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  #31531  
Old 08-04-2017, 03:46 PM
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Indirectly insulting "A Winter's Tale"??? But
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  #31532  
Old 08-04-2017, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Kairu View Post
Faced with the daunting task of apadting 8 books worth of material into a coherent feature film The Dark Tower ends up a very messy film that likely won't find much of an audience among either King fans or the casual movie-goer.
I'm a casual fan, not a diehard King expert, and I thought the movie was *okay.* Idris Elba was great, he was really badass and it was quite fun watching him outfight and outshoot all the demons and drones the bad guys sent at him. I'm also a big fan of Claudia Kim, even though she seemed to have only a small part T_T If the only thing I'd been looking for was an hour and a half of gunslinging action, I could have spent my money worse.

Alas, the thing is, I'd been looking for something a little more distinctive. Again, I haven't read The Dark Tower, but even I know how much of a sprawling epic it is. Thus, I'd hoped they'd manage to capture even a little bit of the feeling, just a tiny bit, in what little time they had, but...nothin. There's really nothing that makes this a Dark Tower movie, or even a Stephen King movie. They could have just titled it "Idris Elba and a Kid Sidekick versus Leaning RomCom Guy at the OK Corral" and it would have been just as accurate. Heck, I think the goons who attacked the village at around the midpoint of the movie were straight-up using the exact same costumes as the Orcs from Lord of the Rings. There's very little original in this movie, very little that makes you think you're watching anything other than a generic fantasy (with tinges of scifi) action flick. That's not so bad--there are worse things to be than generic--but still kinda disappointing.
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  #31533  
Old 08-04-2017, 04:43 PM
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After sleeping on it I've been trying to decide how best to describe what the film actually is... It's certainly not a direct adaption of any of the books; but they do pick out various scenes from a number of books and adapt them for use in the movie with mixed success.

For example, the scene from the The Drawing of The Three (and forgive me if I'm not remembering this 100% correctly, it's been 10+ years since I read it) where Eddie brings back a hot dog, Pepsi, and medicine to give to Roland is *kind of* in there... expect since Eddie isn't in the movie, it's Jake that gives him a soda and medicine which results in a discussion about 'sugar'. And instead of being in Mid-world recovering from being attacked by some lobster monsters Roland and Jake have just left a hospital in New York City where Roland was treated for a wound and are now riding a bus. Then in the film's epilogue as Roland is saying goodbye to Jake (before deciding to invite him along in the end), Jake feeds him a hot dog which Roland reacts to in disgust similar to what I can recall of his inner monologue in the book at the thought of eating a 'dog'.

Another issue I have is that for all intents and purposes Jake is the main character of the film and has by a large margin the most screen time of any of the characters. Roland is almost a secondary character, the grizzled veteran mentor to our young 'gifted' protagonist upon which the future of world (i.e. The Dark Tower) rests. I saw discussion elsewhere that pointed out you could probably tone down the violence just a bit and then pitch the movie as one of those Young Adult novel adaptations that were all the rage in the wake of The Hunger Games films.
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  #31534  
Old 08-04-2017, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Vendrick View Post
There's really nothing that makes this a Dark Tower movie, or even a Stephen King movie. They could have just titled it "Idris Elba and a Kid Sidekick versus Leaning RomCom Guy at the OK Corral" and it would have been just as accurate. Heck, I think the goons who attacked the village at around the midpoint of the movie were straight-up using the exact same costumes as the Orcs from Lord of the Rings.
That...wouldn't be all that unusual at all for the series, actually.

Oh, and I saw a bit of a user review on metacritic and now I'm...slightly less confused...

Quote:
The first thing to understand about the film is that it is not an adaption of The Dark Tower in its entirety, or any of the component books in part. Instead, it is a continuation of the story from the point at which Roland walks out of the Tower in Book 7. True fans looking for a continuation of the story might be rewarded. The rest of the world may be left scratching its collective head.
Hm.
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  #31535  
Old 08-04-2017, 07:39 PM
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I wonder how true that is, that the story is continuation or the wheel resetting itself, but it wouldn't surprise me. In a way, it has a kind of crafty in-universe logic that still feels like cheating here.
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  #31536  
Old 08-04-2017, 08:24 PM
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Dunkirk! Great stuff!
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  #31537  
Old 08-05-2017, 03:08 AM
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Hey everybody, remember Monsters? The weird thing that was ostensibly about people having to flee from weird gas-station-humping space squids, but really just sorta focused on two people on a road trip? And then the director did a pretty OK Godzilla? I don't think anyone had a higher opinion of it than "eh, it was OK I guess" but the world was one with some interesting potential to revisit, right?

That's the bait that was used to get me to watch Monsters: Dark Continent. The switch is that this is actually someone's war-is-hell movie about U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan with some CGI squid-elephants scribbled in the background.

The squid-elephants are standing in for al Quaeda and/or ISIS, and are portrayed way more sympathetically than the insurgent humans upset about their homes being bombed to try and kill them.

Also here is a preemptive glare at anyone who wants to try and counter that with "but by the end it humanizes the locals!" because I think we've already had the plot twists don't change the imagery you've used up to then conversation plenty in here.
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  #31538  
Old 08-06-2017, 10:54 AM
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I wrote about Tarkovsky's film Stalker for Tor.com.

Short version: A brilliant film I am unlikely to recommend to people whose taste I do not know well.
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  #31539  
Old 08-06-2017, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by keele864 View Post
I wrote about Tarkovsky's film Stalker for Tor.com.

Short version: A brilliant film I am unlikely to recommend to people whose taste I do not know well.
That was a very good read!

Personally, as an atheist/materialist it is a pleasure to watch Stalker and to have contact with a worldview that is very different than mine. It is a very emotional thing. Part of the movie is about the disenchantment of the world and all of that, i think.

It is also the the only movie i fell asleep watching.
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  #31540  
Old 08-06-2017, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Kairu View Post
For example, the scene from the The Drawing of The Three (and forgive me if I'm not remembering this 100% correctly, it's been 10+ years since I read it) where Eddie brings back a hot dog, Pepsi, and medicine to give to Roland is *kind of* in there...
Is it weird that this is basically the only thing I remember from when I read half of Drawing of the Three probably more than a decade ago?
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  #31541  
Old 08-06-2017, 12:52 PM
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In fairness, it is one of the more memorable scenes in the whole series.

Also; how do you pronounce Deschain and Gilead? If nothing else, I'd like for the movie to settle that internal debate I've had with myself over that for over a decade.
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  #31542  
Old 08-06-2017, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Octopus Prime View Post
In fairness, it is one of the more memorable scenes in the whole series.

Also; how do you pronounce Deschain and Gilead? If nothing else, I'd like for the movie to settle that internal debate I've had with myself over that for over a decade.
Gilly Add
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  #31543  
Old 08-06-2017, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Octopus Prime View Post
In fairness, it is one of the more memorable scenes in the whole series.

Also; how do you pronounce Deschain and Gilead? If nothing else, I'd like for the movie to settle that internal debate I've had with myself over that for over a decade.
"Dess-shane" and "Gil-ee-ud". (Gilead is a Biblical reference.)



So the movie was not terrible, so that's something. In fact, there were flashes of brilliance but that's all they were: flashes. The visuals were not consistent with my headcanon version of Mid-World but I can't fault them. It was a believable place. And the big gunfight - you knew there would be one - is fairly well done and shows how preternatural Roland is in combat.

Some other thoughts while the movie is fresh in my mind:


Personal gripes? The movie is far too fast-paced. There is no breathing room here, no time for the audience to suss things out. The movie also doesn't know if it wants to be about Roland or about Jake. (Jake is important to the story in the books but there is no story without Roland.) The movie also takes liberties with Roland's motivations for finding the Man In Black, and except for one throwaway line, there's no mention of ka or the wheel. Idris Elba is a believable Roland but he is far less gruff than the Roland of the books. The movie Roland mostly just looks bored. Walter O'Dim (The Man In Black) is passable if not great, a little too cute for my blood.

They make heavy references not only to King's other work but also to the Tower books themselves. Walter uses the Bends of the Rainbow at some point. (These are basically palantirs for those familiar with LOTR.) Roland mentions how bullets are precious in Mid-World. The number 19 has a direct usage in the film, as does 1408, which is a King short story. You see a picture of the Overlook Hotel, and the remains of a long-dead circus with the word "Pennywise" featured prominently. There's a direct reference to the Crimson King in the form of graffiti, but the movie never talks about him/it at all beyond that. There is no Eddie or Sussanah, and certainly no Oy. (There is a short part with a talking raccoon that's an obvious reference.)

In more than a few ways, The Dark Tower reminds me of Ghost In The Shell. Entertaining, fun to watch, popcorn movie that is largely forgettable. It is not a bad movie but it is a middling kind of movie, the type of thing you watch on a lazy Sunday afternoon once it hits HBO.

Fans of the books won't find much here to hold on to and I can see where people who haven't read the books would be lost in several scenes, and they certainly wouldn't understand the references.

But the pacing is the biggest disappointment. Too much information, too fast, and not necessarily useful information. Things happen because other things have to happen to hit certain markers on the trail, sort of speak. You can see the plotting a mile away.

I have to wonder what the unedited footage looks like. Not enough to save it, I don't think, but there's a good movie hiding in there somewhere. It's damn frustrating.

Here's hoping that It will be better.
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  #31544  
Old 08-06-2017, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by kurumin View Post
That was a very good read!

Personally, as an atheist/materialist it is a pleasure to watch Stalker and to have contact with a worldview that is very different than mine. It is a very emotional thing. Part of the movie is about the disenchantment of the world and all of that, i think.

It is also the the only movie i fell asleep watching.
Thanks!

I started the movie a little late at night and had to finish it in the morning. I then went out and bought a copy of Ivan's Childhood.
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  #31545  
Old 08-06-2017, 04:35 PM
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Looks like I was wrong on both!

Duh-shane and Gill-leed, respectively
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  #31546  
Old 08-06-2017, 04:37 PM
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Gonna see Dunkirk tomorrow. Will report back.
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  #31547  
Old 08-06-2017, 05:34 PM
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The Truman Show is one of those movies I'd always meant to watch and now I've successfully watched it!. First half of the movie was a lot stronger (more so if you, somehow, manage to go into it blind) where it's obvious that there's something odd about Trumans life, and it's pretty clear what, but they just leave enough hints to let you piece it together yourself. Then the back half of the movie comes on and it lays everything out and a lot of the fun and mystery of the movie disappears completely.

Also, kind of a big plot convenience that, after thirty years of never breaking kayfabe this one week has so many things go wrong on set that Truman finally figures out what's happening.
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  #31548  
Old 08-07-2017, 10:05 AM
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I saw The Dark Tower. I didn't get as much out of it as I am sure I would when I was a fan of the books. (fun fact: after reading The Dark Tower I decided to not read anymore Stephen King and I haven't) It wasn't the disaster that some reviews lead me to believe it would be, but it wasn't very good either. It just sort of ... is. It exists. Idris Elba is awesome, because it takes a ton of work to make him not awesome. Too bad Jake is the main character instead of Roland. The big gunfight was satisfying enough, giving me that Matrix but with cowboys fight I've always kind of wanted. The rest rushes through everything so fast that is has no meaning.
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  #31549  
Old 08-07-2017, 10:50 AM
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Planet of Dinosaurs (1977) was one of the best thrift store VHS finds I've ever had. It's one of those Goodtimes releases from the 1990s, with amateur hour artwork on the sleeve and a boilerplate description on the back that doesn't even say when the movie was made, mentioning only something about stop-motion effects. So I had no idea what I was in for.

The plot is: a spaceship's reactors malfunction and it warps to the surface of a prehistoric planet (maybe ancient Earth? it's never resolved). Silliness ensues.

Basically, they took a bunch of desperate actors to the Moab desert, dressed them in polyester jumpsuits, and filmed them walking around and arguing. Then they composited dinosaurs on top of the footage. The effects are actually fantastic - lots of clever use of scale and composites, and of course all the dinos are of the tail-dragging retrosaur sort to add to the outdated charm.

The characters fit into your typical 70s sci-fi archetypes, and you can generally predict which ones are going to be dino food. Oh and there's a truly bizarre synthesizer score.

I looked up the head animator of the movie and wasn't too surprised to find that he went on to work on stuff like Evil Dead 2, Alien, The Empire Strikes Back, and Terminator.

Apparently there's a RiffTrax for it, but it's a very watchable bad movie even without riffing. And hey, the whole thing's up on YouTube:

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  #31550  
Old 08-07-2017, 11:17 AM
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VROOMATHON nears its dramatic conclusion with Furious 7.

Here's a short review and summary;

AHAHAHAHAHAHA! YES! YESSSSSSS!

The whole series has been getting progressively more absurd as it went along and this... this has to be the limit, right? This movie is a big budget, two-hour long theatrical cut of Kung Fury.

This is a live action cartoon about PUNCHES AND CARS

Jason Statham is the even worse brother of the Evil Vin Diesel from the last movie and he wants revenge. What this means is that he constantly pops up out of nowhere at random through the movie trying to murder everyone like he's friggin' Nemesis. I was kind of hoping there was an option on the DVD that inserts him into different scenes through the movie at random, like the ending to Clue.

And, because random attacks on The Car Boys by what is basically the Terminator wasn't felt to be enough for a two hour long car chase and explosion movie (strongly disagree), it suddenly becomes a spy-thriller midway through where Kurt friggin' Russell shows up as he needs the skill only afforded to stunt drivers in order to get a macguffin out of the hands of... some bad guy. The Bad Guys motives were ever explained. I don't think his name was ever even mentioned. But he's Bad and there's a Macguffin, so Kurt Russell needs Vin Diesels crew to be spies to explode him now!

But the Car Boys have problems too! Michelle Rodriguez still has PTSD from the time she was shot and exploded and died, but actually only has amnesia and so she quits the gang. But then she rejoins, like, five minutes later off camera, so... problem solved. Tyrese Gibson is insulted that he's become the teams comic relief instead of the teams Cool Guy but everyone likes him better this way that's fine. And Han finally died off camera in Tokyo, thus setting the chronological anomaly that is his character arc to right once again. And PALWALK is happily married and misses being in constant peril. But then he realizes he loves his family slightly more than deadly peril so thats okay. And then he gets an unexpectedly touching tribute at the end since he also died IRL.

And as for Vin? Well... he gets so mad at Jason Statham that he brings not one, but two pipe wrenches to his final fight against him. Wrench-fights being the indicator by which DIESEL FURY is considered to be at its maximum.

And The Rock is beaten up severely, exploded, and thrown off the top of a building and only broke his arm. Later, he flexes so hard that his arm heals and the cast on it literally explodes. Which I thought was a joke when someone told me about it.

The worst thing I can say about the movie is that Vin almost says "This time it's not about being fast... it's about being Furious", but he doesn't. It's like preparing to sneeze but failing to.


I give the movie a million stars out of a possible 4 and am resigned to the fact that F8 can't possibly live up to this hurricane of beautiful nonsense.
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  #31551  
Old 08-07-2017, 06:50 PM
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Double post, but I forgot something important;

When Jason Statham sees that Vin Diesel has two wrenches he pulls the windshield wipers off his own car and they proceed to have a choreographed duelling comparable to the Star Wars prequels.

The movie is perfect.
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  #31552  
Old 08-07-2017, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Octopus Prime View Post
The Truman Show is one of those movies I'd always meant to watch and now I've successfully watched it!. First half of the movie was a lot stronger (more so if you, somehow, manage to go into it blind) where it's obvious that there's something odd about Trumans life, and it's pretty clear what, but they just leave enough hints to let you piece it together yourself.
I saw the movie blind when it came out. I was ten years old and my mind was blown. Great movie.

(The same director also did Master and Commander, which is another fine film, and Picnic at Hanging Rock, one of my top five favorite films of all time.)
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  #31553  
Old 08-07-2017, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Octopus Prime View Post
Double post, but I forgot something important;

When Jason Statham sees that Vin Diesel has two wrenches he pulls the windshield wipers off his own car and they proceed to have a choreographed duelling comparable to the Star Wars prequels.

The movie is perfect.
And The Rock throws an ambulance at a drone. He lives through it.

Then he kills it execution-style and steals its vulcan cannon.


Thassright. The Rock became Rockman.
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  #31554  
Old 08-07-2017, 10:22 PM
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Furious 7 is jammed packed with so much nonsense it is hard to not love it at least a little. Even the little details are amazing. I will never stop being impressed by Kurt Russell's night-vision sunglasses.
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Old 08-07-2017, 10:41 PM
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I saw the movie blind when it came out. I was ten years old and my mind was blown. Great movie.

(The same director also did Master and Commander, which is another fine film, and Picnic at Hanging Rock, one of my top five favorite films of all time.)
I have a list of films I've never seen but look like something I'd like based on a brief synopsis I've read, and Picnic at Hanging Rock is one of them.

I'm going to have to start tracking down these movies eventually.
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Old 08-08-2017, 09:24 AM
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For a light, fun time*, see Detroit!




*This is a lie. It's good though.
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Old 08-08-2017, 10:11 AM
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For a light, fun movie about Detroit, watch Robocop!

Hollywood has you covered no matter what your opinions are regarding the motor city!
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Old 08-08-2017, 12:41 PM
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Dunkirk is a film about people getting blown up. Therefore I'm hesitant to say that I liked it, in spite that I did.

The multiple timelines thing kind of worked, but also backfired. I went with my family to see it and none of them had any idea what was going on (they may have had a hard time with the accents too, in those brief moments when speaking did occur) and at the end it was clear their feelings were mixed. I admit it was hard to follow unless you were really focusing. I loved the attempt, because it really ratcheted up tension by extending moments of drama and white-knuckling that probably were scattered over the course of the week, and wove them all into a solid 90 minute thriller.

Best part of the film? Probably the opening. I thought it was perfect.
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  #31559  
Old 08-08-2017, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by four-so View Post
I have a list of films I've never seen but look like something I'd like based on a brief synopsis I've read, and Picnic at Hanging Rock is one of them.

I'm going to have to start tracking down these movies eventually.
Peter Weir is one of the best directors of all time in terms of giving you just enough context to understand what is happening without spelling anything out for you. Ozploitation gave us some damn fine directors.
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Old 08-09-2017, 12:44 PM
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Atomic Blonde was an enormous fucking disappointment. My tl;dr is to basically read what Conchobhar said but I'll put it down with some extra vitriol.

Badger nailed it when he described it as going through the motions of Le Carre (including getting Toby Jones to add some spycraft gravitas) without actually being like Le Carre. The central plot is a bland, joyless affair where the lead character has zero trace of charisma, relying instead on disaffected cool that makes it near-impossible to care about what happens to her or anyone else. It's complete tonal whiplash between the spy parts and the action parts. Theron was a huge let-down, while McAvoy was okay, but in the wrong movie. The one bright point for me was Bill Skarsgård's character, who was immediately interesting and made every single scene he was in resonant and relatable. My favorite moment in the film was a single facial expression in his final scene.

The music drove me absolutely fucking up the wall. It's fine to use it as set dressing to say "HEY WE'RE IN THE 80'S YOU LIKE THE 80'S RIGHT?" but it flattened the action scenes, and most of the songs were too on-the-nose, almost preciously so. It's hard not to groan when a scene about keeping secrets is scored with a song with the lyrics "Hush hush, keep it down now, voices carry." And of course the underground drug/sex protest party is scored with Fight The Power. I initially liked the way most of the songs existed within the world as well as on the soundtrack, but it got old and kind of tortured after the first few times.

The worst part of it for me is that the film didn't even have the guts to ultimately be consistent with this. There are two covers (Blue Monday and 99 Luftballoons) that decidedly don't exist in the world, but their inclusion seemingly isn't motivated by any plot, scenery, action, or mood. I can't imagine any reason why these two songs were included other than some corporate synergy mandate. The original score to the film was pretty good, with a modern electronic sound that was a nice callback to 80's synth while being its own thing (the instrumentation reminded me of Portal 2, of all things).

I can't even remember what song went over the rope fight, but it completely ruined that scene for me. The amazing long-take staircase fight was the one time when there was no music, and it was absolutely fucking sublime. The sin was when they tried to do the same thing in the very next scene with a long-take driving scene, which took some of the impact away from the indoor fight (also since the car had a radio, of course there was music in this one).

The final twist is one of the stupidest things I can imagine, and the answer to the big question in the film was heavily clued in very early on. I spent the last half of the movie trying to figure out how anything of the plot would make sense with that answer, and it really didn't. Once the rug is pulled out from under the plot, it turns out that several characters made some stupid choices that lead to stupid, nonsensical results.

Not having read it, I can guarantee that the original comic has the turtleneck ninja mask thing because in the movie, it made no sense and didn't accomplish anything.

Ultimately, it wasn't at all what I was expecting from the trailer:

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They should have just made John Wick starring Theron.
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