2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby Polynikes » Wed Mar 20, 2013 4:14 pm

mavrach wrote:The Inbetweeners Movie - Very weak considering how strong the BBC series' were. They made a raunchy but witty awkward high school show into an American Pie ripoff movie. I chuckled at a few points but wasn't worth much.


It's not a BBC production or programme, in case anyone searches for it on the BBC iplayer and wonders why it is not there. It was made by an independent company and shown on E4 and Channel 4.

mavrach wrote: The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009) - Pass on this one, especially considering the quality of the original. A squealing, overacting John Travolta does not compare to Robert Shaw in the original, and it's missing the humour that Walter Matthau was able to bring previously. Tony Scott tries to bring some energy to the movie, but it wasn't nearly enough. At least Scott & Denzel were able to properly apologize with the better train movie that is Unstoppable.


I agree that the remake of The Taking of Pelham 123 is not a patch on the original, but I didn't think much of Unstoppable either. It lacked imagination and the characters were stock-in-trade; the villainous chief executive interested only in PR and profit, the lowly veteran driver with personal problems but a maverick in waiting who turns out to be a hero because he refuses to obey his superiors, assisted by his new "naive, but his heart is in the right place" sidekick also with a troubled personal life with whom he starts to forge a personal bond etc. etc. I would love to see a film like this just for once turn expectations on their head and end with the maverick causing disaster through ignoring set procedures and disobeying the commands of superiors, as a result of being convinced by belief in his own wisdom! I suppose I expect too much from a piece of escapism (see what I did there? I'll get my coat), but I would like to see a modicum of thought and creativity go into films of this kind. The philosophy seems to be to create a set of action sequences and then connect them with a plot written in five minutes on the back of an envelope.
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby mavrach » Thu Mar 21, 2013 5:39 am

Polynikes wrote:The Taking of Pelham 123[/b] (2009) - Pass on this one, especially considering the quality of the original. A squealing, overacting John Travolta does not compare to Robert Shaw in the original, and it's missing the humour that Walter Matthau was able to bring previously. Tony Scott tries to bring some energy to the movie, but it wasn't nearly enough. At least Scott & Denzel were able to properly apologize with the better train movie that is Unstoppable.


I agree that the remake of The Taking of Pelham 123 is not a patch on the original, but I didn't think much of Unstoppable either. It lacked imagination and the characters were stock-in-trade; the villainous chief executive interested only in PR and profit, the lowly veteran driver with personal problems but a maverick in waiting who turns out to be a hero because he refuses to obey his superiors, assisted by his new "naive, but his heart is in the right place" sidekick also with a troubled personal life with whom he starts to forge a personal bond etc. etc. I would love to see a film like this just for once turn expectations on their head and end with the maverick causing disaster through ignoring set procedures and disobeying the commands of superiors, as a result of being convinced by belief in his own wisdom! I suppose I expect too much from a piece of escapism (see what I did there? I'll get my coat), but I would like to see a modicum of thought and creativity go into films of this kind. The philosophy seems to be to create a set of action sequences and then connect them with a plot written in five minutes on the back of an envelope.[/quote]

I think I agree with everything you said here, but somehow Unstoppable's whole is greater than its pieces. Denzel's character in particular should have been incredibly bland. I think if anybody else were playing the role, we'd forget he was in the movie, but Denzel brings a certain ernestness that makes you stick with the character. And Tony Scott's direction saves the day here. It's a disaster movie and the runaway train is the star, he revolves the whole movie around that in his energetic way. You're completely correct about the character tropes (personally I hated Ethan Suplee's character), but here I didn't think it matterred so much.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:31 pm

Luis Buñuel's UN CHIEN ANDOLOU (1929) on YouTube for the first time. Unlike Cocteau's "Blood of a Poet" or Vigo's "À propos de Nice" Buñuel and fellow surrealist/mischief maker/co-writer Salvador Dali don't seem to have a point to make or a narrative idea beyond gross the heck out of an audience totally unprepared for this level of (then) cinematic intensity. That it has remained a cinematic touchstone still talked about today (and worthy of opening movie festivals or concerts) speaks both to the timing of being first to cross cinematic boundaries and the legacy of Dali & Buñuel as premiere surrealists whose influence (through the likes of Guy Maddin and David Lynch) can still be felt today. From the notorious eye slash (the concept alone can still shake modern audiences) to its sudden-but-what-were-you-expecting finale, "Un Chien Andolou" exists solely to provoke thoughts and feelings. And really, can most of what is theatrically released these days rise even to that humble challenge? 8)

Roberto Rossellini's JOURNEY TO ITALY (1954) on TCM-HD for the first time. What a film, an early Cahiers du Cinéma darling that inspired the likes of Truffaut and Godard to make movies. The complete mastery by Rossellini over the mood of gloom and coldness in the strained marriage between sophisticated well-to-do Americans Katherine (Ingrid 'Mrs. Rossellini' Bergman) and Alex Joyce (George Sanders) on business in Italy, contrasted with the warmth of Italian landscapes people and traditions giving way to the faintest of thawing signs in their mutual antipathy, makes for a most rare cinematic treat: an adult relationship movie with a predictable but earned happy ending. Like Dreyer's "Ordet," an unexpected miracle (and not the type you'd expect) with obvious religious and societal symbolism highlights Rossellini's attempt to make this more than a studio project. A grown-up movie for grown-ups.

David Cronenberg's SECRET WEAPONS (1972) on YouTube for the first time. If you've seen "Stereo" and "Crimes of the Future" then "Secret Weapons" (a rare Cronenberg early 70's short never commercially released) will strike you as the final chapter of an unofficial trilogy that leads straight into "Scanners." I know, so much build-up for such an underwhelming payoff. As a sign of young David stretching his limited resources (bad actors, a couple of industrial locations clearly being used late at night after work, music by Syrinx, etc.) and striking gold (a surprisingly awesome voice-over narration by Canadian newscaster Lister Sinclair) you can't help but enjoy hearing "Secret Weapons" create its own sci-fi mythology ('I believe in science, science is magic') because it can't afford to show you more than white men (dressed as either pimps or in suit & tie) talking about 'The Holy Police' and 'psychic judo.' And speaking of Cronenberg, also watched...

... COSMOPOLIS (2012) on Blu-ray for the first time. Despite some distractingly-obvious blue-screen work (the result of a limousine being a key part of the plot) and generic-Canada-city-as-Manhattan locations instead of the genuine article (hey, I'm a local!) Cronenberg continues to challenge himself and his audience. A logical extension of the moral depravity and human coldness he explored in "Crash" but tied, both loosely and integrally, to the worldwide economic crisis as it affects an individual unique-enough to handle it, "Cosmopolis" belongs in the list of great 'one night that will change our lives forever' subgenre features. I'm not on Team Edward yet (or Jacob's, actually I'm swedish on "Twlight"... and hungarian on "The Hunger Games" :shock: :?) but you have to give Robert Pattison credit for trying and largely succeding at inhabiting the cold, self-absorbed and borderline amoral, yet still likable, young billionaire whose existence boils down to everything AND nothing. When Eric Packer breaks down and shows emotion it surprises you not only because of when it happens, but because it seems genuine. It takes until late in the movie for Paul Giamatti (the last in a cavalcade of 'guest stars' like Juliet Binoche, Sarah Gadon and Samantha Morton to name a few) to put both "Cosmopolis" and Eric in their proper place, and this being a Cronenberg film means the audience divide about the ending will be epic. 40 years after "Secret Weapons" David Cronenberg can still surprise and tease like the best of 'em. :)
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby Kenneth Morgan » Sat Mar 23, 2013 10:31 pm

Yesterday morning, I was watching "Case of the Lucky Legs" on TCM. It's one of a bunch of Perry Mason movies WB made back in the 30's. It's an enjoyable movie, particularly since it's played as a comedy-mystery whose tone is a bit jarring, compared to the CBS TV series. As Mason, Warren William is less like smart & serious Raymond Burr and more like William Powell; he's always ready with a drink and a quip.

I'll have to check if the Burr series ever did this story. They might have, as it's from one of the original Mason novels.
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby Ash22 » Sun Mar 24, 2013 12:38 pm

Eight Men Out - good baseball movie and shows out of touch the owners were at the time - especially Comiskey himself.
Anaconda - not a fan of snakes since a looney animal expert once tried to get me to hold the head of a live and very large non-poisonous snake and I had the nerve to basically tell the expert right in front of everyone who watching, " No way" and a few people told me that I had the right to decline. As for the movie itself, I couldn't tell who was more frightening, the snake or Jon Voight.
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby Polynikes » Sun Mar 24, 2013 12:43 pm

Copysat (1995). The first half of the film was considerably superior to the average thriller. I liked the way it built an air of uneasiness and tension by not showing violence in favour of leaving to the viewer's imagination, and by eschewing the temptation for "jump out of your skin" moments. It also built a plausible back story for most of the characters. Unfortunately, I thought the film went into steep decline in the second half. What began as an intelligent thriller focusing on the psychological damage caused to the victim, became a run-of-the-mill "hunt the serial killer who is playing a convoluted game", culminating in a telegraphed, "by the numbers" conclusion common to most thrillers of this type. Had the film stuck to its original theme and concentrated on the effect of the events on the protagonists, I think it would be one of the best thrillers of the last 20 years.
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:36 am

THX 1138: THE GEORGE LUCAS DIRECTOR'S CUT (1971/2004) on DVD for the first time. Holy crap, what an awesome movie that today is better known for its letters in home theater intros on DVD's and Blu-rays than as Lucas' first crack at directing. Despite George's well-known revisionist streak filling this '04 director's cut with too-obvious CG tweaks (some of them quite distracting, especially toward the end) it's different than paperwalling over a well-known landscape like the old "Star Wars" universe that fans have seen and revisted a gazillion times before. By the nature of its concept (an Orwellian Big Brother-type future in which emotions like love are outlawed) "THX 1138" isn't a movie that will be watched too often, so anything Lucas adds that sells this as a dystopian future only adds to the color of the canvas (i.e. whiter than Conan O'Brien) in which it unfolds. Ironically, despite the new shiny CG, this movie already shows young Lucas' mastery over the 'lived in' feeling that would really shine in the first "Star Wars." Robert Duvall, Maggie McOmie and Donald Pleasence (whose awkward flirting with Duvall's THX character is probably the reason the flick got bumped from a 'GP' 1971 rating to an 'R') are great, but the real star of "THX 1138" is co-writer Walter Murch and all the amazing sounds (effects as well as the musical cues for Lalo Schifrin's uncharacterstically 'artsy' score) he concocted to sell the illusion of a consumer-driven society better than the visuals ever could in the early 70's. It really feels like we lost a great human-loving director when Lucas' "Star Wars" franchise hit it big and he stopped doing stuff like this and "American Graffitti."

Ron Shelton's TIN CUP (1996) on TV Guide Network. It's springtime, and you know what that means: playing golf with gardening tools time. ;-) I love golf on TV, and I owe it to this movie that I didn't get the first time I saw because of my lack of knowledge about the game. Not that me not being able to tell a 'bogey' from an 'eagle' prevented me from enjoying the way Costner's lovable rascal routine bounces off from Don Johnson's sellout pro, Cheech Marin's best friend/sidekick schtick and the lovely Rene Russo's out-of-her-element falling in love routine. Roy McAvoy is my favorite Kevin Costner character because it feels the closest to the persona I can picture Costner being off-screen: arrogant, stubborn, with a magnetic personality, full of pride and so good at what he does he doesn't need to apologize. The more times I watch it the funnier it gets, which is rare because the romance and sports portions of the movie seem to overwhelm its running time.

Al Reinert's FOR ALL MANKIND (1989) on TCM-HD for the first time. A NASA-sponsored (they own the footage) love letter to itself, though in this case the subject matter and quality of the footage is such that you can forgive director/producer Al Reinert for taking the sentimental, overtly-romantic view of space exploration (and for faking a couple of things for the sake of a "narrative"). The Brian Eno-composed score highlight the otherworldness the astronauts experienced in their voyages, which also underscores their humanity when contrasted with the country tunes they listen to (or the news get got from Earth). The recollections by the astronauts (whose voices aren't identified, so you have to either guess or remember your space history to know who's talking) are too on-the-nose cliche, but these men speak with the authority of those that have walked the moonwalk. The outstanding footage speaks for itself though (well, not really but you know what I mean) and, considering the state of our space program and society at present time, it's a reminder that back in the day NASA was as concerned about looking good as much as doing the space exploration. I'm a cynical bastard but, in its best moments (like the astronauts playing around in their downtime or the moon driving sequences), "For All Mankind" overwhelms your senses with the then-limitless possibilites of space exploration... and makes you want to watch Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" over and over again. :)

Stuart Gordon's FORTRESS (1992) on Blu-ray for the first time. See a trend in these reviews? Nah, me neither. ;-) Christopher 'Raiden' Lambert stars as John Brennick, an ex-military man sent to a privately-owned underground prison for the crime of he and his wife trying to have a 2nd child in a society/world that has outlawed having more than one child (did I mention we're in the dystopian future?). Under the guise of research and because he can, the prison director (Kurtwood Smith) takes on to liking Brennick's wife (Loryn Locklin) which keeps the Brennick's baby alive instead of on the fast-track to God-knows-what, but for how long? A balls-to-the-wall futuristic prison movie directed by Stuart 'more blood' Gordon, "Fortress" is classic early 90's action stuff (think "Total Recall" meets "The Matrix" at 1/10th the budget of either movie): an ass-kicking hero, bloody guts and explosions, decent special effects (the minuatures for the prison set are quite good), a villain worth rooting for that isn't a one-dimensional baddie, good supporting pros as Brennick's sidekicks (including a long-haired Jeffrey Combs), male-on-male rape (insinuated more than shown but hey, that's an 'R' rating for you)... the works. There's some Gordon-sanctioned goofiness to deal with (a killer truck?) but "Fortress" plays it straight for the most part. The high-def transfer is predictable underwhelming and filled with source flaws (has Echo Bridge ever encoded a Blu-ray that doesn't look like an upconvert?) but it's watchable.

Shinji Aramaki's APPLESEED (2004) on DVD for the first time. An all-CG anime adaptation of Masamune Shirow's manga that, surprisingly, looks and feels more visually polished and true to the source material than a more technologically-advanced and bigger-budgeted CG sequel that came out three years later (see below). The seemingly typical setting for a futuristic anime movie (a utopian model city, Olympus, in which humanity seeks to rebuild itself after a Third World War wiped out most of humanity) is the tipping point for a story a lot more philosophical and thought out than the stylish action sequences would lead one to believe. Think "Ghost in the Shell" ethics (also adapted from a Shirow manga) but with double/triple crosses and a healthy dose of the 'WTF?!?!' The calling card of the "Appleseed" franchise though (in all forms of media) is present throughout and woven deeply into the plot: the strong-as-love bond between human supersoldier Deunan Knute and former-partner-turned-cyborg-warrior Briareos. That the latter looks like a Hulked out mechanical rabbit with camera lenses as eyes is a testament to (a) Shirow-san's ability to draw the humanity of his characters' extraordinary circumstances alongside the thrills of action beats, and (b) Aramaki-san's ability to translate that into anime form (and in CG to boot). And hey, it's nice to see supporting characters like Hitomi and Yoshitsume (the 'Q' of "Appleseed's" world) fleshed out better in their brief scenes than either the '88 anime movie (awful) or the '07 sequel (underwhelming).

APPLESEED: EX MACHINA (2007) on HD-DVD. You know the "Appleseed" franchise has gone mainstream (or as much as an acquired-for-American-distribution anime can) when (a) Prada gets an opening credit for designing virtual dresses for the lead female character, and (b) John Woo gets main credit as producer (and source of the CG doves the movie makes a point of showing over and over). The chemistry between Deunan and Briareos still carries the bulk of what works in "Ex Machina," which is undermined by a rather unbelievable story (all the nations of the world agreeing to let Olympus manage all their satellites) and weak-sauce villains (one of which doesn't even make it to the final act for the sake of an unnecessary 'shock' at the halfway mark). Supporting characters like Hitomi, still an exposition-dumping character, Nike (awful new hairdo!) or Yoshitsume still show up but are there more for fan service checklisting than anything else. The introduction of a bioroid warrior made to look like Briareos (and carrying his DNA), Tereus, adds a welcome degree of third-wheel dynamics to the Deunan-Briareos relationship, though the '04 movie did it better by never showing Briareos' face. Though it veers too close to the recent action-oriented "Resident Evil" videogames and emphasizes action/visuals more than its predecessor (a little less bloody but a lot more "show-offy") I'd take the original CG "Appleseed" over this shiny new model anyday. Still, "Ex Machina" makes a terrific 1-2 punch of "Appleseed" goodness so long as it's understood this one is definitely the '2' of the '1-2 punch.'
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby mavrach » Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:57 am

J.M. Vargas wrote:Shinji Aramaki's APPLESEED (2004) on DVD for the first time. An all-CG anime adaptation of Masamune Shirow's manga that, surprisingly, looks and feels more visually polished and true to the source material than a more technologically-advanced and bigger-budgeted CG sequel that came out three years later (see below). The seemingly typical setting for a futuristic anime movie (a utopian model city, Olympus, in which humanity seeks to rebuild itself after a Third World War wiped out most of humanity) is the tipping point for a story a lot more philosophical and thought out than the stylish action sequences would lead one to believe. Think "Ghost in the Shell" ethics (also adapted from a Shirow manga) but with double/triple crosses and a healthy dose of the 'WTF?!?!' The calling card of the "Appleseed" franchise though (in all forms of media) is present throughout and woven deeply into the plot: the strong-as-love bond between human supersoldier Deunan Knute and former-partner-turned-cyborg-warrior Briareos. That the latter looks like a Hulked out mechanical rabbit with camera lenses as eyes is a testament to (a) Shirow-san's ability to draw the humanity of his characters' extraordinary circumstances alongside the thrills of action beats, and (b) Aramaki-san's ability to translate that into anime form (and in CG to boot). And hey, it's nice to see supporting characters like Hitomi and Yoshitsume (the 'Q' of "Appleseed's" world) fleshed out better in their brief scenes than either the '88 anime movie (awful) or the '07 sequel (underwhelming).

APPLESEED: EX MACHINA (2007) on HD-DVD. You know the "Appleseed" franchise has gone mainstream (or as much as an acquired-for-American-distribution anime can) when (a) Prada gets an opening credit for designing virtual dresses for the lead female character, and (b) John Woo gets main credit as producer (and source of the CG doves the movie makes a point of showing over and over). The chemistry between Deunan and Briareos still carries the bulk of what works in "Ex Machina," which is undermined by a rather unbelievable story (all the nations of the world agreeing to let Olympus manage all their satellites) and weak-sauce villains (one of which doesn't even make it to the final act for the sake of an unnecessary 'shock' at the halfway mark). Supporting characters like Hitomi, still an exposition-dumping character, Nike (awful new hairdo!) or Yoshitsume still show up but are there more for fan service checklisting than anything else. The introduction of a bioroid warrior made to look like Briareos (and carrying his DNA), Tereus, adds a welcome degree of third-wheel dynamics to the Deunan-Briareos relationship, though the '04 movie did it better by never showing Briareos' face. Though it veers too close to the recent action-oriented "Resident Evil" videogames and emphasizes action/visuals more than its predecessor (a little less bloody but a lot more "show-offy") I'd take the original CG "Appleseed" over this shiny new model anyday. Still, "Ex Machina" makes a terrific 1-2 punch of "Appleseed" goodness so long as it's understood this one is definitely the '2' of the '1-2 punch.'



Yep, pretty much fully agreed with you. My exact reaction to Ex Machina was that, despite technical improvements, it actually looked worse than the cell-shaded animation of the original. The original at least had a more defined style to it as a result. I've only seen the sequel once (over a year ago), so I don't recall many details, but I was not into it as much as I was the first.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby Ash22 » Sun Mar 31, 2013 10:23 am

Moneyball
Bull Durham
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