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Watch any good movies lately?

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  • Mike MoehnkeMike Moehnke Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited January 2012
    Episodes of a show sounds like TV and not movies to me... but whatever.
    The Bogie & Bacall collection, part four: Key Largo. This one is very different from the others they made together, because it's not firmly focused on Bogart's character. John Huston makes this into an ensemble effort (probably fitting since it's based on a play) and the result is quite compelling, but decidedly different from their other movies. Edward G. Robinson as Ricco the notorious gangster probably ensures that - his is a persona that must be taken seriously. Lionel Barrymore as Bacall's father doesn't have much to do, but he's solid like always. There's a gangster feel to the proceedings like some of the movies Robinson and James Cagney made for Warner Brothers, which is hardly a bad thing. Bogie & Bacall get a couple of chances to connect like in their previous work, and the spark is most definitely still there, but this isn't a movie primarily playing off that aspect. Strong stuff nevertheless, and Claire Trevor earned kudos for her performance as Robinson's old flame dragged down to the Florida Keys with all the cronies.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • Confessor RahlConfessor Rahl Member Full Members
    edited January 2012
    JuMeSyn wrote: »
    Episodes of a show sounds like TV and not movies to me... but whatever.

    Are you indicating you don't want me to post those? This is the most active thread with regards to cinema, the TV show thread is dead. Feel free to say that rather than whatever.
    "Back when FF9 was coming out. People were rejoicing because it was actually a fantasy game and not a sci-fi game like 7 and 8. It's hilarious in modern context, with everyone wanking themselves to dehydration at the thought of a FF7 remake."
  • Mike MoehnkeMike Moehnke Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited January 2012
    The TV thread revives from time to time, and it seems more appropriate to talk about TV there than here, given that TV shows by their very name aren't movies. Not having watched anything TV-related in a while, of course I don't bump it much. The last new TV show I watched was... I can't remember. As for fixing that, toss me some money and I'll see about doing more than MST3K viewing.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • Confessor RahlConfessor Rahl Member Full Members
    edited February 2012
    I feel it.

    Watched Contagion for a second time last night, and was able to appreciate just how much craft went into that flick. Great soundtrack, and Kate Winslet is effing gorgeous even looking haggard as her character is.
    "Back when FF9 was coming out. People were rejoicing because it was actually a fantasy game and not a sci-fi game like 7 and 8. It's hilarious in modern context, with everyone wanking themselves to dehydration at the thought of a FF7 remake."
  • Mike MoehnkeMike Moehnke Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited February 2012
    Remember an HBO movie about the Tuskegee airmen back in 1995? Watch it instead of Red Tails.
    The plot details the story of how the only air unit piloted by blacks under the US flag in WWII came to go from being relegated to shooting up things behind the lines because 'Negroes can't fight' to a unit highly regarded by the many bomber pilots who made it back because of the protection offered. It's a good story, and worthy of a better treatment than it got here, sadly.
    I'll cover the flight portions first. Technically, they're not bad, since at least I can make out what's happening half the time which is a decided improvement over things like Top Gun (yeah, I said that). There's a major problem though, and it's the same one I had with Flyboys: the CGI. These planes actually existed - I walked around in a B-24 and a B-17 once. In this movie though, except for close shots of the actors and shots on the ground, they're CG. Don't tell me it's a technical issue - Howard Hughes put cameras on planes for Hell's Angels better than 80 years ago. When I see what looks like a video game cutscene where I have no control over the action, I'm yanked out of the moment. Sure this is good CG, but it's still apparent when you look that those planes aren't really there.
    Then we go for the stuff on the ground. If you're here to see Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding Jr., don't expect too much. They're the colonel and major respectively in charge of ground operations, and Howard is off in Washington D.C. trying to guarantee action that will prove his unit capable of real action for the first act anyway. In the air we're mostly following a quartet of guys who have one or two character traits. They do pretty well with them, and David Oyelowo in particular I rather liked, but their characters make no impression. The ground sequences mostly deliver exposition and war movie cliches we've seen a hundred times before, with the occasional exception showing what could have been. One character is shot down and put in a POW camp, which leads to what I have to say is a ripoff of The Great Escape.
    A key ingredient for a war movie is tension. This movie doesn't have it. A couple of times characters seem to die, except they don't, and by the time a couple of them DO die they still make no impression, so that I didn't care. The final sequence is against ME-262s (the German jets which did show up a bit in the war's last months) where tension is almost achieved. But oh wait, they're nothing special once our heroes learn the drill, so even this quickly abates.
    As for the racism endemic to the times, it pops up a few times, but really doesn't affect the proceedings as much as it could and should. A general who's opposed to black service in any form in D.C., and a bar closed to blacks in Italy. That's pretty much the extent of it.
    I wanted this movie to be over so much that I checked my watch to see how much was left, and at least a half hour had yet to elapse. Never a good sign.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • Confessor RahlConfessor Rahl Member Full Members
    edited February 2012
    Watched Red Planet last night. I remember being underwhelmed by it when I saw it years ago, but totally enjoyed it this time around (looks fantastic on bluray too).
    "Back when FF9 was coming out. People were rejoicing because it was actually a fantasy game and not a sci-fi game like 7 and 8. It's hilarious in modern context, with everyone wanking themselves to dehydration at the thought of a FF7 remake."
  • Mike MoehnkeMike Moehnke Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited February 2012
    The Artist is not the best silent movie I've ever seen, but it's certainly the best made in recent decades. The plot is sort of a mishmash from Singin' in the Rain and A Star is Born, finding a silent star named George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) helping give a spunky young woman named Peppy Miller her start in the movies by playing along when she slips through the cordon around his newest picture's premiere to get a headline-making newspaper shot smooching him. The advent of talkies isn't kind to Valentin though, and after his self-financed effort fails to attract an audience, he is forced to sell all of his possessions while his wife leaves him and no career prospects appear to beckon. Meanwhile Peppy Miller has risen through the acting ranks to become a star in the top echelon, packing theaters constantly with everything she does, but she remembers the actor she admired before stardom and wants to try helping him through this difficult time if she possibly can.
    For a movie made in France, the presence of several well-known English speakers in the cast is interesting. John Goodman is the head of Kinescope Pictures, and James Cromwell is Valentin's chauffeur/servant. Malcom McDowell is also there, but only for one scene in a literally blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo. Not that the cast really matters in its origins, considering this is a silent movie. It's a crowd pleaser, with likable characters and a cute dog performing tricks. I appreciated the nod to how movies were shot at the time of making the movie in what's now full screen but back then was the only ratio around, and the cinematography is great. I would quibble with the climax, since it felt the need to have a second climax appear immediately afterward instead of blending the elements of both into one, but it's a relatively minor issue. Amiable and entertaining, I wouldn't pick it for Best Picture over Hugo, but certainly wouldn't feel angry if it manages to win in a few weeks.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • DravDrav A Serious Man Full Members
    edited February 2012
    Super is really good. No idea why this movie has been so overlooked, since it's by far the best "superheroes don't work in the real world" movie I've seen. I'm still memorized by how Ellen Page manages to make that one character she does work in every movie she's in (even if most of said movies are ****).
  • Mike MoehnkeMike Moehnke Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited February 2012
    What the hell did I think of The Descendants... hm. On balance it's a positive impression, but with reservations. Details are necessary.
    Matt King (George Clooney) has a lot of problems, all of them converging concurrently. His wife had a speedboat accident and is in a coma, which doctors cannot solve, and her living will requires life support to be removed in this situation. He's the manager of a family trust for a huge undeveloped tract of land in Hawaii that the balance of relations wants to sell. His younger daughter Scottie (Amara Miller) is having serious difficulties coping with her mother being in a coma. His older daughter Alex (Shailene Woodley) went back to boarding school after a bad row with the mother, and he learns the reason for that is his wife having had an affair.
    Clooney is pretty much always worth watching, and that continues here. The scenario is interesting, and Shailene Woodley is quite good (look for Beau Bridges to appear later on). The Hawaiian location is paid a lot more than lip service, but that may actually be a bad thing. This is a lackadaisically paced movie, with director Alexander Payne frequently throwing out 'pillow shots' that show off the beautiful landscape but eventually get to be too much. Several shots of clouds later on, in particular one that actually shows the sun peeking through the cloud cover, just get to be too much. The Hawaiian milieu is also explicitly referenced in the music, which relies exclusively upon folk music of the islands that seems to involve nothing but a vocal over an acoustic stringed instrument, and thus gets monotonous. Good acting and good writing, but very deliberately paced, and a few wacky moments such as Clooney running down the street to interrogate a neighbor about his wife's affair stand out for their odd fit with the rest of the material. I'd recommend it - but only to those who can handle the flaws I noted. Fast paced this is NOT.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • Confessor RahlConfessor Rahl Member Full Members
    edited February 2012
    Donald Sutherland's Invasion of the Bodysnatchers. Watched this a lot as a kid, just saw the HD version last night. The film holds up really well, lots of suspense and a slow, eerie build. A great take on alien invasion.
    "Back when FF9 was coming out. People were rejoicing because it was actually a fantasy game and not a sci-fi game like 7 and 8. It's hilarious in modern context, with everyone wanking themselves to dehydration at the thought of a FF7 remake."
  • Mike MoehnkeMike Moehnke Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited February 2012
    Hey, it's not just Donald Sutherland - I liked seeing young Jeff Goldblum, Leonard Nimoy, and Veronica Cartwright too.
    The Last Samurai. I guess readings of this partially depend upon one's view of Tom Cruise. I like the guy when he's actually trying (keep Top Gun away - far away), and Edward Zwick has always turned in interesting stuff. The ending wraps a few things together too neatly and takes awhile, but the path the movie takes to get there is enjoyable.
    Ah yes, the story for those unfamiliar. Tom Cruise plays a veteran of the US armed forces in 1876 scarred by the actions he had to perform while part of the cavalry herding Indians back onto reservations. He gets an offer to train the new military of Japan in firearms to employ against Katsumoto (Ken Watanabe), a samurai who considers the current course Japan is taking to be against the warrior's code. In the new military's first action Cruise's pessimism about its prospects is proved all too correct, but he is captured and taken to the home of the samurai forces, where he comes to know peace for the first time in his adult life. Nice cinematography, though the indistinct haze of digital brush-ups is apparent for a lot of long shots taking in large numbers of men and scenery that no longer exists.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • KeldarusKeldarus RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited February 2012
    Just watched Scott Pilgrim vs. The World I liked it, but I would have benefitted from having 5 evil ex's in the film version, could have spent more time developing the characters more and shortened up the movie a bit. There's the whole other debate of whether
    Spoiler:
    Scott should have ended up with Ramona or Knives, or if Ramona was even real, but that's that's a whole other discussion.


    -Kel
  • Confessor RahlConfessor Rahl Member Full Members
    edited February 2012
    Hah hah there's debate about subtext in Scott Pilgrim? Wow. People will dig deep into anything! Great movie though.
    "Back when FF9 was coming out. People were rejoicing because it was actually a fantasy game and not a sci-fi game like 7 and 8. It's hilarious in modern context, with everyone wanking themselves to dehydration at the thought of a FF7 remake."
  • Mike MoehnkeMike Moehnke Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited February 2012
    Fright Night Part 2. If the original was a slightly mixed bag, this one is a lot more of one. William Ragsdale and Roddy McDowall return, which is a good thing - for the most part. Ragsdale is showing off some expressions here that gave me horrible flashbacks to Mannequin 2: On the Move, but this movie isn't nearly that bad (few movies are).
    Story is simple enough. Ragsdale as Charley Brewster is in college now, seeing a psychiatrist on the side to convince him the events of the first movie were all in his head. He also apparently broke up with Amanda Bearse (possibly because she was attached to Married ... With Children by then) and is now seeing Alex (Traci Lind). Uh-oh, some new people have moved into the neighborhood, and they're led by a woman named Regine (Julie Carmen) who acts suspiciously like a vampire. Hm. Turns out she's the sister of Jerry, and she's after vengeance upon his killers.
    The central problem of the movie is Regine's entourage. Sure Jerry had a ... helper of some kind in the first, but he was very firmly the antagonist. Regine starts with three others (one of whom appears to be a wolfman instead of a vampire) and picks up a couple more as events proceed. All of them get at least a little screen time, and that detracts from the vampire who should be dominating the proceedings. It doesn't help that one of them reminds me of Michael Jackson from the Thriller video with her makeup. This leads to parts of the climax feeling rushed, as her entourage is quickly dispatched in unsatisfying ways.
    I don't want to come down too hard on this movie, because I've seen a lot worse, and Roddy McDowall is still great fun. Traci Lind acquits herself well too. Once it comes down to just Regine, the climax is even pretty effective. Good effects work is on hand, and lots of moments are quite nice (though the dispatching of one particular vampire with a railroad beam just doesn't work at all). I have no idea why this is only on out of print VHS and a DVD so early it was full screen, because I'm sure the chunks I'm not seeing were somehow worthwhile. This sure isn't the rare sequel to surpass the original though.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • Mike MoehnkeMike Moehnke Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited February 2012
    Grave of the Fireflies. It may say something about how much I've seen in the four years since originally viewing this that it didn't feel as much like an emotional clubbing as before. Quite effective though.
    The movie begins with its protagonist, Seita, dying in a rail station not long before the Americans arrive to begin Japan's occupation. This is important because it establishes that there is no hope. He will not live through the events we're about to see unfold, and his little sister Setsuko won't either. Then we go into how things came to this pass. Seita and Setsuko went one way when the B-29s flew overhead firebombing the city, and their mother went another. Their mother got burned over almost all of her body, and dies of the wounds in an emergency medical station. That means Seita and Setsuko get passed on to an aunt, who doesn't take well to the brother's efforts at keeping his little sister in good spirits instead of supporting the war effort like her direct family does. Seita's at the age where he takes this sort of criticism badly, and eventually strikes out on his own using an abandoned bomb shelter and filching food from the surrounding farmers. He can't feed Setsuko everything she needs based on thieving though, not when the war has made getting every bit of supply possible a vital factor.
    Okay, yes, it's very grim in spots. Not many animated movies dare to show a woman covered in bandages from her burns, with her flesh rotting: or a four year old with obvious sores all over her body from malnutrition and poor living conditions. If it had only moments like that though, it would be a relentlessly despairing wallow through the worst that humanity can endure, and it isn't. Maybe that's what makes it all the more effective, seeing Seita and Setsuko enjoying themselves for stretches. All enjoyment by all humans eventually comes to an end, though.
    Not quite where I expected to go with this. Like any subject matter if done well, this is a finely crafted work. Calling it entertaining in the conventional sense might be a stretch, but it's impeccably done.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • Mike MoehnkeMike Moehnke Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited February 2012
    The Secret World of Arrietty. Been awhile since I saw something opening night - I helped those weekend box office numbers! The theater was nearly full too, I can only hope that holds true elsewhere.
    Hayao Miyazaki took the idea of The Borrowers and helped write the screenplay for a tale using that inspiration, which definitely holds to the usual strengths of Studio Ghibli material. Human boy Sean (methinks Disney's dub team changed that name from the original) is taken to the countryside home of an aunt while his parents are both away on business, in the hope that his ill heart can recover a bit. His story takes up less time than Arrietty's though, as the energetic daughter of the sole remaining Borrower family in the area. Hers is the story that propels the movie (given the title, that's no surprise), and it's a good one. Initially gung-ho about her first Borrowing from the household, which takes the form of a mini-heist movie, Arrietty is recognized by Sean. That's bad, even though Sean has only benevolent motivations. Her efforts to fix the situation drive most of the rest of the action.
    Said action is not frenetic or super-energetic the way most modern movies with an eye toward children are, though. Most of the movie is reservedly paced and rather quiet. Like most other Ghibli movies, there's also no real villain. An antagonist of sorts does drive the climax, but that climax is not a big part of the movie, and the antagonist isn't evil, just obsessed with proving a point.
    The animation is first-rate, as one would expect of the studio. The attention to detail is noticeable throughout, and I liked the postage stamps used as wall paintings in the Borrowers' house.
    I do have to give a big thumbs down to my theater's presentation, though. It didn't look horrible, but frequently there was color bleeding and any panning of the background looked awful - kinda like a 3D print being shown in 2D. Was my experience unique, or did Disney manage to screw up massively in its release of this? It's not inconceivable that the latter took place, since the credits ignore all the original titles of the people who did something for the movie and just show an umbrella for everyone who worked on it in Japan. Guess what, that's a LOT of names, and I have no idea what any of them did.
    Even with that irritating color leeching stuff, it was an enjoyable time.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • Cassandra RamosCassandra Ramos Eternal Kyoshi Administrators
    edited February 2012
    I too just saw The Secret World of Arrietty. I largely agree with JuMeSyn's thoughts on it, though I didn't notice the color bleeding (I don't always pay attention to such things, though). I would also like to add that the background music is quite good. I rarely pay attention to movie music, but this film's soundtrack caught my ear.
    Bravely second...
    The courage to try again...

    Twitter: BerryEggs

  • KeldarusKeldarus RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited February 2012
    Transformers - Dark of the Moon I will say that it's better than the second one. I enjoyed watching Chicago explode, since I live there. Soundwave's voice is a travesty, the fight scenes actually make some sense since the shot's aren't so tight you can see what is happening. It's nice to see the robots have discernable faces. The plot is still dumb, no one cares about the humans at all. Shia's new lady friend is still dumb as a box of rocks. However, the cars as usual are fantastic, and Optimus Prime still makes me squeal like a little girl when he speaks.


    -Kel
  • Mike MoehnkeMike Moehnke Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited February 2012
    I stand by what I said a couple months ago with regard to Transformers movies in recent years. Sure the third one is the best, but it's the equivalent of being hit in the gut with a steel bat versus a spiked steel bat. It hurts a lot no matter what. Speaking of hurting...
    Over the Top. Apparently Sylvester Stallone needed money enough to work with Golan & Globus, cinematic loons who brought us such wonderments as Masters of the Universe, Superman IV, and Alien from L.A. This is known, if it's known at all, as the arm wrestling movie. That wasn't enough to create an entire feature though, so out pop all the stupid script embellishments that pad the running time to 90 minutes and kill brain cells. Let's see here: Stallone appears in his big rig to pick up his son from military school after never seeing the loathsome tyke for the entirety of his life. He does this at the behest of the kid's mother, who somehow has kept on good relations with the father even though he exited their life ten years prior. That's apparently because the grandfather (man, Robert Loggia is overly tanned in this thing) never ever liked the guy his daughter found. I'm making an inference though, because the movie sure can't be bothered to provide character motivation to someone who has a couple of very short scenes before dying (oh, that must be why she asked daddy to pick up the kid!) So we go through the tired motions of first the kid learning that his dad is pretty cool, then after mom's dead, grandpa comes along to commit the HEINOUS DEED of threatening to give the kid a life of entitlement and privilege through his vast wealth and numerous connections. Gotta have Stallone prove his dedication to the son somehow, so how about crashing his big rig through the gate to plow right into a mansion? There's some crap about grandpa not automatically being the guardian of the kid, but I'd say the law really wouldn't be too discriminatory about him not being the closest living relative when the father just committed enormous property damage and endangered the lives of several guards along the way. But no, dad has to earn enough money to somehow compete with the vast wealth stockpile of Loggia, so he sells the big rig and bets the proceeds on himself in the world arm wrestling tournament being held in Las Vegas (look, we're paying off that scene of him arm wrestling a guy early in the movie!). Complete with a transparent villain who should've been a pro wrestler and trash talks during the final match - huzzah.
    If you want arm wrestling, well, you'll get it. The cinematic possibilities of that activity are pretty limited though, so don't expect much. Also expect the kid to be annoying in the ways of many a child actor whose career promptly fizzled. I watched it with Rifftrax, and though Mike Nelson did this one solo early in the enterprise's career, it helps immensely.
    If you always wanted to know where Kenny Loggins' Meet Me Half Way was employed though, now you can find out!
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • Mike MoehnkeMike Moehnke Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited February 2012
    Ah, Predator 2, my old acquaintance. That inescapable impression of you being decidedly inferior to the first film is intact.
    It begins with an awkward segue from the jungle terrain of the original to the urban hellhole of L.A. in 1997 via a forest I didn't know about on the city's periphery with rainforest sound effects panning to the cityscape. Bad Things are Happening in LA, as some Colombian drug gang members who appear to be firing off hundreds of rounds of ammunition every minute are somehow holding off the LAPD. Fresh from the role of Roger Murtaugh in the first two Lethal Weapons comes Danny Glover, somehow not being shot when using his car to block the fire of the gang members despite the fact that he was leaning out of the freshly de-doored driver's side. The gang members are removed from their attempt to hold up when a Predator comes along to carve out little pieces for his trophies, and for quite awhile Danny Glover is seeking the being responsible for cutting up both sides of a massive drug war.
    Maybe it's John McTiernan not being here for directorial duties, I dunno. The tension of the first is mostly missing. Gary Busey does his standard performance, only this time he's the government man trying to catch the alien technology. He's still Gary Busey - the introductory scene where he tries to make nice is false because Gary Busey doesn't come across as anything but his standard persona. I had forgotten Bill Paxton was here, and he's good for a few chuckles, but he doesn't make it through the whole movie. There's a Jamaican drug lord (Doctor Willy, I think was the name) who comes across as hilarious with his overacting - let alone pulling a cane sword on a Predator. The climax is sufficiently lengthy, it's true, but Danny Glover just can't compete in the physical bulk department with Schwarzenegger. After the Predator hung from his arm I kept wondering how Danny was able to still use it - the tissues were almost certainly torn to shreds. Then that reveal of more Predators is accompanied by a shoddy special effect in which their legs just STOP instead of being hidden in the fog... eh. It has okay points but I can see why it kept any fresh movies from being brought out until Alien vs. Predator in 2004. Which was its own pile of disappointment.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • Mike MoehnkeMike Moehnke Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited February 2012
    Salt gets docked slightly by having a major plot point be that an arachnologist would be granted unfettered access to North Korea's borders. As an action movie that keeps moving and uses CGI minimally if at all, it's very strong.
    Shadow of a Doubt. This was apparently Alfred Hitchcock's favorite film of the ones he made. An interesting choice, but the movie is certainly rewarding enough. It begins with Joseph Cotten being watched by two men outside his apartment, and his subsequent escape from them. We then shift to Santa Rosa, where his only family lives. Teresa Wright plays his niece, both characters share the name Charlie, and once uncle Charlie arrives for a visit things start to get very interesting.
    Takes a little while getting started, but the conflict that arises is quite interesting, especially for a movie made under the strict oversight of the production code. The ending is a little too quick, but also rather realistic.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • Mike MoehnkeMike Moehnke Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited March 2012
    7th Heaven. Has nothing to do with the TV show, and I suspect everyone involved with that show wasn't born yet when this was released.
    The introduction displays Chico (Charles Farrell) hard at work in his rather undesirable job of sifting through the sewers of Paris for usable goods. Then we're introduced to Diane (Janet Gaynor), a timid waif of a woman beaten by her sister Nana with a belt constantly. Diane manages to mess up a visit by rich relations who might have bailed the two out of their extremely poor existence, and Nana appears ready to beat her to death in the streets. Chico knocks that off by holding her over an open manhole until she agrees to go away, but Diane just sits there with no hope. For reasons he doesn't acknowledge for some time, Chico claims Diane is his wife to keep her from being dragged off by the police. Doing so would imperil his newly acquired street-washing job until Diane agrees to stay at his residence for the time it will take a policeman to investigate the claim. In an unhurried manner, the two accommodate themselves to being together, just as World War I breaks out and all men of fighting age in France need to rush off to the front.
    Of 1927 silent movies with Janet Gaynor starring, Sunrise is definitely the top, but this one is quite good too. The intertitles have a few good lines (That's why I'm an atheist! God owes me ten francs!) and most of the moments intended to be amusing actually are. I wouldn't be surprised if the actress playing Nana is an ancestor of Helana Bonham Carter, the resemblance is uncanny. The central pair is affecting, and seeing Diane's transformation when her sister reappears after Chico goes off to war is a sight to behold. Not terribly easy to find nowadays, but worth seeing.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • Mike MoehnkeMike Moehnke Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited March 2012
    Interesting low key movie - Ruby in Paradise.
    Ruby (Ashley Judd) is seen in the opening credits driving away from whatever life she had in Tennessee. She ends up in Panama City, Florida right as winter is beginning. Not a promising environment in which to seek retail employment, not when all the tourists are gone, but she manages to convince a woman owning a store that caters mostly to such people into giving her a job. The fairly staunch rule of not dating her son Ricky is flouted quickly when the owner goes away for a week, but Ruby doesn't care to be with him for very long, instead accepting the attention of a fellow who works at a horticultural shop named Mike (Todd Field). What plot there is comes about when Ricky doesn't take the hint and keeps going after Ruby, eventually getting her fired, and she has to try finding another job. This is an unhurried movie though, with plenty of scenes that don't relate directly to the central narrative. Ashley Judd is in every scene though, and she's always interesting. This was her first leading role, and all the means of seeing it are out of print, so don't count on it being easy to find. For a mostly quiet tale about a woman whose life seems not just realistic but similar to a few people I worked with in the past though, it's worth finding. No standard screenwriting complications here.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • Mike MoehnkeMike Moehnke Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited March 2012
    Salem's Lot (1979). Technically this is a TV miniseries/movie, but Tobe Hooper directed it. For a long time whenever I brought this up in conversation with my father, he'd dismiss it brusquely. Not necessarily definitive, as my tastes do not march in line with my dad's anything close to all the time - I still remember the one time I got him to watch MST3K he actually LIKED Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders. With this, though, it's a weak Stephen King adaptation. What a shock.
    I should say that I read the book when I was 12. Perhaps not the smartest move, as it led to several very sleepless nights in which I fervently tried not to look out the window, convinced I would see a vampire waiting to lock me into its gaze and turn me into the undead in turn. I don't remember a whole lot except for the ending clearly, but what I do recall is vaguely captured by this movie. Emphasis on the vague - what was a frightening thing (to a 12 year old, admittedly) watching characters inexorably approach the window to let their now-vampire friends inside has become laughable due to the overuse of a fog machine and flying effects reminiscent of a high school production of Peter Pan.
    The plot is definitely a Stephen King horror creation, but like any of his stories it doesn't matter when done well. A writer named Ben (played here by David Soul, from Starsky & Hutch) returns to his eponymous childhood town to research a house infamous in the community, for the purposes of a future book. He hits it up with Bonnie Bedelia, and plenty of other characters are introduced. The house has been purchased by a pair of antique shop entrepreneurs - the yet-to-be-seen Mr. Barlowe and Mr. Straker (James Mason). The delivery of a large crate on Mr. Straker's orders at the house coincides with a sudden rush of disappearances in the town, followed by people who were definitely dead rising from the grave to pursue the blood of their fellows. What seemed in the novel like a good means of adding flavor to the people (the large cast) mostly eats up time here. This thing is three hours, although I understand a version with an hour edited out exists, and the time just creeps by slowly. The vampire effects are pretty good, especially by the standards of 70's TV, but they're in service of a dreadfully dull concoction. It has its share of laughable moments, true, especially when the soundtrack appears to be using effects better suited to an alien invasion than to vampirism, but the length is a big turn-off for anyone trying to riff it. Mr. Barlowe I barely remember from the novel, but I do recall he had a personality. Here he's a subpar Max Schreck lookalike that appears in a few scenes and then gets a stake through his heart. James Mason is his usual self, but he's not in enough scenes to rescue much. The one thing I clearly recall from reading the book, its ending, has been altered for no real reason. A few scenes filmed in a town near me are nifty, but they're hardly reason to see it, even for the tiny fraction of people on this planet who know what Ferndale is and have seen it. I happen to think Tobe Hooper is a vastly overrated director anyway, and this sure doesn't change my stance. Maybe the TNT 2004 miniseries is better - but I'm not eager to try it right now.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • Mike MoehnkeMike Moehnke Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited March 2012
    Act of Valor is not a good movie. In fact it's more interesting to know its origins than to actually watch the thing. I did that, so I guess I have to talk about it.
    The big draw of this movie about the US Navy SEALs is the fact that people currently doing exactly that job are more-or-less playing themselves onscreen. So when it comes to the jargon of the job and them seeming right at home, its verisimilitude can't be beat. Having exhausted my praise, let's get deeper...
    The plot begins when a woman working undercover for the CIA (Lisa Morales, played by Roselyn Sanchez) is found out and tortured by some very bad men who want to know what she knows. Rescuing her falls to the SEALs in an extraction operation, and her story reveals that a man named Christo (Alex Veadov) has been collaborating with a very bad man named Shabal (Jason Cottle). Shabal's plot is to use a newly developed explosive ball bearing that passes every metal detector test in the world and will allow suicide bombers to get into the US to do their worst. Obviously it falls to the SEALs to stop this, in a pursuit that takes them from eavesdropping in Somalia to an attempt to use the tunnel system under Mexicali to infiltrate.
    One SEAL in particular is narrating a letter at the beginning and end of the movie, and his voice reminds me of Jessie Ventura made boring. One SEAL is about to be a father, the others have character traits dumped on the audience in narration at the beginning and then blend into the scenery pretty well. Not to criticize them doing their day jobs, but as characters in this movie they're incredibly dull and interchangeable, along with their inexperience at acting showing through quite often. Jargon-filled exposition laces pretty much every scene, and it very quickly gets dull to hear. The music attempts to compensate by implying tension where there is none, because these characters are impossible to care about.
    Ah, but what about the action? Well, here we find such wonderful specialties of the modern action film as the handheld shaky-cam and super quick-cuts. It would take a freeze-frame mentality on a DVD to understand some of the brief shots. Admittedly these are a minority, but they provide a break from the tedium of the rest. When none of the characters has made an impression and there are way too many of them to keep track, we get tedium as a lot of guys shoot at each other. There is an admittedly hilarious moment near the end when slow motion is employed to make it clear that this is a Very Serious Moment and the audience needs to realize that, but it will only come as a surprise, but the friend I saw it with was fighting very hard not to fall asleep - and he loves action movies.
    The Navy SEALs do a dirty job exceedingly well, and the list of them who have lost their lives in the line of duty at the movie's end carries an impact. This movie shows nothing interesting about their job though, and unless you know a face on the screen will probably serve as a superb sleep aid.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • Aquila HawkAquila Hawk O_o Full Members
    edited March 2012
    Army of Darkness. Watching it now to much glee. As I so lovingly referred to it on Facebook, it is one liners broken up by pointless, but unlimited ammo, 14th century gun fights. Just remember, good, bad, I'm the guy with the gun.... er... post.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    AquilaHawk on Battle.Net: Currently playing Starcraft II
  • Mike MoehnkeMike Moehnke Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited March 2012
    My Stepmother is an Alien. A scientist (Dan Akroyd) takes advantage of the unique properties of celestial mechanics to send a beam across space at faster speeds than should be possible, inadvertently frying the company's circuits pretty thoroughly when his brother's jacket manages to get stuck in the equipment. The result is to send his signal far faster than physics deems possible, winding up in the next galaxy after less than a minute. It also somehow destabilizes a planet's atmosphere, prompting a member of that world's civilization to take the form of Kim Basinger and travel to Earth in order to recreate the process so as to reverse it.
    Sounds like a serious matter, but this is supposed to be a comedy, so Basinger is imperfectly versed in exactly what transpires on Earth. The title gives away something that doesn't happen until more than halfway through the movie - and who should be playing Dan Akroyd's daughter but Alyson Hannigan in her screen debut? The brother is Jon Lovitz, and little cameos are all over the place - I liked Harry Shearer as the supposed voice of Carl Sagan and Tony Jay as the leader of a Council that occasionally advises Basinger. It's a slow-moving movie in parts, and having Dan Akroyd mostly play the straight man is a bizarre choice. The ending is needlessly protracted, and the attempts to generate tension fail utterly because we're dealing with a mainstream studio comedy from the 80s - everything will work out alright. No masterpiece, and hard to wholeheartedly recommend when the funny stuff is separated by sometimes lengthy parts, along with a climax that just ignores probably a dozen plot points that had already been established. Its amiable nature keeps me from condemning the enterprise though, and some of the jokes actually are funny.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • Cassandra RamosCassandra Ramos Eternal Kyoshi Administrators
    edited March 2012
    Just finished watching Easy A. Commercials for this movie looked fairly interesting, but I go the cinema maybe...three times a year tops? These high school drama type of films get me a little annoyed with their portrayl of teenagers and high school, but I partially think that's because I was never really a teen mentally. Regardless, while this movie had it's eyerolling moments for me (the Dawson Casting was especially jarring since they casted actual kids for the brief flashback to 8th grade, making the characters look like they aged ten years instead of two-to-four), it's oddly smart and quite funny. I enjoyed the many allusions and references to The Scarlet Letter and liked the characters, especially the lead, Emma Stone's Olive.
    Bravely second...
    The courage to try again...

    Twitter: BerryEggs

  • Confessor RahlConfessor Rahl Member Full Members
    edited March 2012
    John Carter today. Totally awesome sci-fi spectacle!
    "Back when FF9 was coming out. People were rejoicing because it was actually a fantasy game and not a sci-fi game like 7 and 8. It's hilarious in modern context, with everyone wanking themselves to dehydration at the thought of a FF7 remake."
  • Mike MoehnkeMike Moehnke Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited March 2012
    I remember liking Easy A, a lot of it based on Emma Stone. I just saw the thing last fall and its details are already receding into my memory though.
    The Killer. More John Woo education for me. The story isn't too complicated, but that's not a Woo trademark. Massive gunplay most definitely is. Ah Jong (Chow Yun-Fat) is an assassin, and he takes a case at the beginning that leads to him gunning down about a dozen guys total in a restaurant. A woman named Jenny performing a song in the place happens to wander into the middle of the gunfire, and Jong manages to discharge a round just so that it grazes her face at eye level. He feels pretty bad about that afterward and takes advantage of her now-abysmal eyesight to try helping her without any recognition that it was he who caused the deterioration. The other main character is Inspector Lee (Danny Lee) who gets in trouble with his superiors after shooting a crazed gunman attempting to take a hostage on a crowded bus that leads to the hostage dying anyway from a weak heart at the shock. These two collide when Ah Jong is assigned to assassinate a politician Lee was protecting, but complications ensue when the Hong Kong triad member who ordered the hit also deems the killer to be a liability. Get ready for some crazy action setpieces that show the Hong Kong triad is manned by lots and lots of angry, brainless young men.
    The action is most definitely there, and the body count is quite high by the end's showdown in a church. Applying logic to the action is a losing game, or else one runs into the constant streams of bullets that are fired with only occasional reloading, and the inclination of the hired gunmen to wait just a trifle too long before opening fire so they can be shot down first. Things move fast enough that such blatant silliness doesn't become overbearing though. There's a sense of humor to the proceedings too, most notably in a scene where Lee and Ah Jong are pointing guns are each other's heads but moving their bodies in such a way that the nearly-blind Jenny won't know it while coming up with amusing stories about their sports-playing youth together. I'd rank it a bit behind Hard Boiled when it comes to sheer action - the hospital climax of that movie was so massive that it's hard to equal. This one's no slouch though, and is a perfect illustration of how to do an action movie that logically can't happen but is beautiful bullet ballet on the screen. Based on what I've seen, John Woo never really recaptured that ingredient in his US pictures - not quite.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
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