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rukaio101

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rukaio101 last won the day on December 23 2014

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About rukaio101

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    Wherever a man cannot live in simple dignity, wherever a people cry out for justice

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  1. rukaio101

    Green Book (2018)

    Okay, I was originally planning on saving this rant until I did my end-of-year ranking list but, considering Green Book's recent Golden Globe wins, I kinda feel like I have to get my thoughts on this off my chest now. Specifically, my thoughts of fuuuuuck this movie! In my opinion it’s an enormous indictment on the state of the Academy that, in a year filled with so many amazing movies that intelligently explore complex themes of race with nuance and purpose, that this is one of the ones currently ahead in the Oscar race. This safe Oscar-baity drivel that ignores real history and modern day race-relations in favour of making up crap and presenting racism in a safe marketable way so the nice white audience doesn’t feel too uncomfortable. Now, I will confess that a lot of my anger towards this movie does come from its subtext and from outside context. Taken completely on its own at face value, it’s actually a fairly entertaining and well-made film, so I can understand why some people like it. Viggo Mortenson and Mahershala Ali both do great jobs with the material given and the movie never feels like it’s boring or dragging. It’s a lot like last year’s Three Billboards in that, if you remove it from all outside context and ignore the problematic themes and messaging, it’s honestly a fairly enjoyable movie, so I’m not too surprised to see a lot of positive reception towards it and don't particularly judge other people for enjoying it. But take that context into account and this movie just comes off looking irresponsible at best and, at worst, outright disgusting. The film was made without permission from Doc Shirley’s family and, judging from their interviews, it’s fairly easy to see why. Ignoring the rather major fact that Doc Shirley was really never that close a friend with Tony Lip and their relationship was strictly professional, Shirley was close friends with numerous civil rights heroes and important black figures and all but raised his three brothers. Yet in this movie, Doc Shirley is suddenly a cold figure out of touch with regular black folk and popular black music and is distant to everyone including his family, a sole brother he lost contact with years ago. And why all this sudden change, you might ask? So the filmmakers can justify a subplot in which Tony Lip (the white guy in this scenario) can teach Doc Shirley to be black. To say again, this movie, directed by a white guy and written by three white guys, has a subplot where Viggo Mortensen, the white guy in this partnership teaches Mahershala Ali’s uptight black character how to be black. Including a scene where they eat fried chicken together. Jesus. Fucking. Christ. Seriously, there’s being unintentionally ignorant and then there’s just… this. It’s especially galling because the movie tries to have it both ways with Tony Lip. Apparently he’s somehow more in touch with the black community than Doc Shirley, but the movie has a subplot of him getting over his own prejudices (albeit without that much in the way of actual self-reflection or realisation, he just kinda does) and somehow the movie still has him shocked, surprised and appalled by the racist ways Doc is treated in the Deep South. Bitch, if you seemingly ‘know common black people and culture better’ than Doc Shirley then why the fuck are you so surprised about this shit?! Especially irritating to me is that they did include some ways in which the movie genuinely could’ve worked or been interesting or nuanced in terms of exploring race. There’s a scene in which Tony and Doc are stopped by a racist policeman (and I’ll get back to that more later), Tony tries to talk to the guy and admits that he’s Italian, to which the cop states that makes him ‘practically half n—r’. Now that’s a genuinely interesting topic to potentially explore. Look at the ways in which various white subcultures like the Italians or the Irish also received prejudice during that time and contrast Tony Lip’s various experiences to Doc Shirley’s. But nope, Tony just punches the cop for the insult (like I said, I’ll get back to it) and it’s never brought up again. Now, I will confess, part of me does wonder whether I’m simply being so harsh on this movie because I’ve already seen so many significantly better movies this year dealing with race from the perspective of black writers and filmmakers. Widows, The Hate U Give, BlacKkKlansman, Black Panther, Sorry to Bother You and ones I haven't even seen yet like Blindspotting and If Beale Street Could Talk, that I've heard raves about. But I feel like this tame sanitized portrayal of racism in the Deep South simply does not hold up any more. I mean, I mentioned in the last paragraph that there’s a scene involving the main characters being pulled over by a policeman and that’s been a recurring theme in a lot of race-based movies these last couple of years. Widows, Blackkklansman, The Hate U Give and last year’s Get Out all have similar scenes, obvious as a reflection of a lot of tragic real life events involving police shootings. But you know what the big difference is between those four black-directed films and this white-directed one? Tension. Suspense. Genuine fear for their lives. The Hate U Give opens with the main character receiving ‘the Talk’ on how to act around police officers so they don’t fucking shoot you, something that is apparently based pretty heavily in real things that some black families do to protect themselves. Meanwhile, in Green Book, the characters get stopped by an openly racist policeman in the Deep South and you know what the worst thing he does is? Gosh gollee gee, he makes Doc Shirley stand out in the rain unnecessarily! What a scoundrel, am I right fellas? There's no genuine fear or tension as there probably should be in such a situation, just annoyance at this comparatively minor injustice. Fuck, Tony Lip punches the same cop in the face and the worst thing that happens is that they get locked up for a few hours. All this in spite of the fact that the Deep South in 60’s was a million times worse than modern day race relations between black people and the police and that Doc Shirley would have far more reason to fear for his life there than the movie lets on. But obviously we can't draw parallels to real modern day racial struggles or the nice white audience might feel uncomfortable and question whether we or not we actually solved racism forever. [/sarcasm mode] In fact, that level of underplaying the sheer amount of danger black people were in in the Deep South back then is active through the entire movie. The film is named after the Green Book, a book specifically written so that black people would know where/how they could travel and stay in the Deep South without getting fucking murdered, yet the movie never really seems willing to grapple with the true consequences of that. There are scenes of Doc facing racism and a beating once or twice, sure, but the movie often treats it more like a mild nuisance and injustice rather than the systematic, potentially life-threatening thing it really was. Like Tony Lip, the movie doesn’t seem to get how bad it was for black people back then and is unwilling to engage with anything beyond its safe dollar store portrayal of racism and message of 'thank god that doesn't happen any more, right?'. Honestly, I feel like I could talk about how badly this movie bungled its subtext all day. There are hundreds of small ridiculous, painfully bad moments that I barely even touched on (Tony even makes a fucking 'Not All White People' argument successfully). But, to sum up, when people ask me ‘why do we need more diversity in the filmmaking world?’ I’m going to point to the dozens of excellent nuanced black-written/directed movies that explore racial problems and strife in an intelligent and meaningful way that came out this year…... and then I’m going to point to this movie. A film that, while technically solid and with a pair of excellent performances to enjoy, is almost embarrassing with its clearly white-centric sanitized view of a genuinely horrible period of history. To sum up my thoughts, seriously, fuck this movie. If you enjoyed it, fine, more power to you, it's honestly not a badly made flick, but I just can't get over how fucking willfully blind it is to the very subject it's claiming to explore.
  2. rukaio101

    Classic Conversation, now with added Teen Angst

    Whoa whoa whoa, there. You think I can afford to buy children?! I'm just a poorly penniless student, I can't afford that kind of expense. No, I just want to rent your children. ......Which, on reflection, doesn't sound much better, I'll admit.
  3. rukaio101

    Classic Conversation, now with added Teen Angst

    Holy crap, one of my local cinemas is doing a screening of The King and the Mockingbird, one of my favourite underrated animation classics. Wow, I can't wait to see what it looks like on the big scre- .........does anyone have a spare child I can borrow?
  4. rukaio101

    Classic Conversation, now with added Teen Angst

    35 minutes earlier... Me: *in the shower* Huh. Either it's just turned New Years and people are celebrating by setting off fireworks... or ISIS has started their bombing spree of Yorkshire. Either way, I feel like I should probably doing something more important than scrubbing my junk. *pause* Me: *continues scrubbing junk* Happy New Year everyone. EDIT: Also just now realised that that makes this my first post of the year. Starting 2019 off on a high note, everyone!
  5. rukaio101

    Classic Conversation, now with added Teen Angst

    Oh man, this wasn't deliberately planned or anything, but I am so glad that I ended up picking One Cut of the Dead for my final movie of 2018. There's still half an hour until midnight here in the UK, so I can quite accurately say I laughed harder at it than any movie I have seen or will see this year. I'll probably talk about it more when I get round to doing my end of year retrospective, but considering how terrible this past year has been both personally and just in general, it's really nice to be going into the new year on a relative high.
  6. rukaio101

    Classic Conversation, now with added Teen Angst

    Me: Huh. I got a few hours to spare before I need to do anything. Might as well watch a movie, but which one to choose? I could watch Hereditary, I've been meaning to check that out for a while. Or I could finally get around to watching A Star is Born, as I meant for ages. Or heck, I could see Leave no Trace to see if it's as good as people keep making it out to be. I have so many great options to choose... Five minutes later. Me: *watching Slender-Man* WHY DID I PICK THIS?!
  7. Considering it only got a US release in January, can we count Paddington 2 as a 2018 film? Just asking because I want to see if we can get it onto the list two years in a row. Also, here are a few of my own FYCs that haven't shown up yet. (^^^ It's shortlisted for the 2018 Animated Oscar so I'm counting it) I do also second the recs for Suspiria, Mandy, and Revenge. It's been a good year for surreal films with one-word titles.
  8. Can I express my disappointment that the blink-and-you'll-miss-it Lovecraft reference in this movie was of 'The Dunwich Horror' and not 'The Shadow over Innsmouth' as would've been infinitely more appropriate/hilarious? I only say as much because I initially had the two crossed in my head and for a moment thought that the movie was poking tremendous shade at itself by including that reference during the scene of Arthur's parents falling in love.
  9. Got back from my screening. S' a good movie. Maybe not as good as the top tier of SH movies in this recent era, but still nonetheless fairly good. It is hella exhausting though and crammed with CGI, so I can understand some of the lukewarm response. The biggest compliment that I'll give the movie is that it looks amazing. Seriously, the colours and the CG and all the designs and costumes for the Atlantean stuff all look fantastic and like something out a comic book (in a good way). I'd seriously call it one of the best looking comic book movies period. The days of Zack Snyder sucking the colour out of everything are clearly long over at DC and thanks freaking god. Honestly it's amazing just how much more grand and impressive and epic-of-scale this seemed than, like, the entire Justice League movie, for example. The final battle was seriously some kind of underwater Lord of the Rings shit with armies and giant sea monsters. So visuals wise, I don't have much to complain about. As for the story, it's perfectly functional, if a bit standard for the superhero genre. It basically follows a lot of the same beats as Black Panther, albeit replacing the meaningful racial themes and politics with a generic search-for-the-mcguffin. Which is fine. Not every movie needs to be Black Panther or tread the same kind of paths. And better to have a functional story than works that get overly ambitious without any idea of what you're trying to do/say, like BvS. And as far as mcguffin searches go, it wasn't bad and led to a pretty cool climax, even if it was where I started to suffer a bit from CGI overload. It did possibly shove in a bit too much and there were few places that definitely could've used proper fleshing out (the final battle in particular starts surprisingly suddenly), but it holds together. I will say, the movie does kinda suffer from a lack of clear focus as to what Arthur's character/character arc is meant to be, with a lot of small moments and a lot of speeches as to why he's the rightful king, but nothing that really felt like it quite came together properly, at least not as well compared to Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman. Jason Momoa tries his best, but he does feel a touch miscast between what Snyder obviously intended his Aquaman to be like and what this movie was attempting to do with the character. Plus he ends up getting shoved to the back quite a lot by his much more interest side-cast more than once. Speaking of the side-cast, they're more-or-less pretty uniformly great. I wasn't fond of Amber Heard's Mera early on in this and in Justice League (where she mostly seemed to be an exposition machine) but she won me over with quite a few great moments. Willem Dafoe and Patrick Wilson are both fairly generic mentor/villain respectively, but they do a solid job with what they're given. Black Manta steals almost every scene he's in and surprisingly gets one of the more emotional moments of the movie (even if he could arguably be cut out entirely without losing much). I was surprised by how compelling the relationship was between Aquaman's parents too. Plus Julie Walters was great as the kraken and should've had more speaking lines. To sum up though, I enjoyed it a fair bit. As mentioned before, it looks absolutely outstanding and there's a ton of great action and effects. Plus the story, while a bit standard, is functional enough to work. I do think there are a few things about the story and the characters that I'd call fairly messy and it never quite manages the whole 'child of two worlds' thing it keeps aiming for. Plus, at nearly two and a half hours, it's freaking exhausting. But it's still a fairly fun movie, so if you're interested, I'd say check it out.
  10. Okay, just got back from my screening of Once Upon a Deadpool. Spoilerish (?) thoughts below. So yeah, overall thoughts are that it's really not worth seeing in cinemas. Wait for the Fred Savage clips to inevitably end up on Youtube, because, as funny as those are, this is kind of a sloppily edited mess that loses a lot of what made Deadpool 2 so much fun.
  11. Just got back from my screening and enjoyed it a lot. Which, y'know, no freaking duh. I like Lord & Miller, I like animation, I like Spider-Man (even if I've not been the fondest of any of the live-action movies). So I was pretty confident I'd enjoy this and I definitely got what I was expecting. Honestly, the movie reminded me of the LEGO Movie in a lot of ways and not just because of Lord & Miller's involvement. You have the colourful cast and unique animation style, yeah, but you also have the surprisingly strong structure/pacing, a fairly empathetic main character (Miles in this case,) for whom, in spite of the colourful cast, the film ultimately very clearly revolves around and who has the big, dramatic and surprisingly well-constructed emotional payoff related to the central subject (LEGO/Spiderman). I'm not sure yet whether I prefer it to the LEGO movie (I think it does some things better (Miles's emotional journey) and some not quite as well (minus Peter B. Parker and Gwen, the quirky side cast feels a touch underutilised), but the fact that it's on the same level certainly says a lot. Also the animation is excellent. Very pop and punchy and great to watch. I've always felt that animation has a lot more freedom than live-action and this is an excellent example as to why. It fits the quick webslinging Spidey action to a tee and never felt too difficult to follow (which was something I was a touch worried about watching the trailer). Then again, maybe I'm just a touch biased towards animated Spideys, having grown up on the 90's animated tv show. Honestly, I think the thing I appreciate most about this is just how fresh and different it feels from typical Spiderman media. I know we all complain about the movies jumping back to Peter Parker in high school again and again, so this movie doesn't bother with it. Instead we get a bunch of different scenarios to explore instead, Peter as an adult, Peter as a semi-washed out schlub, Miles in high school (which carries a lot of important differences/different family dynamics than Peter) and so on. And it really does make an enormously positive difference. This is the sort of thing Sony should've been aiming for for their Spider-Man cinematic universe the whole time. Not scrounging for villains/side-characters and trying to get them to hold their own movies, but by taking the existing characters we know and love out of their comfort zones and putting them in unique and different scenarios. I'm honestly excited to see a standalone Miles Morales movie now, as well as a Spider-Gwen one or one with Peter as a proper adult. And as someone getting tired of the constant teenage Peter (as much as I like Tom Holland), this was a pleasant reminder of everything the franchise could be. So yeah. S'good movie. Best cinematic Spidey. Go watch it.
  12. rukaio101

    Diversity and Gender Representation in Movies

    Speaking as a straight white movie critic myself, I find literally nothing wrong with what Brie Larson said. Mainstream film criticism has largely been presented through a white male lens for most of its existence and it's understandable if people want to see more diverse views and how certain movies/themes/etc are viewed from a different cultural viewpoint. Brie never said 'No white males should be allowed to review AWIT'. She said 'I want to know how AWIT came off to the more diverse audiences it was created for and whether/how it appealed to them, more than I want to know some white dude's opinion.' Which is fair enough. I may have my opinions on these movies and will happily write about them, but I'm not going to pretend I magically have more of an insight into stuff like BlacKkKlansman or The Hate U Give than actual black people. I can only talk about what said movies meant to me. Which is always going to be inherently limited by my own experiences, of which my race and gender contributed to. The fact is, different cultures, races and sexualities create different viewpoints and different ways of looking at movies. What may seem normal for some people may have a myriad of important meanings for others who've lived different lives. And it's interesting to learn how different movies appear in the lens of those different cultures, as opposed to simply sticking to the 'default' straight white male approach that has dominated most of popular film criticism.
  13. rukaio101

    Best Animated Feature 2018 - Predictions

    Ha ha, Holy shit, MFKZ made it? That is hilarious and awesome. Doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of actually getting the Oscar nod, mind, but I'm glad its getting some recognition. Anyway, from the looks of things, it's probably going to be the 5 in the Best Animated Feature line-up that end up getting the Oscar nods, with Mirai and Ruben Brandt as potential spoilers. Bit of a shame, since I thought Early Man and Isle of Dogs were both really underwhelming, but whatever. The Academy has its hard-on for Stop-Motion so they'll probably both make it in.
  14. rukaio101

    Best Animated Feature 2018 - Predictions

    Agree to disagree on that one. I'll admit it doesn't have the usual climactic emotional 'oomph' that Hosoda's movies usually have, but I'd call it a lot more consistent in quality than The Girl Who Leaped Through Time or The Boy and the Beast. And there are a lot of low-key things I really adored about it. It's a pleasant and funny slice-of-life and it doesn't feel like there's enough of those these days. Admittedly, if it was down to me, I'd most like to see The Night is Short, Walk on Girl nominated, but I'm pretty sure there's not a snowball's chance in hell of that happening, so Mirai would be a good consolation prize. (I am just wondering though, did you see the dubbed or the subbed version of Mirai? Because the dubbed version I did actually think was significantly weaker than the original when I saw it.)
  15. rukaio101

    Best Animated Feature 2018 - Predictions

    Saw Tito and the Birds (review here) a few days ago at Manchester Animation Festival and I actually wouldn't be surprised if it got an outside shot at the 'Token Foreign/Indie Nomination' slot. It's a pretty decent movie and has a unique enough animation style that I could see the Academy going for it. It reminded me a lot of Loving Vincent (in regards to the animation, not the story) in more than a few ways. Admittedly, if it was up to me, it probably wouldn't get in (simply because there are a lot more films shortlisted that I prefer), but then again, that's true of many things regarding this category. I'm still ultimately hoping for Mirai, but I wouldn't be too surprised if this managed to sneak in. Also, this means I've now seen over half the shortlisted animation nominees. Go me. (Side note:, I also saw Funan while I was in Manchester and I can only hope it gets a shot at the Oscar next year because damn that movie was heavy.)
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