All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby J.M. Vargas » Thu Dec 09, 2010 9:33 am

TREMORS (1990) on HD-DVD. It's not "Patton"-on-Bluray bad but man, Universal went crazy with the DNR on this transfer (same one used on the "Tremors" BD). Everyone looks like a wax statue on close-up, but at least the 'graboids' look even more icky and disgustingly detailed too. Considering there's not a lick of CGI anywhere (it's all miniatures, puppets and/or animatronics) special effects for the giant underground worms look stellar in high-def and don't give away any secrets. Some pretty graphic stuff for an early 90's PG-13 movie, but the humor deflates their impact. A fun 'B' horror movie that knows what it is ("Jaws" in the desert) with a cast that's game and plays it with the tongue firmly in cheek; Bacon and Ward play well off of each other (which is why the sequels suck so bad without Kevin). Michael Gross (with Reba McEntire as his wife! :shock: ) steals the movie as a gun-loving survivalist straight out of Tea Party central casting. Yep, Alex Keaton's dad acting even more conservative than his Republican son. :D
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Steve T Power » Thu Dec 09, 2010 9:46 am

Fired up Inception for a friend who hadn't seen it. I must say, after viewing #1 I feared it wouldn't hold up to repeats, but on #3 I think I enjoyed it even more. I dare say it's Nolan's best film, but not as dense or mind-bending as some gushers would have people believe. Still, just a crackerjack caper flick, with some amazing direction, and the whole "dreamscape" angle. I'm still on the fence about labeling it my 'Best of 2010', as I have to see True Grit first, and I did love me 'The Town' and 'Robin Hood'.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Future Man » Thu Dec 09, 2010 9:54 am

Steve T Power wrote:Fired up Inception for a friend who hadn't seen it. I must say, after viewing #1 I feared it wouldn't hold up to repeats, but on #3 I think I enjoyed it even more. I dare say it's Nolan's best film, but not as dense or mind-bending as some gushers would have people believe. Still, just a crackerjack caper flick, with some amazing direction, and the whole "dreamscape" angle. I'm still on the fence about labeling it my 'Best of 2010', as I have to see True Grit first, and I did love me 'The Town' and 'Robin Hood'.


What type of films do you reserve for seeing in the theater? Since we know Inception didn't make the cut.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby molly1216 » Thu Dec 09, 2010 10:10 am

Daybreakers (2009) which surprisingly was pretty damn good. sort of a gattaca meets blade II i found the end a little wonky, but the production and script was good..and the effects are better than expected.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Future Man » Thu Dec 09, 2010 10:15 am

Theatre of Death
Man I wish this had a better story and pacing because the cinematography in this mid 1960s Christopher Lee horror-mystery is just fantastic--very cool 'dark' colors a la Bava--and the acting is very good all around. You jut have to accept a bunch of very British sounding Parisians! The Anchor Bay transfer is stellar.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Steve T Power » Thu Dec 09, 2010 1:22 pm

Future Man wrote:
Steve T Power wrote:Fired up Inception for a friend who hadn't seen it. I must say, after viewing #1 I feared it wouldn't hold up to repeats, but on #3 I think I enjoyed it even more. I dare say it's Nolan's best film, but not as dense or mind-bending as some gushers would have people believe. Still, just a crackerjack caper flick, with some amazing direction, and the whole "dreamscape" angle. I'm still on the fence about labeling it my 'Best of 2010', as I have to see True Grit first, and I did love me 'The Town' and 'Robin Hood'.


What type of films do you reserve for seeing in the theater? Since we know Inception didn't make the cut.


There really isn't any pre-established paradigm. It all depends on if people drag me to a theater or whether my other half is interested enough. I think I have seen more this year, theatrically speaking than I have in the past 6-7 years. I'd just rather stick around my basement with a cold beverage, the surround cranked, and my 50" television. The theater experience is kind of lost on me. I've been interested in Inception since the first teaser trailer, the stars just didn't align for me seeing it theatrically.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby the5thghostbuster » Thu Dec 09, 2010 1:51 pm

From over the past little while:

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958) - a fun little Saturday afternoon fantasy film. Kerwin Mathews is wonderfully wooden as Sinbad, and Ray Harryhausen's effects are great as ever.

Lost in Space (1998) - looking back on this, the film is bad, but this time I can at least see that the approach taken was solid in theory. The execution is just wrong though: the writing is poor, Heather Grahm is miscast, William Hurt doesn't appear like he gives a damn about anything, and only Gary Oldman seems to be having any fun.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby hoytereden » Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:39 pm

The Most Dangerous Game-A companion film to King Kong using a lot of the same sets-most noteably the "Spider Pit Log", and two of it's leads-Wray and Armstrong. It came out while Kong was still being filmed and at a running time of just over an hour, it doesn't waste any time getting to Zaroff's island and then the fun begins. Odd to see Noble Johnson (anothe Kong alumni) as a Russian Cossack! Leslie Banks is fine as Zaroff but I kept imagining what if Lugosi had been cast in the part. A fun film with a plot that is still used today ala Predators.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Gabriel Girard » Thu Dec 09, 2010 10:09 pm

Steve T Power wrote:Fired up Inception for a friend who hadn't seen it. I must say, after viewing #1 I feared it wouldn't hold up to repeats, but on #3 I think I enjoyed it even more. I dare say it's Nolan's best film, but not as dense or mind-bending as some gushers would have people believe. Still, just a crackerjack caper flick, with some amazing direction, and the whole "dreamscape" angle.


QFT - just saw this and loved it. My only caveat is the whole math/logic side to dreams, dreams are irrationnal and closer to Waking Life than to Inception. And I had more fun with Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World which takes the top 2010 spot for me so far.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby BenSaylor » Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:10 am

The Long Good Friday--Bob Hoskins is a lot of fun to watch but man, if a DVD ever cried out for English subtitles, it's the "explosive special edition" disc of this film. I couldn't make out half the dialogue and had to go on IMDb discussion boards just to figure out what exactly happened. I also have Mona Lisa out from the local library; hopefully that disc has subs.

Sleuth (the original) Caine and Olivier are great, but the constant random cuts to Wyke's creepy toys got old after a while. Still, it's a fun film.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Dan Mancini » Fri Dec 10, 2010 8:03 am

Gabriel Girard wrote:QFT - just saw this and loved it. My only caveat is the whole math/logic side to dreams, dreams are irrationnal and closer to Waking Life than to Inception.

Interesting. I found Waking Life irritatingly rational, what with the endless philosophizing.

On the other hand, the focus on architecture in Inception seemed spot-on to me. I'm a frequent lucid-dreamer, and one of the ways that I slip into lucid dreaming is that my mind will create an unfamiliar place, and then call it by a familiar name. For example, I'll find myself standing in a warehouse or mansion or something, yet I'll be aware that this is supposed to be "home." The disconnect makes me aware that I'm dreaming -- and I'm off and running. So, the mechanics of Inception really work for me. But it's all subjective, right?
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Gabriel Girard » Fri Dec 10, 2010 9:03 am

Dan Mancini wrote:
Gabriel Girard wrote:QFT - just saw this and loved it. My only caveat is the whole math/logic side to dreams, dreams are irrationnal and closer to Waking Life than to Inception.

Interesting. I found Waking Life irritatingly rational, what with the endless philosophizing.

On the other hand, the focus on architecture in Inception seemed spot-on to me. I'm a frequent lucid-dreamer, and one of the ways that I slip into lucid dreaming is that my mind will create an unfamiliar place, and then call it by a familiar name. For example, I'll find myself standing in a warehouse or mansion or something, yet I'll be aware that this is supposed to be "home." The disconnect makes me aware that I'm dreaming -- and I'm off and running. So, the mechanics of Inception really work for me. But it's all subjective, right?


Right. The undefined surroundings and the aimless wandering that characterises Waking Life is closer to my dreams than the spy action and detailed architecture of Inception. But both are interesting renderings of dreams. Having read a lot of Carl Jung, I should have remembered that some people have really well constructed dream-realities like those Nolan created for Inception...
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby J.M. Vargas » Fri Dec 10, 2010 1:17 pm

Kon Ichikawa's ALONE ACROSS THE PACIFIC (1963) at Film Forum's tribute to Taru Takemitsu. My third Ichikawa film after "The Burmese Harp" and "Fires on the Plain." The former bored me to tears and the latter I just didn't like at all. If there is a criticism of Japanese society from Ichikawa (every character tries to supress Horie's individualism) it's subtle-enough and wrapped neatly around a semi-comical portrayal of a lonely dreamer obsessed with doing what he's told he can't do (by his friends, family and country) that the film can be enjoyed for the simple travelogue re-enactment it is. It's a picturesque quirky character study of someone that should be unlikable (to this guy his family is just the means to his ultimate end, no feelings whatsoever) which serves as interesting backdrop during the flashbacks and great scope photography. A handful of shots are clearly models and/or photography tricks, but never in a silly "Godzilla" way. Takemitsu's score is OK, sometimes emphasizing the isolation (constantly repeating single drum/guitar beats) and other times getting jiggy with some peppy beats. Yûjirô Ishihara's acting softens Horie's dorkier, meaner aspects (great work too by Kinuyo Tanaka as Horie's too-tolerant mother) and, in the movie's best scenes (too many to mention), turns potential tragic or drama content into laugh-out loud comedy in which we laugh with (not at) the lead character. That "AATP" culminates with the Ocean of space between him and his Japanese friends/family matching the real thing is both predictable but also unsentimental and pitch-perfect. My favorite Ichikawa movie so far.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Steve T Power » Fri Dec 10, 2010 5:28 pm

Gabriel Girard wrote:
Dan Mancini wrote:
Gabriel Girard wrote:QFT - just saw this and loved it. My only caveat is the whole math/logic side to dreams, dreams are irrationnal and closer to Waking Life than to Inception.

Interesting. I found Waking Life irritatingly rational, what with the endless philosophizing.

On the other hand, the focus on architecture in Inception seemed spot-on to me. I'm a frequent lucid-dreamer, and one of the ways that I slip into lucid dreaming is that my mind will create an unfamiliar place, and then call it by a familiar name. For example, I'll find myself standing in a warehouse or mansion or something, yet I'll be aware that this is supposed to be "home." The disconnect makes me aware that I'm dreaming -- and I'm off and running. So, the mechanics of Inception really work for me. But it's all subjective, right?


Right. The undefined surroundings and the aimless wandering that characterises Waking Life is closer to my dreams than the spy action and detailed architecture of Inception. But both are interesting renderings of dreams. Having read a lot of Carl Jung, I should have remembered that some people have really well constructed dream-realities like those Nolan created for Inception...


I dream in loose narrative form, there's usually a plot, even if it doesn't make sense, and there are other dreams, usually about peeing some place i'm not supposed to, then I wake up REALLY needing to go.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Gabriel Girard » Sat Dec 11, 2010 12:50 pm

Blow-up - My first Antonioni film an a fascinating one at date. Not a whole lot happens during its 120 mins but I still was enthralled by its amosphere, precise mise-en-scène and by David Hemmings' performance. No wonder De Palma and Coppola were inspired by it (Blow-Out and The Conversation) The choice of Herbie Hancock as composer reveals the film feel- it's a jazz riff with recurring themes and some marvelous solos but not that much narrative.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby J.M. Vargas » Sat Dec 11, 2010 7:14 pm

^^^ Good boy Girard. Now on to "The Passenger," "Red Moon," "L'Avventura" and "L'Eclipse" (in no particular order). 8)
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Future Man » Sun Dec 12, 2010 11:59 am

Red Desert I think
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby molly1216 » Sun Dec 12, 2010 12:00 pm

Being Human S1 - effing awesome - how did i miss this? i am so buying this series. flatmates werewolf, vampire and ghost all work through personal angst about trying to pass for human.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby J.M. Vargas » Sun Dec 12, 2010 12:11 pm

^^^ An American remake is ready to go this January on SyFy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hre1iVIPPaU. :(
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby molly1216 » Sun Dec 12, 2010 3:02 pm

J.M. Vargas wrote:^^^ An American remake is ready to go this January on SyFy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hre1iVIPPaU. :(

oy vey. how heartbreaking
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Gabriel Girard » Sun Dec 12, 2010 8:17 pm

Sonatine (1993) - I usually like Kitano's languid pacing but this one never really grabbed me. It felt like a run-through for the superior Fireworks.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Future Man » Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:39 am

Winter's Bone
Fine performance by the young lead but is this ever one dour movie. The secondary characters failed to sell me on their ruthlessness. Doesn't end the way one might expect which for me was not a positive. Similarly frigidly titled Frozen River was much more satisfying. C+
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby BenSaylor » Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:09 am

Red Riding: 1983--Right now I'm torn between 1980 and this installment as being the best of the trilogy, although I wish I hadn't waited so long to watch this one. (I watched the first 2 installments in September and just kept putting off 1983.) It's nice to see David Morrissey in a more prominent role, and Anand Tucker's direction is terrific. A solid end to a very enjoyable set of films.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby cdouglas » Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:39 am

BenSaylor wrote:Red Riding: 1983--Right now I'm torn between 1980 and this installment as being the best of the trilogy, although I wish I hadn't waited so long to watch this one. (I watched the first 2 installments in September and just kept putting off 1983.) It's nice to see David Morrissey in a more prominent role, and Anand Tucker's direction is terrific. A solid end to a very enjoyable set of films.


Yeah, those films kind of demand to be watched in close proximity to each other - so many names and plot details to remember. I also had a difficult time determining whether I liked 1980 or 1983 better, though I eventually settled on the former.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Gabriel Girard » Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:59 am

Henry : Portrait Of A Serial Killer - This film totally deserves its reputation. A chilling portrait of a sociopath. Rooker's and Mcnaughton's fines hour.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Andrew Forbes » Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:14 am

Gabriel Girard wrote:Henry : Portrait Of A Serial Killer - This film totally deserves its reputation. A chilling portrait of a sociopath. Rooker's and Mcnaughton's fines hour.

I've had this on my shelf for months. I'm just never sure I'm in a good enough mood to be able to handle it.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby BenSaylor » Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:14 am

cdouglas wrote:
BenSaylor wrote:Red Riding: 1983--Right now I'm torn between 1980 and this installment as being the best of the trilogy, although I wish I hadn't waited so long to watch this one. (I watched the first 2 installments in September and just kept putting off 1983.) It's nice to see David Morrissey in a more prominent role, and Anand Tucker's direction is terrific. A solid end to a very enjoyable set of films.


Yeah, those films kind of demand to be watched in close proximity to each other - so many names and plot details to remember. I also had a difficult time determining whether I liked 1980 or 1983 better, though I eventually settled on the former.


Right after I posted this, I remembered the medium character in 1983, which puts it squarely below 1980.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby HGervais » Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:23 am

Sometimes there are benefits to just having a large collection with a lot of stuff unwatched. I've been in a funny mood for a few weeks and have not really been interested in watching anything but last night I reached for the first thing on a shelf I had not seen and came up with Last Train From Gun Hill. Starring Kirk Douglas & Anthony Quinn and directed by John Sturges it was a perfectly acceptable hour & a half western. Surprising in its maturity in certain respects, it moves along pretty well and ends with the climax it set itself up for. Lovely looking DVD from Paramount and its the kind of thing that doesn't get released much anymore...which makes me sad.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Gabriel Girard » Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:28 pm

Andrew Forbes wrote:
Gabriel Girard wrote:Henry : Portrait Of A Serial Killer - This film totally deserves its reputation. A chilling portrait of a sociopath. Rooker's and Mcnaughton's fines hour.

I've had this on my shelf for months. I'm just never sure I'm in a good enough mood to be able to handle it.


FYI -It's not that ''hardcore''. I'm sure you can handle it in any mood. Just give it a try and I'm sure you won't look back.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Future Man » Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:46 am

Modern Times Blu
I don't know if it was the upgraded transfer on Blu or what, but I liked this a lot more on this my second viewing. Leapfrogs ahead of City Lights which while great has some creaky pratfalls. MT is perfect.

P.S. Also watched portion of included Chaplin home movie of yachting trip to Catalina. First time I've seen what Chaplin looked like normally, without the Little Tramp makeup. Which is to say he looked pretty normal.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Gabriel Girard » Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:31 am

Poultrygeist : Night Of The Chicken Dead - All you could want from a Troma movie plus musical numbers. I just wish that Kaufman hadn't front-loaded most of the musical numbers. There aren't any inthe second half except for the one song by the main chicken and theend credits song.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Steve T Power » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:31 am

Sword of the Stranger - yes, again. It still blows me away.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Bryan Pope » Wed Dec 15, 2010 11:23 am

Gabriel Girard wrote:
Andrew Forbes wrote:
Gabriel Girard wrote:Henry : Portrait Of A Serial Killer - This film totally deserves its reputation. A chilling portrait of a sociopath. Rooker's and Mcnaughton's fines hour.

I've had this on my shelf for months. I'm just never sure I'm in a good enough mood to be able to handle it.


FYI -It's not that ''hardcore''. I'm sure you can handle it in any mood. Just give it a try and I'm sure you won't look back.

It's not "hardcore" in the sense of overflowing with gore, but I still found it tougher to take than any movie I can think of -- particularly the videotaped home invasion scene. I've seen this movie once, and that was as a college freshman almost 20 years ago. I have no desire to see it ever again. It's effective -- TOO effective, I'd argue.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Andrew Forbes » Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:31 pm

Bryan Pope wrote:
Gabriel Girard wrote:
Andrew Forbes wrote:
Gabriel Girard wrote:Henry : Portrait Of A Serial Killer - This film totally deserves its reputation. A chilling portrait of a sociopath. Rooker's and Mcnaughton's fines hour.

I've had this on my shelf for months. I'm just never sure I'm in a good enough mood to be able to handle it.

FYI -It's not that ''hardcore''. I'm sure you can handle it in any mood. Just give it a try and I'm sure you won't look back.

It's not "hardcore" in the sense of overflowing with gore, but I still found it tougher to take than any movie I can think of -- particularly the videotaped home invasion scene. I've seen this movie once, and that was as a college freshman almost 20 years ago. I have no desire to see it ever again. It's effective -- TOO effective, I'd argue.

Yeah, that's exactly what I'm afraid of.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby J.M. Vargas » Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:49 pm

Bryan Pope wrote:
Gabriel Girard wrote:
Andrew Forbes wrote:
Gabriel Girard wrote:Henry : Portrait Of A Serial Killer - This film totally deserves its reputation. A chilling portrait of a sociopath. Rooker's and Mcnaughton's fines hour.
I've had this on my shelf for months. I'm just never sure I'm in a good enough mood to be able to handle it.
FYI -It's not that ''hardcore''. I'm sure you can handle it in any mood. Just give it a try and I'm sure you won't look back.
It's not "hardcore" in the sense of overflowing with gore, but I still found it tougher to take than any movie I can think of -- particularly the videotaped home invasion scene. I've seen this movie once, and that was as a college freshman almost 20 years ago. I have no desire to see it ever again. It's effective -- TOO effective, I'd argue.

I agree and also haven't seen it since I rented it on VHS back in 1991 (my Senior year in High School! :cry: ). I remember watching it alone in my room late at night and physically feeling ill and scared that I was actually watching an honest-to-goodness snuff film. Want to see it again (held the newest DVD version in my hand several times) but just the thought of the images (particularly the dead bodies) scares me. I want my serial killers broody, funny and introspective with a shred of decency, i.e. "Dexter." Henry though (as portrayed by Rooker) is just an empty black hole of nothing that kills just for the sake of killing. The final scene/shot still haunts me; one of the most powerful 'punch in the gut' kicks I've ever endured watching a movie (along with "12 Monkeys," "Bicycle Thieves" and "Purple Rose of Cairo") but it's a good kind of cinematic kick.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Future Man » Wed Dec 15, 2010 2:07 pm

I saw it in 1990 or so and wish I hadn't. Too unflinching is the best way I know to describe it.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby mavrach » Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:36 pm

The Keep - Very different for Michael Mann, who I'm used to see making modern crime thrillers. I felt this needed just a little more meat, to flesh out Scott Glenn's character and also the villain, otherwise I quite enjoyed! And I'm a sucker for 80's movies with synthesized scores (it's probably a Blade Runner thing).


The Runaways - I freakin' hate biopics, and I liked this one. It did away with the typical "show a pointless childhood scene" and the supposedly suspenseful subplot about the subject becoming dicks (granted they stuck with other conventions), and went off as a good movie.

As far as an actual biography, it was noticeably awkward. Lita Ford was barely there and was only there to complain in a couple scenes. And I can get that the bassist didn't want to be in the movie so they made up a fictional placeholder, but casting Arrested Development alum Alia Shawkat? It's not a problem with the movie per se, but I expected her to go to bigger places than a nothing role in a small movie.

Also by watching the movie, it looks like they never made it big. It just shows them touring in a station wagon before having to turn home, then they go to Japan with a big audience, then what appears to be their first record recording they break up. Being somebody who wasn't so familiar with the band, I definitely didn't learn what I wanted.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Gabriel Girard » Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:04 pm

J.M. Vargas wrote:
Bryan Pope wrote:
Gabriel Girard wrote:
Andrew Forbes wrote:
Gabriel Girard wrote:Henry : Portrait Of A Serial Killer - This film totally deserves its reputation. A chilling portrait of a sociopath. Rooker's and Mcnaughton's fines hour.
I've had this on my shelf for months. I'm just never sure I'm in a good enough mood to be able to handle it.
FYI -It's not that ''hardcore''. I'm sure you can handle it in any mood. Just give it a try and I'm sure you won't look back.
It's not "hardcore" in the sense of overflowing with gore, but I still found it tougher to take than any movie I can think of -- particularly the videotaped home invasion scene. I've seen this movie once, and that was as a college freshman almost 20 years ago. I have no desire to see it ever again. It's effective -- TOO effective, I'd argue.

I agree and also haven't seen it since I rented it on VHS back in 1991 (my Senior year in High School! :cry: ). I remember watching it alone in my room late at night and physically feeling ill and scared that I was actually watching an honest-to-goodness snuff film. Want to see it again (held the newest DVD version in my hand several times) but just the thought of the images (particularly the dead bodies) scares me. I want my serial killers broody, funny and introspective with a shred of decency, i.e. "Dexter." Henry though (as portrayed by Rooker) is just an empty black hole of nothing that kills just for the sake of killing. The final scene/shot still haunts me; one of the most powerful 'punch in the gut' kicks I've ever endured watching a movie (along with "12 Monkeys," "Bicycle Thieves" and "Purple Rose of Cairo") but it's a good kind of cinematic kick.


It's definitely creepy and not for the faint of heart. I didn't find it that hard to take though. Maybe I've become desensitized.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby the5thghostbuster » Thu Dec 16, 2010 8:36 am

mavrach wrote:The Keep - Very different for Michael Mann, who I'm used to see making modern crime thrillers. I felt this needed just a little more meat, to flesh out Scott Glenn's character and also the villain, otherwise I quite enjoyed! And I'm a sucker for 80's movies with synthesized scores (it's probably a Blade Runner thing).


Man, I wish this would hit DVD or, better yet, Blu Ray. As I understand it, the production on this film was pretty tough, the film was reedited before release, and then re-cut for some TV versions again. Would love to see a full blown director's cut with Mann explaining just what did happen behind the scenes in full. Criterion anyone?
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby J.M. Vargas » Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:53 am

Juan Antonio Bardem's DEATH OF A CYCLIST (1955) on IFC-HD for the first time. I'm a big a fan of Spain cinema and have no trouble reading between the lines what filmmakers from that era had to do to get around the Franco regime's censorship. But this movie left me cold, unmoved, bored to tears and desinterested. Basically what I got was that Bardem really liked Hitchcock, really liked Hollywood film noir thrillers and really felt like hammering his viewers with the social class pettiness of his characters relentlessly. Maybe if Juan had a fling with Matilde it would have spiced things up dramatically (and given María José a stronger reason for doing to Juan what she does before the end) but that would have gotten in the way of Bardem's depiction of Juan as one of the most inner-conflicted, guilt-ridden, middle-class pussies to appear in a Spaniard flick. Lucia Bosé delivers a cold, sexy portrayal of a woman for whom class status is worth cover killing for and, in the end, setting up her and her lover's downfall. Even at 84 minutes though this felt twice as long. Buñuel and Saura at least clouded their criticism of their targets under enough mise-en-scène technique and thematically entertaining stories/characters. Guess I have to watch more (uncle) Bardem flicks to see what's so great about his films that didn't come through in this one.

Alfonso Cuarón's SOLO CON TU PAREJA (1991) on Criterion DVD for the first time. Growing up in the 70's and 80's in a Spanish-speaking Central American country that got most of its non-American Spanish media (movies, telenovelas, TV shows, pop song stars, etc.) from Mexico I was constantly bombarded by an assault of the lowest-common denominator crap that came from that country. It's not like I didn't like Chespirito, Cantinflas or a really good Mexican telenovela every now and then, but to have only that type of entertainment endlessly recycled over and over again? It's like being a fan of all kinds of comedies but being stuck watching only "The Benny Hill Show." Which is why Cuarón's "SCTP" came as somewhat of a revelation to me given the time it was made (early 90's). Here's a low-budget Mexican 'sexicomedia' that chooses to emphasize male insecurity over macho posturing, color palette, Mozart music, a middle class lifestyle (rare for Mexico), young people's follies (who hasn't felt like killing themselves after being betrayed by a lover?) and friendship (the wacky neighbors that are not there just for cheap laughs) all wrapped in the neat and tidy bow of high brow cinematic aspiration. It's all Lubitsch-lite (but with drunken Japanese tourists as bonus!), a velvet-glove approach to screwball that doubles as satire of macho culture. The cast is OK, particularly Claudia Ramírez' Clarisa (who looks like Jennifer Connelly) but it's the style and pace of the movie's fancy that stands out more than the humor (which is scattershot at best). "SCTP" is basically an amusing, slightly weird curio of what Mexican cinema/culture was NOT LIKE back in the early 90's, i.e. good.

KNIGHT AND DAY (2010) on Blu-ray for the firs time. While I'm not as enthusiastic as Judge Becker (Grant and Hepburn comparisons for Cruise and Diaz, really?) I have to concur with his review: this is a much better and fun popcorn flick than I expected, the latest in an endless procesion of spy-themed escapist media that may have reached saturation point. Yes, the CGI-enhanced stunts are distractingly obvious; so were the one's in "Quantum of Solace." It doesn't mean I wasn't blown away by the motorcycle race through Sevilla as homage, parody and/or good ol' Hollywood car chase magic. "Knight and Day" has major pace issues (director James Mangold tries to pull a Robert Rodriguez trick and 'fade' away from the action... no dice!) but a somewhat-plausible McGuffin involving a battery (along with its wacky inventor) and a peppy, "Lambada"-inspired soundtrack keep the movie in the realm of tongue-and-cheek amusing. Cruise, bless his insane little heart, goes all out and sells his Roy Miller persona like Duvall in "Apocalypse Now," never once fearing he'd get hit by gunfire. Diaz is being her usual on-screen ditzy self but, by the third act, I totally bought that she'd put herself in danger so prince charming would come to the rescue; the 'truth serum' scene (an old chestunt for this type of flick) actually made me laugh out loud because Cameron sells it so well. Since nobody else in the cast stands out (Peter Sarsgaard and Viola Davis barely register) Tom and Cameron are it, but their chemistry is good-enough to get the movie (barely) across the finish line. I'd say rent it, or give it as an Xmas gift like I'm doing.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Gabriel Girard » Sat Dec 18, 2010 6:16 am

Love Is Colder Than Death- Fassbinder's first film is a stark and uncompromising one. Reminiscent of À Bout De Souffle and Le Samouraï - it never reaches the heights of its forefathers but it is still interesting. Despite those influences Fassbinder's style is already it's own thing. Plus there's the superb Hanna Schygulla.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby the5thghostbuster » Sat Dec 18, 2010 10:21 pm

Room Service - I was ready to write this off as an almost total failure, until the final fifteen minutes. The hour preceeding it is unfocused, lifeless, and works counter productive to the Marx Brother's style of comedy: they are too tame, too likeable here, and it kills the humour. Once the suicide bit starts to come into play however, the film gains the kind of dark energy the entire film should have had the entire time.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby mavrach » Sun Dec 19, 2010 3:23 am

Mystery, Alaska - A great hidden gem that I loved. This is despite the fact that I generally don't care for happy little movies about quaint small towns, nor do I have any interest in sports whatsoever. This should have been forgettable, but it really took the idea of what a small town is and realistically fleshed that out, and showed the differences between that and a larger and "more civilized" metropolitan culture. Lots of characters all with their own subplots and moments, all while keeping the movie fun and inspirational. You know you're in for something different when right in the beginning a little kid blurts out "F__ ME!!" This actaully got the R rating, which you'd never expect something with this subject matter to go for. Highly recommended.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Gabriel Girard » Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:05 am

Bonnie And Clyde - This is another film I wish I could have seen back in the day. Time, countless imitators and parodies have lessened its impact. It sill is an effective and affecting film though.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Andrew Forbes » Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:31 am

Gabriel Girard wrote:Bonnie And Clyde - This is another film I wish I could have seen back in the day. Time, countless imitators and parodies have lessened its impact. It sill is an effective and affecting film though.

Word. It's a good film but, decades after its debut, the no-longer-shocking violence can't obscure its more glaring flaws. Night Moves is Penn's real masterpiece.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Andrew Forbes » Sun Dec 19, 2010 4:09 pm

Broken Trail part one. If the second half lives up to the promise of the first, this will rank among my favorite westerns. The plot meanders, but in an organic way that perfectly complements the livelihood of the characters. Alan Geoffrion's dialogue is by turns naturalistic and lyrical, and Walter Hill's direction is unobtrusive, with a keen eye to character and tone. He wisely avoids the overt stylization of The Warriors or Wild Bill. The gorgeous southern Alberta landscapes are the icing on the cake.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Andrew Forbes » Sun Dec 19, 2010 9:40 pm

Andrew Forbes wrote:Broken Trail part one. If the second half lives up to the promise of the first, this will rank among my favorite westerns. The plot meanders, but in an organic way that perfectly complements the livelihood of the characters. Alan Geoffrion's dialogue is by turns naturalistic and lyrical, and Walter Hill's direction is unobtrusive, with a keen eye to character and tone. He wisely avoids the overt stylization of The Warriors or Wild Bill. The gorgeous southern Alberta landscapes are the icing on the cake.

After part two, I'm slightly less enthusiastic, but that isn't to say that this isn't a fantastic film. It's merely that certain plot threads are resolved in a conventional way, which keeps the movie from true greatness. Still, it has more than earned its spot on my shelf. This is a western with a delicacy and depth of feeling equal to that of The Shootist.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby J.M. Vargas » Mon Dec 20, 2010 7:05 am

I'd forgotten about "Broken Trail" being an AMC original mini-series. Between this, "Mad Men," "The Walking Dead," "Breaking Bad," "Rubicon" and "The Prisoner" mini-series (the last two ratings and critical duds that at least had their adherents) AMC has become a mini-HBO. Too bad that, unlike HBO, the butcher their movies and crop/stretch them to fit a 16:9 screen regardless of each movie's original aspect ratio. Then it'd be the perfect channel. ;-)
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby mavrach » Tue Dec 21, 2010 11:32 pm

The Fly (1958) - Being such a huge fan of Cronenberg's remake, I felt I had to see this. But unfortunately, once you've honed yourself on the more brutal movies of the 70's & 80's, it's difficult to really be scared by the classic stuff.

Still, there were some suprises with the original. It was much more psychological than I'd expected, as it got you asking questions and trying to unfold a mystery that got horrifying as questions got answered. Also the non-chronological storytelling was way ahead of its time.

And this really doesn't have much to do with the Cronenberg version aside from the nature of the monster. Honoestly Cronenberg's version is as much a remake of this version, as say Zombieland is a remake of Night of the Living Dead.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: All I Want for Xmas is my DECEMBER Watching Thread!

Postby Gabriel Girard » Wed Dec 22, 2010 6:54 am

Halloween (2009) - If it wasn't for the rob Zombie factor I would never have checked it out. I'm a big fan of The Devil's Rejects... This is a weird one, it's basically half a Zombie flick and half almost copy/paste imitation of the original. This would have been better as a stand-alone flick than as a remake. Sill passable IMHO - I'm sure there much worse remakes out there.
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