(JULY) Fire Works? Can't, He's Unemployed WATCHING (2011) TV

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Re: (JULY) Fire Works? Can't, He's Unemployed WATCHING (2011) TV

Postby Bryan Pope » Mon Jul 18, 2011 6:40 am

Insidious (Netflix) -- I was not prepared for that one. No gore, but plenty of effective, well-placed scares. I'm not easily frightened, but during this movie, I found myself moving away from windows, turning on more lights, and avoiding the trip down the dark hall to the bathroom. So it did something right.
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Re: (JULY) Fire Works? Can't, He's Unemployed WATCHING (2011) TV

Postby Gabriel Girard » Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:59 am

Somewhere(2010) - As hard as she tries to emulate the master, Sofia Coppola is no Antonioni. Easily the lesser of her 4 films. Still worth a look if you liked her previous films or if you dig Stephen Dorff who offers what might be the best performance of his career.
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Re: (JULY) Fire Works? Can't, He's Unemployed WATCHING (2011) TV

Postby J.M. Vargas » Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:59 pm

Nobuhiko Obayashi's EMOTION (1966) on Criterion Blu-ray for the first time. An experimental 45 min. short film included as a bonus in Obayashi's "House" Criterion BD/DVD, "Emotion" is a seemingly-random-but-somewhat-coherent look at a master visual storyteller (w/friends & pals) honing his experimental camera skills. I would have preferred if Criterion had tracked down and included any (or all) of Obayashi's legenday Charles Bronson Mandom TV commercials, but "Emotion" is just the type of amusing-without-being-heavy short film that's best appreciated after experiencing the lunacy of "House" but before going back to the reality of everyday regular movie/TV viewing.

Woody Allen's SEPTEMBER (1987) on MGM-HD for the first time. This feels like a deathly-serious (almost Chekhovian) remake of "A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy" crossed with a bit of Allen's own "Interiors": three couples, each unhappy with their lives but unable/unwilling to reach to the person from another couple they truly love, spend the last few days of August in a house in Vermont. Within it's self-imposed theatrical limits (we never leave the house or see an outdoor shot) the love-lorn characters talk, fight, forgive and plan for their uncertain future at the expense of a comforting present drifting away for good (the last shot of the movie is quite poignant). Sam Waterson and Diane Wiest (who played opposite each other 14 years later on TV's "Law & Order") deliver the strongest and most heartfelt of the many good performances here, with Elaine Stritch almost stealing the movie and Jack Warden, Delholm Elliott and Mia Farrow doing the best with what's been given to them. Though an ocassional funny line slips in ('it's expensive to be sick') this is as low-key and somber as Woody Allen's 'chamber dramas' get. I liked it but can understand why it remains the Woodsman's least financially-succesful project to date.

MST3K #816: PRINCE OF SPACE (1997/1956) on DVD. Not a single stereotype (except maybe old racist PI chestnuts like 'slant eyes' or 'yellow skinned') goes unmentioned in this Season 7 experiment that brought back a genre that characterized "MST3K" during its early seasons: cheesy, badly-dubbed Japanese action movies for (and prominently featuring) annoying kids. From the moment one of these self-appointed, shorts-wearing lil' movie tykes utters 'I like it very much' the riffs take off. When the liatar-wearing, prancing titular hero ('prince of hauling ass') and his chicken-looking nemesis, the Phantom of Krankor (who along with his alien henchmen REALLY likes to 'go commando' :shock: ), start scratching the film's negative to simulate laser blasts at each other "Prince of Space" reaches proportions of (un/intended) hilarity that simply boggle the mind. Combined with some dope host segments inside a space 'wormhole' (the sight of Mike & the bots in the middle of nature never ceases to startle me) and its own self-mocking incompetence (which is mutiplied tenfold by some sharp riffing) and "Prince of Space" is a standout "MST3K" episode in a 7th season back-loaded with them on its latter-half. A classic, unlike the just-plain-horrible Season 7 relative "Invasion of the Neptune Men."

WINGED MIGRATION (2001) on Blu-ray for the first time. If you can get past some obvious manipulation/staging of incidents (a bird stuck in an oil spill, hunters taking down geese, etc.) and a couple of badly-dated CG shots meant to represent planet Earth, this is a handsomely-shot and high-def friendly nature picture that makes the most of its simple subject matter. The documentary and commentary are almost mandatory viewings to see how the French filmmakers managed to get such magnificent bird's eye-view shots of their kind flying, landing, procreating, surviving and doing it all over again as the seasons change. The 'G' rating ensures whatever unpleasant things happened to the birds shown on peril (particularly one with a broken wing fleeing crabs on a beach) is implied rather than dwelled upon. It's charming, harmless, good-looking, educational and cheap (if you shop around). What's not to love about "Winged Migration" other than its semi-mandatory old Europe style of shoot-and-contrast-with-man-made-calamity filmmaking sensibilities?

CINEMATIC TITANIC: THE ALIEN FACTOR (2010/1977) on DVD. Saw this last May and wasn't crazy about it, but a repeat viewing and growing appreciation of what Joel and his old "MST3K" pals are doing (keeping the flame of riffing-as-a-performing-art alive through traveling comedy concerts) really won me over. The biggest laugh comes at 1:03:29 from such a simple riff ('Oh oh!') delivered with such precise timing by Trace Beaulieu that his fellow Titans lose it, a moment of audience-and-performer-being-one magic. Plus "The Alien Factor" really is as putrid as advertised, featuring a smug 'pumpkinhead deeps***' of a hero and so much meandering characters walking around the woods it really begs for a "director's cut ('...of his wrists')." Time for me to track down more 'Cinematic Titanic' goodness.

Takashi Miike's 13 ASSASSINS (2011) in theaters for the first time. Though I wouldn't go as far as Judge Johnson in declaring this the best movie of 2011 (I'd like to look at the slightly-longer original version before making such sweep declarations) it is a dope and well-made samurai/action hybrid with bad-ass leads (Kôji Yakusho and Masachika Ichimura) & villain (Gorô Inagaki's hiss-worthy Lord Naritsugu Matsudaira) that make the hour plus of fairly predictable build-up worth putting up with. The super-lengthy final battle starts clunky (CG bulls and moving walls straight out of a Mel Brooks comedy) but almost immediately settles into an 'us vs. them' battle of survival/honor that put me in a "Dirty Dozen" mindset of pure cinematic bliss. More exciting than "13 Assassin's" action scenes and performances though is that it displays a restrain and maturity in the filmmaking style of Takashi Miike ("Ichii The Killer," "The Happiness of the Kutakuris," etc.) that you didn't detect as recently as "Sukiyaki Western Django" a few years back. The prospect of Miike flourishing into a director whose skill matches his (previously) prodigious cinematic output is reason-enough to seek out and cherish "13 Assassins" as the signal of better things to come from this 'auteur.' 8)
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Re: (JULY) Fire Works? Can't, He's Unemployed WATCHING (2011) TV

Postby hoytereden » Tue Jul 19, 2011 9:52 pm

^^^^Aw, Prince of Space. One of my favorites from the Mike era. "We like bootblacking very much." Plus the clucking noises from the boys whenever roosterboy and his minions are onscreen. :lol:
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Re: (JULY) Fire Works? Can't, He's Unemployed WATCHING (2011) TV

Postby HGervais » Fri Jul 22, 2011 1:23 am

Captain America: The First Avenger....at the risk of gushing, let me just say...go see it and avoid the 3D. I'm willing to go out on a limb and say it is the best of the Marvel produced movies if for no other reason than Hugo Weaving as The Red Skull mops the floor with James Bridges as Iron Monger as far as a bad guy goes. I like Thor a lot but Captain America exceeds it on almost every level. It's strange in this day & age to see a super hero that isn't conflicted or hiding some kind of dark secret but here you go. Earnestness is a difficult thing to play w/o appearing hokey or trite but Chris Evans manages it, hell, he sells it. Stanley Tucci & Tommy Lee Jones are a great double act and you can hear the Joss Whedon touches in the dialogue....and Jones hasn't been this good in a long time. Joe Johnson directs the hell out of it and is in definite Rocketeer territory except Johnson has had 20+ years to learn how to do it better. Okay. I'm gushing. The movie really sets the table and raises the bar for The Avengers movie. Go see it. 'Nuff said.
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Re: (JULY) Fire Works? Can't, He's Unemployed WATCHING (2011) TV

Postby Dunnyman » Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:04 pm

HGervais wrote:Captain America: The First Avenger....at the risk of gushing, let me just say...go see it and avoid the 3D. I'm willing to go out on a limb and say it is the best of the Marvel produced movies if for no other reason than Hugo Weaving as The Red Skull mops the floor with James Bridges as Iron Monger as far as a bad guy goes. I like Thor a lot but Captain America exceeds it on almost every level. It's strange in this day & age to see a super hero that isn't conflicted or hiding some kind of dark secret but here you go. Earnestness is a difficult thing to play w/o appearing hokey or trite but Chris Evans manages it, hell, he sells it. Stanley Tucci & Tommy Lee Jones are a great double act and you can hear the Joss Whedon touches in the dialogue....and Jones hasn't been this good in a long time. Joe Johnson directs the hell out of it and is in definite Rocketeer territory except Johnson has had 20+ years to learn how to do it better. Okay. I'm gushing. The movie really sets the table and raises the bar for The Avengers movie. Go see it. 'Nuff said.

No worries, definitely on the "must see" list. Thanks for no spoilers!
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Re: (JULY) Fire Works? Can't, He's Unemployed WATCHING (2011) TV

Postby Dan Mancini » Sat Jul 23, 2011 10:52 am

HGervais wrote:Captain America: The First Avenger....at the risk of gushing, let me just say...go see it and avoid the 3D. I'm willing to go out on a limb and say it is the best of the Marvel produced movies if for no other reason than Hugo Weaving as The Red Skull mops the floor with James Bridges as Iron Monger as far as a bad guy goes. I like Thor a lot but Captain America exceeds it on almost every level. It's strange in this day & age to see a super hero that isn't conflicted or hiding some kind of dark secret but here you go. Earnestness is a difficult thing to play w/o appearing hokey or trite but Chris Evans manages it, hell, he sells it. Stanley Tucci & Tommy Lee Jones are a great double act and you can hear the Joss Whedon touches in the dialogue....and Jones hasn't been this good in a long time. Joe Johnson directs the hell out of it and is in definite Rocketeer territory except Johnson has had 20+ years to learn how to do it better. Okay. I'm gushing. The movie really sets the table and raises the bar for The Avengers movie. Go see it. 'Nuff said.

That pretty much covers it. I'm much more enthusiastic about The Avengers now knowing it'll have a strong Captain America to anchor it.

I will mildly disagree in this way, though: I don't think Captain America's third act is better than Iron Man's because of Weaving (as entertaining as he is as the Red Skull, the character's not a huge presence in the film -- which is fine because the movie is about Cap, as it should be). It's better because Johnston stages some truly large-scale and exciting action in which the stakes are huge. All of which gives Captain America a context to act heroically.
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Re: (JULY) Fire Works? Can't, He's Unemployed WATCHING (2011) TV

Postby HGervais » Sat Jul 23, 2011 11:40 am

Dan Mancini wrote:That pretty much covers it. I'm much more enthusiastic about The Avengers now knowing it'll have a strong Captain America to anchor it.

I will mildly disagree in this way, though: I don't think Captain America's third act is better than Iron Man's because of Weaving (as entertaining as he is as the Red Skull, the character's not a huge presence in the film -- which is fine because the movie is about Cap, as it should be). It's better because Johnston stages some truly large-scale and exciting action in which the stakes are huge. All of which gives Captain America a context to act heroically.

No I would agree with you about the final act and what it says about the nature of Steve Rogers. I just feel that The Red Skull is a much more credible & dangerous threat to Cap than The Iron Monger was to Iron Man. A hero is only as good as his opposite number and I think that makes Captain America the better movie.
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Re: (JULY) Fire Works? Can't, He's Unemployed WATCHING (2011) TV

Postby Dan Mancini » Sat Jul 23, 2011 12:49 pm

HGervais wrote:
Dan Mancini wrote:That pretty much covers it. I'm much more enthusiastic about The Avengers now knowing it'll have a strong Captain America to anchor it.

I will mildly disagree in this way, though: I don't think Captain America's third act is better than Iron Man's because of Weaving (as entertaining as he is as the Red Skull, the character's not a huge presence in the film -- which is fine because the movie is about Cap, as it should be). It's better because Johnston stages some truly large-scale and exciting action in which the stakes are huge. All of which gives Captain America a context to act heroically.

No I would agree with you about the final act and what it says about the nature of Steve Rogers. I just feel that The Red Skull is a much more credible & dangerous threat to Cap than The Iron Monger was to Iron Man. A hero is only as good as his opposite number and I think that makes Captain America the better movie.

I can buy that. Aside from being tired, Evil Industrialist doesn't quite stack up against Fascist with Skull Head and Black Leather Overcoat in terms of entertaining villainy.
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Re: (JULY) Fire Works? Can't, He's Unemployed WATCHING (2011) TV

Postby HGervais » Sat Jul 23, 2011 2:03 pm

Dan Mancini wrote:I can buy that. Aside from being tired, Evil Industrialist doesn't quite stack up against Fascist with Skull Head and Black Leather Overcoat in terms of entertaining villainy.

I know. We don't have to go very far to see evil industrialists & media barons everyday.
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Re: (JULY) Fire Works? Can't, He's Unemployed WATCHING (2011) TV

Postby Andrew Forbes » Sun Jul 24, 2011 1:51 pm

Major catch-up time.

Green Lantern (2011). Spoilers. I'd describe this as functional. It never hits the heights of a great superhero movie, but everything about it is at least competent. In the Green Lantern thread, the "douchiness" of Hal Jordan's early scenes are described as a flaw, but it's clear that it's the starting-point of his character's redemptive arc, so I was fine with it. The movie gets by mostly on Reynolds charm. By the by, it's about time he got recognized for being as good an actor as he is. Sure, he's known for being irreverent and sarcastic, but when it comes down to it, dude brings his acting game. The obvious CG didn't bother me, since most of it was used to represent mysterious energies, so it should look unreal. When it had to feel tactile, the CG was up to the task (Abin Sur, Parallax, etc). The main failing of the movie was its structure. The finale seemed abrupt and by the numbers. Peter Sarsgaard's character felt like it should be building to something greater, and then... over. His performance was the best thing about the movie, though. Saw it in 2D. Not sure the 3D would add much.

Green Lantern: First Flight. A functional origin story. Chris Meloni and (especially) Victor Garber nail their roles, but it suffers from the usual DC animation problems, namely rushed narrative and inconsistent animation.

Justice League: A New Frontier. Easily my second favorite of the DC animated movies following Batman: Under the Red Hood. It has its flaws (David Boreanaz is ultra-bland vocally, and the final battle is a mess), but the 50s vibe is handled wonderfully, and the rest of the cast makes up for Boreanaz' failings (especially Miguel Ferrer as J'onn J'onzz and Jeremy Sisto as a truly vicious-sounding Batman).

Rideback. Fantastic series! The finale is a bit rushed (almost inevitable in 12-episode anime series), but the animation is gorgeous (possibly the best television animation I've seen), the plot is interesting and the characters are given the space they need to breathe.

Ga Rei Zero. Where Rideback's CG was well-integrated and its arc featured a good balance between action, plot and character beats, Ga Rei Zero stumbles, devoting a full episode to characters who never reappear and aren't even clearly introduced, merging awful CG creatures with incongruously gorgeous cel animation, and starting out as action-packed horror before grinding to a flashback-intensive halt for a story of girls going to school and having daddy issues. That's not to say that it's a bad series. Too much care is given to the animation, characters and atmosphere for it to be a total failure, but it is terribly unsatisfying.

Eden of the East. A sporadically brilliant, always decent series that ends with virtually every question left unanswered. I've got the sequel movie on the shelf, but I've heard it's equally inconclusive, so I'm waiting for the final film to be released in a couple of weeks before popping that one in. Aside from the cliffhanger-related frustration, though, this is everything one could hope for as a follow up to GitS: SAC from show-runner Kenji Kamiyama. It's got tech, mystery and action, all wrapped up in a wonderfully intelligent concept.
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Re: (JULY) Fire Works? Can't, He's Unemployed WATCHING (2011) TV

Postby azul017 » Tue Jul 26, 2011 10:45 am

Aqua Teen Hunger Force - The first and best cartoon on the Adult Swim lineup. I watched parts of episodes earlier, but never really got it. Now I've seen some episodes, and boy is this brilliant, random and funny. Especially episodes like "Unremarkable Voyage" and "Total Recarl." I might have to buy the DVD sets now.
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Re: (JULY) Fire Works? Can't, He's Unemployed WATCHING (2011) TV

Postby Gabriel Girard » Wed Jul 27, 2011 9:29 pm

A Serious Man - This kinda felt like Joel & Ethan trying to do a Woody Allen movie. It's still Coenish mostly due to their peculiar sense of humor and the ending which had me thinking for a little while. I mostly enjoyed it for Michael Stuhlbarg and Fred Melamed's performances and for the occasional uncomfortable laugh. Despite being billed as a comedy this is more about existential angst than anything else.

The Girlfriend Experience - If this had been a short I might have enjoyed it more. It's beautifully shot, Sasha Grey is pretty good in it and it has some interesting themes but the movie ends up being bas oring and unfulfilling as Chelsea's life . Easily Soderbergh's worst film (I still haven't seen Full Frontal)

Rango - An enjoyable western parody that drags a bit in spots but is worth seeing by movie afficionados for its many references to Chinatown and other films. Just read Steve Power's review - he read my mind once again!
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Re: (JULY) Fire Works? Can't, He's Unemployed WATCHING (2011) TV

Postby Steve T Power » Thu Jul 28, 2011 5:51 pm

Caught Captain America: I won't say that I was disappointed, as I was certainly entertained, but the whole affair left me feeling kind of... empty. None of the action really carried any kind of dramatic weight for me, and the plot, such as it was, unfolded in textbook fashion. I loved Evans as Cap, he nailed it, Hugo was a great Red Skull, and Johnson directed the living hell out of it, but the screenplay definitely had a few issues, and the action carried no heft whatsoever (all of the coolest sequences were montages presented verbatim from the trailers). A shorter first act, followed by a more tightly focused look at Cap and the Howling Commandos as they dismantled Hydra's presence in Europe would have been more welcome.
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Re: (JULY) Fire Works? Can't, He's Unemployed WATCHING (2011) TV

Postby the5thghostbuster » Sat Jul 30, 2011 9:20 am

Paranoia - Brad Jones' (of Cinema Snob fame) DTV film http://experiencecinematic.blogspot.com/2011/07/paranoia-mitchelle-2011.html

Captain America: the First Avenger - Loved every little minute of it. Well, save the one shot of the kids playing in the streets, but I hate those shots in general.

MST3K - Racket Girls - The "Are You Ready for Marriage?" Shot is one of the funniest things they ever did on that show, while the main feature is a solid effort, if not quite as laugh filled. Points also for the shots taken at Lisa Loeb's forever annoying song, "Miss You" (despite being a sub teacher, I still work at a store to make ends meat, and that song plays every, freakin', day).
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Re: (JULY) Fire Works? Can't, He's Unemployed WATCHING (2011) TV

Postby Ash22 » Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:28 pm

The A-Team - Actually good and the action sequences are spectacular.
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Re: (JULY) Fire Works? Can't, He's Unemployed WATCHING (2011) TV

Postby HGervais » Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:03 pm

Captain America for the third time. It plays better each time. Joe Johnson knocked this one out of the park.
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Re: (JULY) Fire Works? Can't, He's Unemployed WATCHING (2011) TV

Postby Dunnyman » Mon Aug 01, 2011 10:49 pm

HGervais wrote:Captain America for the third time. It plays better each time. Joe Johnson knocked this one out of the park.

Knocked it out of the park and 32 streets over is a more accurate description to me. Amazingly directed, with yet more tantalizing hints of Marvel legend (or was I the only one who caught the World's Fair reference to another Marvel superhero?), a gloriously rotten villain, a hero who doesn't know what the word "quit" means, some incredible action sequences, some truly stunning cars and locales, a deliciously hot Britbabe, Tommy Lee Jones back on his A-game, Stan The Man back in the cameo biz AND Stanley Tucci?
Best freaking movie of 2011 so far, and I don't see it being dethroned anytime soon.
Caught the longer Spiderman preview and sooo don't care, was more impressed by the Tintin preview myself. And of course there was a tiny bit during the credits of CA that was kinda interesting.
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