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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Three quick (well, for me) takes...

Finding Dory

TLDR version: Pretty good, but not in the same league as the original.

Finding Nemo is my favorite Pixar movie of all-time, yup, even a hair above the amazing Toy Story 3. It had a fresh father-on-an-epic-quest-to-find-his-son plot, a great pair of odd-couple main characters who played off of each other well (Albert Brooks as Marlin and Ellen Degeneres as Dory), a whole lot of great and memorable secondary characters, and an eye-popping, colorful visual style.

It also often kept you surprised, no small feat for what is supposed to be a kid's movie.

Finding Dory tries hard to replicate that blueprint while changing it slightly, and about half-succeeds, or maybe a bit more.

This time around, it's the beloved forgetful-fish Dory who's 'lost' (though in reality she's trying to find her parents), and Marlin and Nemo who are the odd couple undertaking the quest.

Problem is, Marlin and Nemo aren't quite as much fun together as Marlin and Dory. And of all the new secondary characters introduced, none really match up to those in the original, with the exception of Hank, a misanthropic octopus voiced by Ed 'Al Bundy' O'Neil.

On the plus side, baby Dory (seen in frequent flashbacks) is adorable, O'Neil's grumpy Hank is a great character, and, thanks to his frequent chameleon-like color-changing, is constantly fascinating to look at. And Finding Dory does play its emotional angles – lost family, lost found-family, found found-family – pretty well. Like many Pixar films, it plays well with both kids and adults.

But overall, the film isn't quite as fresh and fun as the original... it feels like it's often trying to figure out what made the first one so good and replicate that, instead of daring to fully be its own thing. Three stars out of four anyway, as it's very hard to dislike this group of assorted chummy chum and the themes they represent.

Dory is also having a whale of a time at the box-office (sorry, couldn't help myself), so we may eventually see a third film with these fish. Who will they find next? My vote would be Hank.


The Shallows

TLDR: A fairly effective small-budget thriller.

This is a film for anyone who saw the absolutely brutal first ten minutes of Jaws, and wished that poor Chrissy Watkins could've found a way to fight back against the great white shark that devoured her. :eek:

Blake Lively plays a medical school drop-out who recently lost her mother, and in an effort to get her head together, visits her mom's 'special beach' in a secluded part of Mexico to surf and spiritually heal.

But there's a catch, natch, in the form of a massive great white shark that seems to regard humans in the same way we do Lay's potato chips... "Betcha can't eat just one!" :eek:

Films like this live or die on their lead, and Blake Lively is actually up to the job, believably taking us through her character's shock and desperation as she survives an initial attack and then tries to figure out how to get off her perch 200 yards out in the bay before she bleeds to death, as the shark continues to aggressively patrol its territory.

The direction is mostly top-notch, with the paradise-like setting and surfing both beautifully photographed, even mundane things like vidphone conversations are handled in visually interesting ways, and the action often plays against our expectations while paying homage to certain epic film moments that are going to be in our heads due to the subject matter, such as the final scene of Jaws.

It's still a spare and minimalist little film, yes, but as is the case with most horror/thriller movies, that works in its favor. The only downside is actually when Shallows tries to be a bigger film, namely in the last half-hour, in which the shark becomes something of a deranged psychopath in a manner that's reserved for people, not animals. And Lively sure seems, well, lively for someone who's lost that much blood. So yep, there's some silliness at the end.

But that's your popcorn-thriller for ya, and overall this one's a bit smarter than most. Three stars out of four. And Lively can actually carry a movie... who knew?


Independence Day 2 ('Resurgence')

TLDR version: Aww, geez. Blargh. :rolleyes:

Yeah, okay, we all remember the 1996 movie, which despite being pretty stupid in retrospect and in danger of going off the rails at any moment, did somehow manage to entertain a great many of us, myself included.

There was a sort of earnest energy to the ridiculousness, it was a big, dumb, scenery-chewing film, and it basically said to us "Yeah, so? Whatcha gonna do about it?".

But when you get away with something once, maybe it's best to not return to the scene of the crime. Because that's how you always get caught. Case in point, Independence Day: Resurgence.

Now, I can't really review the full film, on account of sneaking into the last hour ten of it or so (what, you think I'm gonna pay for this crap? Guess again). But what I did see hurt me in my very soul.

Basically, the aliens are baaaaack, and they're pissed. Wackiness ensures, but without Will Smith, who wanted too much money. So we're stuck with Jeff Goldblum (blah) and fill-in-for-Smith Liam Hemsworth. Who is simply PAINFUL as the hotshot pilot Smith character, all winking and bravado and mugging for the camera, and zero substance.

Ditto his fellow pilots, who feel like they were all cast out of an Abercrombie and Fitch catalog, with insipid dialogue to match. Oh, and there's some dorky white accountant-looking guy who's trying to hero it up while bonding with a hulking black dude who wields samurai swords, a sort of Mel Gibson-Danny Glover team for the 21st century, but without the charisma.

So, I was rooting for the aliens in no time flat. Finish the job, guys.

But bad as it is, ID2 is actually fascinating, like a trainwreck... it's very true to the original, yet somehow manages to be twice as stupid and half as entertaining. In places it actually plays like a parody of itself, so there's really no need for the Wayans Brothers to come along and do that a couple of years from now or whatever.

In short, there's little to no charm in this sequel beyond the occasional Judd Hirsch one-liner, no Bill Pullman 'We're gonna survive' epic-level speech (though they try for one), no Randy Quaid craziness, no sense of fun or wonder. Just an empty, loud, soulless money-grabbing machine. And we point our fingers and call the aliens evil. :(

About the only upgrade over the original (beyond the effects) is that they did at least give Brent Spiner ('Data' from Star Trek) a lot more to do this time around, and he's fun. Maika Monroe (from It Follows) also does her level best in a horribly-written role as Bill Pullman's pilot daughter. But in all other ways, at least that I saw in my hour ten, this is just a mindless rehash, and it is rightfully bombing pretty hard at the US box office.

Scarily though, it's still doing pretty well overseas, and at the conclusion of this mess there is the most overt (desperate?) on-screen pitch for a sequel that I have ever seen. Let's pray it doesn't come to pass, or that if it does, real aliens invade and prevent its release out of a rightful sense of indignation.

One star out of four. If you must see it, I suggest doing so in altered state. Or you could just stick your finger in a light socket instead, your call.








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Also, Blake Lively.
I like in the second half of the film the top half of her wet suit just vanished thus exposing more of her bikini and it was convenient that there happened to be an oil slick near the shark when she was shooting flares at it. I think you're being a little too generous, SYS. Popcorn movie, yeah. Smarter than most, just barely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I like in the second half of the film the top half of her wet suit just vanished thus exposing more of her bikini and it was convenient that there happened to be an oil slick near the shark when she was shooting flares at it. I think you're being a little too generous, SYS. Popcorn movie, yeah. Smarter than most, just barely.
Spoilers bro, spoilers. :(

And the slick came from the whale carcass. Not that there isn't a bunch of stuff in the final act that's a reach.
 

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We saw Independence Day 2 or whatever. I mostly agree with your assessment, the wife liked it. She's supposed to be the smart one in the relationship, the joke is on her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
We saw Independence Day 2 or whatever. I mostly agree with your assessment, the wife liked it.

She's supposed to be the smart one in the relationship, the joke is on her.
Obviously, keep that on the down-low. Women haaaate it when you tell 'em they like bad movies.

It's like you've ruined their day, and now they're gonna ruin yours back. :eek:
 

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The dory movie was entertaining. The kids liked it


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saw ID4 er 2 er whatever a while ago... it wasn't the worst movie i've ever seen, but I had very, very low expectations. Visually was pretty good...but it was like they had 500 people and sent them all off to come up with a scene each (with o talking to each other) and then picked a bunch and made a movie from that, maybe the directors cut will be an hour longer and make a little bit of sense).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm not a shark but I would also like to bite Blake Lively
LOL, missed this post first time through. Yes, I concur. :)
 

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We also saw Star Trek Beyond and Jason Bourne. You have to be a rabid fan of either to enjoy them, they both were similar to me in that they seemed like just another episode in the series, nothing new, just more of the same, which is fine if you enjoy the same. I'm not very happy about the summer movies so far... looking forward to the Olympics on tv.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
We also saw Star Trek Beyond and Jason Bourne. You have to be a rabid fan of either to enjoy them, they both were similar to me in that they seemed like just another episode in the series, nothing new, just more of the same, which is fine if you enjoy the same.

I'm not very happy about the summer movies so far... looking forward to the Olympics on tv.
I just saw Star Trek Beyond, and I have to agree. Cute movie, a few good moments... but ultimately pretty shallow, and had little to do with Star Trek or its spirit, per se. More like 'Star Trek as an excuse for a cutesy action film with pretty people in it'. :(

And you're right, it's been a bad year for big summer movies. Even Suicide Squad, which comes out Friday, and which I had high hopes for, is getting bad advance reviews.

Don't know what's up, but Hollyweird has 'lost the plot' for these kinds of movies, with the exception of some of the Marvel Universe and Pixar-Disney efforts. Very few ppl are innovating or taking any chances or know how to put out a 'complete' movie anymore, seems like.
 

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Don't know what's up, but Hollyweird has 'lost the plot' for these kinds of movies, with the exception of some of the Marvel Universe and Pixar-Disney efforts. Very few ppl are innovating or taking any chances or know how to put out a 'complete' movie anymore, seems like.
Nothing new here - Hollywood, as ever, is going after the money, which means teenagers with disposable incomes who have not yet progressed beyond the "Wow! Cool!" stage of enjoying a movie. Movies (period, much less the big summer blockbusters) with greater than mediocre plots and character development have been, are, and will continue to be, few and far between.


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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Nothing new here - Hollywood, as ever, is going after the money, which means teenagers with disposable incomes who have not yet progressed beyond the "Wow! Cool!" stage of enjoying a movie. Movies (period, much less the big summer blockbusters) with greater than mediocre plots and character development have been, are, and will continue to be, few and far between.
And yet, I can seem to remember the odds being at least a *bit* better in favor of good films coming out in days past. Not that those odds were ever great, but... better.

Face it, we're in the Smurfs 8 era. We weren't always.
 
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