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Curtis Loves Movies [2018] FILM

 

The Predator [2018] * * * *

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Except for being friends with sexual predators, I think Shane Black and I are the same person. Despite the obvious fingerprints of a studio hack job in the editing, this movie truly entertained me from start to finish. My kind of comedy, my kind of action. Hope a director's cut gets released someday.


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Curtis Loves Movies [2018] FILM

 

The Mummy [2017] * *

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From the reviews, I expected a Frankenstein monster of random "Dark Universe" storylines, but it was a pretty straightforward Hollywood popcorn flick. No worse than say "Thor 2" or something. That said, I didn't like it.

Here's a few things I did like:

- Tom Cruise getting smacked down by the evil goddess. That first time when he runs straight at her and she slaps him to the floor! How did they film that?

- The underwater swim chase. Visually kind of cool, like a foot chase but in slow motion. I'm sure Tom Cruise insisted they film it for real so he could break his MI5 breath-holding record.

- The plane crash featured in the trailers. That really is the scene to watch. If more of the movie had been that thrilling, I think they might have had me.


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Curtis Loves Movies [2018] FILM

 

The Gladiator [1986] * * *

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An '80s TV movie directed by Abel Ferrara! Starring Ken Wahl, Nancy Allen, AND Robert Culp!

Are you not entertained?


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Biscoito18 [2018] FILM

 

Mission: Impossible 5 - Rogue Nation [2015] * * * *

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"Rogue Nation" is the perfect follow-up after a huge hit. The plot runs safer, but also more sophisticated and more careful with the details.

Adding Rebecca Ferguson to the cast is the biggest plus of this entry. Her character, Ilsa Faust, is part of a very common type in espionage films and classic noir: the double agent. A sensual femme fatale who blurs the boundaries between enemy and ally.

The big difference here is the elegance and professional stance that Rebecca injects into the character. From her first scene, Ilsa shows to be as confident, resourceful and challenging as Ethan. She's one of the best female spies I've ever seen in films. Extremely classy, with a ballerina posture, a firm voice, and tender eyes. Just gorgeous!

Unlike "Ghost Protocol" where the film reaches its apex in the middle of its duration, "Rogue Nation" continues in an eternal escalation of danger. However, the impact is diluted throughout the film almost homogeneously.

Instead of an excellent action sequence, we have several good action sequences that have equivalent impact but in different ways.

The sequence in the opera is super charming and full of suspense, the motorcycle chase in Morocco is pure adrenaline and reminded me of the excellent chase in "Matrix: Reloaded", and the final sequence is focused on the tension of hand-to-hand confrontation, more intimate and with an excellent knife fight, very well choreographed and filmed.

Unfortunately, the movie suffers from an excess of twists that ease the tension as you get used to trusting that the characters, at the right moment, will pull a rabbit out of their hat and get out of a previously impossible situation. Once or twice is acceptable, but here this trick is used too much.

Moreover, the third act breaks some of the illusion with a series of conveniences that lead to the completion of a plan in an overly perfect way. And the main villain, though good, isn't memorable.

Big hits like "Ghost Protocol" make a franchise famous, but movies like "Rogue Nation" are the ones that give it credibility. The meat between the bones.


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Biscoito18 [2018] FILM

 

Mission: Impossible 6 - Fallout [2018] * * * * *

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What I love most about the "Mission: Impossible" movies is their ability to create a really tense atmosphere where you have the feeling that the goal is always something unreachable. And the person most responsible for transmitting this to the audience is Tom Cruise with his Ethan Hunt, a protagonist made of flesh and bone, who is afraid, who breaks down, who doubts himself, who makes mistakes but gets up and continues on the right path.

In "Fallout", Ethan is more vulnerable than ever, and his "weakness" is reflected in every aspect of the film. From the lighting to the soundtrack, everything is arranged to create an atmosphere of uncertainty from start to finish.

Director Christopher McQuarrie (who again reaffirms that he's one of the best action directors today) moves the pieces carefully, giving weight to each movement of the characters. They're not treated like plastic dolls, and you get the impression that you can feel every beat and every shot. Merit of the excellent editing and sound design.

One of the biggest challenges in this type of film is to keep the illusion that everything can go wrong and that the end may be quite different from what you expected. Of course, most of the time, it's just an illusion and the good guys (almost) always win in the end.

It's this "almost" that you have to keep in the back of the audience's mind for as long as possible. If you can do that, in the end it won't matter if the good guys won or lost, because the adventure will be already carved in the memory of those who watched as if it were an experience lived by themselves.

"Fallout" accomplished it and did so with admirable elegance and lightness.

In addition, the new characters are very good, especially Henry Cavill's August Walker. I got the impression that, after Ethan, he was the character that people liked most. And it's also commendable how the script manages to include so many characters and make room for all of them to shine.

The action sequences are some of the best I've ever seen, especially the long chases (by bike, car and feet) through Paris' streets, an electrifying parachute jump, and the, already famous, excellent bathroom fight. Just fantastic!

As usual in the franchise, the final part is focused on a more intimate tension, but this time they incorporated one of the franchise's most challenging sequences. The ultimate countdown.

With "Mission: Impossible - Fallout", Tom Cruise's main franchise reaches a new level, not only in relation to the excellent action sequences but also in the elegant way in which they develop their story maintaining the illusion until the end. I can't wait to see what they'll do next.


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Isaak von Seggern [2018] FILM

 

Under the Blossoming Cherry Trees [1975] * * * *

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Of all the weird shit I've seen in movies, Shima Iwashita verbally coaxing the decapitated head of a pedophile into licking her nipples is definitely up there.

Did I overrate this?

Absolutely, but I'll never admit to it. The acting is... um... we'll call it...

Alternative.

Others might say it is overacted (even by Japanese New Wave standards), but this is a positive review and thus I will not use such nasty language.

"Under the Blossoming Cherry Trees" is a horror film set in the Edo period from New Wave director Masahiro Shinoda. It follows the tale of a murderer/rapist/thief who kills the husband of an upper-class city woman while they are trekking through what they thought to be uninhabited mountains. Struck by the woman's beauty (but also just as horny as a bee on a busy Tuesday) (?), he takes her surprisingly unforcefully to be his "wife". When they arrive at his cabin dwelling in the woods, she sees that he has many wives, and immediately demands he kill them all.

What ensues is an absolute banger of horrific horror filmmaking (go figure) from one of Japan's most overlooked directors. No one ever talks about Masahiro Shinoda in the same breath as Kurosawa, Suzuki, Ozu, or Imamura, but he absolutely deserves to be. "Himiko" is an easy second in my favorite horror films after "Empire of Passion", and "Ballad of Orin" is one of the saddest and most emotionally draining films I have ever seen. All three star Shima Iwashita, but oh my sweet childlike eyes is she a real fuckin' crack addict in this one.

If "Empire of Passion" (I'm sorry it's literally my only cultural touchstone) is the corruption of wilderness and uncivilized life by modern civilization then "Under the Blossoming Cherry Trees" is the inverse of that. Both involve "lovers" killing for love, but in "Empire of Passion", you can at least kind of sympathize with the main characters.

But these two are just so...

Gross.

When he's not sticking his pee pee in anything that has two eyes and can yell "no", she's licking the decapitated heads of her adversaries, pantomiming their orgasm noises, and playing "house" with them.

I don't really know how to come back from that sentence, so... In conclusion, "Under the Blossoming Cherry Trees" taught me a very valuable lesson today.

People do a lot of dumb shit at their weddings.

They get up there with these elaborate vows. Then they tearfully announce their undying love for each other. Maybe at the reception, they eat cake, but for some reason only ever with the motor skills of a two-year-old.

This is not the point.

The point is at my wedding we're quite literally cutting through the bullshit.

If "Under the Blossoming Cherry Trees" taught me anything, it's that you haven't truly professed your undivided love for someone, until you've cut off the heads of all twelve of your ex-wives with a katana, so that the "light of your life" can pull 'em out on a rainy day to roleplay arguments between them like they're action figures.

I'm just laying down the truths of the good word here folks, and in this case the good word is this movie.

The day "Himiko" and this get Criterion releases is the day I stop watching other movies

Excuse me while I go prepare for the January 20th, 2031 date of my thirteenth marriage, by marrying and then beheading twelve people.


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