MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

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MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby J.M. Vargas » Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:56 pm

It's warm and sunny outside. Time to crank up the AC, lock yourself in a dark room (preferably with strangers paying $10+ a seat) and watch cool flicks all summer long! 8)

THE HONEYMOON KILLERS (1969) on Sundance Channel for the first time. I rarely come across a movie like this that has me split down the middle as to whether I liked or despised it (which gives me the perfect excuse to watch it again down the line). The low-budget filmmaking and bad (i.e. not by professional actors) supporting performances give its subject matter raw authenticity, yet the bad acting distracts and undermines what should have been powerful scenes (i.e. the hammer killing). The lack of "Bonnie & Clyde"-type Hollywood romanticization of the despicable lead characters is a plus (Shirley Stoler and Tony LoBianco sell the lead pair's unpleasantness real well) and yet, unlike "Bonnie & Clyde," this movie is not the least bit entertaining or fun to watch (as drama or even an 'fly on the wall' dramatization of real-life events) except when LoBianco is front and center. Music cues from Mahler compositions and bad audio are supposed to highlight the dramatic points and/or suck you into the authenticity of the moment; in reality they're both annoying as s***, ill-timed technical distractions. Basically I can understand why others like and appreciate "The Honeymoon Killers" (it's miles removed from the contemporary school of serial killer glamorization) but it just never spiked my pulse (except for the scenes when Martha mistreats her mother, which were powerful stuff) or felt like anything other than a low-budget "Bonnie & Clyde" ripoff with uglier (i.e. more realistic) people.

Rewatched Michelangelo Antonioni's THE PASSENGER (1975) on DVD twice on the same night, first by itself and the second time with writer Mark Peploe's (and friend) commentary track because I just had to see it again right away (plus I'd already seen it with the Nicholson commentary track). What a weirdly hypnotic road trip flick (Antonioni's most accessible one) in which a lot of stuff happens but actors and director take their sweet time getting to where they're going and (like us) get to soak up the great views along the way. Between this and his movies with Forman, Polanski and Rafelson Jack Nicholson f***ing owned the 1970's like few actors have dominated any movie decade before or since. Seen it four times and I'm still finding little things here and there to enhance each viewing, plus Maria Schneider is such a cute and mysterious woman you can't help but fall for her the same way David Locke/Robertson does: at first sight. :)

MST3K: THE CRAWLING EYE (1989/1958) on DVD for the first time. The first nationally-televised "Mystery Science Theater 3000" experiment has all the tell-tale signs of a work-in-progress: no button to push, badly-rendered silhouettes in the theaters, long silent pauses without riffs and very stilted (almost verbose) jokes. And yet the movie being made fun off is so ridiculously goofy, the lead actor ("F Troop's" Forrest Tucker) so wooden in his heroism and the climax (with every 'eye' pun you ever heard in the shoolyard crammed into the last 15 minutes) so OTT that, by the time the credits roll, "The Crawling Eye" looks/feels/smells like the "MST3K" we've all known and loved.

MST3K: THE ROBOT VS. THE AZTEC MUMMY (1989/1958) on DVD for the first time. The little seed planted on the first "MST3K" episode grows a tiny branch (which would eventually become the tree trunk that is "MST3K" fandom) with this Mexican import that is as frenetic as the "Commando Cody" serial that precedes it. There's almost too much crazy plot (virtually all of it in rushed flashbacks) crammed into its short running time, which almost leaves no room for the title's namesakes to duke it out until the movie is almost over (boo!). The 'five years ago' line had me rolling on the floor with laughter, and it wasn't even a riff from Joel & the bots (who were too busy dealing with the 'demon dog' invasion to come up with funnier riffs) but the baby steps this episode takes toward the "MST3K" formula/pace we know and love are indeed small.

And, last but not least, HBO's THE PACIFIC (2010) on HBO-HD for the first time. After seven episodes (more than enough to give this $250 million mini-series a chance) I'm close to bailing out. Spielberg and Hanks are practically doing World War II porno at this point with the same filming techniques, stories, gore, music/credits (so full of themselves it's bordering on Tom Brokaw-caliber suckiness), character types, etc. that have been shown to death on movies and videogames post-"Saving Private Ryan" but with constantly-diminishing returns. Everything this mini-series wants to say about the Pacific theater of operations has been done better already in movies like the Spielberg-produced "Letters from Iwo Jima" (from a different cultural perspective to boot). With precious rare exceptions like the 'skull' scene from 'Peleliu Hills' (the single moment this miniseries actually gripped me like the better-and-more-frequent moments from "Ryan" or "Band of Brothers") and the culturally-interesting 'Melbourne' episode (covering a place/time of WWII rarely covered by even historians) "The Pacific" looks/feels like the most expensive exercise in redundancy ever committed to film. Although hard at first to distinguish between all the lookalike Caucasian actors kudos to Joseph Mazzello (the kid in Jurassic Park!), James Badge Dale (Private Lecke), Jon Seda (Basilone) and Rami Malek (in a star-making performance as 'Snafu') for at least committing to the lost cause they're in with standout performances.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby mavrach » Sat May 01, 2010 10:24 pm

The Abyss - A favorite of mine, and proof that James Cameron can make a great movie. We now know him for Avatar &Titanic, and the reason I've been disappointed with those is because I know that Cameron is capable of something like The Abyss. Of particular note is the revival of Lindsey scene, which reaches such an emotional intensity without coming off as hokey or manipulative, or with any overacting whatsoever.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby Future Man » Sun May 02, 2010 6:43 am

The African Queen
I know this title is immune to criticism but I was disappointed (although yes the Blu ray picture quality is amazing). Katherine Hepburn's performance seems very muted, even distracted to me, almost like she was phoning it in and while Bogart certainly jumps into his girtty character's skin with both feet his acting is too old school particularly during a 'drunk' scene and during his inevitable professions of newfound love. There's not much conflict between the two disparate characters--they are much more polite to each other from the get-go than I'd remembered from my one previous viewing years ago--and really not much else going for it than beautiful scenery, decent albeit sporadic action and a straightforward, uncomplicated plot. Oh and they filmed actual crocodiles, not alligator-stand-in footage you typically see in films from the era. It will be another decade or two before I revisit this.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby Selk » Sun May 02, 2010 9:20 am

I love The African Queen, two great stars in one great adventure.

I was disappointed that this was the only film for which Bogart won the Oscar. It aggravates me that when the academy got around to rewarding James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart, it was not for playing tough guys but rather for softer roles of nobility. Bogart won 1951's Best Actor prize for playing a crusty but goodhearted old salt, Charlie Allnut in John Huston's The African Queen. He is one of my favorite actors but I'm uncomfortable seeing him play a sweet guy. His hard looks made him perfect to play that world-weary guy who carries a gun, doesn't trust dames and, of course, sticks his neck out for no one.

I am perplexed as to why the best performances of his career in Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, High Sierra and The Big Sleep went unrewarded.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby HGervais » Sun May 02, 2010 9:38 am

Selk wrote:I was disappointed that this was the only film for which Bogart won the Oscar. It aggravates me that when the academy got around to rewarding James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart, it was not for playing tough guys but rather for softer roles of nobility. Bogart won 1951's Best Actor prize for playing a crusty but goodhearted old salt, Charlie Allnut in John Huston's The African Queen. He is one of my favorite actors but I'm uncomfortable seeing him play a sweet guy. His hard looks made him perfect to play that world-weary guy who carries a gun, doesn't trust dames and, of course, sticks his neck out for no one.

I am perplexed as to why the best performances of his career in Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, High Sierra and The Big Sleep went unrewarded.

Oscar has always loved it when actors play against type as if its amazing when an actor actually, you know acts. I would agree with you on Treasure of the Sierra Madre...Bogart so deservd an Oscar for that but honestly in the list of late career Oscar "gifts", I can most easily live with Bogart's for The African Queen.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby Selk » Sun May 02, 2010 9:46 am

Oscar has always loved it when actors play against type as if its amazing when an actor actually, you know acts. I would agree with you on Treasure of the Sierra Madre...Bogart so deservd an Oscar for that but honestly in the list of late career Oscar "gifts", I can most easily live with Bogart's for The African Queen.


Yeah, I'm satisfied that he at least GOT an Oscar unlike so many that never got any attention - Cary Grant for example.

Bogart's performance isn't bad but I am more comfortable watching him play a tough guy. I just never saw him as a romantic lead.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby HGervais » Sun May 02, 2010 9:50 am

Late career Bogart was a pretty interesting place where he got a lot of chances to subvert & stretch that "tough guy" image. I think he should have gotten an Oscar for Nicholas Ray's In A Lonley Place.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby Selk » Sun May 02, 2010 9:59 am

Late career Bogart was a pretty interesting place where he got a lot of chances to subvert & stretch that "tough guy" image. I think he should have gotten an Oscar for Nicholas Ray's In A Lonley Place.


My favorite films of his are the tough guy roles because, at this best, he had a way to project a gruff exterior while trying to hide an inner pain. I liked his work in Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon because he had a way of projecting a tough guy whose sad eyes betray a weary heart. You can see in his deep-lined face that life has beaten him unmercifully and he has tried to hide it behind a rough exterior.

What I liked about The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is that Fred Dobbs isn't smart. He is panicky, paranoid and led by his own greed. He is a cautionary pillar of human avarice.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby J.M. Vargas » Sun May 02, 2010 8:07 pm

Vittoria De Sica's THE BICYCLE THIEVES (1949) on Criterion DVD for the first time. The last five minutes of "The Bicycle Thieves" are some of the most heart-breaking and wrenching scenes I've ever seen in cinema (though De Sica's "Umberto D" made me cry more), the ultimate 'screw you' to Hollywood's 'happy ending' movie formula. Enzo Staiola gives one heck of a genuine and convincing child performance; he and co-star Lamberto Maggiorani (movie dad) practically achieve co-star status as the movie unfolds. The close-ups of Bruno sell the desperation of the situation his father finds himself in, and the backdrop of post-WWII Italy opens the movie to welcomed (but unnecessary for its enjoyment) analysis of the socio-economical symbolism of the characters and story. Loved the scene where Antonio seeks the help of a friend to look for his stolen bike in the middle of a meeting of socialists plotting a future that would take care of poor people like him (dreamy theory contrasted with the then-pressing reality). Much more humane and universal than what its title implies, "The Bicycle Thieves" is a father-son movie that any father, son or movie lover should experience at least once in their lives.

CINEMATIC TITANIC: THE ALIEN FACTOR (2009/1978) on DVD for the first time. An alien zoo is on the loose in small town America and it's up to the locals (lead by Tom Griffith's clueless-but-well-groomed sheriff Cinder and Don Leifert's out-of-town rubbernecker Ben Zachary) to stop the blodshed. It's "Laserblast" without the budget (or charm, although with a bigger budget and better direction this would have made a great hour-long "Twilight Zone" episode) and the law office of Hodgson, Beaulieu, Weinstein, Pehl and Conniff (in top-to-bottom order of hilarity) turn writer/director Don Dohler's cheesy alien invasion movie inside out with hilarious results (though it's not perfect, lots of jokes just plain bomb). While still far below "MST3K" standards ("CT's" theme music is weak and the movie needs a break or two to deflate the badness, like the skits on "MST3K") "CT" is more of an heir to that show's legacy than Rifftrax's contemporary-film business model.

KICK-ASS (2010) in theaters for the first time. I went to see this flick (pushed by the 'Your Review of Kick-Ass' thread here at the Jury Room) expecting the Matthew Vaugh-directed magic that gave us "Stardust" a few years back. Instead I got a very odd mix of superhero whimsy combined with Vaughn's "Layer Cake"-type grittiness that misfires as badly and often as it hits the bullseye. Basically it's a remake of 1980's "Hero At Large" (shame on writers Vaughn and Jane Goldman for not including a reference to this "Kick-Ass" forebearer) with a bigger budget and soaked-up in self-referential 'meta' references. There is so much to like in this flick (the Mcready background story animation by John Romita, Jr., the parallels between the D'Amico father-son relationship and the Osborn clan storylines from "Spider-Man," the take-no-prisoners 'R' approach to superhero language/violence that mainstream superhero movies won't come near, Nick Cage's dead-on performance as Big Daddy, etc.) that the parts that fall flat (Chloë Moretz's amateurish acting/line reading turning Hit Girl into a puppet, Aaron Johnson's weak lead performance, the whole social/TV media angle, etc.) drag the whole movie into this no-man's land of great scenes (Kick-Ass' first beating, Hit Girl's action scenes, etc.) interconnected with many other scenes that either fall flat (the warehouse farewell) or are purely geek service (every Dave & Katie scene). It's a very mixed bag of good/bad things for a very mixed-up movie that is neither bomb or new classic. After seeing it I can understand why some here like it (almost everybody) and some don't (Selk).

I'll have more to say in the 'Your Review of Kick-Ass' thread later but personally I'm glad I saw it because, as inconsistent as it is, "Kick-Ass" has enough gas in the tank to make it at least worth renting when it comes out on home video. BTW, it cost me $22.25 in NYC for one Sunday afternoon tix for "Kick-Ass," a small popcorn and a (watered down) medium Coke. The theater door was left wide open by the staff, who also left open the door of the theater next door playing "Nightmare on Elm Street" so freaking loud I could hear it. After 5 min. I had to get up and shut both theaters' doors to watch "Kick-Ass" in peace. The movie's top 5% was the bottom of the image and nobody at the projectionist's booth bothered to adjust it. It's a testament to the universal joy/appeal of geek cinema that I enjoyed the good portions of "Kick-Ass" even with all these shortcomings, but it's also yet another anecdotal story of why movie going in theaters is going to hell in a hand basket. :?
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby Selk » Sun May 02, 2010 8:13 pm

Vittoria De Sica's THE BICYCLE THIEVES (1949) on Criterion DVD for the first time. The last five minutes of "The Bicycle Thieves" are some of the most heart-breaking and wrenching scenes I've ever seen in cinema


What I loved about it is was that it earned it's heartbreaking ending. This is a movie about characters, not pawns that are manipulated by the plot. I love movies like that.

it's a remake of 1980's "Hero At Large"


I remember that movie. It was one of those films with a noble purpose but it just missed the mark

The theater door was left wide open by the staff, who also left open the door of the theater next door playing "Nightmare on Elm Street" so freaking loud I could hear it.


I don't know. I just can't get fired up about this one. The Original A Nightmare on Elm Street is one of my favorite horror films. I just don't see the point of a remake.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby J.M. Vargas » Sun May 02, 2010 8:15 pm

^^^ It's just like "Kick-Ass" then. And welcome back Selk, took you long enough to return! ;-)
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby Selk » Sun May 02, 2010 8:19 pm

^^^ It's just like "Kick-Ass" then.


Kick-Ass was a bloody mess. Hero at Large was a really good try. I just don't want to spend an evening with either one.

And welcome back Selk, took you long enough to return! ;-)


Ahhh. You know I can't stay away from you knuckleheads.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby HGervais » Sun May 02, 2010 9:57 pm

X2: X-Men United....on blu-ray. Pretty looking disc with a really vibrant mix. Clunkier in spots than I remember but still a pretty good time and leaps & bounds better than the third X-Men movie. It's also kind of amazing how much a beat for beat remake it is of Wrath of Kahn.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby Selk » Sun May 02, 2010 10:01 pm

X2: X-Men United


It is easily the best of the three X-Men pictures, but when I watch the film, I kind of wish it would settle down and get more character oriented. I think there are too many characters in this one, although it is an improvement over the first one.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby HGervais » Sun May 02, 2010 10:22 pm

Selk wrote:
X2: X-Men United


It is easily the best of the three X-Men pictures, but when I watch the film, I kind of wish it would settle down and get more character oriented. I think there are too many characters in this one, although it is an improvement over the first one.

It is and I like the first one. It's a shame the price the current Marvel Studios had to pay for its existence were top-line characters & lines such as the X-Men, the Fantastic Four and Spiderman that are out of their control. I for one would love to see a real honest to goodness Fantastic Four movie made by people who get & care about the material. Or a Marvel produced Defenders movie that is able to feature the Silver Surfer....or a small budget but gritty jungle action thriller featuring the Black Panther. It's the one big advantage Warner has over Marvel if they can ever get their crap together...they control all the big guns.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby Selk » Sun May 02, 2010 10:26 pm

The bar for Superhero movies has been set extremely high because the filmmakers have started making them with loving care. Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Iron Man and Watchmen are prime examples of this genre at it's best. It is no longer good enough to just make a movie with costumed heroes, you have to really make it into something special.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby HGervais » Sun May 02, 2010 10:42 pm

Selk wrote:The bar for Superhero movies has been set extremely high because the filmmakers have started making them with loving care. Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Iron Man and Watchmen are prime examples of this genre at it's best. It is no longer good enough to just make a movie with costumed heroes, you have to really make it into something special.

Yes and no. Good material is good material. Less than being "special", you need creative people involved who understand why certain characters or scenarios work or function and how you take those things and make them work in a realish world setting. I don't need Fantastic Four to be the greatest movie ever made. I just need it to be an exciting movie with lots of brains....since your main character is the smartest guy in the universe....great action sequences and a group of people that feel like they are a family. Get the characters right and understand what makes them tick and you are more than halfway home. Hold your audience in contempt or talk down to them and you have lost the battle before the fight has started. Example see most of the superhero movies Fox produces.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby Selk » Sun May 02, 2010 10:50 pm

Yes and no. Good material is good material. Less than being "special", you need creative people involved who understand why certain characters or scenarios work or function and how you take those things and make them work in a realish world setting. I don't need Fantastic Four to be the greatest movie ever made. I just need it to be an exciting movie with lots of brains....since your main character is the smartest guy in the universe....great action sequences and a group of people that feel like they are a family. Get the characters right and understand what makes them tick and you are more than halfway home. Hold your audience in contempt or talk down to them and you have lost the battle before the fight has started. Example see most of the superhero movies Fox produces.


I see your point. When you go to the movies, the one thing that you ask is that the movie accomplish what it sets out to accomplish. The four films that I mentioned are way above the average action picture, they are written and produced with loving care because they are created by people who love the material. You aren't going to get that in every film but I think those films are going to stand as a standard from now on, at least from this genre.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby HGervais » Sun May 02, 2010 10:55 pm

Selk wrote:
Yes and no. Good material is good material. Less than being "special", you need creative people involved who understand why certain characters or scenarios work or function and how you take those things and make them work in a realish world setting. I don't need Fantastic Four to be the greatest movie ever made. I just need it to be an exciting movie with lots of brains....since your main character is the smartest guy in the universe....great action sequences and a group of people that feel like they are a family. Get the characters right and understand what makes them tick and you are more than halfway home. Hold your audience in contempt or talk down to them and you have lost the battle before the fight has started. Example see most of the superhero movies Fox produces.


I see your point. When you go to the movies, the one thing that you ask is that the movie accomplish what it sets out to accomplish. The four films that I mentioned are way above the average action picture, they are written and produced with loving care because they are created by people who love the material. You aren't going to get that in every film but I think those films are going to stand as a standard from now on, at least from this genre.

Completely. Each movie needs to be judged on its own terms. People like to compare apples to oranges and pretend they are the same because that is what people are generally trained to do by the media. What I want out of a film version of Blade is totally different than what I want out of a film version of Batman or what I hope for out of a big screen adaptation of Ghost World. The only thing those movies have in common is that they all started on the printed page as sequential art that told a story.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby Selk » Sun May 02, 2010 11:02 pm

Completely. Each movie needs to be judged on its own terms. People like to compare apples to oranges and pretend they are the same because that is what people are generally trained to do by the media.


Yeah, that's why this whole business of listing "The Greatest Movies Ever Made" aggravates me. Every great film is great for a different reason. You can have lists all day long and the only positive is that they incite long discussions among movie lovers. I use to watch those AFI specials every year and the most positive thing about them was that they either got people talking about great movies or inspired them to go back and revisit them.

If someone asks me for my favorite movies, I am happy to report that I have about a thousand of them and that they are all my favorites for different reasons.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby HGervais » Sun May 02, 2010 11:11 pm

Selk wrote:
Completely. Each movie needs to be judged on its own terms. People like to compare apples to oranges and pretend they are the same because that is what people are generally trained to do by the media.


Yeah, that's why this whole business of listing "The Greatest Movies Ever Made" aggravates me. Every great film is great for a different reason. You can have lists all day long and the only positive is that they incite long discussions among movie lovers. I use to watch those AFI specials every year and the most positive thing about them was that they either got people talking about great movies or inspired them to go back and revisit them.

If someone asks me for my favorite movies, I am happy to report that I have about a thousand of them and that they are all my favorites for different reasons.

Hype is another different subject. The only time I find lists useful is when I can use it as tool to determine where that person's tastes lie and how much about movies that person really knows, so that way I know if that person's opinions and mine share any common ground.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby Selk » Sun May 02, 2010 11:22 pm

Hype is another different subject. The only time I find lists useful is when I can use it as tool to determine where that person's tastes lie and how much about movies that person really knows, so that way I know if that person's opinions and mine share any common ground.


Yeah, I'm the same way. I have a sort of litmus test with anyone in discussing movies. I like to think that when it comes to movies I am smarter than that average bear and when I'm talking to someone, I bring up certain films and see how they react to them. That lets me know who I'm talking to. I can discuss movies with anyone, but I like to know where they stand in their movie knowledge. If I have someone who sticks mostly with the weekend box office, I try an steer them toward something that they might like that they may not have heard of.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby Bryan Pope » Mon May 03, 2010 7:05 am

Our nine-year-old just finished studying a unit on ancient Rome at school, and he told me and Erin that he wanted to watch Gladiator. We said sure. He can handle that kind of violence just fine. He's enjoying the movie so far.

Very good movie, but I still have a hard time accepting that this was the best picture of 2000, or that Crowe's performance was the best of the year.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby Selk » Mon May 03, 2010 7:32 am

Very good movie, but I still have a hard time accepting that this was the best picture of 2000, or that Crowe's performance was the best of the year.


Truth be told, I'm kind of alone in hating Gladiator. The Oscars and the box office that this movie garnered mean nothing to me. I found it to be a stale reconstruction of a dead genre.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby Andrew Forbes » Mon May 03, 2010 8:05 am

Selk wrote:
Very good movie, but I still have a hard time accepting that this was the best picture of 2000, or that Crowe's performance was the best of the year.

Truth be told, I'm kind of alone in hating Gladiator. The Oscars and the box office that this movie garnered mean nothing to me. I found it to be a stale reconstruction of a dead genre.

You're not alone. I liked it for a while, but once the novelty of new-school action choreography wore off, I was left with an embarrassingly florid script and actors who didn't know how to handle overwritten material. It's not a bad movie, just a severely flawed one that I would rather watch muted.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby Selk » Mon May 03, 2010 8:18 am

You're not alone. I liked it for a while, but once the novelty of new-school action choreography wore off, I was left with an embarrassingly florid script and actors who didn't know how to handle overwritten material. It's not a bad movie, just a severely flawed one that I would rather watch muted.


I can't even watch it muted. The thing looks so muddy and ugly, as if it is about to start raining. I think what it needed from the actors was theatrics, they are playing this silly story so close to the ground that it comes off as ridiculous.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby Andrew Forbes » Mon May 03, 2010 11:33 am

Scandal Sheet. Holy hell, this is a good noir. Karlson wrings every last bit of tension from the story as (brilliant) Broderick Crawford's murderous editor walks the fine line between concealing his crime and avoiding suspicious behavior by allowing his star reporter to investigate the sordid crime. Sam Fuller was allegedly unhappy with the adaptation of his novel (The Dark Page), but I suspect it's mostly that he would have preferred to write and direct it himself. I haven't read the novel, but however different it may be from what ended up on screen, the movie is well worth seeing.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby Selk » Mon May 03, 2010 11:39 am

Scandal Sheet. Holy hell, this is a good noir. Karlson wrings every last bit of tension from the story as (brilliant) Broderick Crawford's murderous editor walks the fine line between concealing his crime and avoiding suspicious behavior by allowing his star reporter to investigate the sordid crime. Sam Fuller was allegedly unhappy with the adaptation of his novel (The Dark Page), but I suspect it's mostly that he would have preferred to write and direct it himself. I haven't read the novel, but however different it may be from what ended up on screen, the movie is well worth seeing.


Loved this movie.

Broderick Crawford was interesting. As an actor, he was a one-trick pony but the one trick that he could do was pretty impressive. Almost his entire career was made up of playing characters who operate at two speeds: shouting and looking mean. In his best work like Scandal Sheet and Born Yesterday, he played it very well. Though I was never a fan of All the King's Men, the film that got him the Oscar. That film was such an unpleasant experience and Crawford's Willie Stark was reprehensible. I am not saying that I have to love the guy but I should, at least, be able to want to spend some time watching him.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby HGervais » Mon May 03, 2010 8:09 pm

The Losers....a whole mess-a-fun. I think Jeffrey Dean Morgan is quickly becoming this generation's Bruce Campbell. You could heat a house with Zoe Saldana and all I could think of while watching Chris Evans is what a rock solid Captain America he is going to make. And Jason Patric as the madman of the piece? Action movie bliss. And yes, pretty much every movie would be better with Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" in it. It's too bad the thing tanked because I'd be up for more time with The Losers.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby Selk » Mon May 03, 2010 8:34 pm

The Losers....a whole mess-a-fun.


I haven't seen it yet but I fully intend to.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby Steve T Power » Tue May 04, 2010 4:35 am

HGervais wrote:The Losers....a whole mess-a-fun. I think Jeffrey Dean Morgan is quickly becoming this generation's Bruce Campbell. You could heat a house with Zoe Saldana and all I could think of while watching Chris Evans is what a rock solid Captain America he is going to make. And Jason Patric as the madman of the piece? Action movie bliss. And yes, pretty much every movie would be better with Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" in it. It's too bad the thing tanked because I'd be up for more time with The Losers.


You may see more in the future. It's very likely that in a week or two it will recoup it's paltry $25 mil budget. Then there's home video, where these kinds of films always do well. So never give up, never surrender, and don't stop believin'.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby J.M. Vargas » Tue May 04, 2010 6:15 am

I'm pretty sure a "Losers 2" is coming but it will be one of those direct-to-video cheapos (ala "Smokin' Aces 2") without Saldana, Evans or Joel Silver producing.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby Steve T Power » Fri May 07, 2010 2:49 pm

Legion - Good lord, talk about a cinematic plague on humanity... It couldn't even entertain on a "so bad it's good" level. The whole film is heart to heart chats between paired off cast members with a sprinkling of infrequent action that is base, predictable, and boring as hell. The final act is incredibly, laughably bad, ripping off Terminator and generally remaining completely horrible in spite of Terminator being awesome. Never does the film attempt to explore the concepts introduces, and the villain is terrible. it's a giant steaming haggis of crap. it's probably THE WORST major studio film i've seen in years.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby Andrew Forbes » Fri May 07, 2010 5:21 pm

Steve T Power wrote:Legion - Good lord, talk about a cinematic plague on humanity... It couldn't even entertain on a "so bad it's good" level. The whole film is heart to heart chats between paired off cast members with a sprinkling of infrequent action that is base, predictable, and boring as hell. The final act is incredibly, laughably bad, ripping off Terminator and generally remaining completely horrible in spite of Terminator being awesome. Never does the film attempt to explore the concepts introduces, and the villain is terrible. it's a giant steaming haggis of crap. it's probably THE WORST major studio film i've seen in years.

Yeah, that about sounds like the movie the trailer was advertising.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby J.M. Vargas » Mon May 10, 2010 8:48 am

Fritz Lang's METROPOLIS (1927/2010) at New York's Fim Forum for the first time. After seeing/hearing this version with the Argentina footage reinstated it's impossible for me to comprehend how we were able to do with the previous version's explanation cards of the missing footage for all these decades. Every second of the new 16mm footage (which looks rough as hell but, in a darkened theater with that excellent score and the restored original footage, creates a forgiving mood that sweeps one's senses) seems so integral and essential to the "Metropolis" experience that the immediate destruction of every previous "Metropolis" home video version should be mandatory. It's still sad that the Monk and Joh vs. Rotwang scenes (about 5 of the previously 30 'lost' minutes) are missing, but if we had a choice these would be the one's to ditch compared with the character build-up that Josaphat and The Thin Man receive from the restored footage. Josaphat now comes across as a reliable sidekick (his team-up with Maria and Freder to save the drowning children now feels truly heroic) and The Thin Man is a believably creepy heavy that doesn't fall into the stereotype such role has become today in action movies. The finale now makes sense (previously I didn't quite grasp how the mob mistook the Maria's when chasing the human one across town) and Lang's epic vision is now more robust and plain for all to see. Other than quite a lot of the score from the 2001 restoration being recycled into the new 25 min. of footage (enough to be noticeable but not bad-enough to bring down the experience) "Metropolis" has never looked, sounded or come across more bad-ass than when it premiered 83 years ago. It's a mandatory DVD/Blu-ray purchase for anyone even remotely in love with silent cinema.

TENTACLES (1977) on TCM Underground for the first time. An Italian "Jaws" ripoff that is, within its own sub-genre, both well-produced (real coin was spent making it) and amusingly cheesy (an ending even Roland Emmerich would deem way too cheesy). The production somehow rounded up John Huston, Henry Fonda and Shelley Winters for lead and/or supporting roles, yet they're all forgotten and have no part in the final battle against the giant octopus. Imagine if "Jaws" had featured the mother of the child that got killed by the shark trying to kill the beast on her own without Brody/Hooper/Quinn involved. Except for the mother trading places with the Hooper character (here played by Bo Hopkins) that's what happens in "Tentacles," which at least features a decent body count (little babies, fat men, etc.) to minimize the distraction of miniature boats and a life-size octopus that were meant to pass as SFX. Using a line of "Metropolis" for reference, "Tentacles" gets the brain and body of the Spielberg-made "Jaws" template just about right but has no heart of its own to mediate how the other two could work well with each other. And we're the better because of it. 8)

CINEMATIC TITANIC: EAST MEETS WATTS (2009/1974) on DVD for the first time. Hilarious riffing by the original "MST3K" team of an honest-to-goodness blaxploitation/kung-fu flick (the visual gag Joel & Co. use to deal with the racist use of 'the N word' is priceless) with decent-but-dated fight choreography and a twist ending you'll see coming about an hour before it happens. Besides the chance to see/hear these guys continue to perform the brand of humor they perfected on TV for 10 years (only with topical jokes instead of obscure or now-dated references) the "CT" DVD's also allow for these guys to try out movies that are too violent/sexual/weird even for "MST3K" (which gets a couple of 'pandering' mentions for some cheap laughs/applause). Even better, with the new live audience one-take format the mistakes and flubs left in the final cut are both endearing and a hilarious behind-the-magic peek into the group (and individual) personality that fuels the funny machine.

THE DESCENT: PART 2 (2009) on DVD for the first time. "Part 2" is an important subtitle that distinguishes this better-than-expected sequel to the above-average 2005 horror flick from the glut of direct-to-video sequels because most of the behind-the-scenes talent (and a lot of the actors) from the first movie return. Surprisingly we're less than 15 minutes into the movie and Sarah (Shauna Macdonald, who becomes an even more Ripley-like character with less than 100 words of spoken dialogue) is already down into the caves without the excuse to get her down there coming across as too contrived or unbelievable (the bulk of the deleted scenes in the DVD come from the opening act). Gavan O'Herlihy makes for a terrific a**hole character (i.e. the new Juno) and the new team of explorers are decent-enough actors to elicit sympathy for us to care about their well-being (except for Greg ;-)). While "Part 2" matches or surpasses the original "Descent" in violence/gore and production values (a wider variety of caves and physically-distinct crawlers) it can't help but come across as a repeat of the original's better/scarier moments without matching it's depth or character development. To his credit director Jon Harris (editor of the first "Descent") knows his horror beats and isn't trying to do more than as good a horror sequel as possible. The result is a pleasant surprise, an enjoyable sequel to a movie that worked well (and still does) as a standalone post-feminist horror flick with and about women that still has enough gas left in the tank for seconds. The door is left wide open for a third "Descent" but I really hope that Neil Marshall and Co. think twice about pushing their luck.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby Andrew Forbes » Mon May 10, 2010 3:18 pm

Decision at Sundown. Nowhere near the level of Seven Men from Now, but still a solid, stripped-down western, with Scott in an especially dark, unheroic role. It lacked a powerful villain, though. The script should have spent some time on the specifics of Tate's corruption of Sundown. Without feeling the extent of his influence, it's hard to care about the town's decision to either accept or reject his leadership.

But dig that hook to the arm! Brutal!
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby molly1216 » Mon May 10, 2010 7:49 pm

Terror Aboard (1933) wow...this film racks up a lot of bodies...you know who is doing it from the get go...but my my he is relentless and creative in the ways of killing folks.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby molly1216 » Wed May 12, 2010 9:48 am

the Incredible Hulk, the one with Norton and Hurt....color me surprised...it was a 100 times better than i expected it to be. i do think Hurt was totally wasted doing his Paul Newman as general Groves imitation..nearly anyone could have done that... but i finally saw a scary beast whereas every other time I have seen him, comics, tv and other movies...i just looked at him and laughed...but there was definitely a huge Shrek vibe going on.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby Steve T Power » Wed May 19, 2010 9:00 pm

Solomon Kane - Only recieved a wide release in the UK (and currently holds an 82 percent "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes). I'm a fan of anything that came from the typewriter of Robert E. Howard, and this is as faithful an adaptation of Howard as one could expect. James Purefoy, Max Von Sydow, and Jason Flemyng are fantastic, the action is great, Michael "Deathwatch" Bassett's direction is sound, and the production looks gorgeous - in the mid-80's, this would have been a colossal blockbuster, here and now it's relegated to obscurity. The UK blu-ray drops on June 28th, and i'm pre-ordering mine asap.

I only hope Marcus Nispel's Conan turns out as well, and so far the on set photos and promo photos from Cannes have me smiling.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby Selk » Thu May 20, 2010 3:58 am

Dracula (The Spanish version) - To my surprise, I found this version of Dracula to be creepier and more atmospheric than the Tod Browning version with Bela Lugosi. I don't know why, but there was something fearless about this version, it seemed willing to be over-the-top and that make it a little edgier.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1932) - I saw this specifically because Fredric March won an Oscar for it. To be honest, I wasn't all that impressed. For starters, Mr. Hyde is so animalistic, I found him more irritating then scary. Plus, I was put off by the experimental camera tricks that the director was using to make the film more inclusive, there are point of view shots and extreme close-ups that didn't work for me.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby Jon Mercer » Thu May 20, 2010 4:17 am

Steve T Power wrote:Solomon Kane - Only recieved a wide release in the UK (and currently holds an 82 percent "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes). I'm a fan of anything that came from the typewriter of Robert E. Howard, and this is as faithful an adaptation of Howard as one could expect. James Purefoy, Max Von Sydow, and Jason Flemyng are fantastic, the action is great, Michael "Deathwatch" Bassett's direction is sound, and the production looks gorgeous - in the mid-80's, this would have been a colossal blockbuster, here and now it's relegated to obscurity. The UK blu-ray drops on June 28th, and i'm pre-ordering mine asap.

I only hope Marcus Nispel's Conan turns out as well, and so far the on set photos and promo photos from Cannes have me smiling.


Thanks for calling douche.
You know what they call Solomon Kane in the halls of Valhalla, Steve? They call it the Fangs of the Serpent, and this one was thrust into a man's heart by his very son. Is there a dagger such as this in your hand for me?
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby BenSaylor » Thu May 20, 2010 4:55 am

Robin Hood--Another forgettable Ridley Scott film. At this point it's almost impossible to tell that this is the same director who brought us Alien and Blade Runner. I didn't mind the fact that the film is an origin story, but the seriousness of the whole thing, coupled with a shaky, talky plot, really do the film in.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby Steve T Power » Thu May 20, 2010 6:03 am

Jon Mercer wrote:
Steve T Power wrote:Solomon Kane - Only recieved a wide release in the UK (and currently holds an 82 percent "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes). I'm a fan of anything that came from the typewriter of Robert E. Howard, and this is as faithful an adaptation of Howard as one could expect. James Purefoy, Max Von Sydow, and Jason Flemyng are fantastic, the action is great, Michael "Deathwatch" Bassett's direction is sound, and the production looks gorgeous - in the mid-80's, this would have been a colossal blockbuster, here and now it's relegated to obscurity. The UK blu-ray drops on June 28th, and i'm pre-ordering mine asap.

I only hope Marcus Nispel's Conan turns out as well, and so far the on set photos and promo photos from Cannes have me smiling.


Thanks for calling douche.
You know what they call Solomon Kane in the halls of Valhalla, Steve? They call it the Fangs of the Serpent, and this one was thrust into a man's heart by his very son. Is there a dagger such as this in your hand for me?


Jesus. We'll watch it again tonight ya cry baby.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby Jon Mercer » Thu May 20, 2010 7:05 am

Steve T Power wrote:
Jon Mercer wrote:
Steve T Power wrote:Solomon Kane - Only recieved a wide release in the UK (and currently holds an 82 percent "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes). I'm a fan of anything that came from the typewriter of Robert E. Howard, and this is as faithful an adaptation of Howard as one could expect. James Purefoy, Max Von Sydow, and Jason Flemyng are fantastic, the action is great, Michael "Deathwatch" Bassett's direction is sound, and the production looks gorgeous - in the mid-80's, this would have been a colossal blockbuster, here and now it's relegated to obscurity. The UK blu-ray drops on June 28th, and i'm pre-ordering mine asap.

I only hope Marcus Nispel's Conan turns out as well, and so far the on set photos and promo photos from Cannes have me smiling.


Thanks for calling douche.
You know what they call Solomon Kane in the halls of Valhalla, Steve? They call it the Fangs of the Serpent, and this one was thrust into a man's heart by his very son. Is there a dagger such as this in your hand for me?


Jesus. We'll watch it again tonight ya cry baby.


I'll bring the beer.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby HGervais » Fri May 21, 2010 12:06 am

Steve T Power wrote:Solomon Kane - Only recieved a wide release in the UK (and currently holds an 82 percent "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes). I'm a fan of anything that came from the typewriter of Robert E. Howard, and this is as faithful an adaptation of Howard as one could expect. James Purefoy, Max Von Sydow, and Jason Flemyng are fantastic, the action is great, Michael "Deathwatch" Bassett's direction is sound, and the production looks gorgeous - in the mid-80's, this would have been a colossal blockbuster, here and now it's relegated to obscurity. The UK blu-ray drops on June 28th, and i'm pre-ordering mine asap.

I only hope Marcus Nispel's Conan turns out as well, and so far the on set photos and promo photos from Cannes have me smiling.

Steve...what are you playing Euro region 2 blu-rays on? Do you have a region-free blu-ry and if yes, then where and how much?
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby Steve T Power » Fri May 21, 2010 7:25 am

HGervais wrote:
Steve T Power wrote:Solomon Kane - Only recieved a wide release in the UK (and currently holds an 82 percent "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes). I'm a fan of anything that came from the typewriter of Robert E. Howard, and this is as faithful an adaptation of Howard as one could expect. James Purefoy, Max Von Sydow, and Jason Flemyng are fantastic, the action is great, Michael "Deathwatch" Bassett's direction is sound, and the production looks gorgeous - in the mid-80's, this would have been a colossal blockbuster, here and now it's relegated to obscurity. The UK blu-ray drops on June 28th, and i'm pre-ordering mine asap.

I only hope Marcus Nispel's Conan turns out as well, and so far the on set photos and promo photos from Cannes have me smiling.

Steve...what are you playing Euro region 2 blu-rays on? Do you have a region-free blu-ry and if yes, then where and how much?


I've only tried a few, and had the good fortune of landing on discs that have no region protection. It's considerably more common in the blu-ray world to hit on region free discs. Right now i'm just hoping that whoever releases Kane over there doesn't bother with the region lock.

I just use the PS3 as my player of choice.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby Gabriel Girard » Sat May 22, 2010 9:01 pm

The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus- awesome, awesome, awesome!!!
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby molly1216 » Sun May 23, 2010 1:48 pm

Selk wrote:Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1932) - I saw this specifically because Fredric March won an Oscar for it. To be honest, I wasn't all that impressed. For starters, Mr. Hyde is so animalistic, I found him more irritating then scary. Plus, I was put off by the experimental camera tricks that the director was using to make the film more inclusive, there are point of view shots and extreme close-ups that didn't work for me.


i do prefer it to the later version...for some reason March is 'dirtier' than Spencer Tracy could ever be...you just don't seem him doing unspeakable things to Ingrid Bergman...however you CAN see Miriam Hopkins being a sex slave of Fred March....the only thing I don't like is the makeup...showing us Hyde as cro-mag is not as scarier nor as believable as John Barrymore's version done with just makeup. for my money no one has done a quintessential version.


btw I finally saw Avatar ....THIS was up for Best Picture? you have to be sh**ting me. the thing was so derivative, he should have had to pay royalties to at least 3 other film makers. I suppose in 3D it was an 'event' but seriously i could have written that plot with on crack using a broken typewriter with my eyes closed.

the Maiden Heist (2009) Christopher Walken, Morgan Freeman and William H Macy with Marcia gay Harden...i LIKED IT. it was a charming little heist film. (dont' think about the heist plot too much) the filmmakers were trying to recreate the feeling of an ealing comedy and they came damn close. Three museum guards don't want their favorite artwork sent to denmark so they arrange to swap them out with replicas. I thought walken was terrific playing a very quiet understated man, and Freeman's effete cat fanatic was a stitch!

Boondock Saints II - makes one long for Boondock Saints I - it is trying too hard to be a 'cult' film, but to be fair, it never pretends to be anything other than it is, a cheap boys own adventure shootem up with a plot cooked up on the back of a cocktail napkin. do look for the always terrific Clifton Collins to provide some 'color' and Julie Benz stealing her scenes as a very unusual FBI Agent.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby cdouglas » Sun May 23, 2010 2:21 pm

Gabriel Girard wrote:The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus- awesome, awesome, awesome!!!


Also watched this recently and agree wholeheartedly with this sentiment.
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Re: MAY(orly super-duper awesome) WATCHING THREAD!

Postby Steve T Power » Sun May 23, 2010 9:02 pm

cdouglas wrote:
Gabriel Girard wrote:The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus- awesome, awesome, awesome!!!


Also watched this recently and agree wholeheartedly with this sentiment.


I'd give it one awesome, but that's still an awesome.

Finally broke out The Unforgiven on blu-ray. Still love the movie, no question, but it doesn't sit in the upper pantheon of westerns for me like it used to. Still, definitely a great one.
As the ancient Tibetan philosophy states:"Don't start none... won't be none...".
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