Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

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Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby J.M. Vargas » Mon Aug 31, 2009 7:51 pm

Broke in my Criterion Blu-ray of Carol Reed's THE THIRD MAN (1949) tonight. The rez increase is pleasant enough to appease film purists (loved seeing undisturbed grain) but, even in 1.0 Mono, the uncompressed soundtrack kicks butt and surprised me the most. Karas' zither's score and Harry Lime running through the sewers just plain sounded better than my two-disc DVD. To the average person the BD and DVD versions of "The Third Man" would be indistinguishable though, making this the type of catalogue standout title separating the fanatical movie lover from the normal one. As for the movie itself, every time I see it I pick something up I hadn't noticed before. This time it was the scene where Anna (Alida Valli) asks Martins (Joseph Cotten) what their common friend Harry Lime was like growing up. After several viewings I still had trouble understanding why Anna was so in love with Lime despite the horrible things he (was alleged to) had done. Rewatching the aforementioned scene it became obvious to me that Lime's magnetic personality was the light in Anna's troubled life and that he had earned the woman's undying love (and blindness to his crimes). This of course made the ending shot (which I already loved) even more poignant and powerful. :cry:

Fritz Lang's WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS (1956) on TCM-HD for the first time. Lang's next-to-last American movie, about how the son of a media baron (Vincent Price, clearly enjoying himself) sets up his underlings to exploit a NYC serial murderer as their potential tickets to a higher-up position at Kyne Enterprises, is more ambitious than good but it's also well cast and shows the man behind "M" and "Dr. Mabuse" knee-deep into his element. The exploits of the 'Lipstick Killer' (wildly overplayed by John Barrymore Jr. as a traumatized comic book-influenced sociopath) are secondary to the Kyne media corporate rat race, giving this modest thriller movie a bigger social canvas than its average production values would suggest. Dana Andrews (OK as the TV face of the Kyne media empire), Ida Lupino, Rhonda Fleming, George Sanders, Howard Duff and Thomas Mitchell give their roles enough colorful zeal to make it worth seeing... once!

IT! THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE (1958) on MGM-HD for the first time. Ridley Scott's "Alien" popped in my mind as I was watching this. The similarities are unavoidable (right down to the air vent confrontation between creature and crewman) but it's clearly a dated product of its time. All women in the crew are helpless and/or nurses/food servants. The press briefings in Washington D.C. that bookend the flick are hilarious. Lead character Carruthers (Marshall Thompson), facing court marshall back on Earth for allegedly killing a crew of the space ship before the one that picks him up, has all the charisma and personality of a hotel bellhop. And who knew back in 1958 that the 'future' on 1973 would look an awful lot like... the future of 1958? :)

Ivan Reitman's GHOSTBUSTERS (1984) on Blu-ray. Sometimes I think the AV freaks that run websites dedicated to home theater entertainment are too blinded by the high-def forest to see the upright tree standing in front of them. This was branded as an awful transfer by most reputable AV websites/reviews (particularly on AVS Forum) but, on my 47" 1080p LCD and Blu-ray PS3 player, it looked/sounded very good and much better than it EVER did on home video before. Soft film stock and dated matte effects notwithstanding (they never looked good even when during its '84 theatrical window) the movie is still damn funny 25 years later despite Bill Murray's one-liner schtick getting old halfway through the flick. I never noticed before how useful Ernie Hudson is as a straight man to the other Ghostbusters' completly-in-character schtick, or that the 'portable nuclear devices' on their backs had colorful HUD displays that actually work.
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby tucco » Mon Aug 31, 2009 11:48 pm

Tyson -The new documentary....Quite revelatory and fascinating. What a tragic childhood he had.

Halloween 2 (Rob Zombie) The biggest piece of trash ever. Of course I had to see it but my god, it's not even bad in a good way.

Seinfeld Season 9 - After not seeing this show for a while, I found that the last season wasn't of the lower quality people usually ascribe to it in comparison to earlier seasons. Really not a bad episode in the whole season. (on sale for 14 bucks, can't beat that)
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Future Man » Tue Sep 01, 2009 6:06 am

The Cranes Are Flying
Make that the camera cranes! Lots of sweeping crowd shots and other roving camera techniques make this 1950s Russian love in wartime story move along at a brisk pace.
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Steve T Power » Tue Sep 01, 2009 6:19 am

Watched a big ole pile of Area 88, and it is very very good.
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby HGervais » Tue Sep 01, 2009 10:29 am

Spooks series 4. I'm playing catch-up with the series known in the US as MI:5. As usual a regular cast member bites the dust in spectacular style. One of the things I like about the show is how they kill cast members in midstream which allows for the show to deal with that characters death as everything else is going on. Next up, series 5.
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby barnaclelapse » Wed Sep 02, 2009 7:08 am

I'm working my way through all the episodes of Monk I haven't seen, and I'm catching up on the Paul Newman movies I haven't seen. I'm also finally getting around to certain commentary tracks (Ebert's for Dark City, for example) I've been meaning to listen to.
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Andrew Forbes » Thu Sep 03, 2009 6:07 pm

Seven Men from Now. Lee Marvin owns this movie.
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Stubblecat » Thu Sep 03, 2009 6:45 pm

Adventureland. Wow, was this film a marketer's bait-and-switch wet dream. It was sold as a comedy from the director of Superbad (which, sure, it technically is), but the film is actually a romantic drama with a bit of comedy thrown in.

If you saw the trailers, which feature Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig, then you've seen all of their scenes in the film. Otherwise, you get a fairly good film dragged down somewhat by the ever-expressionless Kristen Stewart and the terribly miscast Ryan Reynolds. Another odd thing is that it's supposed to take place in 1987, but it's loaded with references which would make more sense for 1977. Because AMC Pacers, Lou Reed and pull-top beer cans totally define the 80s...
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby tucco » Fri Sep 04, 2009 6:19 pm

Gran Torino ......A fine parting shot for Eastwood in front of the camera.
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby J.M. Vargas » Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:47 pm

Ingmar Bergman's THE SEVENTH SEAL (1958) on Blu-ray. Who says HD can't make an old movie look new again? The resolution/contrast boost and minimal tampering (film grain for the win!) gives us a "Seventh Seal" presentation so exquisite I literally felt like I was watching the movie for the first time even though I'd seen it a while back. I was struck by how much of a co-equal Gunnar Bjönstrand's Jöns is to von Sydow's lead character. It is Jöns who faces death in the end while Antonius Block continues his futile prayers for God to interfere. It's also Jöns who becomes the movie's one-man Greek choir and audience surrogate (his timely explanations in the forest when Plog and Skat are arguing over the former's wife are laugh-out loud on the money), yet it's the uncertainty that consumes Block while he plays around with Death (Benkt Ekerot) that grounds the movie and provides it with its universal and timeless appeal. The shot of the 'dance of death' is still too far away to make its participants visible even on 1080p (only after seeing the publicity still shot does its power come across) and, unless you're on a contemplative mood, the movie is bound to bore many a viewer incapable of getting past the B&W picture and the subtitles. Me? I'm ashamed to say that I completely missed the humor and wacky moments (Death's saw, Nils Poppe's 'bear' dance, etc.) on my first viewing that this time just jumped out of the screen. Must be the HD.

Jean-Pierre Melville's LE DOULOS (1961) on Sundance Channel for the first time. Gangsters, cops, hidden loot from a robbery, a jazzy score, rain coats, hats, smokey rooms and double... nah, TRIPLE-crosses galore. Yep, it's a Melville picture alright. What starts as a simple break-in job for ex-con Maurice Faugel (Serge Reggiani, whose face looks an awful lot like Rowan Atkinson's) is almost immediately turned on its head. It will take until the end of the movie to figure out who's conning who. At the center of it all is Jean-Paul Belmondo ("Breathless") as Silien, a police informant who makes up his own rules and plays all sides against the middle (including his lover Fabienne) as he tries to retire from the life. Unlike previous Melville crime capers the cops aren't given a compelling figure for the main bad guy to befriend (unless you count Silien's contact that dies early on) so we're stuck with the criminals and are forced to sympathize with (and even admire) their cleverness. While not as memorable as 1956's "Bob le flambeur" Melville's "Le Doulos" shows the man was in tune with the French New Wave before and after the movement was officially recognized as such.

Chuck Jones' THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH (1970) on TCM-HD for the first time. A mix of "Wizard of Oz"-type fantasy (based on a children's book) and "Grinch"-style TV animation, Chuck Jones' only feature as a director is lively and colorful if you're (a) easily amused or (b) in the target audience's range. Mel Blanc contributes some of the animated character's voices but there's lots of great voice-over actors (Cliff Norton, June Foray, Shepard Menken's voice for Tick Tock, etc.) complementing the decent lead performance by Butch Patrick (both animated and in the brief live action bookends to the movie). Too many pun jukes ('Watchdog,' 'Senses' Taker, etc.), average animation (better than TV but below even Disney's 70's animated efforts) and forgettable songs drag, but don't completely overwhelm, this decent stab by animator Jones at doing a family-friendly movie outisde the realm of "Looney Tunes.

Nagisa Ôshima's IN THE REALM OF THE SENSES (1976) on Criterion Blu-ray for the first time. I don't know what is more incredible. That the events/characters depicted in the flick really existed (poetic liberties notwithstanding) or that Ôshima and his skeleton crew of actors/technicians had the guts (and financial backing from France) to depict an all-consuming love affair on film with such relentless detachment from both the subject matter and conventional narrative. Tatsuya Fuji and Eiko Matsuda make Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider's couple from "Last Tango in Paris" look repressed and uptight. These actors give it their all (Matsuda in particular is asked to go to that 'dark' place actors seldom reach into) and writer/director Ôshima backs them up with what charitably could be called monogamous lust taken to its most illogical extreme with some hilarious-by-default moments (the 'egg' scene, Sada's visits to her old principal, etc.) to break up the tension a little bit. The fact there is almost no scene and no secondary plot in the movie that doesn't involve Shikizo or Sada having sex (with each other or secondary characters) traps the audience into the same haze of lust surrounding the doomed lovers, effectively mirroring (for us) how trapped in their own little world these two were. And for the record, it was so cool to see Eiko Matsuda drink sake straight from the bottle (twice! :D) instead of delicately pouring it into a little plate like every other character in a Japanese movie I've seen to date (even drunks and so-called 'thirsty patrons'). That, to me, drove through how much of an individual Sada Abe was than the whole sex/penal removal thing.

Couple of more things about before I move on. The scene with Sada playing with the little boy's private parts did serve a story purpose (to show just how unhinged the woman was becoming with the whole penis thing) but nevertheless felt gratuitous and exploitative because it depicted children being molested (even for just a brief on-camera inappropriate touch) for the sake of art. I'll defend Ôshima's right to present his work as he sees fit but that scene crosses the line, IMHO. Second, this is one Blu-ray I wish I would have gotten as a DVD instead of high-def BD. I'm no prune but the clarity and 'you are there' immersion the high-def transfer provides made this first-time viewing of "In the Realm of the Senses" a little too much for me to take in one sitting (which I did anyway). Hopefully the repeat viewings will be easier to sit through given that the shock of what Ôshima got away with in '76 simply blindsided me (I knew it was sexually explicit but not THAT explicit). And no, I haven't seen Passolini's "Salo" yet.

And, last but not least, Martin Campbell's CASINO ROYALE (2006) on Blu-ray for the first time. As far as movie franchise reboots go (they're sadly becoming so common they can be judged as a category) Daniel Craig's maiden voyage into the 007 role is much better than I expected. Wish we'd spent more time with Bond before he joined the '00' team (guess they're saving those formative years for key flashbacks and/or plot reboots as the franchise marches on) but Craig's physical presence and some well-choreographed action pieces/stunt work effectively sell the man as the heir apparent to Connery and Dalton (the better Bonds, IMHO). The introductory conversation with M (Judi Dench), Bond's torture at the hands of Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) and his somewhat-believable love for Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) also showed Craig's Bond able to deal with a range of human emotions (cockiness, vulnerabilitiy, tenderness, etc.) that have eluded most actors that have played the role. I don't know a thing about poker (except what I learned watching "Card Sharks" on TV) so the build-up to the big game left me cold outside of the pretty pictures (which shine on high-def Blu-ray). I loved how the writers used this key plot element of the movie to introduce Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright), and that the director trusted the script enough to stick with the game for what seems like a quarter of the movie's length. Now if the writers could just come up with some better villains for Bond to do battle against! There hasn't been a compelling Bond heavy since Alec Trevelyan in 1995's "GoldenEye," and even that dude pales compared to the likes of Jaws, Auric Goldfinger or Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Future Man » Tue Sep 08, 2009 6:37 pm

Ballad of a Soldier 1959
As good an anti-war movie as I've ever seen. Parents especially should have their hankies handy. Beautiful Criterion transfer.
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Andrew Forbes » Wed Sep 09, 2009 1:58 pm

Road House (1948). Richard Widmark ends up going a bit over the top, but for the most part this is a damn good movie.

Speaking of which, 1948 was a pretty sweet year for movies: Road House, Yellow Sky, Portrait of Jennie, The Bicycle Thief, The Big Clock, Raw Deal, Fallen Idol, Drunken Angel, The Red Shoes, Fort Apache, Rope, 3 Godfathers, He Walked By Night, Oliver Twist, The Paradine Case, Key Largo, Naked City, Red River. That's just taking a quick look at Yahoo Movies listings. Granted, I haven't seen all of those, and some are overrated IMO, but they are all generally well-regarded.
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby tucco » Wed Sep 09, 2009 3:19 pm

Also:

Unforgivable Blackness (Jack Johnson doc.)
Leila (The Iranian flick)
The Chinese Connection (damn I mess the seventies)
George Carlin: You are all diseased
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Gabriel Girard » Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:15 am

Shadowlands - A heartfelt portrayal of C.S Lewis that seldom falls into mawkishness. Anthony Hopkins gives a masterful performance, you really feel as if you're watching Lewis. Debra Winger holds her place with a nuanced portrayal of an out-spoken woman. I really liked the unconventional love story and respected the fact that they didn't shy away of showing him as a man of faith.

Shaolin Soccer - Fun times!

Crank 2 : High Voltage Some nice flashes but too "anything goes" even for a Crank flick - that "Godzilla" sequence was god-awful. Like Mancini I feel like one was all that was needed.
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby tucco » Thu Sep 10, 2009 11:37 am

Also the Original Empire Strikes Back......it's a trip to see the original Emperor again.
Although Ian M. is of course FAR superior.

I don't even mind the non-anamorphic nature of the presentation.....I've seen these things a thousand times anyway.
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Dunnyman » Mon Sep 14, 2009 9:42 am

J.M. Vargas wrote:Fritz Lang's WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS (1956) on TCM-HD for the first time. Lang's next-to-last American movie, about how the son of a media baron (Vincent Price, clearly enjoying himself) sets up his underlings to exploit a NYC serial murderer as their potential tickets to a higher-up position at Kyne Enterprises, is more ambitious than good but it's also well cast and shows the man behind "M" and "Dr. Mabuse" knee-deep into his element. The exploits of the 'Lipstick Killer' (wildly overplayed by John Barrymore Jr. as a traumatized comic book-influenced sociopath) are secondary to the Kyne media corporate rat race, giving this modest thriller movie a bigger social canvas than its average production values would suggest. Dana Andrews (OK as the TV face of the Kyne media empire), Ida Lupino, Rhonda Fleming, George Sanders, Howard Duff and Thomas Mitchell give their roles enough colorful zeal to make it worth seeing... once!

Can't agree on once, this was too much fun, plus look at all the (at the time) quite sexual dialogue, and of course the bizarre (for Lang) touch of having Dana Andrews run by a theater where the marquee is advertising a Dana Andrews movie, this is one I wanna see on DVD!

Last night I went to go see My One and Only and...wow. George Hamilton had one weird childhood and a truly demented mother. On the other hand, Renee Zellweger is incredible as the slightly nuts Anne, and Kevin Bacon turns in a great performance as Dan, the sleazebag father. The truly amazing part of the movie is young Logan Lerman who I'm gonna go out on a limb and predict big things for. For a kid of 16 he takes a huge role, and holds his own against his more experienced co-stars. Also, if you're a fan of classic cars, don't miss this one as there some gorgeous examples of the golden age of automobiles.
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Andrew Forbes » Tue Sep 15, 2009 7:23 pm

T-Men. Despite a routine undercover plotline, awkward narration and a terrible transfer, this was entertaining enough thanks to fantastic lighting and compositions and a typically great performance from Charles McGraw, who has to be one of the most underappreciated character actors of the 40s and 50s. Anthony Mann really deserves a restored noir set of his own.

I also watched about 2/3 of Mother of Tears (shut it off once the wife got home--she's not into horror), and was surprised by what I saw. After the countless pans and complaints of Argento having lost his mojo, I have to confess that I'm a bit confused. Sure, there's no saturated color lighting, but the camera still roams in that Argento way, the plot makes no less sense than his more celebrated flicks (how could it?), and the acting is, with a few exceptions, better than average for his work. I get the sense that Argento was trying to integrate the mythology of the previous "Mothers" movies into a more conventional thriller framework, letting the dreamlike qualities seep into a more routine narrative, so that Asia Argento's character becomes a counterpart to the audience, suddenly confronted with the intrusion of an Argento nightmare into her normal life. Don't get me wrong, what I saw of the movie is deeply flawed, but pretending that his previous movies didn't share the same problems is delusional.
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby mavrach » Tue Sep 15, 2009 7:59 pm

Went through some Doctor Who & Torchwood. Who Series 1-3 for the second time, everything else was a first-time viewing. I need to get down and dig into the years past of Who. These are some of the best TV I've seen, very risky with some existing sci-fi conventions, but it knows not to take itself too seriously. I love those little moments, like when Donna tried to say "Vini Vidi Vici" to a Roman, to which he replied "me no speaky Celtic!"

Spoilers:


Doctor Who Series 4 for the first time - The finale was a highlight, but I was disappointed with the way they treated Rose. It kept building and building to her return, so I naturally assumed the focus of the finale would be Rose. Instead we got a "kitchen sink" of every Who spinoff character they could find. That was awesome and all, but it was so disappointing to see Rose just be one of several characters. The ending seemed like an apology for the risky sad ending they gave her in Series 2. That had such an impact for me, and had me halfway in tears in my second viewing. Now it's a bit diminished because we know she gets her happy ending later on.

Aside from that, how much more epic can they get from having 26 planets stolen and used in an attempt to destroy ALL universes??


2/3 through Torchwood now. It's still trying to find its footing. The most jarring thing is that Captain Jack doesn't seem to be the main character. After a few episodes it became apparrent that Guen was the protagonist, and they haven't really focused on Jack at all. I felt like I didn't know Ianto & Tosh, and didn't see the point of them being there, until they each got their own episodes. You wouldn't think 5 characters would be too much for a show, but then again Who only had 2 characters at a time and that worked fine. But considering all that, it's unsatisfying that Jack always seems to drop in at the last second and solve everything. Why does he get to be the hero if there isn't any focus on him?


I'm all complaints today, but I'm loving it.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby HGervais » Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:27 pm

Fringe s.1. Combine the patented Fox use of a brilliant & eccentric scientist solving mysteries teamed up with a slightly less brilliant & slightly less quirky but better looking & younger group and throw in a healthy dose of X-Files style monsters, paranoia, mythology & conspiracies and you more or less come up with Fringe. There are points early on where the material seems to creak from the weight of all the influences it is trying to mix together but then as the season movies forward the show finds its footing and becomes interesting on its own terms. And that last shot...yeah, the show went there. There is some enjoyable genre stuff in those early episodes, if you can ignore the feeling of it feeling all so familiar, but once the show makes the turn into the second half of the season it really picks up the pace and gets interesting. It is certainly a show I would catch up on before dropping into season two because, again as with The X-Files, I don't know if I would want to come in cold. Great DVD set from Warner, packed with commentaries and featurettes. Recommended.
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby HGervais » Tue Sep 15, 2009 11:25 pm

X-Men Origins: Wolverine....wow that was bad. The worst CGI in a big budget movie since 007 parasurfed a tidal wave in Die Another Day and the worst F/X in relation to where current technology is at since Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Horrible, horrible screenplay that went out of its way to include every possible cliche under the sun. Overscored to the point of parody. Motorcycles going the wrong way down Bourbon Street. Kind of trying to retrocon the three X-Men movies but not willing to go all the way. Powering up both Deadpool & Gambit. Hugh Jackman is just not a leading man. Patrick Stewart getting a worse looking CGI makeover than the one we saw in X3. Sorry, I'm rambling.
Liev Schrieber turns in work that almost rises above the material and I'm sorry but I just like Ryan Reynolds. The way they realized the Blob did not totally suck. I also thought Taylor Kitsch did the best with what he had and if I saw him again as Gambit, a character which I hate by the way, it would not be the worst thing in the world....I'm kind of liking the idea of him in John Carter, Warlord of Mars. And that is about it. The movie is just b a d.
It's too bad Marvel does not have any control over the franchise because X-Men should have movies being made by people who at least have a clue as to what makes the material work. Ugh.
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Steve T Power » Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:06 am

At least the credit sequence was awesome.
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby HGervais » Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:20 am

Steve T Power wrote:At least the credit sequence was awesome.

Yeah I was sitting there watching the credits and thinking you guys must be off your collective rocker dogging the movie the you were.
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby BenShultz » Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:42 am

HGervais wrote:
Steve T Power wrote:At least the credit sequence was awesome.

Yeah I was sitting there watching the credits and thinking you guys must be off your collective rocker dogging the movie the you were.


A good credits sequence can fool ya. See Panic Room or any of the Spiderman movies. (Or better yet, don't.)
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby J.M. Vargas » Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:59 am

Luis Buñuel's THE DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOISIE (1972) on Sundance Channel for the first time. This is the first Buñuel movie I've unequivocally loved from start to finish without reservations or feeling the pressure to 'get' the man behind the surrealist narrative. Fernando Rey (drug running French ambassador to the fictitious Latinamerican nation of Miranda) and his fellow upper-class friends lead carefree lives of wealth in which getting together to eat dinner seems to be of the utmost importance. Using sharp satire (a Bishop that is treated differently when he dresses up as a gardener), dream-within-a-dream logic (just where are these six people walking too down that road?) and social commentary (we root for Rey's character when he's confronted by a woman terrorist even though she's in the right) Buñuel delivers the laughs at an almost fever-pitch pace (for him). Even the supporting actors in minor roles (particularly Milena Vukotic's Ines) get their little moments of wacky cool under the director's spotlight. "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie" is neither discreet or charming but it's certainly as accesible and funny as Buñuel movies come. Did I mention Fernando Rey is one cool, suave and classy mother f***er? 8)

Luc Besson's THE FIFTH ELEMENT (1997) on Blu-ray. I made a conscious decision a few years back of not watching "The Fifth Element" more than once every few years. This is hard when mainstream cable TV channels seem to show the flick 'round the clock, but seeing it again on Blu-ray last week wasn't the revelation of greatness I expected other than the (remastered from a botched BD launch release in 2006) audio/video HD transfer being pretty good. It's just a stylish and dumb summer popcorn flick with comic book sensibilities and sci-fi elements, plus a wasted Gary Oldman flaming out in spectacular fashion alongside a too-cool-for-the-room Ian Holm. But crap like "Ultraviolet" (also starring Milla Jovovich) and "Land of the Lost" make "Fifth Element" feel epic and dense by comparison, showing that Besson at least had a consistent vision that sustains his pet project even with a miscast Bruce Willis as the hero (the man looks bored). The opera scene with Inva Mulla Tchako's unreal vocals cross-edited with Leelo kicking Mangalore butt and the Diva performing on stage seems to have come out an entirely different parallel universe, one in which pressumably the rest of the movie is also vastly superior. Right Gervais? ;-)

The first half of HBO's TRUE BLOOD, SEASON 2 on HBO 2 HD for the first time in one marathon viewing. Don't know if they hold the quality through to the end (will watch the remaining six episodes this weekend) but Alan Ball's crazy genre/allegory blend of a TV show hits the ground running and gets better with each episode. Ryan Kwanten's Jason Stackhouse continues to be one of the goofiest and most lovable sexy idiots ever portrayed on TV; just looking at Kwanten making a facial gesture is enough to get me bent over the couch laughing out loud. The show wisely has set the Bill-Sookie relationship in the background (Paquin and Moyer are cute but ultimately boring when they're center stage) thus giving the entire supporting cast plenty of moments to shine. Chri Bauer's pathetic take on Andy (particularly when he interacts with deadpan king William Sanderson), Rutina Wesley's Tara (whom I loved from the moment season 1 started), Alexander Skarsgård's imposing presence as Eric and Michelle Forbes truly milking her season-long story arc for all its worth are standouts. And Deborah Ann Woll has turned what could have been a cliche role ('teenage vampire bitch') into something both ghoulishly funny but also deeply touching. And remember kids: don't ever mess with Texan vampires (it's a Texas thing). :D
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Jon Mercer » Wed Sep 16, 2009 8:25 am

BenShultz wrote:
HGervais wrote:
Steve T Power wrote:At least the credit sequence was awesome.

Yeah I was sitting there watching the credits and thinking you guys must be off your collective rocker dogging the movie the you were.


A good credits sequence can fool ya. See Panic Room or any of the Spiderman movies. (Or better yet, don't.)

Where was that advice seven years ago?
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby HGervais » Sun Sep 20, 2009 9:02 pm

So I started my October viewing early with Hammer fifth Frankenstein movie, Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed and was pretty surprised. A) because some how I had never seen it and B) because of how well it holds up. The movie takes a much darker turn in its approach to Baron Frankenstein and then twists around in its final act to go in a completely unexpected direction. If the film has one real flaw it is that it just stops more than it comes to an end. The print is not unattractive although there were problems with the sound. Tell you what, when we start seeing hi-def versions of Hammer movies I will really start to get serious about wanting a Blu-ray player.
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby HGervais » Mon Sep 21, 2009 5:36 pm

Jennifer's Body....never as scary or as funny as it probably wanted to be but I still liked it a lot. Megan Fox is more than a smoking hot babe but the movie belongs to Amanda Seyfried and she really is quite good. It's funny but you read critics gripe about Diablo Cody's stylized dialogue in a way that they don't about David Mamet or Quentin Tarantino. I think she is a talented writer and a pretty truthful one. All in all, I enjoyed the movie more than I thought I would.
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Gabriel Girard » Tue Sep 22, 2009 7:24 am

Some lightweight entertainment for the past few days

State Of Play - enjoyable throwback to 70's conspiracy thrillers, nice work from the whole cast.

Duplicity - also 70ish, relies even more on dialog and atmosphere. Loved that sequence where Roberts is looking for the photocopy machine. I could have done without the constant flashbacks.

12 Rounds - enjoyable thrill-ride, better than a lot of bigger budget pictures.

X-Men Origins : Wolverine - I'm gonna go against the grain and say that I really enjoyed this while it lasted. Sure it could have been way better, that part with the Blob was redunkulous, I always had a problem with the way that the X films introduce mutants for just one scene and the ending is pretty blah. Still it's better than X-3. 6.5/10
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby MilanJett » Tue Sep 22, 2009 3:49 pm

The Mist I get creeped out every time I go to the grocery store now. :shock:

Up In Smoke Nothing's funnier than Cheech in a pink tu-tu and mickey mouse ears. :lol:

30 Days of Night Good friggin' vampire movie.

And I did a triple feature the other night of all the Underworld movies.
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby tucco » Wed Sep 23, 2009 12:23 am

LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD
LES MISERABLES '98 (Still like the '78 version with Anthony Perkin's Javer the best)
INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE I only care about the original, but this one is a worthy sequel, maybe the only one.
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Dunnyman » Wed Sep 23, 2009 1:56 am

It was her turn to pick, so we saw My Life in Ruins, at the cheapie theater and I gotta say, well done. Nia Vardalos shines in this one, and the light and breezy storyline moves at a nice clip (except for an un-needed punch to the gut towards the end) until it's somewhat predictable finish, BUT, it does it quite well, with excellent performances by Richard Dreyfuss and Alistair McGowan as the evil tour guide Nico. The gorgeous cinematography of Greece is not to be missed, it made me wanna go visit asap.
Then when I got home....it was a several episodes of.....Goosebumps! What a fun show that was, spooky, but just enough so kids could enjoy it as well as adults.
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Chris_Sax » Wed Sep 23, 2009 1:00 pm

I watched season one of Dollhouse in like 2 days and now I am eagerly anticipating staying home on Friday night to watch the season premiere. I hate myself.
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby barnaclelapse » Thu Sep 24, 2009 5:56 am

I've been catching up on MST3K DVDs and getting my roommate to watch a lot of the classics that she's never seen ("The Third Man", "Goodfellas", "The Godfather" and so on).

That's really all I've had time for between getting back into stand-up comedy and scoring a really good part in a big Savannah, GA production of "To Kill A Mocking Bird".
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Gabriel Girard » Thu Sep 24, 2009 1:18 pm

My Bloody Valentine (2009) - Trashy,cliché,implausible and totally enjoyable. Too bad about the ending...
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Andrew Forbes » Thu Sep 24, 2009 3:23 pm

Tenebre. Of those I have seen, this stands with Deep Red as one of Argento's two best movies. Certainly better than the massively overrated Suspiria. I'd like to see more of his "straight" giallos, particularly The Bird with Crystal Plumage and Four Flies on Grey Velvet. This one has one of the strongest scores in an Argento flick. Very much of its time, but driving and hypnotic. One of the problems with Argento movies, especially those scored by Goblin, are that the scores stay in your head for days, until you want to put a drill through your eye sockets. But until then, the music is awesome.

The Killers (1946). Damn is this one gorgeous looking movie. The diner scene alone would be enough to make this a noteworthy noir. That the rest of the picture holds up pushes it into classic territory, although it might be a bit too twisty for its own good. It would have been better off focusing on The Swede's descent into fatalistic self-destruction than on plot contortions. Siodmak definitely had an eye for shadows, though, and it keeps the movie engaging. I've also seen his Criss Cross and The Spiral Staircase. Any other titles I should look for?

Kill, Baby... Kill. One of the worst titles ever, and particularly inappropriate for this movie. Decently spooky ghost story. Not as good as Black Sunday, though.
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Steve T Power » Thu Sep 24, 2009 8:48 pm

Sword of the Stranger - an anime title actually won out on DVD lotto, which amazed the crapola out of me. This flick is just too damned amazing. Everyone who watched enjoyed immensely, and this ain't your typical anime crowd. I still can't recommend this amazing film (and beautiful blu-ray) enough.
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Future Man » Fri Sep 25, 2009 5:15 am

Steve T Power wrote:Sword of the Stranger - an anime title actually won out on DVD lotto, which amazed the crapola out of me. This flick is just too damned amazing. Everyone who watched enjoyed immensely, and this ain't your typical anime crowd. I still can't recommend this amazing film (and beautiful blu-ray) enough.


Is it too rough for young teens?
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Steve T Power » Fri Sep 25, 2009 11:17 am

Future Man wrote:
Steve T Power wrote:Sword of the Stranger - an anime title actually won out on DVD lotto, which amazed the crapola out of me. This flick is just too damned amazing. Everyone who watched enjoyed immensely, and this ain't your typical anime crowd. I still can't recommend this amazing film (and beautiful blu-ray) enough.


Is it too rough for young teens?


There's some harsh gore in there, some blood splashing and de-limbing occurs, so while there isn't a whole lot of action, it's really quite visceral. The story is just so damn good though, and the soundtrack is top drawer. The final sword fight in the film is accompanied by what i can only describe as an Irish Lament filtered through Feudal Japan, and it is a beautiful sequence.

It reminds me of Myazaki filtered through Yoji Yamada or even Kurosawa's lighter Samurai work. I could easily see a young teen getting involved in the story, though it does have one or two dark notes.
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Gabriel Girard » Fri Sep 25, 2009 7:07 pm

Andrew Forbes wrote:Tenebre. Of those I have seen, this stands with Deep Red as one of Argento's two best movies. Certainly better than the massively overrated Suspiria. I'd like to see more of his "straight" giallos, particularly The Bird with Crystal Plumage and Four Flies on Grey Velvet. This one has one of the strongest scores in an Argento flick. Very much of its time, but driving and hypnotic. One of the problems with Argento movies, especially those scored by Goblin, are that the scores stay in your head for days, until you want to put a drill through your eye sockets. But until then, the music is awesome.


I<m one of those guys who loves Suspiria but Tenebrealmost makes my top 5 ,it's beaten by Inferno which is totally incomprenhesible but oh so gorgeous! The Bird With The Crystal Plumage is #4, it shows Argento at his most "classical" and Morricone's music is characteristically awesome.
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Andrew Forbes » Fri Sep 25, 2009 10:02 pm

Gabriel Girard wrote:Inferno which is totally incomprenhesible but oh so gorgeous!

Word. I still say Phenomena wins for insanity, though. Chimp with razor wins the universe.
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Future Man » Sat Sep 26, 2009 6:24 pm

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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Jon Mercer » Sun Sep 27, 2009 5:53 am

Steve T Power wrote:
Future Man wrote:
Steve T Power wrote:Sword of the Stranger - an anime title actually won out on DVD lotto, which amazed the crapola out of me. This flick is just too damned amazing. Everyone who watched enjoyed immensely, and this ain't your typical anime crowd. I still can't recommend this amazing film (and beautiful blu-ray) enough.


Is it too rough for young teens?


There's some harsh gore in there, some blood splashing and de-limbing occurs, so while there isn't a whole lot of action, it's really quite visceral. The story is just so damn good though, and the soundtrack is top drawer. The final sword fight in the film is accompanied by what i can only describe as an Irish Lament filtered through Feudal Japan, and it is a beautiful sequence.

It reminds me of Myazaki filtered through Yoji Yamada or even Kurosawa's lighter Samurai work. I could easily see a young teen getting involved in the story, though it does have one or two dark notes.


Really? I thought it would be perfectly acceptable if you don't mind seeing a couple spatters of blood and a few moments of darkness that have seemed missing from animated pictures since the early 90s. How old was i when I saw Ninja Scroll for the first time? I couldn't have been much older than 12 or 13.
I think Sword of the Stranger has a great story to tell and would be an amazing intro to more sophisticated entertainment.
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby mavrach » Sun Sep 27, 2009 7:54 am

Observe and Report - I haven't been this fascinated with a movie in a long while. Like I'd said previously, I had NO idea of what to expect with this. The marketing assurred me that this was a silly comedy in the vain of Knocked Up, and the DVD cover confirmed that. But on the other hand, everybody here warned me that it was a dreary, moody drama, and it'd want to shoot myself afterwards.

As I was watching it, I stil had no idea where it was going, so just about everything suprised me. Rogen's character was a genuine jerk, actually most of the cast were jerks. I was satisfied with where it ended up going, I couldn't tell if it was going for a horrifyingly sad ending, or a quirky redemption, but the end result worked for me.

I need to watch this a few more times to soak it in.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Andrew Forbes » Mon Sep 28, 2009 11:07 am

Valkyrie. Despite the inevitable conclusion, I found that Bryan Singer was able to wring a surprising amount of suspense out of this. And man, did it ever move. I was surprised to find that it ran a full two hours, as there was hardly any fat on it. Good work by Cruise, too. No I'm acting, goddammit!! moments. I also liked that the actors were allowed to speak in their native languages. It freed them from tryink to shpeak like zis auhl ze time and let them get on with the performance.

The Gunfighter (1950). Brilliant little movie that makes the most of it's premise and manages to avoid feeling stagy despite being largely confined to one room. None of the usual Peck-isms on display, either.
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Steve T Power » Mon Sep 28, 2009 12:07 pm

Andrew Forbes wrote:Valkyrie. Despite the inevitable conclusion, I found that Bryan Singer was able to wring a surprising amount of suspense out of this. And man, did it ever move. I was surprised to find that it ran a full two hours, as there was hardly any fat on it. Good work by Cruise, too. No I'm acting, goddammit!! moments. I also liked that the actors were allowed to speak in their native languages. It freed them from tryink to shpeak like zis auhl ze time and let them get on with the performance.


I've gotta say, it was one of my favorites from last year. Your appraisal was spot on as far as i'm concerned. Myself and Sarah couldn't believe how fast the time went.
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Andrew Forbes » Mon Sep 28, 2009 12:32 pm

Andrew Forbes wrote:I also liked that the actors were allowed to speak in their native languages. It freed them from tryink to shpeak like zis auhl ze time and let them get on with the performance.

Effing F-balls! I will take this opportunity to correct myself by saying that I meant "native accents" not "languages."
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Re: Become a Member of the SEPTEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Andrew Forbes » Mon Sep 28, 2009 9:33 pm

Drums Along the Mohawk. Gorgeously shot and filled with little touches of humanity. Fonda's dazed account of battle, spoken in an unbroken take as the calm in a storm of post-combat triage, is among the highlights.
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