The Films of 2018

Discussions of specific films and franchises.
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Mr Sheldrake
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Re: The Films of 2018

#76 Post by Mr Sheldrake » Wed Oct 24, 2018 4:59 pm

The Happy Prince
Rupert Everett has designed a dirge, replete with dark cinematography, and scene after scene of Oscar Wilde at his most pathetic. He covers his final two years, after his release from prison with only brief glimpses of what he once was. The movie could have used more than glimpses to yield some perspective to his fall, and relieve the relentless gloom. It's a dream project for Everett and one can sense the depth with which he identifies, but only Colin Morgan as Bosie contributes necessary energy to the piece, despite some admirable actors on the fringes.

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domino harvey
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Re: The Films of 2018

#77 Post by domino harvey » Fri Oct 26, 2018 2:43 am

One look at our Dynamic Top Tens thread shows this is a year when music videos have threatened features for our affections, and now I get to play after stumbling upon the video for Lele Pons’ “Celoso.” I probably watched this a half dozen times in a row on YouTube after I first saw it, and then I downloaded the video so I could watch it another million times in a row on my TV. Like any great musical number from a film, a catchy song only helps invite repeat viewings, and Pons has that covered. From what I gather, Pons is best known for being a YouTube vlogger, but obviously the savvy needed to attract and maintain an audience has carried over into commissioning a smart video to accompany her song, as this vid has already amassed a staggering 120 million-plus views in only two months. And it’s obvious why, as it is in its fashion a perfect three minutes and thirty seconds and presents as good a musical number as I’ve ever seen.

Director Rudy Mancuso, who also edited the video, wisely ignores the actual narrative of a song that as far as I can tell from the translation is just about dancing with some dude when you’re out with your boyfriend, and instead gives us several years of career ascension in the service industry visually coded and relayed via one fast-moving and rhythmic take (though despite some well-done seams there are at least five separate shots by my count). We watch Pons go from one color coded environ to another, using the same small space of a restaurant and transforming it with each passing job title and color shift into a new representation of the same basic space. The effect is simple, elegant, and impressive in its confidence and skill.

The video begs the question that surely many of us who care about the Hollywood musical tradition of the studio era are always asking: Why are clearly talented minds stuck creating such vibrant expressions of visual wit and intelligent usage of Freed Unit-level approaches only in miniature? I don’t know anything about Rudy Mancuso apart from gathering that he’s also a YouTuber. But based on what he does with very little money here, give this guy $5 million to make a feature length musical and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gave us back a masterpiece. Why do full length feature musicals never look like this anymore unless they're directed by Damien Chazelle and called La La Land? Unlike that film, though, this video shows exactly how to use the techniques and approaches of the studio era musicals and update them for modern audiences. Wouldn’t/shouldn’t some producer somewhere see the popularity of this video and take a chance? Well, I don’t have the checkbook to make it happen, but I can at least point out that this is easily one of my favorite films of the year so far.

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The Films of 2018

#78 Post by hanshotfirst1138 » Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:22 pm

flyonthewall2983 wrote:I really liked Predator 2 watching it again recently, putting a monster-movie spin on the kind of action-crime stuff Joel Silver had made his stock and trade up to that point.
I don’t think Predator 2 is a very good film (Hopkins has none of McTiernan’s sense or suspense, style, or craft), but I don’t think it get enough credit for doing something new. It’s not “more monsters in the jungle,” it actually gives things a new setting.

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Re: The Films of 2018

#79 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Sat Nov 10, 2018 5:42 pm

Upon reflection there are a few major fails that belies my original statement for sure. The third act stumbles a bit, and some of the over-acting is grating (though not from Gary Busey, who's woefully underused). The one major improvement over the original is Alan Silvestri's music, between the two you can tell he had a way bigger budget for the sequel.

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domino harvey
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Re: The Films of 2018

#80 Post by domino harvey » Thu Nov 15, 2018 1:17 pm

I don't know that there's ever been a movie I want to see less than Instant Family. Can trailers and commercials for this collectively count as the worst film of the year?

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Brian C
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Re: The Films of 2018

#81 Post by Brian C » Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:20 pm

Yeah it looks ghastly for sure. Rose Byrne is someone that I find people tend to like, but her appeal escapes me almost entirely.

Plus, of course, everything else about it makes everyone involved look like terrible people.

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Big Ben
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Re: The Films of 2018

#82 Post by Big Ben » Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:33 pm

Persona wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:18 am
Gareth Evans' Apostle is the kind of movie you could probably nit-pick to death but I was really drawn into the world created here, Dan Stevens was magnetic as the protagonist, and there's such an incredible verve to how they shot and edited this film (and the music and sound design were also fantastic). There's a very cool unfolding mystery thriller vibe to the first half of the movie or so and then towards the end it goes folk horror beast mode. Messy but dope.
Yeah this was a weird one. The trailer sells it as this really graphic horror film (Most of the violence is off screen but that trailer does not give this impression.) when it's more of a folk thriller in the vein of The Wicker Man. It's a rare form of something that's worth two hours of your time if you're down for something utterly off kilter and and in a subgenre that doesn't have many entries in it.

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Slaphappy
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Re: The Films of 2018

#83 Post by Slaphappy » Tue Nov 20, 2018 4:45 pm

Has anyone seen The Wind by Emma Tammi? Based on IMDB summary, this is a copy of Victor Sjöström’s The Wind (1928) or maybe a remake of the book by Dorthy Scarborough, but neither are credited. There’s a screening tomorrow and I was wondering this could be worth seeing.

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barryconvex
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Re: The Films of 2018

#84 Post by barryconvex » Sat Dec 01, 2018 6:00 pm

Ralph Breaks The Internet (AKA Ralph Stalks Vanellope)
Reminiscent of a 7th grade afternoon i once spent with a friend who kept asking "are you mad at me?"

Mandy
If your movie sucks try bathing everything in red light. I know Cosmatos has a great movie in him and i'm an admirer of ...Black Rainbow but Mandy is a giant step backward. I like to think i'm pretty forgiving of movies that just don't work but these two pieces of shit have reduced me to name calling and low level snark. I'm going to sign off now and retreat to the Bergman box...

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domino harvey
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Re: The Films of 2018

#85 Post by domino harvey » Sat Dec 01, 2018 6:01 pm

Both of those movies have dedicated threads, please use this thread for discussion of movies without dedicated threads

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DarkImbecile
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Re: The Films of 2018

#86 Post by DarkImbecile » Wed Dec 05, 2018 4:45 am

THR: Belgium's Foreign-Language Oscar Submission, 'Girl,' Is a Danger to the Transgender Community (Guest Column) (Spoilers)

I haven’t been able to see Girl yet, but I’ve only heard positive things so far; I’d be curious if anyone here who has seen it can react to this?

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Big Ben
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Re: The Films of 2018

#87 Post by Big Ben » Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:31 am

DarkImbecile wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 4:45 am
THR: Belgium's Foreign-Language Oscar Submission, 'Girl,' Is a Danger to the Transgender Community (Guest Column) (Spoilers)

I haven’t been able to see Girl yet, but I’ve only heard positive things so far; I’d be curious if anyone here who has seen it can react to this?
Mental health is a serious issue in the trans community so the utmost care should be taken when portraying these issues (I'm new to this so hold on.). If I recall correctly a little over forty percent of trans youth will attempt suicide at some point and given the lack of public knowledge about said issues coupled with world that is quite often openly hostile to them I'm not at all shocked that the rate is unfortunately that high. When it comes to these issues I usually defer to someone more knowledgeable about the situation and the person who wrote this is clearly more knowledgeable about the subject than I am and I feel that that entitles them to speak about it. That article doesn't just read as an artistic criticism to me, it reads like someone genuinely expressing concern about something that's of very serious concern to the community. And for those who may think me a tad ostentatious that show 13 Reasons Why may very well have contributed to an increase in the possibility in teen suicide I think it's something that people should look at with a more critical eye. I can only speak for myself but I think it's important to have someone who is knowledgeable about this speak about it. I was under the impression that this was just a drama about trans youth but it appears to more than that. If it's not portraying these issues in a positive manner I certainly think it would be better to defer to someone who is trans.

A lot of films come and go without much gusto and that's fine but when a film about trans folks comes along I think it would behoove us to listen their reactions about it rather than dismiss it simply because films like this aren't made very often. I think we'll likely be seeing more and more criticism about this as the film rolls into release and it may very get justifiably heated.

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Mr Sheldrake
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Re: The Films of 2018

#88 Post by Mr Sheldrake » Tue Dec 11, 2018 9:08 am

The Seagull

My favorite Chekhov with a killer cast I'd travel many miles to see on stage. Stephen Karam (or the editor) trims too much, the famous silences are absent, the film moves along at a much too fast a pace. With no languidness Chekhov seems too simple. Annie Baker, in her own work a near master of extended silences, drew Uncle Vanya to a halt at times, more to the good in her terrific adaptation. Of course that might be difficult to accomplish in cinema.

Then there's the question of playing comically or tragically. Chekhov allegedly preferred the comic mode, this film captures neither. Still worth a look to see and hear these great actors and imagine the effect they would have in live performance.

At Eternity's Gate

The movie is at its best when following van Gogh hiking through the landscapes of Arles, watching his imagination devour what he sees, and then furiously putting it down on canvas. Dafoe is 25 years too old, and sometimes it shows, but he captures the mania of the artistic process and how near his genius resided to insanity.

But Schnabel otherwise makes curious choices, the camera jiggles constantly, his best dialogue scenes marred by crosscutting between giant closeups. There's not a sunflower in sight except for an endless field of dead ones. His fantasias are mostly effective especially the sight of the Master in his coffin surrounded by all his work being perused by interested buyers. I was reminded of the title of the Welles documentary -they'll love me when I'm dead.

.

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mfunk9786
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Re: The Films of 2018

#89 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Dec 11, 2018 11:59 am

Can I make a mod suggestion for these threads moving forward? Does anyone see it being a problem to give each film its own post if you're reviewing multiples? I can see something like At Eternity's Gate (or in the case of an earlier post in this thread, both films) having its own thread at some point and if you make one post it's very difficult to split up in a way that's fair to your other review within.

Typically it's discouraged to post multiple times in short succession but here it might be very useful to the person who is eventually creating a threadsplit.

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domino harvey
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Re: The Films of 2018

#90 Post by domino harvey » Tue Dec 11, 2018 1:15 pm

I was about to suggest the same thing when I saw the previous post. No rules were broken or anything, but it would be helpful going forward for members to do so

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DarkImbecile
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Re: The Films of 2018

#91 Post by DarkImbecile » Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:46 pm

I've been way behind on writing up thoughts on new releases since starting a new job a few months ago, but I've been wanting to prioritize putting down some thoughts down on The Little Stranger, Lenny Abrahamson's follow-up to Room, since being one of the tens of people who caught it during its vanishingly brief release in late August/early September (its entire run in the US was fourteen days in less than 400 theaters).

I was not a fan of Room, but I tend to very much like these type of Gothic chillers and was intrigued enough by the trailer and the cast — Domnhall Gleeson is a country doctor from a modest background who finds himself increasingly entangled with Ruth Wilson, Will Poulter, and Charlotte Rampling as the remaining members of the once prominent and wealthy Ayres family in the later stages of post-war aristocratic decline — to make the effort to catch this one. To my delight, Abrahamson's direction delivers the appropriate atmosphere and pacing (both in the more ominous and creepy moments and in the melancholic courtship between Gleeson and Wilson's characters), while Lucinda Coxon's script (adapted from a novel by Sarah Waters) brings what I think is a pretty unique twist on the specter haunting the dilapidated country manor (though I'd love to hear if I'm just ignorant of a similar device being leveraged in other films):
SpoilerShow
In an inversion of the haunting in Clayton's The Innocents being a manifestation of Deborah Kerr's sexual repression, the source of the malevolent spirit in Stranger is the envious and entitled masculinity of Gleeson's character, whose class resentment and obsession with the Ayres' house are rooted in his childhood exclusion from their elite world. The film lays the groundwork for the reveal that this juvenile bitterness is driving both the adult Gleeson's banal toxicity and the more mysterious 'haunting' events plaguing the family without ever telegraphing it too explicitly, and without ever totally alienating the audience from Gleeson's protagonist even as he becomes gradually less likable as the film progresses. His frustration and insecurity define the film, but at first in a way that builds the viewer's sympathy with him before slowly curdling that sympathy into disdain; in a genre so often featuring hysterical and unreliable women, Wilson reveals herself to be the level-headed one who asserts her own interests, even as doing so seals her fate in the face of Gleeson's toxic insistence upon his presence in her life. That the film ends with him continuing to wallow in myopic self-pity, seemingly unaware of his responsibility in what has occurred is a particularly resonant choice.
Maybe this territory has already been covered in another entry in the genre, but it was new to me and I was happy to see it paired with restrained, capable direction that emphasizes character-building and atmosphere over overt horror scares. One of the more pleasant low-expectation surprises of the year for me, and one that I hope a few more people might catch up with at home than made it out to the theatrical run.

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bearcuborg
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Re: The Films of 2018

#92 Post by bearcuborg » Mon Dec 24, 2018 5:07 pm

I don't know if anyone has seen this, but They Shall Not Grow Old looks like like a wonderful theater event in 3D. I'll be going on Thursday.

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D50
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Re: The Films of 2018

#93 Post by D50 » Wed Dec 26, 2018 7:57 am

bearcuborg wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 5:07 pm
I don't know if anyone has seen this, but They Shall Not Grow Old looks like like a wonderful theater event in 3D. I'll be going on Thursday.
IN THEATERS DEC 17, DEC 27

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Re: The Films of 2018

#94 Post by hanshotfirst1138 » Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:18 pm

Man, as an action fan and fan of the franchise, it’s unbelievable how disappointing The Predator was; where’s John McTiernan when you really need him? I like Shane Black, and he balanced the commercial with the unexpected surprisingly effectively with Iron Man 3, but this was a total mess. Can’t believe they result the entire climax and came up with that. And as someone who actually has mild Aspergers, I’m growing tired of the “magical autist” trope.

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Re: The Films of 2018

#95 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:20 am

American Animals is a fascinating hybrid drama/documentary utilizing the men the real story is based around, and pulled off more than ably by the quartet of actors in their place (particularly Evan Peters and Barry Keoghan). It goes from charming and funny to real and almost disturbing on a dime, and is really in many ways a story of it's time then and now.

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Re: The Films of 2018

#96 Post by Kirkinson » Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:03 am

Much to my surprise and possibly against my better judgment, I was delighted by Mary Poppins Returns. There's plenty to be said against it (including one extremely problematic plot point I'll get to in a second) but the sense of sheer joy it imparts moment-to-moment usually overcomes whatever might be weighing it down.

Most of this can probably be attributed to Emily Blunt, who does really superb work here and holds the whole film aloft. She wisely chooses not to attempt to simply mimic Julie Andrews, instead offering her own slier, somewhat cheekier take on the character — a "politely mad" Mary Poppins, as Anthony Lane aptly put it in his review. She's absolutely radiant and appropriately makes it look effortless. As for Lin-Manuel Miranda, there's no depth at all to his performance, but his glee, gusto, and charm well exceed his apparent shortcomings as an actor, and I really enjoyed watching him. I will say, though, that the one part of the movie that seemed tailor-made for him — a quasi-rap verse in the midst of one of the film's central showpieces — was ironically where I thought he fared the worst. The thick, dodgy accent he employed seemed to leave him so tongue-tied it was hard to understand what he was saying.

That showpiece was one of my favorites, though: partly because of how immensely happy I was to see 60's Disney-style hand-drawn animation again, and partly because setting it on an actual, diegetic stage in a musical hall gave Rob Marshall the opportunity to work around the fact that he doesn't seem to know how to make a dance number cinematic. The music by Marc Shaiman is great throughout, and the choreography is fine for what it is, but the numbers that don't take place in animated settings, like "Trip a Little Light Fantastic" (ostensibly this film's counterpart to "Step in Time"), look pretty much exactly as you'd expect a well-directed live HD broadcast of a Broadway show to look.

There's an admirable supporting cast here. Ben Whishaw and Emily Mortimer are both very good — the latter recreates the original Jane's facial expressions with almost eerie perfection. The three kids are fine, neither exceptional nor annoying. Meryl Streep's small part is full of crazy choices, but I was here for it. It was great seeing Angela Lansbury again, but her part was so clearly intended as a Julie Andrews cameo that it's a little off-putting at first. (Good on Andrews for turning it down, btw — as written, it would have looked pretty tacky indeed.)

Dick van Dyke's cameo is wonderful, but all too brief. He bursts into a climactic scene as an actual deus ex machina and immediately, effortlessly upstages the entire assembled cast. His scene, though, leads to the movie's most severe problem, which I can't talk about without explaining the ending in very specific detail:
SpoilerShow
The film's literal ticking clock is that the Banks family will lose their home unless they locate a bank shares certificate by midnight on such-and-such a day, when evil bank chairman Colin Firth will repossess it. While they find the document just in time, it turns out to be incomplete, and it looks as if they really will lose their home. But Michael Banks (Whishaw) has his personal triumph anyway, telling Firth, "Take the house! I have everything I need right here," as he turns to leave with his family.

But then, at the last possible moment, Dick van Dyke barges in — the King Richard to Colin Firth's King John. He throws the villain out, does a short song and dance, then tells the Banks family that their home is safe because the original Mr. Banks actually invested the tuppence that Michael had wanted to use to feed the birds in the first film, and over the years it's grown to a sum more than adequate to pay back Michael's bank loan.

The problem here is immediately obvious: this completely undermines one of the key moments of the original film. If Michael had successfully fed the birds, his family would now be destitute, and the bankers' song in the original film is completely vindicated. And instead of capitalism itself (or at least, systemic greed and careerism) being the antagonistic force, here the problem is not the banking industry itself, but the fact that this particular bank just happens to be headed by an evil banker, who can be ousted by a kind, benevolent banker who makes everything right again.

It also undermines this movie's message to some extent, which is at least partially about letting go of past traumas and recognizing higher values than material worth; all of which is symbolized in the Banks family home, full of reminders of Michael's dead wife and the only thing of any monetary value they have left. It's a potentially rich and valuable message in 2018, and losing the home would have only strengthened it and made it more relevant. It also would have added more meaning and poignancy to the big final number, "Nowhere to Go But Up."
As with the rest of the film, though, that last number was so infectiously joyful it managed to wash out the bad taste the previous scene's resolution had left in my mouth. So in the end, I'm left with a movie I actually have lots of problems with that nonetheless made me smile like an idiot for two hours straight.

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Re: The Films of 2018

#97 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Jan 14, 2019 12:18 pm

Perhaps it was an extra magical addition to suggest that interest rates on savings are still a thing! I wonder how many parents taking their children to the film are going to have to have awkward discussions with them afterwards to explain what they are!
Last edited by colinr0380 on Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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domino harvey
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Re: The Films of 2018

#98 Post by domino harvey » Mon Jan 14, 2019 4:28 pm

Les garçons sauvages (Bertrand Mandico)
Recently thrust into the spotlight thanks to Cahiers naming it the best film of 2018, this is a bizarre fantasy film that has a lot to say about gender norms but it does so rather incoherently. I'm not convinced there's a fully-formed ideology driving this film, but the movie is so relentlessly peculiar in what it throws on-screen that I'm not too bothered by its impenetrability. Ostensibly the movie tweaks pre-existent homoeroticism found in boys adventure stories, giving us a quintet of bad kids who are sent away by their rich families on an island excursion with The Captain, a one-breasted grizzled seaman who looks like a Tom of Finland drawing. He ties the boys up in leashes for the duration of their journey aboard the ship, pulling their lines in and out from the control room, all while the rear-projection runs in the back (the rear projection gags peak early with a clever visual joke in the boys' trial, but it remains an additional level of distancing in the film throughout). Once they arrive on the island, the lads encounter phallic fruits and a sexual variation on a Venus Flytrap, among other sights. The film is so scatological and vulgar (which is especially amusing considering the winking final line of the film) that it eventually won me over by not being so in half-measures-- in for a penny, in for a pound on this kind of perversity. The film's biggest gimmick is surely that the boys are all played by girls, which adds an additional level of gender obfuscation, especially considering where the plot goes. I'm stunned this received an American Blu-ray release, as while it may sound "of the moment," it's sexual depictions are so dicey that it would probably be a lot more controversial were it not way too weird for those who'd raise the alarm bells to get very far into it.

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Re: The Films of 2018

#99 Post by dda1996a » Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:19 pm

If you enjoyed it I'd recommend watching his earlier shorts, as they are very similar

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knives
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Re: The Films of 2018

#100 Post by knives » Sat Jan 19, 2019 10:02 pm

Crazy Rich Asians
Cringe comedy isn't something I'm into so the reductions are basically for that. I'm sympathetic for the people complaining about this not really dealing with the local politics, but also this is basically a George Cukor film and I'm not sure how much people care about the depth of his social commentary. Nevertheless social commentary is a huge part of this romance and so for it to have such limitations should be noted and dissected. It being a greatly made romance does not cover it over. It is a great romance though capable of being hilarious and emotionally devastating in equal measure. In many respects this is the exact sort of film Hollywood should be making, and rewarding, daily. As an aside, as expected with Chu, the use of music is hilarious and the best satire of the film. It reminds me of the wedding of a friend's brother from the Philippines where they used Viva la Vida in a way that did not work.

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