January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby Steve T Power » Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:51 am

Andrew Forbes wrote:
Steve T Power wrote:So we're in agreement? Machete sucked.

I'm so mad at myself for not buying The Town instead.


You should be. That was awesome.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby azul017 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:00 pm

molly1216 wrote:
azul017 wrote:Stargate Atlantis s1 - Bought it for around $10. Watched the first disc so far, and am really enjoying the series. It's nothing overly original or daring, but it's enjoyable nonetheless.

Season one is pretty poor compared to later seasons..so you have lots to look forward to.


Nice.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby Andrew Forbes » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:29 pm

HGervais wrote:
Steve T Power wrote:So we're in agreement? Machete sucked.

Not from me. I thought it was a blast. It was an exploitation movie through & through. Trash of the highest order.

But it wasn't! It should have been trash, but Rodriguez used it as a killjoy soapbox. And if you're going to do trash, take the exploitation content and period texture and merge them with effective film-making. There was no flow to the action. It may as well have been completely disconnected images of blood splatter interspersed with still photos of the actors. I'm all for violent, unrepentant garbage, but Rodriguez mixed precisely the wrong elements: poor craftsmanship and shallow moral lessons delivered straight, loud and repeatedly. That's not what makes trashy movies fun, and a couple of juvenile jokes don't tip the balance enough in the right direction.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby HGervais » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:39 pm

Andrew Forbes wrote:
HGervais wrote:
Steve T Power wrote:So we're in agreement? Machete sucked.

Not from me. I thought it was a blast. It was an exploitation movie through & through. Trash of the highest order.

But it wasn't! It should have been trash, but Rodriguez used it as a killjoy soapbox. And if you're going to do trash, take the exploitation content and period texture and merge them with effective film-making. There was no flow to the action. It may as well have been completely disconnected images of blood splatter interspersed with still photos of the actors. I'm all for violent, unrepentant garbage, but Rodriguez mixed precisely the wrong elements: poor craftsmanship and shallow moral lessons delivered straight, loud and repeatedly. That's not what makes trashy movies fun, and a couple of juvenile jokes don't tip the balance enough in the right direction.

1st off, there are plenty of examples of exploitation movies being intensely political affairs and that Machete wore its political leaning so out in the open was something that really appealed to me. 2nd, I thought for the most part performances were pitch perfect for the movie they were in. Andrew, you really need to go back and watch more of those grindhouse movies from the classic period because lapses in pacing, wooden performances and completely disconnected splatter sums up most of the output of those kinds of movies. The greatest complimant I can pay Machete is I can easily imagine sitting down to watch it on a triple bill at a grindhouse movie theater in the early 70s. I think the movie is trash of the highest order.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby Steve T Power » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:48 pm

I'll hold out hope for Hobo with a Shotgun, and that has 100% more Rutger Hauer!
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby Andrew Forbes » Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:05 pm

HGervais wrote:1st off, there are plenty of examples of exploitation movies being intensely political affairs and that Machete wore its political leaning so out in the open was something that really appealed to me. 2nd, I thought for the most part performances were pitch perfect for the movie they were in. Andrew, you really need to go back and watch more of those grindhouse movies from the classic period because lapses in pacing, wooden performances and completely disconnected splatter sums up most of the output of those kinds of movies. The greatest complimant I can pay Machete is I can easily imagine sitting down to watch it on a triple bill at a grindhouse movie theater in the early 70s. I think the movie is trash of the highest order.

There's politically charged and there's political sermonizing. Machete is the latter. And as for the 2nd point, why would you replicate those qualities? Do people really love old exploitation flicks for their slogging pace and poor craft, or do they love them for the excessive violence, sex and sleazy atmosphere? Do you honestly believe that the movie would have been worse if Rodriguez had tightened it up, staged the action with more fluidity and cut back on Michelle Rodriguez and Jessica Alba reading pro-amnesty talking points as dialogue? You'd still have the outrageous plot, the explicit violence, the nudity, the worn film-stock and outsized performances.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby Andrew Forbes » Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:08 pm

Steve T Power wrote:I'll hold out hope for Hobo with a Shotgun, and that has 100% more Rutger Hauer!

QFT.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby HGervais » Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:17 pm

Andrew Forbes wrote:
HGervais wrote:1st off, there are plenty of examples of exploitation movies being intensely political affairs and that Machete wore its political leaning so out in the open was something that really appealed to me. 2nd, I thought for the most part performances were pitch perfect for the movie they were in. Andrew, you really need to go back and watch more of those grindhouse movies from the classic period because lapses in pacing, wooden performances and completely disconnected splatter sums up most of the output of those kinds of movies. The greatest complimant I can pay Machete is I can easily imagine sitting down to watch it on a triple bill at a grindhouse movie theater in the early 70s. I think the movie is trash of the highest order.

There's politically charged and there's political sermonizing. Machete is the latter. And as for the 2nd point, why would you replicate those qualities? Do people really love old exploitation flicks for their slogging pace and poor craft, or do they love them for the excessive violence, sex and sleazy atmosphere? Do you honestly believe that the movie would have been worse if Rodriguez had tightened it up, staged the action with more fluidity and cut back on Michelle Rodriguez and Jessica Alba reading pro-amnesty talking points as dialogue? You'd still have the outrageous plot, the explicit violence, the nudity, the worn film-stock and outsized performances.

Andrew...the movie worked for me on its own terms and I don't know what else I can say. I would argue that any number of exploitation movies engaged in some serious sermonizing. Those movies were a product of their time and thier troubles and I would argue Machete is a product of its time. And I would also add it is nice to see a movie that is so pissed off about something. People love exploitation movies for the combination of sleeze, sex, violence and poor craft. Or at least I do. The way the movie is cut & staged works when taken in context to those kinds of movies from the 60s & 70s. Are there 100 things you could do to make Machete a "better" movie? Of course but then you would end up making it something different from what was intended. I'm not saying the movie is art or even very good but it is exactly what I expected it to be and I took a great amount in satisfaction from that. All that said, yeah The Town is a much better movie.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby Steve T Power » Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:26 pm

I'm curious as to how much of Machete's success or failure actually rests on Rodriguez. Didn't I read somewhere that he really only "hands on" directed the faux trailer and set the foundations for Ethan Maniquis?
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby HGervais » Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:34 pm

Steve T Power wrote:I'm curious as to how much of Machete's success or failure actually rests on Rodriguez. Didn't I read somewhere that he really only "hands on" directed the faux trailer and set the foundations for Ethan Maniquis?

He is listed as co-director but watching it certainly felt like I was viewing one of his movies. There is a very much a stream of consciousness quality to the work that reminds me of RR.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby BenSaylor » Thu Jan 13, 2011 6:18 am

For Machete, I felt like the trailer promised me one thing (fun, stupid action movie) but the movie delivered something totally different (an excessively talky, overlong film with disappointing action scenes).

As for other stuff I've seen recently:

My Winnipeg--I finally saw this courtesy of Netflix Instant Watch. Funny, fascinating and eerie, this is easily one of my favorite Guy Maddin films. The best parts were the staged reenactments of Maddin's childhood.

Army of Shadows--Watched the blu-ray the other night. I hadn't seen this since it was playing in theaters back in 2006. Wow, what a movie. All the actors are great in their roles (esp. Lino Ventura), the somber color palette matches the film's bleak tone, and the dark script feels more authentic than a lot of war movies. I like to think I don't throw the word "masterpiece" around a lot, but Army of Shadows certainly fits the bill.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby Dan Mancini » Thu Jan 13, 2011 6:53 am

Despite being aware of the show since the Tom Baker days and having had a few friends that were really into it, I've only now watched a complete episode of Doctor Who (I'd seen bits and pieces of various Doctors here there over the years, but I'd never actually watched an episode). I streamed the first couple episodes of Christopher Eccleston's run. I'm not totally sold, but I'll continue on through this series and see if it gets its hooks in me.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby the5thghostbuster » Thu Jan 13, 2011 9:22 am

Dan Mancini wrote:Despite being aware of the show since the Tom Baker days and having had a few friends that were really into it, I've only now watched a complete episode of Doctor Who (I'd seen bits and pieces of various Doctors here there over the years, but I'd never actually watched an episode). I streamed the first couple episodes of Christopher Eccleston's run. I'm not totally sold, but I'll continue on through this series and see if it gets its hooks in me.


Join us! Join us in the Who Fandom! Muahahahahahaha!

Um, excuse my evil outburst.

Been mostly watching episodes from the first season of Star Trek: the Next Generation before sleeping the past few nights. It is kind of odd coming back to this show after so long. Roddenberry's preachy, anti-religion slant while treating Starfleet as a religion in everything-but-name is as annoying and idiotic as ever, and it is amazing to think that these robots for characters would ever evolve into the more human, and three dimensional characters they would become. Also, it is just astounding to see how many bad clearly bad decisions were made during this first season, from the laughable execution of the Ferengi (if you are planning to set up an alien race as the big villians of your show, remember to NOT make them a joke upon first introducing them) to the outright racist (while the director of Code of Honor might be to blame for the casting and style of the performances, that doesn't excuse the racisim inplicit in the scirpt. Besides, How on Earth did the director get away for so long without anyone in charge noticing what was going on?).

And yet...there are things in this first season that I wish had remained throughout the rest of the show. For starters, the lighting in the first season is vastly superior to the bland, overlit style to follow starting in season three. And I never did like the mdified uniforms of the latter seasons, though that might just be because of my own hatred of collars around the neck. And as many bat___t crazy and bad decisions are made in this first year, it seemed more willing to go for broke than the latter seasons.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby Steve T Power » Thu Jan 13, 2011 9:59 am

Before sleeping... The doctor recommends Ambien, or Star Trek: The Next Generation. One will destroy your liver, the other, your mind.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby Dan Mancini » Thu Jan 13, 2011 10:53 am

Steve T Power wrote:Before sleeping... The doctor recommends Ambien, or Star Trek: The Next Generation.

My heroes have always been bureaucrats. Space bureaucrats.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby yellow ledbetter » Thu Jan 13, 2011 10:22 pm

watching Sin City, a great one to revisit now and then. you gotta love Marv and Hartigan
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby Andrew Forbes » Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:48 am

Rob Roy. Literate, spectacular, tense and emotional. Aside from some wobbly accents and the occasional aggravating character decision, this was worth waiting years to see.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby Future Man » Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:46 am

Andrew Forbes wrote:Rob Roy. Literate, spectacular, tense and emotional. Aside from some wobbly accents and the occasional aggravating character decision, this was worth waiting years to see.


You forgot to mention the greatest swordfight ever committed to film (at least in color).
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby Andrew Forbes » Fri Jan 14, 2011 11:37 am

Future Man wrote:
Andrew Forbes wrote:Rob Roy. Literate, spectacular, tense and emotional. Aside from some wobbly accents and the occasional aggravating character decision, this was worth waiting years to see.

You forgot to mention the greatest swordfight ever committed to film (at least in color).

It's certainly one of the best, and probably among the most realistic.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby Gabriel Girard » Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:21 pm

Machete - I thought it was great fun, though not as great as Planet Terror.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby mavrach » Sat Jan 15, 2011 1:28 am

Iron Man 2 finally. Mostly every plot point was laid out for me in the trailer, so there were zero suprises. I'll probably enjoy this a little more on additional viewings.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby molly1216 » Sat Jan 15, 2011 2:14 pm

How to Train a Dragon...which rocked.
if i am not mistaken this may be the 1st kids movie with an amputee for a hero.
very classy.

My Family and Other Animals (BBC) a masterpiece theater prod of Gerald Durrell's famous book. (for you geeks, Watchmen's Matthew Goode is in it as writer Lawrence Durrell and Russell Tovey from Being Human.) It was utterly charming and much better than i expected or than it had any right to be. Oh yeah, it has Imelda Staunton and Omid Djalili in it too.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby Mach6 » Sun Jan 16, 2011 8:46 am

The Green Hornet: UGGGGGHHHH! Where to begin?!! Seth Rogen did the impossible & delivered a performance that was more obnoxious than Chris Tucker’s in Rush Hour 2. Kato’s Steven Seagal/Predator/Sixth Sense Vision? What a waste of Christoph Waltz’s talent. Please God, please forgive me for contributing $7.25 to this piece of soulless, stupid, & mostly unfunny garbage movie. I promise to watch True Grit at least 3 times at the theater to atone for my sins.

The only positive was I got to see the trailer for Sucker Punch on the big screen. Count me in for that one.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby Future Man » Sun Jan 16, 2011 1:48 pm

Armored Car Robbery
Solid 50s B movie goodness, but why can't movie cops of the era ever at least pause to check on their fallen partner before giving chase? Or at least call for the ambulance as soon as they reach the squad car instead of after the car chase?
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby azul017 » Sun Jan 16, 2011 5:01 pm

Black Swan - Utterly amazing. It's not for everybody, but Aronofsky's work on this film is beyond compare. Natalie Portman's performance is just breathtaking and gutsy, and Matthew Libatique's handheld camerawork is extraordinary. The ending will be discussed endlessly for years to come, like Blade Runner and Inception.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby the5thghostbuster » Sun Jan 16, 2011 7:27 pm

The Invisible Boy (1957) - ....what the hell? This might be one of the most bizzare "follow ups" to a classic film I have ever seen. I understand wanting more Robby the Robot, but why bother with the odd explaination that ties the film to Forbidden Planet? And is it just me, or does this film feature the single worst set of parents by the sheer level of stupidity they demonstrate?
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby hoytereden » Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:17 am

Future Man wrote:Armored Car Robbery
Solid 50s B movie goodness, but why can't movie cops of the era ever at least pause to check on their fallen partner before giving chase? Or at least call for the ambulance as soon as they reach the squad car instead of after the car chase?

Because, in the 50s, you were either dead or had a relalively minor "flesh wound." Obviously, with just a glance, their partners could tell. Wounds were so easy to diagnose in those days. ;-)
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby Steve T Power » Mon Jan 17, 2011 12:16 pm

hoytereden wrote:
Future Man wrote:Armored Car Robbery
Solid 50s B movie goodness, but why can't movie cops of the era ever at least pause to check on their fallen partner before giving chase? Or at least call for the ambulance as soon as they reach the squad car instead of after the car chase?

Because, in the 50s, you were either dead or had a relalively minor "flesh wound." Obviously, with just a glance, their partners could tell. Wounds were so easy to diagnose in those days. ;-)


Bullets were just so much better in those days. Made by hand y'see.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby J.M. Vargas » Mon Jan 17, 2011 3:45 pm

These past few days I was hit with the triple-whammy of (a) a nasty cold that left me bed-ridden and without voice (too much coughing), (b) my laptop computer dying and in need of repairs plus, last but not least, (c) the death of my 89 year-old grandmother back in the homeland. :cry: So no heavy movie-viewing here (with one or two notable exceptions), just a bunch of brain-dead watch-and-forget B-movie time fillers:

Rewatched Ray Harryhausen's 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH (1957) on Blu-ray with the commentary track on. It's so much fun to watch these types of film as a grown-up and still be more impressed and blown away by Harryhausen's stop-motion techniques than the CG creatures in "Skyline" (for example). And to think that Rome wouldn't have been attacked by the perpetually-growing Ymir monster if Dan Tanna's bitch hadn't stolen it first (shame on your Bart Braverman!). :D

Jacques Tati's PLAYTIME (1968) in 70mm at the re-opening of the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens over the weekend. Since Tati wanted the audience to look around the giant screen to find whatever joke and/or visual gag made them laugh the packed-house audience rarely laughed in unison. There were plenty of laughs to be had (especially during the go-for-broke restaurant scene) and, though not as impressive as other 70mm films I've seen (it looks like a marginal-at-best improvement over the Criterion Blu-ray), "Playtime" is every bit as epic in scope and intimate in its craftsmanship as that other 70mm classic film that came out in 1968.

MR. MAJESTYK (1974) on MGM-HD for the first time. You'd think a movie starring Charles Bronson and written by Elmore Leonard would be as bad-ass as they come, but you'd only be half-right. "Mr. Majestyk" is formulaic and predictable: little man (Bronson) gets screwed by both local authorities and an organized crime baddie (Al Lettieri) out of his watermelon-growing livelihood, forcing him down the revenge path he doesn't want to follow but for which he's well-prepared for. More disappointing than the banal and barely-memorable dialogue is the distracting amount of badly-synched ADR and the absence of any sustained action sequences (just two very spread-apart shootouts with a ton of set-up in-between them). Talk about built tough though, the yellow Ford truck that Majestyk drives around the mountains sustaining all kinds of abuse has got to be the coolest racing truck I've ever seen. And even in a mediocre movie (Richard Fleischer was phoning it in) Bronson is the epitome of on-screen manly coolness. I could swear I saw a tear beginning to form in his eyes the moment he saw his mountain of watermelons... must be the high-def transfer.

VIGILANTE FORCE (1976) on MGM-HD for the first time. Kris Kristofferson and Jan-Michael Vincent play brothers, the former a returned Vietnam vet and the latter a clean-cut guy, who try to get their local town's out-of-control crime rate down by hiring Kris' war buddies as deputized law officers that clean the town out. Power and corruption eventually go up to the Vienam Vet's heads though, and they become the criminals that the rest of the town (led by Jan-Michael) have to stop. Kristofferson and Vincent are so different-looking (in both acting and looks) that it's easy to buy them as brothers that end up gunning for each other. Nice supporting work by Brad Dexter, Bernadette Peters, Victoria Principal (who exists the movie in a memorable way) and many more lead up to a 4th of July fireworks finale that is both off-the-reservation ridiculous while being a satisfactory payoff to the conflict that's been brewing for the flick's running time. The more pre-"Airwolf" Jan-Michael Vincent movies I see the more I like this guy.

THE LAST WORD (1979) on MGM-HD for the first time. The only reason to watch this maddeningly uneven mix of "Mad City" and "Dog Day Afternoon" (yes, there's a hostage-taking standoff that causes a national media sensation) is to watch Richard Harris pull effortlessly an American accent and completely disappear into an underwritten role (little man that stands out to the corporate evil of 'urban renewal'). At one point the movie becomes a pre-"Home Alone" exercise in Harris using his inventions to fend off SWATT's attempt to break into his apartment, which is just bonkers, but we buy it because Harris is so good. Karen Black is out of her league playing the reporter that becomes part of the event she covers, but some good supporting thesps (Martin Landau, Christopher Guest, etc.) help "The Last Word" being merely forgettable, not memorably awful (which it would have been had it been anyone other than Harris in the lead).

THE BOOGENS (1981) on TCM-HD for the first time. Decent early 80's creature feature about a monster sealed in a Colorado mine since 1912 that's been awakened by miners looking to re-open it. So naturally the creature(s) go through the tunnels into the basement of the home where some of the miners are staying and start picking them, their girlfriends and their dog (boo!) one at a time. Think "Valentine's Day" meets "The Descent" minus the psycho killer and feminist chicks (the only females in the flick fall into the 'slutty victim' and 'defenseless damsel in distress' cliches) with very little of the 'Boogens' seen until near the end. Then you realize you've seen too much of them and they weren't that scary to begin with. Not even the sight of Jon Lorner as the old man that knows about the 'Boogens' (but won't tell anybody until it's too late) can save this flick from a slow pace that gives very little payoff to anyone that isn't seduced by the classic early 80's look/feel.

THE HOUSE WHERE EVIL DWELLS (1982) on TCM-HD for the first time. The first and last 15 minutes of this movie are pretty good at setting-up and paying-off on the premise that an American family (led by 70's-looking leading man Edward Albert) that moves into a haunted Kyoto house in Japan are being tormented by the ghosts of its former occupants. Also, considering that most American movies in the 1980's treated Japanese culture and spiritual symbols like s***, this one at least tries to get it right and largely succeeds (Ken Thorpe's score is actually pretty good). The middle section of "The House Where Evil Dwells" is a glorious mess though. From "Don't Look Now" inspired sex scenes (Susan George has a nice pair... of scenes with two different lovers, ahem!) to giant mechanical crabs straight out of Fulci's "From Beyond," and from repetitive blue silhouetted 'ghosts' taking over the bodies of the Fletcher family members to silly mischief at the dinner table, the movie loses steam and becomes laughable when it should have been getting scarier as its ending approaches. Nihilists will love the ending but this one is for Netflix when you are feeling bored and/or suicidal (not necessarily in that order).

Rewatched Stuart Gordon's DOLLS (1987) on DVD with both commentary tracks on. Other than (a) being the spiritual predecessor to the "Puppetmaster" series and (b) being made almost simultaneously with Gordon's "From Beyond" (you can tell which sets were re-used and/or changed) "Dolls" stands out for being one little nasty piece of horror that wears its sentimental and clownish sleeves too close to its chest. It's not a perfect match of tone (sweet, childishly sincere) and execution (gory fantasy violence, winking at the audience, etc.) plus the acting isn't as pitch-perfect as in "Re-Animator" or "From Beyond." The good-for-their-time SFX work and creepy-looking dolls, along with Guy Rolfe and Hilary Mason's tongue-in-cheek performances, manage to save the movie but just barely. Gordon and writer Ed Naha ("Honey, I Shrunk the Kids") have a blast telling dirty jokes and funny production anecdotes in their commentary track; the actors (led by a heavy-breathing Stephen Lee) lack chemistry and sound bored out of their skulls in their commentary. Incidentally, why is there a picture of an execution in the title screen of the "Dolls" DVD that doesn't have squat to do with the movie?

L.A. BOUNTY (1989) on MGM-HD for the first time. A mayoral candidate is kidnapped by trigger-happy, nutty drug dealer Cavanaugh (Wings Hauser, hamming it like Alan Rickman pretending to be David Letterman circa 1988) and only female "Punisher"-like bounty hunter Ruger (Sybil Danning) can get to the bottom of this. I've seen a lot of mindless and straight-to-the-bone lean actions movies before but this might be the simplest A-to-B-to-C movie I've ever seen. Sybil has no one-liners (for which I'm thankful) and barely says 50 words in the entire movie. She also has no acting range (same perpetually poe'd look) and the editing does her badly-staged shootouts no favors. Hauser is having a ball but we're not (which is death for this type of action flick) and, as the bodies and shootouts pile on, the absence of Cynthia Rothrock is sorely missed. ;-) For huge Sybil Danning fans only (the few with access to MGM-HD).

Gus Van Sant's PSYCHO (1998) on HBO-HD for the first time. Let's get the obvious out of the way first: there's no reason for this remake of Hitchcock's 1960 classic to exist, anyone unfamiliar with the original should watch that first, Hitch and B&W or bust, yadda yadda yadda. But, since this colorized version of "Psycho" does (and will forever) exist, looked at through a cinema lover's prism of a 13 yer-old weird curio, there's a treasure trove of performances (good and bad), stylistic choices (Danny Elfman emulating/copying Bernard Herrman) and editing decisions that make watching Van Sant's "Psycho" perversely amusing. I never thought that the neon-lit primary colors that Christopher Doyle is known for ("Chungking Express") would fit the "Psycho" world, but seeing Doyle's cinematography in action it actually works. William H. Macy is as good or a better Arbegast than Balsam, Viggo is a tenfold improvement over John Gavin, Forster is a more convincing (though still unnecessary) Dr. Simon, etc. But Julianne Moore and Anne Heche phone in their Crane sisters roles, Vince Vaughn is no Perkins (though credit the guy for at least trying) and most of the supporting cast is flat or indistinguishable from the '60's bit players (example: James Remar as the motorcycle cop). Van Sant totally botches the shower scene (not violent enough but also way too 'framey' and tame for '98) and most of the film feels mechanical and/or weird for the sake of being weird (the big reveal at the end looks like it came from "Silence of the Lambs"). I've seen worse remakes of classic movies than this, but I'm hard-pressed to remember a most needless and easily forgettable one.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby Dan Mancini » Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:19 pm

J.M. Vargas wrote:THE BOOGENS (1981) on TCM-HD for the first time. Decent early 80's creature feature about a monster sealed in a Colorado mine since 1912 that's been awakened by miners looking to re-open it. So naturally the creature(s) go through the tunnels into the basement of the home where some of the miners are staying and start picking them, their girlfriends and their dog (boo!) one at a time. Think "Valentine's Day" meets "The Descent" minus the psycho killer and feminist chicks (the only females in the flick fall into the 'slutty victim' and 'defenseless damsel in distress' cliches) with very little of the 'Boogens' seen until near the end. Then you realize you've seen too much of them and they weren't that scary to begin with. Not even the sight of Jon Lorner as the old man that knows about the 'Boogens' (but won't tell anybody until it's too late) can save this flick from a slow pace that gives very little payoff to anyone that isn't seduced by the classic early 80's look/feel.

I'm flabbergasted yet delighted that an HD master exists for the flick. Ho-ly crap. Not a good movie (not even close), but I have very fond memories of it. The Boogens has yet to make it to DVD. Here's hoping we see a Blu-ray some day.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby Future Man » Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:57 am

Strangers on a Train again

I enjoy the camera work and the set pieces but I just don't find it very suspenseful which is the main reason I turn to Hitchcock.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby Steve T Power » Wed Jan 19, 2011 1:51 pm

Forgot to mention a pair of Disney features i've caught in the last little while:

Tangled - Disney Animation's output is officially on par with the recent Pixar stuff in my book (Tangled and Bolt were both every bit as good in my mind as anything out of Pixar in recent years). Tangled had a heartfelt and engaging story backed by some great voice acting and jaw - dropping production design. It's the first time they've used CG exclusively for one of their "animated classics" line, and while the idea certainly disappointed me, the execution is spot on. When it was funny, i laughed, when it was sad, i welled up, and when it was neither, the animation and excellent 3D kept me riveted. The kids loved it as well.

Tron: Legacy - Now that was an awesome time. Pure unadulterated sci-fi cliche writ large. The plot unfolds in predictable but hugely entertaining fashion, and unlike many of the critics, I thought Garrett Hedlund did a bang up job, and was charismatic as hell, and Bridges was freakin' awesome as the man-child Kevin Flynn stuck in an elderly body. The visual design was gobsmackingly good, the action scenes were great, the soundtrack was pitch perfect (ATTENTION Bioware: Daft Punk to score Mass Effect film... please!). The biggest surprise for me was just how tightly linked to the original film this actually was; the connecting threads were everywhere. Anyone going into Legacy without any recollection of the original is doing themselves a huge disservice. I hope the franchise does continue (as rumored), and I know Kevin Flynn will be back. Narratively, no, it doesn't re-invent the wheel, but it doesn't have to when it hits all the right notes. The jaded cynics should stay far the hell away though - this isn't a film that holds up to pretension or harsh criticism at all. It's more Star Trek(2009) than Blade Runner.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby molly1216 » Thu Jan 20, 2011 7:02 am

justified S1 oh mama. that's what i like.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby Future Man » Thu Jan 20, 2011 8:25 am

molly1216 wrote:justified S1 oh mama. that's what i like.


The updating of the classic Western-lawman subgenre to a modern setting, you mean? :D
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby HGervais » Thu Jan 20, 2011 10:57 am

molly1216 wrote:justified S1 oh mama. that's what i like.

I'm on the final disc of episodes now. I agree with you. There is nothing like it on TV. And it's right up there as the best adaptation of Leonard's work that we have ever seen. My favorite line thus far...and there are p l e n t y of great lines....Because I didn't order assholes with my whiskey.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby molly1216 » Thu Jan 20, 2011 1:37 pm

HGervais wrote:
molly1216 wrote:justified S1 oh mama. that's what i like.

I'm on the final disc of episodes now. I agree with you. There is nothing like it on TV. And it's right up there as the best adaptation of Leonard's work that we have ever seen. My favorite line thus far...and there are p l e n t y of great lines....Because I didn't order assholes with my whiskey.

Maybe he's become some vigilante.
Hmmm, maybe he's Batman.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby Dunnyman » Thu Jan 20, 2011 10:09 pm

After a Christmas haul and some recent pickups used, I now have every single Hitchcock film on DVD. Starting tomorrow night I'm going to watch them in chronological order. This ought to be some treat.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby Attrage » Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:29 am

Steve T Power wrote:I'll hold out hope for Hobo with a Shotgun, and that has 100% more Rutger Hauer!

Oh...I am so there. I dig the Rut. I mean, the complete and utter awesomeness of his performance in Blade Runner aside, there's the understated badassery of The Hitcher, and who else but Rutger Hauer could pull off a BLIND NINJA? The man rocks.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby Attrage » Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:32 am

mavrach wrote:Iron Man 2 finally. Mostly every plot point was laid out for me in the trailer, so there were zero suprises. I'll probably enjoy this a little more on additional viewings.

I can attest that I did. Theatrically I enjoyed it but felt a bit underwhelmed overall. Watching it later at home I enjoyed it way more.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby J.M. Vargas » Fri Jan 21, 2011 2:33 pm

Orson Welles' CITIZEN KANE (1941) on DVD twice, once by itself and then a second time with the Roger Ebert commentary on. After watching this several times over the past two decades out of a sense of obligation rather than to derive personal pleasure from it (peer pressure, school, AFI listings, etc.) this is the first time I can honestly say I've thoroughly enjoyed "Citizen Kane" from start to finish as just a pretty damn good movie. "Citizen Kane" has something to say (both in content and as a way to tell a complex story with interesting-to-watch moving pictures), ruffled feathers of the high & mighty and pushed a young Orson Welles to put as much of himself on the screen as he did of William Randolph Hearst (to both men's long-term detriment). Like "MST3K" the older and wiser one gets with age the more fun it is to revisit and reap new rewards from "Kane's" visual narrative (Gregg Toland's deep-foocus photography is begging for a high-def remastering), the all-around great acting from a fine cast (first time I noticed how good Joseph Cotten actually is acting opposite Welles) and the inner/outer spectacle of the lead character's tumultuous life. And my God, has anyone stolen a movie like Agnes Moorehead does in "Kane" with her handful of on-screen minutes without changing her facial expression? Shoot, even the child actor that plays Kane as a kid is terrific.

THE BATTLE OVER CITIZEN KANE (1996) PBS documentary on the second disc, combined with Uncle Roger's familiar voice and context-providing insights (don't have the stomach yet to tackle Bogdanovich's commentary), are almost indispensable to appreciate the similarities and differences between real-life protagonists (particularly Marion Davies, whom we get to see in home movies) and their fictitious counterparts. If I ever try to show "Citizen Kane" to my folks (remember?) I'll have to time it so I can also show them this documentary so that they can get the most "Kane" bang for their viewing time.

Jules Dassin's THE LAW (1959) on TCM-HD for the first time. Douglas Sirk-ish melodrama, Felliniesque comedy, slapstick and old-fashioned 'B' movie noir are just some of the genres from which Jules Dassin begs, borrows and steals bits and pieces to fashion this enjoyable Gina Lollobrigida star vehicle. Set in a small Italian village where a dying patriarch (Pierre Brasseur) still has pull, we watch as every men in town either chases after sexy Marietta (Lollobrigida at the peak of her beauty) or has to deal with women problems. The actual 'Law' from the title is a power-play drinking game that men in town engage in that only seems to exist to drive for viewers the extent of Don Cesare's unspoken authority in town (or how men will turn on each other when given the authority to be honest). I personally found the 'B' story about the young fisherman (Raf Mattioli) having an affair with the judge's wife (Melina Mercouri) more compelling than Marietta's crazy adventures with Swiss tourists, her hateful mothers/sisters (who at one point tie and whip the girl for no reason!) and hard-to-buy romance with an engineer from the North (Marcello Mastroianni). Dassin never allows the movie to sag though (plenty of supporting characters, locations and subplots to cut away to) and Yves Montand is fun to watch as the local gangster with both an eye on Marietta and another on her ongoing family trouble. Worth seeing.

Nagisa Ôshima's CRUEL STORY OF YOUTH (1960) on TCM-HD for the first time. I've never taken the comparisons between Godard and Ôshima seriously (I just don't see the similarities) but damn if watching "Cruel Story of Youth" didn't remind me at every turn of Godard's "Pierrot le Fou." The super-colorful widescreen cinematography and unorthodox shooting style (lots of handheld shots and/or master-less free-roaming photography) as the lovers go about their passionate/criminal activities certainly hint at Godard-esque aesthetics/themes. The movie's look owes more to Ôshima's lack of a signature directorial style than Godard's though (no two of Nagisa's movies are alike) while the romance-free narrative of young people letting their personal passion carry them beyond the norms of Japanese society is typical Ôshima storytelling fodder. Despite the lead couple not looking at all like young students (and lacking in charisma/chemistry compared to, for example, Yûjirô Ishihara and Eiko Higashitani in "Crazed Fruit") "Cruel Story of Youth" has Ôshima's passion and energy carrying it through taboo subjects (abortion), some weak supporting performances (the gang that Kiyoshi confronts seems to have wondered off from a Shaw Bros. movie) and the genre's well-known ultimate fate for doomed lovers. In one standout scene Kiyoshi eats fruit as he watches over unconscious girlfriend Makoto while the latter's older sister talks trash about them from another room (in voice-over). Like a 'sun tribe' disposable flick brimming with the expertise of a master-in-the-making, "Cruel Story of Youth" would be worthy of "Rebel Without A Cause" comparisons (it's that good) if the lead actors weren't so generic and disposable. Sorry Yûsuke Kawazu and Miyuki Kuwano, but James Dean and Natalie Wood you're not.

Joseph Strick's (James Joyce) ULYSSES (1967) on Widescreen VHS for the first time. A lifetime ago I attempted to get through this James Joyce stream-of-consciouesness book and barely made it halfway before quitting, for my own mental sanity's sake. This movie adaptation feels like it's putting one over the heads of anyone watching that hasn't read the book (no narrative pull) but, since it can't come close to covering even a fraction of the book's content, it feels like the Reader's Digest highlights from "Ulysses": wall-to-wall monologues backed by B&W widescreen vistas of Dublin circa 1966 (which I somehow bought as early 1900's). Milo O'Shea's take on Leopold makes him a relatable and human father figure. Shame that Maurice Roëves and Barbara Jefford are just plain dull to watch as Stephen Dadelus and Molly Bloom, respectively, though supporting actors pop in and out of the narrative to spike (or sink) the movie's lethargic pace. Strictly for the literate crowd that can derive enjoyment out of James Joyce prose read aloud with the flattest of Irish deliveries.

Orson Welles' F FOR FAKE (1973) on Criterion DVD for the first time. Watching this soon after "Citizen Kane" (on a library DVD after my DVR screwed up a TCM-HD recording) makes for an interesting look at the bookend of Welles' directorial career concluding (not by his choice) on another winner. An attempt to deconstruct fakery by being fake (though how can the movie be fake when Orson himself tells you beforehand that fakery will be used to emphasize its point... UHHH!?!?!), "F For Fake" is 88 minutes of breathtaking, non-stop images. sounds and interviews/anecdotes about/from real-life characters (art forger Elmyr de Hory, Clifford Irving, Pablo Picasso and Howard Hughes) that match or are as interesting as Wells saw himself (real-life larger-than-life characters) and his girlfriend (Oja Kodar) in the grand scheme of making a living by deceiving people. A playful devil-may-care attitude, fast-paced editing (long before such things were popular on movies and TV) and the ability to both play by cinema's rules while making up it's own give "F For Fake" the charisma of a once-in-a-lifetime personality getting away with a slight of hand on his audience without deceiving them (what's the movie's title again?). Or maybe Orson was just happy that, for once in this period of his life, he managed to complete and release an actual movie. I have to watch this again because, on just one viewing, I'm pretty sure I missed half of the good stuff. Even after seeing some of his latter-days work (appearances on "Match Game," TV commercials, the "Transformers" movie, etc.) I have to admit I never thought Welles had any 'IT' left in him after "Touch of Evil" until I saw "F For Fake." It's a delightfully meta-documentary long before the word 'meta' became a pop culture synonym.

Dusan Makavejev's MONTENEGRO (1981) on IFC-HD for the first time. My first Makavejev full-length movie (after flirting without succumbing to the temptations of his Eclipse and Criterion offerings) and it's a knockout from the moment Marianne Faithful's 'The Ballad of Lucy Jordan' opens with what turns out to be the movie's final scene (pay attention to the ending). Susan Anspach ("Five Easy Pieces") gives career-best work as Marilyn Jordan, an unhappily-married-to-a-Sweed ("Scenes From a Marriage's" Erland Josephson) American housewife with children living in Stockholm. Then, through circumstances too ridiculous (but wholly believable) to explain, Mrs. Jordan ends up living up her repressed emotional and sexual fantasies along with a bunch of Yugoslavian immigrants that run a low-rent bar/brothel called the Zanzi Bar. While her family worries (and gets over her absence) thinking she's been kidnapped for ransom Marilyn grows from mousy housewife to take-action sex fiend. An erotically absurd social satire wrapped within the trappings of a road movie (Marilyn is just a cab ride away from her family but she might as well be on Mars), "Montenegro" delivers a steady diet of black humor (a toy tank with a dildo for a canon chasing an exotic dancer, an 84 year-old senile grandfather using his grandkids to help him select a wife, etc.) and quirky characters (Per Oscarsson's ABBA-loving Dr. Pazzardjian, etc.) that pile the absurdities without losing track of the juxtaposition between the Yugoslavian immigrants' love of life and the Sweeds' inability to enjoy it (with Marilyn Jordan trapped in the middle and trying to escape toward the former). To watch Erland Josephson basically satirize his own role in Bergman's "Marriage" is funny enough, but to see/hear him do it in English that is clearly the 2nd (or 3rd or 7th) language for everybody in the cast/crew except for Anspach? One of the funniest (the bleak ending gave me a pause though :)) European comedies I've seen in a long time.

Rewatched SPEED RACER (2008) on Blu-ray for the 5th or 6th time, I've lost track. Amazing how, when one is having fun, little details are overlooked that startle on subsequent viewings. I hadn't noticed before (a) the rearview mirror-shaped TV in the Racer's residence, (b) that the rebuilt-from-scratch car that Speed drives for the final race is the Mach 6 (big effin' difference), (c) the little bit of "Moonraker" footage or (d) that Speed-Tracy kept trying to kiss throughout the movie and kept getting interrupted (which makes the 'punchline' at the end clearer but still not funny). Except for most of the Spritle & Chim-Chim solo scenes and the family's trip to the Royalton Factory (where the Wachowski's really go OTT with the needless flashy visuals) "Speed Racer" holds up surprisingly well on repeat viewing and has yet to be beaten as Blu-ray eye candy whose taste I can't get enough of. What is wrong with me? :D

PIMP (2010) on R2 DVD for the first time. Imagine "District 9" but as a British gangster thriller set in the Soho district of London, as we follow successful pimp Woody (writer/director Robert Cavanah) going about his business of keeping 'the girls' in place and the Johns happy. Then the narrative morphs from pretend documentary (with camera angles that are supposed to be secret but couldn't possible be) into a cross between "8mm" and "Pulp Fiction" (complete with Tarantino-sized character titles freezing the action) while still retaining the shaky cam technique from the faux documentary. That's "Pimp" in a nutshell, and not one moment, scene or characterization in this flick hasn't been done (and better) on a dozen different UK gangster flicks over the past two decades. As a loan from a friend that imports a lot of UK R2 DVD's "Pimp" is the first one that's made me question why I'm friends with the guy in the first place. Yes, the film is that bad.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby azul017 » Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:20 pm

Steve T Power wrote:Forgot to mention a pair of Disney features i've caught in the last little while:

Tangled - Disney Animation's output is officially on par with the recent Pixar stuff in my book (Tangled and Bolt were both every bit as good in my mind as anything out of Pixar in recent years). Tangled had a heartfelt and engaging story backed by some great voice acting and jaw - dropping production design. It's the first time they've used CG exclusively for one of their "animated classics" line, and while the idea certainly disappointed me, the execution is spot on.


Tangled feels like a 2-D animated classic from Disney, just rendered with CGI animation. I think that's due to Glen Keane being an executive producer and animation supervisor. I honestly think Tangled would work just as well hand-drawn, but the CGI gives a lot of detail cel-painting and in-betweens couldn't get.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby molly1216 » Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:23 am

azul017 wrote:
Steve T Power wrote:Forgot to mention a pair of Disney features i've caught in the last little while:

Tangled - Disney Animation's output is officially on par with the recent Pixar stuff in my book (Tangled and Bolt were both every bit as good in my mind as anything out of Pixar in recent years). Tangled had a heartfelt and engaging story backed by some great voice acting and jaw - dropping production design. It's the first time they've used CG exclusively for one of their "animated classics" line, and while the idea certainly disappointed me, the execution is spot on.


Tangled feels like a 2-D animated classic from Disney, just rendered with CGI animation. I think that's due to Glen Keane being an executive producer and animation supervisor. I honestly think Tangled would work just as well hand-drawn, but the CGI gives a lot of detail cel-painting and in-betweens couldn't get.

considering Dreamworks' How to Train Your Dragon was every bit as good as a Pixar Film...shall we all go out on a limb and say Pixar has challenged everyone else to bring a better game? one can't assume that an animated film won't be Pixar good anymore.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby Future Man » Sat Jan 22, 2011 8:45 am

Not of this Earth 1958
Not ashamed to say I loved it. Beverly Garland is such a great screen presence. So cool to see a filmmaker do so much with a low budget.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby Steve T Power » Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:42 pm

molly1216 wrote:
azul017 wrote:
Steve T Power wrote:Forgot to mention a pair of Disney features i've caught in the last little while:

Tangled - Disney Animation's output is officially on par with the recent Pixar stuff in my book (Tangled and Bolt were both every bit as good in my mind as anything out of Pixar in recent years). Tangled had a heartfelt and engaging story backed by some great voice acting and jaw - dropping production design. It's the first time they've used CG exclusively for one of their "animated classics" line, and while the idea certainly disappointed me, the execution is spot on.


Tangled feels like a 2-D animated classic from Disney, just rendered with CGI animation. I think that's due to Glen Keane being an executive producer and animation supervisor. I honestly think Tangled would work just as well hand-drawn, but the CGI gives a lot of detail cel-painting and in-betweens couldn't get.

considering Dreamworks' How to Train Your Dragon was every bit as good as a Pixar Film...shall we all go out on a limb and say Pixar has challenged everyone else to bring a better game? one can't assume that an animated film won't be Pixar good anymore.


Got to say I disagree there. I was pretty let down by How To Train Your Dragon. I think it was mainly the voice cast, which constantly drew attention to itself and pulled me out of the film, or "plot by numbers" aspect of the script which made it dull and unoriginal to me. But I'm a snob.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby molly1216 » Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:07 pm

while trying to keep warm i am stuck in tv mode... rewatched the 1st episodes of Terriers while it is still on Hulu...damn that would have been a grand show....caught up with Fringe, i had been behind a few episodes - it's a little draggy but still worth watching.

The US version of Being Human...which actually makes me appreciate the UK version all the more. all these twilight rejects make me wanna barf. the only thing tolerable is Mark Pellegrino.

Basically this is the coldest day of the winter so far, so i am buried under the covers rokuing 30 Rock.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby hoytereden » Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:31 pm

Future Man wrote:Not of this Earth 1958
Not ashamed to say I loved it. Beverly Garland is such a great screen presence. So cool to see a filmmaker do so much with a low budget.


Plus, it has one of the '50s great sci-fi posters.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby Andrew Forbes » Sun Jan 23, 2011 10:35 pm

The Town. I bet I know what Michael Mann's favorite movie of last year was.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby HGervais » Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:37 pm

Finished up the first season of Justified. I don't think it replaces Chuck as my favorite TV show, and honestly the current season of Chuck is its strongest yet, but Justified sure comes close. There is nothing like it on TV and all I want to do now is re-watch it AND unpack my Elmore Leonard novels.
"The most dementing of all modern sins: the inability to distinquish excellence from success."-David Hare
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby Dunnyman » Mon Jan 24, 2011 8:05 pm

My Hitchcock festival has been great fun so far!
The Lodger, more or less the first true Hitch movie, and his hallmarks are already present, his shots of the staircase going up and down between the rooms is pretty spiffy for the era, and his shots of Novello by himself are quite artistic. For a silent, he let's the people's expressions and body language do a LOT of the "talking" in the movie so we see less of the dialogue cards that kind of kill some silents. You don't know what they're saying, but it's easily imagined, and it doesn't slow the film down at all. Novello simply owns the film though as he gives zero clues as to what is going on in his head, and you're left wondering as to your own suspicions. Masterful, even if the quality of the print I have is kind of poor. I wonder why Hitch never remade it? His 1940's casts and budgets would have been spectacular!
The Ring, on the surface, it's pretty slight, but the symbolism Hitch uses is pretty deep for the time, and it's well acted. The camera getting "knocked out" is hilarious in the the middle of some tension and actually may be the true inspiration for the scene in High Anxiety. Not a thriller per se, but still excellent, once again, the PD copy I have is horrible. Does anyone know of good releases of his early stuff?
Farmer's Wife, yes, an early comedy, and Hitch nails it from the get go. Actually, it's a rom-com, with all the Hitch touches, and it's as funny as anything that's been done in the last 20 years in the rom-com department. Our poor hero is oblivious, but it all comes right in the end. Very underrated.
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Re: January WATCHING Thread of Catching-Up!

Postby Gabriel Girard » Mon Jan 24, 2011 8:28 pm

Dance Of The Vampires(A.K.A The Fearless Vampire Killers) - I feel as tough this one is often forgotten when talking about parodies or Polanski. A precursor to Young Frankenstein, it wants to be both a Hammer horror film and its parody. The laughs are mostly based on slapstick, but they work! The atmosphere and cinematography used are both genuine horror. Contains ome memorable moments and great acting from the part of Jack Macgrowan as a lunatic version of Van Helsing.
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