE but I was wrong, the view from train looked very familiar to Chinese scenery, anyway we are all clear they don't have modern trains like this in NSA.

Don't have too high expectations about the movie, it's quite overhyped and none of the movies I saw from 2013 really deliver anything mindblowing/stunning (only really memorable scenes I have is Leo crowling to car in WoWS and very end of Captain Phillips), also prepare for very slow ride. 8/10

American hustle - extremely disapointed, they say it should be partially comedy but I laughed much more while watching drama about losing child Rabbit Hole (marijuana scene), but usually I don't expect much when they say comedy so this is not the only flaw of the movie. Movie is extremely long (or at least feel) and difficult to follow, there are subplots and you will end up watching some mess about corruption in US politics decades ago which may be interesting maybe for someone coming from NSA, but for me as European I didn't find it amusing or interesting at all (now Munich or Baader Meinhof Komplex are diamonds based on real events compared to this TV shit which should be straight to DVD). There are many good actors, barely recognizable De Niro and other, but none of them stands out (maybe Amy Adams cleavage should get nomination for supporting actress). Probably one of the biggest disapointments of the 2013. There are much better 70's/heist/con movies than this (hey, even Ocean's eleven was technically nice and actually even funny and not so stupid, at least it's not some pretentious Oscar grabbing beggar), so 2013 must be really miserable film year if this is supposed to be good movie, let's better not talk about mafia movies from 90's, anything I would name (Goodfellas, Casino, Donnie Brasco, Reservoir Dogs) would destroy this overrated shit. 5/10

The Wolf of Wall Street - finally saw, very funny, especially car crowling scene but for sure not funniest in years/decades, Snatch was better and there are plenty of funnier movies, but nice politically incorrect movie about huge drug use and enjoying sex (although both were overused in movie and should be heavily cutted out) and surprisingly even despite scary length it didn't felt like 3 hours so quite interesting view into broker business in 80's and how were they guys cheating regular folks and having fun on their behalf. Final subway scene is quite sad and realistic as well as dumb folks listening to convict, but at least it's real instead of politically correct happy end. Personally it didn't beat Prisoners (good old style crime movie with great acting) for me and just stands on par with Captain Phillips and Gravity. 7-8/10

Kiss kiss bang bang - it was supposed to be crime comedy but I haven't seen there anything funny or any real crime, so was so sleepy that I had to turn it off and never return to it again, one of the worst movies seen in last months (despite quite good IMDb rating). 4/10

Captain Phillips - thrilling movie (Somali pirates taking over cargo ship, while captain and his crew try to do damage control risking their lives without much explanation, since insurance company would pay anyway, but some people just can't sit...) with nice soundtrack, although little bit long (especially beginning quite slow), some cutting would not harm it, last 20mins extremely gripping and ending will leave viewer in shock, highly recommended - 8/10 (6-7 without last 20mins)

Departures - Oscar winning JP movie, quite touching and amusing at places, very good relax for weekend from small JP hometown of failed chello player who moved there to find new job taking departures of dead people. 8/10

The World's fastest Indian - rewatched, Hopkins as villager arriving to NSA to set up some world speed record for old motorbikes, remember it being better, this movie is quite ridiculous or the Munroe guy was real villager not even able to drive on the right (right) side of the road. 6/10

Wag the dog - dark (humor) comedy about spin doctor covering political scandal with artificial made-up war, satirical view at how US politics works even nowadays with no-deliver impotent speaker Obama not different from previous war industry fan Bush. 7/10

About Time - very boring romantic dramedy about time travel only to past and its limitations and decisions you have to make because you can't fix everything because of butterfly effect, maybe interesting for girls who never saw any TT movie but for anyone familiar with TT it's just waste of time and very poor story, 2 hours nothing happening, everything going according plan except maybe 2 minor predictable issues, no twist or anything surprising or thrilling at all, only positive thing really is soundtrack and few actors, technically good, expect waste of time if you plan to watch it. 5-6/10

127 hours - rewatched, although still thrilling when watching and feeling pain just by watching it, beautiful music, one will appreciate life and basic things more after watching and it runs smooth thanks to short runtime. 7-8/10

Heat - rewatched for n-th time, one of the best action/crime/heist movies ever, very realistic shootout and bank robbery, almost perfect except few plot holes (see IMDb forums), masterpiece. 9/10

Finding Neverland - rewatched maybe for 2-3rd time, extremely touching/moving tearjerker (should be mandatory Christmas flick) with beautiful soundtrack about Peter Pan play and its writer. 8-9/10 (or just very strong 8/10)

Sin nombre - mexican (?) movie about journey of illegal immigrants from southern border of Mexico to US border following story of gangster trying to run away from gang which doesn't want let him go and joining other travelling family, quite naturalistic/realistic, almost semi-documentary, some nice nudity, violence, overally quite depressive ending and one has to question if it's worth for them to undergo all of this for crappy life in NSA. 7/10

Frozen river - "TV movie" about life of white trash family from trailer, mother start doing gig with moving illegal immigrants in trunk with Mohawk woman in Mohawk reservation and of course everything will fck up in the end, thrilling at places (trash thrown away on lake), overall decent winter movie but of course very low under Fargo level (actors/characters are not so memorable). 6-7/10

Easy A - forgetable teen/romcom trying to make fun of other comedies but in the end still nothing new and progressive, some people said it's Scream of romcom genre, can't disagree more, I'd say 500 days of Summer is closer to being Scream of romcom. Plot - girl pretend she is easy to get laid until whole rumor grows too much to handle. 5/10

Elysium - leftist sci-fi with poor story, in general also quite mediocre and forgetable compared to Disctrict 9, I wanted to like it but it's just boring action flick with some leftist ideas. 6/10

Project Nim - interesting and quite sad documentary (would be better as proper movie) about life of monkey who learned sign language and crazy people dealing with him during his life, quite sad view at "research" by bunch of stoned hippies in 70's. 6-7/10

Venus - british dramedy with O'Toole about very old guy having crush on niece (or granddaughter) of his friend, quite boring, nothing surprising or particularly funny, many ugly British people to watch. 5-6/10

The Visitor - rewatched after years, very nice realistic movie about single middle aged man going through boring life and finding new passion and reason to live after meeting illegal immigrants, quite sad view at US immigration policies of this totalitarian regime taking away rights of US citizens and every day becoming more and more like Soviet Union or former commie countries. 8/10

Disconnect - "Crash" (the movie) on topic of social networks/internet and privacy concerns about how are people disconnected with each other, final scene worked for me, music was nice, but all movie had TV feeling without any famous actors (maybe 1), just felt it could be much better, anyway after movie one has to check Privacy settings on all accounts so recommended for final impression, but don't have high expectations. 7/10

Don Jon - trash, pretentious hipster comedy, director's debut of Hewitt, without any real story except showing him jerking off and being addicted to porn, don't waste time with this crap, better watch some porn instead, it will be more meaningful and thrilling experience, with both eyes closed it could get average rating. 4/10

Escape plan - nobody expect serious action flick from Sly and Arnie, so I had very low expectations and except ridiculous ending (especially since helicopter arrived) it's actually quite decent movie, but very forgettable, there are much better prison or action movies. 5-6/10

Fruitvale station - TV/indie movie based on real events manipulated to make main character nice, so I guess reality would not be so great, although ending is still quite shocking for people unfamiliar with the story and one more reason why not to visit NSA. 6/10

The Angel's Share - british comedy about bunch of white trash (although not really comedy) trying to do expensive wine (whisky?) heist, more like dramedy since especially beginning looks like documentary about white trash life. 5-6/10

The Spectacular Now - nice romantic dramedy about growing up/coming out of age (although can't compete with Garden State) with great soundtrack, but quite forgetable (unlike Garden State). 7-8/10

Prisoners - detective/crime thriller about kidnapping of the children and separate search for them by detective and their parents with nice retro/small town atmosphere and OK acting by Jackman and Gyllenhall, one of the best movies of 2013 I saw. 8/10

Gravity - minimalistic space thriller with extremely simple (and stupid unrealistic) story (space station got destroyed after destroying sattelite by Russians (in real life it was actually Chinese, but they spend more money in cinema so it was altered in the movie) and 2 stranded astronauts going through other space stations destroying all of them before trying to return back to Earth), but anyway tense, great music, I guess I would enjoy it more on better screen (didn't have TV at that time), great impression in the very end and thankful to be on this spinning thing floating fast through space. 7-8/10

Mud - nice small town movie about life of young boy(s) and guy hiding from mobsters, although too slow at places, with heavy cutting result would be much better, MC acting and especially children actors amazing. 7-8/10

The most stunning/mindblowing/shocking movie I saw in last year was Animal Kingdom, which I strongly recommend. Recommended soundtracks - 12 years a slave, Her, Captain Phillips, Heat, Finding Neverland, Elysium, The Visitor, The Spectacular now and Gravity. Sorry for my crappy English.

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Komentarov: 2

fajn prehlad, niektore som videl, ine na mna este cakaju.
ak si este nevidel cesky mini serial horici ker, tak ten ti odporucam.
mas neake tipy na historicke azijske filmy?
23.01.2014 - 15:37
k ceskym/SK veciam sa tu asi tazko dostanem, kedze stahujem vsetko z cinskych webov, nakolko vacsina medzinarodnych filehostingov je extremne pomala/padava (jedina svetla vynimka je asi odkial to ficalo rychlo ale nikto tam neuploaduje) a torrent sa mi tiez nechce riesit (cinski operatori ho vo velkom tiez (port)blokuju, da sa to sice obist zapnutim proksiny pri starte a naslednym vypnutimn a inymi fintami, ale nestoji mi to za to), stale mam na disku aspon 20 filmov na pozretie a skor mi pribudaju nez by ubudali aj ked sa snazim pozerat kazdy (druhy) vecer.

na Horici ker som pocul slusne referencie ale samotna podstata upalenia je maximalne sprosta (nejaky smiesny mierovy protest ci ako to nazyvaju ktory prakticky nikdy nic nezmenil) takze serial ospevujuci blbcov ma nejako nelaka, ak ten chlapec chcel nieco spravit proti komancom mal sa odpalit (nie podpalit) na nejakom ich zjazde ci zachovat tak ako bratia Masinovci ci Gabcik/Kubis, ktori su mi rozhodne sympatickejsi

historicke filmy a obzvlast historicke cinske ma neberu, takze ma bohuzial nic nenapada okrem znamych co pozna kazdy ako Hero, Crouching tiger..., Emperor, Last Samurai, Brotherhood of war (Tae guk ki) atd., ak aj pzoeram zriedkavo cinske filmy tak sa snazim najst nieco zo sucasnosti ci blizkej minulosti, kedze cim hlbsie do min. clovek ide tym je v nich propka zvacsa vacsia

v Cine by si s tym urcite problem nemal nakolko vacsinu vysielania tvori propganda o boji proti Japoncom ci komukolvek inemu v minulosti, len sa preboha nevenovat sucasnosti, ak aj je nejaky serial zo suasnosti tak samozrejme prachata rodina s x bytmi, naslapanymi autami - no proste zivot bezneho Cinana ktory kazdy zije v Pekingu/Shanghai a zaraba aspon 2-3tis EUR
24.01.2014 - 07:18

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