While Godzilla has some story and casting issues, the technical filmmaking on display is really high quality stuff, and far more daring than you normally get in a major tentpole movie. Everything from cinematography to editing to general pacing, VFX, audio, music...it's all brilliantly considered.
Simon- That you acknowledge that there is a semblance of a story indicates to me they've come a long way with Godzilla or tentpole movies (by tentpole do you mean B movie types?). I can't help think there are shades of Cloverfield regarding the story in Godzilla. I may have said this before- when someone asks me what Cloverfield is about I tell them it's a love story where the guy is trying to get to the girl and all this incredible stuff happens in between. Although the Brody's are married and have a son in Godzilla, I find the similarities remarkable. The monsters even move eastward as Ford is trying to get back to his family, keeping the human element the focus and the monsters the centerpiece.
I would say the 3 Ds of monster movie making was applied in Godzilla as well. 1. Keep the monster dark 2. Keep the monster dangerous 3. Keep the monster distant with closer, clearer shots of it toward the end. That concept comes from the original King Kong movie.
Sorry about that @StormyKnight - appear to have had a bit of a brain fail then :P In terms of upping your volume and scaring you - I'd like to think it was the cat, personally!
No worries, Kirstie. -and- LOL- my cat, I think, was sleeping on my legs at the time. If he messed with the remote he's in trouble. ;^)
Hi all, new here as of this post. Hope you don't mind me kibbutzing here.
Saw your question StormyKnight The tentpole film term, I believe, refers to a film that a studio puts a lot into in the hopes that it will have great returns much like a tentpole holds the whole tent aloft, or the centerpiece of their film season. Just my take on what I believe it to mean anyway.
Just started playing with Hitfilm after finally getting a system that would run it. I have a lot of catching up to do.
THE HUNGER GAMES: (6/10) ("High Average")
Yeah, it's ok. Perhaps someone else here can answer a couple of questions for me--was there a huge amount af material removed from the book, or did they add a bunch of "expository" material that wasn't in the book? The film just felt disjointed to me--at times I felt like I was wathing two different films tht had been smashed together!Visually: Well, I'm not a fan of shaky-cam, and I'm quite glad that, according to interviews I've read, the director of Part II chose to NOT do shaky-cam. Here's Mike's tip to you indy film-makers out there who are thinking about "shaky-cam," (from someone who makes his living as a camera-op). When a TV, Sports, Event, or Journalistic camera op is shooting we're trying to keep our camera still--we're holding a 5-to-20 pound camera rig and doing everything we can to NOT shake. Now, ANY handheld camera is going to have some movement to it. That's inevitable. But there's a HUGE difference in look between trying to hold a camera steady and taking a big, heavy 30-40 pound film camera rig and shaking it around to try and look like a handheld camera trying to be still. And the "Shaky Cam" (to me) always looks annoyingly fake and "arty." It's similar to an acting note on playing drunk: Inexperienced actors playing drunk try to add wobble and sway to their momements--a real drunk person has movement and sway, but is trying to hold still... It's a subtle difference, but it stands out to me like a sore thumb. End of digression, back to my opinions of the film.
Visually: Well, the costume designers got to have some fun. So did the makeup crew. There were some fun looks for the people in the Capitol. Some of the set designs for interiors were a lot of fun, and that lovely practical mining down they used for District 12 has a lot of character. Exterior CG shots were servicable, but mediocre.
Acting: Maybe it's be, but Jennifer Lawrence seemed wooden to me. usually I really enjoy her performances, but this one wasn't her best work, IMHO. Stanly Tucci was a lot of fun--he seemed to be trying to channel some Steve Carrell. Donald Sutherland could read a phone book and captivate an audience. otherwise--well no one stood out to me.
T'was my fiancee who tossed in Hunger Games last night: My instinct was to go ahead and skip part I and pick up the series with part II. Part one is your origin/exposition sequence to set up the political action of part II, but, honestly, there's nothing in Part I that I NEEDED to see to understand Part II--some of this is probably to do with the story origin as a "Young Adult" novel... There's not a lot of world building going one, there's a minimum of background detail given, choosing to focus on the trials of Katniss and Peeta to set them up for bigger and better things in the next parts of the series, but my old man perspective basically predicted every major plot point ahead of time (Knowing Lawrence and Hutchinson signed up for the whole series made my brain click to "so THAT's how's they'll get out of this" as soon as the berries got introduced.).
So it was ok--I can see where it's target audience would have loved the hell out of it--but from my viewing perspective it wasn't anything special. I do want to watch the rest of the series, since that's where I expect there to be more fleshing out of the world and the characters. I expect I will enjoy Catching Fire much more. :-)
For some reason I thought I'd already seen this film, and was looking for something for background noise while I was doing something else - but I watched this film and instantly became glued to it.
I'm a big fan of the general world-destruction/impending doom movies like Volcano, Twister, The Day After Tomorrow etc. etc. and so this one was right up my street.
I just can't believe the sheer number of VFX shots in this film. Basically everything that could happen, does - volcanoes, tsunamis - the tectonic plates even move by about 1,500 miles moving Wisconsin to somewhere near the north pole, and the whole earth to shift. It's genuinely so intriguing. The only thing that really let it down was the fact that they attempted so much in the film (with VFX that is), that you are able to spot some bad work - at one point while a building was crashing down, a small CGI man was running down the street and he was clearly untextured (his clothes were coloured and everything, but he stuck out like a sore thumb compared to the splintering scene around him). I don't quite know what happened there.
I cried at about 4 different points, and put away everything else I was doing to just concentrate on it. There are a number of things that are unrealistic and a bit silly (Boeing 747 riding a tsunami and hitting the ark they're making to preserve the world anyone?) - but hey, it's a film about the earth boiling from its center and the surface going to pot, so it's not going to stick to what's 'real' necessarily. The acting was great (specifically from the kids) and some of the shots are just spectacular. There was one in particular where they're flying away from California (I think?) and look back to see the entire plate with thousands of houses etc. sliding into the ocean. It makes you go "my god....."If you're a fan of over the top destruction movies that go all out, definitely give this one a watch. It's cheesy and ridiculous, but I loved it
Thanks, tddavis! That certainly makes sense. So they've upgraded Godzilla from a B movie. lol never thought I'd see the day....
@T23- As one who never heard of The Hunger Games before the movie and without frame of reference, I liked it a whole bunch. The initial shock of kids killing kids caught me off guard though, and made the story, to me, that much more tragic. And Woody Harrelson wasn't annoying me. Haven't liked much of his work outside of Cheers.
Excellent point about the shaky cam too. I concur in spades.
@Kirstie- Was that the one where the central characters were escaping on a small plane and two buildings crashed into each other as they passed between? Yup- loved it but over the top indeed.
I laughed out loud when they said the north pole was over Wisconsin. I'm from Racine, WI and I can say- since the movie- we're all pole-ish now.
I'm not sure if anyone mentioned it, but the music from the "air insertion" scene from Godzilla is from Gyorgy Ligeti and is called Requiem. Its the music that Stanley Kubrik used in 2001: A Space Odyssey for the scenes that depict the Monolith.
@Stormy I'll give you that. In my can it probably hampers my appreciation of "Hunger Games," being a huge fan of "Battle Royale"--and while I believe the author of "Hunger Games" when she says she is ignorant of "Battle Royale," there's a certain amount of "been there, seen that," for me--which is why I'm looking forward to "Catching Fire;" I'm hoping to see more of the world outside the game. :-)
@KristieT Hmmmmm.... Maybe I'll need to look at "2012." At the time, Emmerich was trying to pretend it was a "good" movie (read, of artistic merit and deep social commentary), rather than a $100+ Irwin Allen film... Maybe distance will allow me to seperate the producer's failed "seriousness," and enjoy it as the very, very expensive B-movie it is. :-)
@Null Unit--Did you know that Kubrick used Ligeti's music in "2001" without securing permission and clearences? Kubrick got sued over that... Of course, some of the Requiem was also used in "2010" as well as "Godzilla." It's a fantastic bit of music, and I'm amazed it hasn't been overused in the film industry like the "Oh, Fortuna" section of "Carmina Burana."
Yeah, I was happily shocked that that music was used in Godzilla. Its perfect though, since both the Monolith and Godzilla are meant to instill a sense of fear and awe. On a side note, I love how you can hear people shuffling around in the recording. It adds a lot of life that modern recordings dont have.
Yeah, using that music is part of what makes that sequence so stunning, not least because they get away with it. That you're not thinking of 2001 while watching it is testament to the accomplishment.
Back to the tentpole thing - it's also a nice term, because, of course, if the movie fails, the tentpole collapses, and in terms of the giant blockbusters, one or two tentpoles failing can mean the end of the entire studio if you're not careful.
@StormyKnight - it is the one where the plane soars through two buildings colliding together (and drive out of the back of a jet in a car). Epicness.@Triem23 - Do take a look at it If the director was attempting seriousness then he failed on that count, but the soul of the film is still intact, even if you want to watch it as a B movie. In fact, just watch it with low expectations - that way you can be sure it'll exceed them (I'm such an optimist)
2012 stops being fun the moment the dog doesn't die. That was Emmerich's chance to redeem himself after the annoying dog survival in Independence Day, and he wimped out.
@NullUnit- I thought I heard that music before- it sounded familiar. I just watched 2001 (again) a couple months ago. I wasn't aware of that particular piece of music being modern classical. I thought is was written for 2001 and now I wonder why it wasn't covered in my music history class in college. Hmmmmmmm.
@Triem23- Well, don't get your hopes up too high for Catching Fire.....although I enjoyed it and look forward to the next edition, you may not if it's farther away from the story in the books.
@SimonKJones- Well, I can testify I didn't put that piece of music together with both films. I knew I heard it somewhere but couldn't place my finger on it. It's dissonance IS recognizable.
I'd hate to be the producer of a tent pole movie not knowing which way it will turn out. Nerve racking business!
@Kirstie- lol- epicness.
Gone Girl: 9/10
Having read the book this summer, I knew what to expect going in, but I wasn't sure how true to the novel the film would be. Turns out it is almost a 100% direct adaptation, which is a good thing. Having Gillian Flynn write the screenplay was a great choice, and this ended up being just as suspenseful and satisfying as the book, but without all the unnecessary filler. The combination of Fincher's no-nonsense approach, plus the sharp script, unnerving pace, and terrifying soundtrack make for a very worthwhile thriller.
Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike pull off the novel's bizarre, dialectical unreliability wonderfully, and although I was familiar with the story, it still kept me on edge throughout. I think a lot of that had to do with Reznor/Ross' score, which starts out with this saccharine, organic lullaby quality, and slowly progresses into dark, electronic chaos.
I was greatly anticipating this all year, and while in the beginning I wasn't sure what I thought about it, by the end, I was completely enthralled. Boyhood is still my top film of 2014, but I'd say this is a pretty close second. Now bring on Interstellar!
Right, let's get this ball rolling again. (I assume people didn't stop watching movies this month?)
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm 8/10
Gosh, this was good. I'd heard about it every since it came out but had never got round to seeing it. I'd heard people say it was the best Batman film, over any of the live action films, and they've got a point. In just 77 minutes it explores the character of Bruce Wayne in a far more interesting way than any of Burton or Nolan's films.
Hamill's Joker is PROPERLY scary, too. Really impressive stuff.
It does feel a little truncated, is all, and the animation has gorgeous design but is a little simplistic at points.
Generally, though, it's amazing.
Hunger Games: Mockingjay. 7.5/10
I know this one has divided opinion not least of which at work. Four of us have seen it, two loved it, two were less enamoured. I have to say I really enjoyed it. Personally I thought it was the best one of the series so far. A nice balance of action and quieter moments. Much improved performances by the lead younger cast.and generally a more grown up feel to the whole thing.
Yes it was predictable in places which is why it only gets 7.5 as the story could have been better dealt with and the exposition at times felt clumsy to me but overall I enjoyed it.
@SimonKJones boy, I love Mask of the Phantasm! Yeah, it's a tad short (75 min is minimum length for a feature. Once credits are taken into account, MotP is only about 70 min of story), but I love the minor tweaks to the origin and that one pursuit scene shows how scared of Batman tge GCPD is! "Use of deadly force in apprehension of Batman has been authori--BAM BAM VAM BAM BAM!" I mean GCPD is firing before the dispatch is finished! The story of the woman Bruce almost gave up becoming Batman for is well done. I believed Bruce would fall for Andrea... Really a lovely film. And it was nice to see Joker unleashed from TV censorship restrictions to be truly, truly nasty...
Incidentally, MotP was intended as a direct-to-video release. It's budget was only about $5mil, but it was given theatrical release by Warners based on the quality of the story!
BIG HERO 6: 8/10
Gorgeously animated, surprisingly touching, and, overall, a far stronger film than the trailer suggested. The action scenes are exciting, the designs interesting, and the relationships believable. Hiro is likeable, and his Hero's Journey a classic. Baymax is insanely appealing. Any superhero origin film has to try to beat "With great power comes great responsibility," and Big Hero 6 gives a good try with a simple "Somebody has to help."
As Above/So Below- 3/10
Done in the style of Blair Witch and Cloverfield only not much substance to the story and no real resolution at the end. A lot of camera shake and brief glimpses of things that are supposed to scare the characters but with so much camera shake you can barely see what it was that scared them. Overall, I had to ask myself- "What was the point?"
Is it just me or has the novelty of characters with cameras filming things worn off? I see more and more movies done in this style and if not done right it takes away from the art of making a movie. It also appears a little lazy on the part of the director to strap a camera to an actor and tell them to run over here and then over there.
Earth to Echo- 7/10
Another character carrying camera movie. I found myself comparing parts of this one to E.T. This movie is definitely aimed at kids. The camera shots are done much better than As Above/So Below and would say it's worth a viewing for the FX which were done quite well. Oh, and fast forward over the credits at the end and there's an extra scene - possibly for a sequel?
Into the Storm- 6/10
A typical disaster movie that looks like a reboot of "Twister" only without the cow. MOOOO!!!!!! The effects are solid and there's a really nice scene of one guy getting sucked up through the vortex to the top. Naturally, what goes up must come down. Set in a small town one has to wonder where the major airport came from. lol
The Babadook- 5/10
The trailer that Kirstie posted was much more intriguing than the movie itself. While it had its moments that kept me wondering what would happen next, the tension/resolution ending was extremely weak.
The main character, a sleep deprived, widowed mom with a problem child, actually just yelled at the Babadook to stop it's advance. "This is my house and you are trespassing!"- really? Then she and her son learned to live with it which I admit was creepy but not really worth the price of admission- $10 on pay-per-view. Disappointing.
The Giver- 10/10
This movie really spoke to me as history has been a passion of mine since I was a kid. With numerous twists and turns, we follow 18 year old Jonas as he learns the truth about the seemingly perfect society in which he was raised.
The use of black and white and color was a stroke of pure genious regarding how the story is told. Can't explain it without revealing too much but hey- you gotta see this movie!
My favorite movie recently is Guardians of the Galaxy, and Groot the tree man is so cute.
@Triem23 the Joker in MotP was truly remarkable. Having missed most of the animated series in the 90s, my main encounter with Hammill's Joker is via his superb performances in the Batman Arkham computer games. Seeing the animated version was a real treat, and he was easily as disturbing as Heath Ledger's portrayal.
@SimonKJones now check out Batman Beyond:Return of the Joker (Uncut Edition), in which Mark Hammil's Joker does the most FUBAR thing I have ever seen done to any incarnation of Robin! That film contains lines you really don't want to hear coming from Joker's lips. Really, just a solid flick, and a really fun soundtrack combining the industrial sound of Terry's world and the full orchestra of Bruce's.
@StormyKnight - bummed to hear that the Babadook was a bit crap. The trailer looked so promising!The Hobbit: Battle of the 5 armies 6/10
I thought I would be giving this higher, and it's worth mentioning that my friend gave it a 10/10 and said it was the best movie she'd ever seen. So there's that. I did enjoy it, but as the final film in a franchise that I really enjoy, it was disappointing for the pure reason that it was nothing BUT entertaining. It didn't make me think, didn't make me excited or even sad - it just kind of kept my attention just enough. The sweeping shots were beautiful as always and the one-on-one fight scenes were cool but there were some pretty gigantic holes in the plot (not just in terms of things that didn't make sense or weren't 'plausible' but generally in terms of developing and introducing characters), and I did spot one appalling instance of keying which baffled me.Don't even get me started on general portrayal and mix of characters. I cry at pretty much anything, but couldn't summon any real feelings for any of these.If you're looking for something to gaze at in awe because of the beautiful shots and CG brilliance, then by all means go and see the Hobbit.But if you're looking for a bit of heart, then best to skip it instead.
Bronson: Englands most notorious criminal. 10/10 I had seen Tom Hardy in a couple of other movies previously. From those I would never had guessed the guy might really be able to act. His performance in the film is errily compelling, semi-disturbing, yet much like a car crash on the highway, you just have to look/watch.
His monologues/soliloquys show his chops, demand your attention, rivet your eye to the screen, entertain, delight, and distrub all at once.
My kind if movie....
emma24xia - Especially when Groot skewers the guards and slams them back and forth. That smile he gave is priceless.
Guardians of the Galaxy- 10/10
Never thought I'd like the idea of a talking raccoon but they pulled it off so well.
KirstieT - Sorry if I spoiled the illusion. Guess The Babadook's trailer did it's job getting me to watch it. Just wish it was regular price on pay-per-view 'cause it wasn't worth $10.
I'll be catching Battle of 5 Armies when that gets to pay-per-view given your review. To not stir any emotion certainly is unusual for any movie especially a blockbuster. If you get a chance to see The Giver let me know what you think. That one had me on an emotional rollercoaster but keep in mind- I might be overly sensitive since I cry at movies like E.T. and It's a Wonderful Life. ;^)
I presume we won't be reviewing "The Interview"?
No, but 10/10 for "Team America: World Police" (funniest film of the last decade) and a middle finger to Paramount for pulling TA:WP from circulation.
Stargazer54 - LOL. It's not something I would watch anyway but I think Sony was stupid for backing down. George Clooney tried to turn the tables with a petition but no one would sign it. Guess Hollywood can only portray heros and doesn't actually have any.
Triem23 - Why did Paramount pull it from circulation? Too American?.....which seems to be a trend these days under the current administration. I actually found myself agreeing with Obama today on the Sony thing. Politics does make strange bedfellows!
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