JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

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JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Sat Dec 31, 2011 6:49 pm

Gotta get these out early because I'm bringing in the new year the same way I'm sending off the old one: in a little NYC movie theater watching Kenneth Lonergan's MARGARET. HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY! :D

MST3K #405: BEING FROM ANOTHER PLANET (1992/1982) on DVD for the first time. A blender of early-80′s pop culture references can be found in this low-budget flick: archeology/Egyptian motiffs from “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” fantastic otherwordly beings from "E.T.," gory deaths of young people from slasher flicks (a lot of them for being naughty), etc. The filmmakers’ biggest sin though is how boring the flick is when it has so many things it could do or show differently based on the movies it rips off rather than the same old things (peeping POV around lovers and naked women in showers, lonely woman in empty building running for her life, etc.). Whether because it had no budget or because Film Ventures/Best Brains edited it for TV, “BFAP” is just dull. Since I’ve seen “Riding with Death” many more times than “BFAP” I couldn’t help but throw in some ‘I’m Ben Murphy’ and ‘at my Murphiest’ riffs of my own during Ben Murphy’s handful of scenes. Joel and the bots never get into a rhythm with their riffs except for the ‘scary’ green-tinted steadycam shots (i.e. filler). A handful of golden riffs (‘there’s a steadycam loose in the boiler room!’) prop-up an otherwise unremarkable movie. Crow’s ‘ARRRRGHHHHH’ after Joel and Servo walk away talking about Butch Patrick (so sue me, I love “Lidsville”) just kills me though. The ‘Tragic Moments’ figurines invention exchange and haunted house host segment (with a twist!) achieve the perfect balance of hilarious cute and dark. It's an OK but forgettable experiment but but... hey, ‘looks like ABBA in college.’ :)

Alexander Payne’s THE DESCENDANTS (2011) in theaters for the first time. Except for Nick Krause's Sid being shoe-horned into a narrative/scenes where he didn't belong (see Chris Klein's similar character in "Election" for the same routine done right) and Clooney's annoying voice-over at the start (which thankfully goes away) "The Descendants" is my second-favorite Alexander Payne movie after "Election.” Love the way Payne and DP Phedon Papamichael shoot Hawaii as the unglamorous everyday dump it would looks like if you lived there (with a Hawaii-only music score to match). The older Clooney gets the more I like his work; there's a maturity, simplicity and everyday Joe (handsomer than most but accessible) appeal to his Matt King character that works nicely when contrasted with his other cousins, family members and friends. Beau Bridges and Robert Forster's brief scenes are highlights and the kid actors are mostly OK (Shailene Woodley particularly). Other than the sale of the land handled in a predictable manner (though the way we arrive there is anything but conventional) "The Descendants" is the type of Payne comedic melodrama that zigs when you expect it to zag, which makes arriving at predictable and expected story points all the more enjoyable and unpredictable.

Martin Scorsese’s HUGO in 3D (2011) at NYC’s Ziegfeld Theater for the first time. When "Hugo" opens with sweeping views of Paris and the train station I was worried for a moment that we had lost Martin Scorsese to the technologically-advanced evil of the 3D trade: the show-off 3D effect. But Scorsese invests the movie's set-pieces and overriding sense of discovery with a warmth that won me over despite the fact the lead character is a cipher in his own self-titled movie. Sacha Baron Cohen's Station Inspector routine would be fine in small doses (most of "Hugo's" bloated running time comes from his endless chases through the station) but Scorsese's desire to play with what used to be silent cinema's clownish cat-and-mouse chase routines gets the better of him. For the first hour Hugo's quests (get his book back, get automaton to work, discover who Ben Kingsley's character really is, etc.) set-up the 2nd half transition to the story of Georges Méliès, with whom many here are familiar with but will be unknown to 90% of people that see "Hugo" for the first time (like me). Rather than resent that "Hugo" basically switches leads (and let's face it, Kingsley and Chloë Grace Moretz are more fun to watch than Asa Butterfield and S.B. Cohen) I enjoyed the overall arc of the story, the flashbacks to Méliès' filmmaking days, the film preservation message and, last but not least, the use of 3D to enhance rather than substitute for an absent movie world. The storytelling and acting isn't as tight, memorable or gripping as in your better Scorsese movies. The technical and emotional levers that "Hugo" manipulates though can't help but bring a tear and a smile to this cinephile's still-expanding knowledge of modern and classic cinema. This is the first 3D movie that's made me seriously wonder if I should invest on a 3D set at home for the future.

Steven Spielberg's WAR HORSE (2011) at NYC's Ziegfeld Theater for the first time. Said everything I needed to say about "War Horse" in its own separate thread. Bottom line: it's old-fashioned, it's family-friendly, it has great individual set-pieces, gorgeous photography (particularly the final shots), etc. "Amistad" and "Black Beauty" meet "Empire of the Sun," now with 100% more CGI and animatronic horses with expressive eyes.

David Cronenberg’s A DANGEROUS METHOD (2011) at NYC’s Lincoln Center Plaza for the first time. Can’t believe Michael Fassbender gets third-billing in a movie in which he's in almost every scene and his performance walks such a tightrope between intellectual honesty and the need to fulfill (and repress) the very emotions his character is so invested in studying/analyzing. Vincent Cassell is hilarious in his muse-like couple of scenes that upend Jung's facade of normalcy with Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley). I wasn't initially impressed by Viggo's take on Freud (second billing?) but, sitting on it for a couple of days, I've come to appreciate the seductive persona that Cronenberg and Mortensen craft as a catalyst that drives both Spielrein and Jung professionally and sexually off their rocker without compromising everybody's remarkable academic achievements. Ironically, despite being the top-billed actor, Keira's take on Sabina Spielrein (her arc is a validation of the theories being discussed by both nacent schools of psychotherapy) is interesting but also the least individual portion of "A Dangerous Method" by virtue of the narrative's highlight being the handful of meetings between Jung and Freud. Spielrein ends up becoming the emotional/sexual volleyball being tossed back and forth between the Freud and Jung characters, effectively making Knightley a supporting actress in a movie in which she gets top billing (as she should since Keira manages to exude and verbalize the aspects of Sabina's personality/sexuality that would crack Carl's professional/repressed wall). Basically an intellectually-erotic love tringle between the three leads in which Freud "watches" from afar, “A Dangerous Method” is that rare movie in which conversations about sex are more seductive and erotic than the handful of actual sex scenes we're shown. Despite some dodgy come-and-go accents (particularly Knightley's) Cronenberg scores a ton of dramatic and (dare I say it?) romantic mileage out of material that could have been either neutered and/or uninteresting in the wrong hands. It’s easily his best movie of the past decade. I hope Fassbender does another Cronenberg movie and becomes his next Viggo from now on.

Wim Wenders’ PINA in 3D (2011) at NYC’s IFC Center for the first time. If Herzog can film an ancient French cave in 3D, why can't Wim Wenders do a 3D documentary on German dancer/choreographer Pina Bausch? Not a fan of dancing/musical movies, and definitely not a fan of 3D. But could it be that we're all burned on 3D because it only comes in the shape of animated CG cartoons, action movies and/or Hollywood vehicles? Between the way Herzog shot "Cave of Forgotten Dreams," how Scorsese used 3D in "Hugo" to bring old silent films (and the French station) to animated life and the way Wenders uses 3D here as a tool to advance a different type of biopic narrative I'm warming up to the idea of 3D when it's in the hands of the masters. In "Pina" we basically watch the dancers Pina Bausch mentored through decades (her youngest pupils as well as colleagues and older dancers that can still perform) bring her best-known works to choreographed life, along with heard testimonials and some non-3D archival footage. "Pina" wants you to appreciate the woman not for who she was or where she came from (we get none of that) but because of the legacy of choreography she left behind, which gives credence to Wenders' decision to shoot these dance routines in 3D. Unfortunately a third of the dance routines are shot in a stage with a black background, which reduces the impact of the 3D since we don't have a background for the foreground performers to stand out from. Some, like 'Full Moon,' at least have some background elements (the water-buckets sequence stands out) but the dark portions still render the 3D effect mute. We do get a lot of trips into the real world though, and the 3D effects (especially the monorail suspension railway shots, both inside and outside the train) are just stunning when the setting/dancing are in perfect synch. While a 2D version of "Pina" would still convey the artistry of Bausch's choreography and the passion of her dancers (especially the one's overcome with such emotion they don't say anything) Wenders was wise to film these performances in 3D to isolate the beauty of the dancers, the seductive allure of their movement and the liberating nature of their dance routines. A mini-masterpiece of simplicity for simplicity's sake.

THE IRON LADY (2011) in theaters for the first time. You can all save money betting on this year's Best Actress Oscar office pool. Meryl Streep's Thatcher impersonation is just too neat and tidy an Oscar bait for most Academy members to resist. Problem is, the movie has Streep but little else that's as interesting or fun to watch. Unlike "The Queen" (which had more meat to it than just Helen Mirren’s performance) "The Iron Lady" settles for a vanilla-retelling of the triumphs, setbacks, highlights (the Falkland Islands war) and politics of her era without any depth or more than a surface lip-service mention of who/what she stood for. If you actually know history or have a political ideology other than conservative "The Iron Lady" will drive you mad with what amounts to the beatification of Thatcher. It's clear that director Phyllida Lloyd cared more about speculating/guessing what Thatcher and hubby Dennis (Jim Broadbent, good but just another extra in the Meryl Streep one-woman show) talked about alone than a critique or factual evaluation of Thatcher's triumphs and failures as a leader.

Asghar Farhadi’s A SEPARATION (2011) at NYC’s Film Forum for the first time. Terrific drama in which the separation between the parents of an 11-year old girl starts a chain-reaction of events that's gripping, totally character-driven (even the law clerks/judges are given at least a scene or two to show they're just human cogs in the machine) and, best of all, isn't just "Kramer vs. Kramer" set in Iran (though it bears a passing resemblance to that Robert Benton movie in that we spend more time the father than the mother). The less you know about the plot/story going in the better (I didn't) but even I have to admit that, toward the end, I started to feel the cheating hand of a procedural plot steering the story down one too many sudden reveals about character motivations. Thankfully all the characters (particularly Sareh Bayat's Razieh) don't come from stock characterizations but from understanding the mindset of average people under pressure (financial, emotional, religious, etc.) from the realities of modern life.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby mavrach » Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:21 pm

You rock Vargas!!!
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Sun Jan 01, 2012 12:27 am

^^^ Me rock... mavrach big tree! ;-)
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby azul017 » Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:36 pm

The Phantom Menace - I'm watching this with Rifftrax. Never in my life have I laughed so hard before. This is probably the only way I'm going to watch this movie from now on.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby Attrage » Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:00 am

Spent Christmas and New Year's in New York City, so I killed a lot of time on the long haul flight by watching some flicks I hadnt seen. Captain America, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Horrible Bosses...a couple of others. Trouble is because I watched them while on long haul flights I can barely freakin remember any of them...! I remember laughing like an idiot at Horrible Bosses though, and liking Apes quite a bit. I was sort of half asleep for Captain though, will have to grab the dvd and watch it properly :)

I did watch one film I have seen before - A Beautiful Mind. Why? Because after 10 sleepless hours seated next to a hyperactive 5 year old who wouldnt sleep either, I figured a film about a man slowly going insane seemed quite appropriate.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby molly1216 » Tue Jan 03, 2012 8:40 am

Pontypool which is probably one of the more clever zombie infection apocalypse movies i have seen a while. why hasn't anyone mentioned this film? it's from 2009. Starts slow Stephen McHattie's Don Imus character stuck in a small am radio station in small town experiences the infection outbreak from inside the radio booth. VERY assault on precinct 13. with a bit of a twist on the infection vector.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby mavrach » Tue Jan 03, 2012 8:58 am

Pleasantville - I saw this in the theaters when I was 18 and was quick to dismiss it. Gave it another shot last night after hearing so many good reviews over the years. This starts off relatively comically, and gradually turns into a more serious criticism of censorship and the values of media in the 50's.

Wall-E - I hold firm that this is the best thing that Pixar ever made. Simultaneously dark and bright, packed with commentaries that pretty much sum up every fear I have about the world. They continue to make ideal family films that entertain the kids while giving the adults a much bigger picture, without routine musical numbers or irritating good & evil sidekicks. And how many post-apocalyptic kids movies are there?

This was our second Blu-Ray watched on the new TV, and I'm blown away. We're so late to the party, so this is that you've been talking about the whole time?? Perfectly crisp images, made all the more amazing by the fact that it's all man-made here. Time to stock up on catalog Blu-Ray titles...
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby Andrew Forbes » Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:33 am

molly1216 wrote:Pontypool which is probably one of the more clever zombie infection apocalypse movies i have seen a while. why hasn't anyone mentioned this film?

Why, indeed.

viewtopic.php?f=50&t=4433&hilit=+pontypool
viewtopic.php?f=50&t=3728&hilit=+pontypool
viewtopic.php?f=50&t=3616&hilit=+pontypool
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby mavrach » Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:00 am

Inglourious Basterds - My second viewing, and I can tell it will digest more with further viewings. It's a very unique movie, considering what the stereotypical WWII movie consists of. This is nothing like any other WWII movie you've seen. And while it has a serious spine, it's upbeat as well. There is no sentimentality, no poignant message, it just stands strong on its own.

This must be the least Tarantino-ish movie he's ever directed, but nonetheless retains his style. His love for film oozes out at every opportunity, and his ability to pick the perfect music to match a scene's mood continues here. That anachronistic David Bowie song somehow totally works in its place.

A few scenes rely on a relaxed conversation gradually becoming more and more tense, opening with Christoph Waltz's interrogation of the farmer that goes on for 15 minutes. By the end of it you're biting your nails. I poured myself a glass of milk to go along with this, which I think will be a routine.

By the end you get an insane "what if?" scenario of WWII. So far Tarantino's been known for making quirky crime flicks, so I'd love to see him continue to branch out into more varied movies like this one.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby Gabriel Girard » Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:44 am

Cowboys & Aliens - It's a bit too slow in spots but the acting and photography keeps you interested. I like how the alien ships looked like planes and I thought the creatures were original. It's a good B movie with a blockbuster budget and Harrison Ford's best performance in a long while. The script could have been way better though.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby molly1216 » Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:35 pm

Andrew Forbes wrote:
molly1216 wrote:Pontypool which is probably one of the more clever zombie infection apocalypse movies i have seen a while. why hasn't anyone mentioned this film?

Why, indeed.

viewtopic.php?f=50&t=4433&hilit=+pontypool
viewtopic.php?f=50&t=3728&hilit=+pontypool
viewtopic.php?f=50&t=3616&hilit=+pontypool

thanks
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby Bryan Pope » Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:56 am

My youngest son got Cars 2 for Christmas. I'd taken him to see it in the theater last summer, but we had to leave midway through, so I'm just now seeing it for the first time.

It got a bum rap from a lot of critics as being lower-tier Pixar work, and it's hard to argue with that since Pixar's work is almost always of such high quality. But I still enjoyed it a lot more than Up (except for the first 10 or so minutes of Up, which I think is the best work Pixar has ever put out).

I thought Cars 2 was colorful, inventive and a helluva lot of fun.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby Gabriel Girard » Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:26 pm

Pina - More of a performance film than a traditional documentary. I'm not sure if I would have been as entranced by it if Wenders hadn't shot it in 3-D. The choice of that technique and the fact that the film eschews any sort of narrative made me feel like I was a part of the show, even if Wenders often reminds us that we're only spectators. The camera often felt like an extra dancer. A truly unique an enjoyable experience - even for someone like me who knows next to nothing about modern dance,
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby molly1216 » Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:38 pm

i'm on a Korean kick tonight
rewatching The Good The Bad and the Weird and i wish i had found a copy of the soundtrack when the movie was new.. it is awesome
The Host terrific little monster movie.
just realized i never bought a copy of Memories of Murder, so i ordered it.
but i also noticed there are a LOT more Korean films on netflix instant watch than there was last time i looked. yum
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby mavrach » Thu Jan 05, 2012 7:05 am

Finding Nemo - Getting the urge to go through the Pixar movies again. This is is so richly painted, but I wasn't so into it this time. Maybe it's because I've seen it a few times, or maybe because Pixar's raised the bar with most of its later releases (see my gushing about Wall-E above)

Zombieland - One of the few releases of the past few years that I've rewatched multiple times. There's no social commentary or bleakness that comes with most zombie flicks, just a hell of a lot of fun. Jesse Eisenberg's neurotic dork of a character is the last person I'd pick to survive a zombie apocalypse.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby molly1216 » Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:51 am

Mars needs Moms - surprisingly watchable. vaguely similar to the Jimmy Neutron movie...kid needs to rescue parent from alien kidnapping but there it changes. It actually made me want to read the book. The alien culture depicted was fascinating. The new application of Mo Cap makes this animated film looks more real than previous films. over the end credits they have footage of the mo cap process, aside from full suits, they use a head frame to record the facial expressions, hence the animated characters look eerily close to the real actors. They also used voice modulation software to make seth green sound 12. . . which if you think about it, will make your head explode...like Andy Serkis's performances..you now have an actor providing ALL the base elements for the character, yet the character looks and sounds nothing like the original actor but is still ultra realistic.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:47 pm

MST3K #406: ATTACK OF THE GIANT LEECHES (1992/1959) on DVD. After only seeing it once or twice over the past couple of decades I’m kind-of dumbfounded at how good “Attack of the Giant Leeches” is on my last viewing. A Corman-made (by Roger and his brother Gene) low-budget cheap flick that throws in some social commentary (with poor Bruno VeSota playing tortured soul to Yvette Vickers’ sexy ‘noir’ lady) to somehow compensate for the “monsters” being guys with garbage bags over their bodies. Between the ‘jerk’ hero, his coffee-obsessed girlfriend, her scientist father and the victims everybody is either uninteresting and/or dull (especially after VeSota exits the pic). The ‘Undersea Kingdom’ short really helps set the mood by tipping the goofy meter off the scale (an open-air Atlantis unerneath the Ocean?) with appropriate riffing (‘we now join Fitzcarraldo already in progress’) and suitably–thin cardboard characters (‘Crash’ Carrigan). It’s dumb, loud, obnoxiously and over just before it gets to be too much. Joel and the Bots deliver solid riffing throughout (’I think I know where the drapes went’ :o); the host segment start very weird (that f***ed-up Holo-Clown Sequencer), drop to OK in the middle but end on the new-to-me high of the ‘Danger to Myself and Others’ song that is both funny and scary (that there are actual people like the one’s made fun of). The Brains always have fun when a fat guy features prominently in the plot, and the early part of “Leeches” when VeSota is in almost every scene if solid non-stop fun.

MST3K #407: THE KILLER SHREWS (1992/1959) on DVD. With “The Giant Gila Monster” experiment fresh in my mind (from the same filmmakers), I actually enjoyed “The Killer Shrews” more than in any previous viewing. This despite a deathly-dull middle portion in which (a) nothing happens, (b) characters just stand around drinking/talking and (c) we get a REALLY good look at just how dingy and filthy the walls of the movie sets look. You know you’re watching a bad movie when James freakin’ Best (for whom the Brains show no restrain whatsoever in piling on “Dukes of Hazzard” jokes) gives the best performance by far. And freaking doggies with carpets to simulate giant shrews? Ay vay! At least this experiments has the classic ‘Junior Rodeo Daredevils’ short to start things right. The jabs at ol’ timer Billy Slater are hilarious and wouldn’t stop for pretty much the remainder of the show (though they died down during the Sci-Fi era). J&TB’s ‘and the crowd goes wild/crazy’ followed by an unenthusiastic ‘Yay!’ became part of my everyday vernacular because of this short. Decent host segments (love the "KS" jingle and too-accurate board game) plus decent constant riffing (‘two people per scene, please,’ ‘does anyone know the plot yet?’) stll can't save “The Killer Shrews” though. It's the type of self-inflicted festering cinematic wound that will separate the MisTie men from the boys. If it didn’t have the ‘JRD’ short my opinion of this experiment would be even worse.

Kenneth Lonergan’s MARGARET (2011) at NYC’s Cinema Village for the first time. The behind-the-scenes story about the saga of “Margaret” making it to the big screen is far more interesting than the movie itself. In its current 149 min. truncated (!) form "Margaret" is a mess, but a glorious one that comes alive more often than it falls flat. Kenneth Lonergan nails the peculiar world-within-a-world culture that is the Upper West Side of Manhattan (the same way Whit Stillman's "Metropolitan" is a love letter to the Upper East Side) and mid-2000's 9/11 anxiety. At times the movie switches gears from its character study and attempted visual poetry to what feels like procedural scenes left over from an unused "Law & Order" script (conference calls with lawyers, police interviews, etc.). Anna Paquin's troubled Linda character has a difficult arc that is not helped by the editing making her and her same-age friends (none of which are well-developed or shown much) seem too juvenile, too political, too wrapped into themselves, too sexualized (which is at odds with how Linda is portrayed earlier in the film) or too overtaken by grief/guilt depending on what the scene/script calls for. At 2 1/2 hours "Margaret" feels not only short but somewhat incoherent because there are scenes that end abruptly/start suddenly alongside scenes that are tight and allowed to breath. And, unless better scenes emerge that paint them with more dimensions, Matthew Broderick, Matt Damon and Mark Ruffalo are severely underused or miscast in two-dimensional roles that waste their talents.

And yet, despite a truckload of flaws and being dated (shot in 2005), you can almost discern the outlines of a masterpiece around every corner. The sporadic use of slow-motion and music (especially the movie’s opening/closing credits) are perfect. The many classroom scenes come alive with students that challenge their teachers (especially one when Broderick is confronted by a student criticizing Shakespeare canon) and each other while showing articulate teens as more intelligent and curious than your average movie teen. Jean Reno's attempt to pass himself as a Latino businessman reeks of Sasha B. Cohen in "Hugo," but in the end I buy it because Reno totally commits. Paquin gives career-best work as a teen slowly being driven bonkers but not in a troubled-youth movie way. The self-destructive nature of Linda's quest to get justice expecting some sort of redemption is the glue holding "Margaret" together. When the movie’s final scene unfolds it f***ing detonates with an avalanche of pathos that I was surprised it packed despite all the editing/pacing flaws, a sure sign that through its post-production problems Lonergan never lost track of keeping the audience engaged and sympathetic to Lisa's cause whether you like her or not. An imperfect but ambitious orphan movie in need of love, "Margaret" is worth seeking out even if it still isn't the director's true vision (or mythical three-hour cut) that we're getting.

MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE (2011) in theaters for the first time. Up until a couple of scenes before its thematically-dense-yet-simple final shot “Martha Marcy May Marlene” had the audience I was watching the movie with eating out of the palm of its hand. When Martha (Elizabeth Olsen, whose big wide eyes do most of the heavy lifting) insults her big sister Lucy (Sarah Paulson) the entire theater gasped as one. Same thing during the sexual indoctrination of Martha and a few scenes where John Hawke (playing the same stock villain he’s played before only scarier) does his cult leader thing. But the ending turned the audience against it, and afterward I couldn’t find a soul that liked the movie because they were frustrated by how it ends. I took this hostile reaction as a complement to writer/director Sean Durkin's dual-purpose technique of juxtaposition past/present scenes to drive home how traumatized and hurt Martha is from both. By switching between present-day Connecticut and the Upstate NY farm Martha lived in for years, Durkin makes a not-subtle dig at what Martha’s family have come to call their way of life. Granted, Lucy and hubby Ted (Hugh Dancy) can't really compare to the cult members (assuming what we see of the latter isn’t a larger-than-life perception of them by the traumatized younger sister) but there's so much said and unsaid between Martha and Lucy that it breaks one heart for them. To me “MMMM” is more about the neglect of one family sending a still-formative-but-stubborn young person like Martha straight into another surrogate family that just compounds on damage already done. Not a movie I would like to revisit often (but one I'm glad I saw in a theater with an appreciative-until-the-end audience tagging along) “MMMM” is dramatic, powerful stuff.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby molly1216 » Fri Jan 06, 2012 8:20 am

the Horde the tag line says it all "An end of the world battle between gangsters, cops and zombies." gallons of fake blood, hundreds of bullets...smacks of Resident Evil....handful of cops and villains have a shootout at the top of an abandoned ghetto high rise..then the dead ones start coming back to life and chasing the live ones..and the world outside the building seems to go 28 days later in a matter of hours. Gritty doesn't begin to cover it. The best aspect is that it isn't edited for teenagers with ADD, it runs at a normal movie pace...a crime drama punctuated by periods of intense violence. Why do cops in french films still look like they are from the 70s?
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby Steve T Power » Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:43 pm

The Killer Elite - I'd heard good things, and I really wanted to like this, but goddamn, that was one boring, poorly acted, meandering narrative mess of a picture. It felt like it was about 4 hours long, Statham was in Transporter mode, rather than Snatch/Bank Job mode, Clive Owen was his usual boring "what the hell am i doing here?" self (come on Clive, Croupier and Gosford Park were a LONG time ago man...), DeNiro hobbled around like Miracle Max, and the "baddies" were borderline laugh out loud ridiculous.

"We are the Feather Men, because our touch is... *dramatic pause* light!"

GUFFAW!

Seriously, I can't even see Molly liking this one on a "stare at Clive and Statham" level.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby Gabriel Girard » Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:38 pm

The Chronicles Of Riddick (Director's Cut) - Still highly enjoyable on the second go round. Ambitious, action pack, full of one liners and Colm Feore playing the villain; what more could you want? Bring on the third one Twohy!

Contagion (2001) - A sobering and gripping look at what humans are capable of (both good and bad) when facing the threat of disease. Soderbergh once again shows his skills as both director and DP while Jude Law once again shows how good he is at playing scumbags, I also really enjoyed Larry Fishburne's performance. The film feels very clinical but is extremely inolving nonetheless. Can't wait to see Haywire!
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby azul017 » Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:48 pm

I'm a bit under the weather so I've dug out my copy of Robin Hood S1. I've forgotten how much I enjoyed this season, shame it went downhill with the last two.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby Steve T Power » Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:19 am

Gabriel Girard wrote:The Chronicles Of Riddick (Director's Cut) - Still highly enjoyable on the second go round. Ambitious, action pack, full of one liners and Colm Feore playing the villain; what more could you want? Bring on the third one Twohy!


One prime example of a flick where I greatly prefer the theatrical cut. The DC adds in all the mystical "Furyan as crazy blue light shooting super beast" crapola, I preferred Riddick as a particularly resilient killing machine, without all the blue handprint stuff. That cool as beans Necromonger is actually Furyan scene is ruined as well. Bah.

Yeah, I'm a nerd. Might as well add, Chronicles of Riddick is the coolest Warhammer 40K flick never made.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby Gabriel Girard » Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:59 am

Steve T Power wrote:
Gabriel Girard wrote:The Chronicles Of Riddick (Director's Cut) - Still highly enjoyable on the second go round. Ambitious, action pack, full of one liners and Colm Feore playing the villain; what more could you want? Bring on the third one Twohy!


One prime example of a flick where I greatly prefer the theatrical cut. The DC adds in all the mystical "Furyan as crazy blue light shooting super beast" crapola, I preferred Riddick as a particularly resilient killing machine, without all the blue handprint stuff. That cool as beans Necromonger is actually Furyan scene is ruined as well. Bah.

Yeah, I'm a nerd. Might as well add, Chronicles of Riddick is the coolest Warhammer 40K flick never made.


I've only seen the director's cut. Are the ''Furyan Blast'' scene and the ''Necromongor is a Furyan'' scene the main difference between the two?
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby molly1216 » Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:03 pm

Moneyball...a little slow but enjoyable...who doesnt want to watch 2 hours of Brad Pitt?
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:47 pm

^^^ It's a good thing Brad brought his 'A' game (he basically carries the movie) because the rest of the cast (except for some supporting actors playing the Oakland A's players and staffers) left me wanting. Philip Seymour Hoffman was totally wasted in a nothing role that had him either sitting behind a desk with nothing interesting to say or dressed as the A's coach flustered at Brad's decisions. It was obviously a script decision to maximize the drama and make Pitt look saintly, but Jonah Hill and Hoffman are basically playing stooges off of which Brad bounces some pretty easy lay-ups.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby Steve T Power » Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:28 pm

Gabriel Girard wrote:
Steve T Power wrote:
Gabriel Girard wrote:The Chronicles Of Riddick (Director's Cut) - Still highly enjoyable on the second go round. Ambitious, action pack, full of one liners and Colm Feore playing the villain; what more could you want? Bring on the third one Twohy!


One prime example of a flick where I greatly prefer the theatrical cut. The DC adds in all the mystical "Furyan as crazy blue light shooting super beast" crapola, I preferred Riddick as a particularly resilient killing machine, without all the blue handprint stuff. That cool as beans Necromonger is actually Furyan scene is ruined as well. Bah.

Yeah, I'm a nerd. Might as well add, Chronicles of Riddick is the coolest Warhammer 40K flick never made.


I've only seen the director's cut. Are the ''Furyan Blast'' scene and the ''Necromongor is a Furyan'' scene the main difference between the two?

The crazy mystical angle is excised entirely, no native woman or glowy handprint. The Necromonger is Furyan reveal flows a lot better (he just has that bad ass line about the Furan in me blah blah blah.) And there's no "force wave" The Furyuan's are portrayed as bad ass survivor kinda dudes rather than super powered native Americans.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby Attrage » Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:35 pm

Okay firstly I will say JM you have officially gone WAY overboard with the title-pun thing for this thread ;)

Anyways, on to topic. Just watched Fighting, with Channing Tatum and Terrence Howard. And...despite all my low expectations (not the least of which is it has one of the most uninspired titles in film-making history), I actually enjoyed this. The fight scenes are expertly staged and satisfyingly brutal, Tatum does a reasonable job despite mumbling most of his lines and having some pretty woeful dialogue to recite (example: "The only way I'm gonna lose, is if somebody beats me."...WTF??) and I suppose my enjoyment was amped up a bit because I recently visisted New York for the first time so I got to say with glee "I've been there!" to some of the settings in the movie. Not a great film by any means, but I reckon I'll watch it again sometime.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby mavrach » Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:17 am

Robocop for about the billionth time, but first time on Blu-Ray. Since HD and even plain DVD presentations can sometimes reveal special effects tricks and take you out of the movie, I was nervous about seeing my beloved ED-209 butchered by my new TV, standing out like Roger Rabbit. Amazingly, ED-209's 1980's stop-motion miniature looks fantastic nonetheless, a real testament to the work done on the effect.

As far as the movie goes, I wish more people would take this movie more seriously because it's one of the better action flicks out there. I think the title deflects too many people, who expect it to be a dumb cheesy movie for kids. Not that I could think of a better title though, what else could you call it? But I'm thankful, because my parents let me watch it at age 7 just because of that title, and I got to see some of the most horrifying death scenes (also great in Blu, I never noticed that Emil's ears bled as he melted :? ). Funny story, I got to meet Nancy Allen a year ago at one of my autograph shows, and I told her I'd been a fan since I was 7. I guess she doesn't hear about too many people having grown up with Robocop, because her jaw dropped.

One complaint, this is still the extended cut that has the extra shots of the boardroom "glitch" and Murphy's execution, and the disc doesn't advertise it as such. I had the extended cut on DVD so I missed the original. I think less is more here, though that might just be from seeing it so many times. And with Paul Verhoeven, it's already over the top in the first place.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby molly1216 » Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:32 am

caught Warrior which i liked very very much..it was understated and didn't go a hollywoodish route i was expecting with lots of yelling exposition and family angst. tell the truth i think it is a much better movie than the Fighter. Surprised we haven't had a huge surge in MMA movies considering it is very bloody, brutal and profitable.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Thu Jan 12, 2012 3:19 pm

Attrage wrote:Okay firstly I will say JM you have officially gone WAY overboard with the title-pun thing for this thread ;)

I was just doing what my good ol' buddy mavrach told me to do; nothing less, nothing more. :D

LITTLE DARLINGS (1980) on TCM-HD Underground for the first time. Friday 1/7 at 2AM ET: TCM shows for the first time on its channel a 1980 coming-of-sexual-age flick about two teenage girls in a summer camp making a bet on which of the two will lose their virginity first (to be cool and fit in with their girlfriends). The rich one, Tatum O’Neal’s Ferris, has the hots for one of the teachers (Armand Assante). The poor one, Kristy McNichol’s Angel, targets the absent-minded but cute Randy (Matt Dillon) who alternates between liking and not caring for Angel before/after he deflowers her. Both girls find out, through trial and error, something about themselves in the process. Think “Foxes” meets “The Blue Lagoon” but not as good as either one. Monday 1/9 before noon PT: Kristy McNichol comes out as a lesbian. Now I ask you, Jury Room members of DVD Verdict, is this coincidence or serendipity proving that it has a sense of humor? ;-) And no, there's no sign in this little movie that director Ronald F. Maxwell would go on to become the authority in US Civil War movie-making ("Gettysburg," "Gods and Generals," etc.).

MST3K #409: THE INDESTRUCTIBLE MAN (1992/1956) on DVD for the first time. For the first and only time in “MST3K” history the same actor, Lon Chaney, Jr., appears in both the main feature (lead) and the serial short (small role) preceding the former. The “Underwater Kingdom Pt. 2” serial is brief and lame, with Servo hissing the resolution of part 1′s cliffhanger and Crow shouting ’DIANA’ callbacks, before the Brains cut it (mercifully) short. “Indestructible Man” belongs to a school of movies (“Robocop 2,” “Re-Animator,” etc.) in which audiences are asked to buy without questioning that a scientist brings back to life a psycho/criminal because he was the handiest guinea pig available. It’s supposed to be a monster/horror/mad scientist flick, but “Indestructible Man” is mostly a routine low-budget 50′s crime drama featuring Casey Adams and Marion Carr (a dull pairing in their handful of scenes together) stumbling around while a revived-from-the-dead Butcher gets his revenge. There’s something about Chaney’s drunken performance that captivates one’s attention though. Even in a movie beneath his talents like this one (while being heckled by smart-ass puppets no less) with crappy out-of-focus close-ups of his eyes, you can’t help but be on the side of Butcher until the very end (when 'a ghostbuster' cinches his skin with a flamethrower). I didn’t laugh very much (rarely do when I watch new-to-me “MST3K” at 9AM) but Joel & the Bots’ riffing is pretty solid. ‘Jimmy Smits’ name-dropping whenever the word ‘switch’ is uttered (get it?), Joel’s ’millions of Christians’ remark (think about it, won’t you?), ’Thanks Mr. Lithgow’-‘You’re Welcome’ & ’Father Karras!’-‘Regan!’ (can’t go wrong with “Garp” and “Exorcist” references in the most unexpected places)… a near-perfect run of funny. Joel gets a flattering close-up, host segments are mostly good (love the robot voice switcheroo at the start) and the ’Camelot is opening across the street’ running gag has me picturing Roger Corman shooting a cheap medieval flick below/behind Casey Adams & Co. Ultimately “Indestructible Man” proves that not even a dose of riffing by the masters can keep this Chaney down for long. He’s, well, indestructible (doh!).

Sam Mendes’ REVOLUTIONARY ROAD (2008) on DVD for the first time. Jack and Rose, the bitter years! Seriously though, once you get past the reunion of the two leads from “Titanic” this movie promptly takes you on a trip through marital discourse as a contact sport. Through their fantasies (running away to Paris), arguments/fights (some of them cringe-worthy), dismissive indifferences and interactions with members of their Connecticut community (Michael Shannon’s Oscar-nominated cameo almost steals the movie as a “mentally challenged” person that is the only one the Wheelers can relate to) Frank and April run the gamut of universal emotions. It’s when the decade they live in throws a wrench into how they should react/what they should do that the true pathos of “Revolutionary Road” emerges. The movie is a mirror into both the societal aspects of its era (1950’s inability to accommodate individuality and lack of options for married women with children) and the timeless issue of two married people losing connection with each other and the love that once bound them. Sam Mendes (at the time married to Kate Winslet, something the DVD bonus features make a big deal of) directs effortlessly and lets the frame/actors do their thing without showing off. Period detail is a little lacking (except in the outfits), the supporting cast is dead-on (Dylan Baker, Jay O. Sanders, etc.) and Roger Deakins’ cinematography as beautiful as you’d expect from a master. Great movie, but not for fans of “Titanic” that want to pretend the love of Leo and Kate will go on and on.

CINEMATIC TITANIC: THE OOZING SKULL (2008/1971) on DVD for the first time. On his maiden voyage back into riffing bad movies (after a 15 year absence) Joel Hodgson and his former “MST3K” cohorts score some hearty laughs with this freaky 70’s mad scientist movie about a benevolent ruler of an Arab nation (Kalid) having his brain switched to a new body. Between Kent Taylor’s mad doctor routine, the middle-eastern background of the mostly-repulsive characters not mattering one bit and the freaky dwarf (Angelo Rossitto, aka the Verne Troyer of ’71) doing Dr. Trenton’s bidding this is a buffet of loathsomeness just waiting to be picked apart. Surprisingly this early in the “CT” run its Mary Jo Pehl (‘Another memorable title sequence by Saul Bass,’ ‘Kid Nation: the lost episode,’ etc.) who scores some of the biggest laughs/funniest jokes. At first the ‘pause’ comedy segments are weak (especially the two appearances by Prof. Stephen Hawkins) and the lack of a proper introduction to the old/new crew feels jarring. But the overall experience of “The Oozing Skull” is that of professional comedians getting warmed-up at doing something they’ve always been good at. An impressive beginning to the closest we'll ever get to "MST3K 2.0."

RUBBER (2010) on Showtime-HD for the first time. This… wasn’t at all what I expected when I happened to tune in while it was starting. Writer/director Quentin Dupieux has fashioned a “Child’s Play”-like storyline but featuring a sentient tire capable of hurting people (and attracting a following) through telekinesis… sort-of!?!? Even the characters in the movie commenting on both “Rubber” itself and other movies (Stephen Spinella’s speech about other movies is a highlight) seems off-kilter and just weird for weirdness’ sake. “Rubber” should be ridiculous and it is, but it’s the kind of ‘take me seriously, I’m trying to say something deep here’ ridiculous that is at odds with one expects. Not better or worse than you expect, just different in an odd and puzzling way.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby mavrach » Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:30 pm

I'm a bad influence.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby Gabriel Girard » Thu Jan 12, 2012 5:20 pm

Cul-De-Sac - A very existentialist/absurdist comedy that could have come from the pen of Sartre or Camus. Contains some beautiful shots, memorable performances from Lionel Stander and Donald Pleasence as well as some trademark Polanski humor. It's one of his minor films and a little too long but it's enjoyable nonetheless.

3 Women - A dreamy, impressionistic film from Robert Altman, it almost feels like it could be a Cronenberg film. Shleey Duvall and Sissy Spacek are amaing and the film is gorgeous (especially on Blu-Ray!). This movie is more interested in making the spectator feel a perticular way that in any kind of plot. Altman says the idea for the film came from a dream and I believe it - there's certainly an uncounscious flavor to the whole thing. This one will probably stay with me for a while.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby Attrage » Sat Jan 14, 2012 2:00 am

Higher Learning - and though I was watching it to see if it was the film that contains a line of dialogue I am going bonkers trying to remember, I'd forgotten how powerful that last bit is between Laurence Fishburn and Omar Epps. *spoiler* where Fishburn sort of wrestles Epps to the ground and then Epps agonisingly screams his dead girlfriend's name...far out man, I had tears running down my cheeks.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby mavrach » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:29 am

How to Train Your Dragon - So far I've avoided most of the Dreamworks flicks, but after hearing so many good things I had to check this one out. Some of the characters were typically smarmy, but overall this was very enjoyable. Hiccup was comically non-Viking, and a good pace and excellent action sequences (along with a surprising joke about a breastplate) had us having fun the whole time. I clearly learned nothing from this because I went back to Skyrim to slaughter dragons afterwards.


The Last Starfighter - Another favorite that I grew up with, seeing on Blu-Ray for the first time. This is known for being one of the earliest movies with CGI effects, so they're notably fake-looking. But there's a definite charm to this, and wow I actaully thought it looked great on Blu.

The structure is a bit sentimental, and you have to laugh at the scene where all the trailer park residents go nuts when Alex breaks a video game record, but the performances carry it through. Lance Guest is stuck with the typical plain "audience surrogate" character, but he proves to be a likable hero. Dan O'Herily is a treat to watch as Grig (an awesome makeup job amongst a load of other cheesy aliens). It says a lot about O'Herily's performance that I saw this movie and Robocop dozens of times growing up, and didn't realize that Grig and The Old Man were the same actor for years. Robert Preston was excellent as well.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:13 pm

DEMON SEED (1977) on TCM-HD Underground for the first time. Between this and the movie below (“Possession”) my Spidey senses for little-known-sci-fi/horror-movies-that-blow-my-mind are deafening in their loud tingling. “Demon Seed” is like a monster movie crossed with a goofy “Six Million Dollar Man” episode (the 70’s fashions don’t help), but the result is an intelligent and scary flick that asks hard philosophical questions about life and does things only premium cable dramas would dare try today. Heavily inspired by genre giants (primarily Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” but also “Rosemary’s Baby,” “Solaris,” “Altered States,” etc.) the borderline-ridiculous idea of a sentient all-knowing super computer becoming a home invader straight out of a Lifetime TV movie to protect its existence is nevertheless told straight-faced and with (almost) no irony whatsoever. A strong cast (Fritz Weaver, an abused-beyond-the-call-of-duty Julie Christie, etc.) and some inventive special effects carry “Demon Seed” from one jaw-dropping set piece to the next. I’m still trying to figure out how the SFX crews made those shape-shifting computer things look convincing-enough to impress my jaded ass. It might be based on a Dean Koontz novel but director Donald Cammell keeps the horror both palpable (little things like being suffocated/tortured inside your own home by heating) and philosophical (an ending that succeeds despite bringing up bad “Bicentennial Man” flashbacks). An underrated classic, IMO, and a great double-bill with Saul Bass' "Phase IV."

Andrzej Zulawski's POSSESSION (1981) at NYC's Film Forum for the first time. TCM-HD will be showing this movie on Friday Jan. 27 at 2AM ET (11PM PT), but I lucked out and caught it twice on the big screen in a beautiful 35mm print. If ever a movie personifies ‘going for broke’ in the pursuit of a lightning-in-a-bottle mood of utter despair and confusion it’s this attempt to capture, within the madness of its often Lynchian plot, the anger and pain that a separation between a husband and wife with a little boy can bring to their respective lives (the same rocket fuel that powered Cronenberg’s “The Brood” and Von Trier’s “Antichrist”). “Possession” makes Takashi Miike’s “Audition” seem tame (though it isn’t anywhere near as violent it’s every bit as disturbing as Miike’s opus) but, anchored by Isabelle Adjani’s rock of a performance (her scene in the subway tunnel is incredible!) and an overacting Sam Neill matching Isabelle’s ever-increasing pitch, it walks that tricky tightrope between being ridiculous and deeply moving without ever letting the audience lose its sympathy for either character. Prepare for repeat trips into this movie if you want to begin to ‘get’ everything “Possession’s” ‘avant garde meets the grotesque and the insane’ little world distills. Personally twice was not enough so I’ll be DVR’ing it on 1/27 until Mondo Vision releases “Possession” on R1 home video later this year.

John Carpenter’s CHRISTINE (1983) on DVD. When Carpenter has a friend and/or buddy to talk to (i.e. Kurt Russell) the more fun his DVD commentaries are. Sorry Debra Hill (RIP), "The Fog" doesn't cut it. For his ’83 adaptation of Stephen King’s book (which wisely does away with the ‘LeBay ghost’ plot angle and focuses on teenage angst/obsession) Carpenter is joined in the commentators chair by fellow director Keith Gordon (“A Midnight Clear,” numerous TV shows like “Dexter,” etc.), aka Arnie in the movie. It’s an interesting conversation between both equals and master/disciple, more low-key than the usual Carpenter-Russell laugh sessions and more focused on the movie's filmmaking challenges. Like “Christine” itself this is an underrated commentary well worth listening to (along with complementary documentaries), hopefully one day in high-definition.

Kevin Smith’s CLERKS (1994) on Blu-ray. Watched the original 104 min. long cut with the ‘sad’ ending and, call me crazy, but I like this darker, meaner conclusion to the “Clerks” saga. The fact that Randall disconnects the security camera (thus ensuring Dante’s killer will never get caught) and the characters/jokes are given extra room to breath gives the ‘day in the life’ narrative of the movie an elliptical what-goes-around-comes-around power which to me felt powerful and satisfying. Alas, this is a one-off ‘what if’ version of “Clerks” that isn’t ‘canon’ but, as a huge fan of the “Clerks” cartoon and sequel, can’t complain at having both versions on the same (visually underwhelming) BD disc.

SNOWBALL EFFECT: THE MAKING OF CLERKS (2004) on Blu-ray for the first time. A little too self-serving (it was made/ produced by Smith’s friends/associates as a bonus feature in "Clerks" home video releases since '04) but still fascinating chronicle of the life/upbringing of Kevin Smith from birth up until the moment “Clerks” makes the indie circuit big time (i.e. it’s acquired by Miramax). It’s a well-known story to fans of the movie and Smith (dating back to the commentary track on the Laserdisc) but “Snowball Effect” presents it in such a way it makes even non-fans share the sadness, joy, hard work and luck that goes into having a no-budget movie become a living, breathing thing when watched by enthusiastic movie-goers. A great bonus features, especially after watching "Clerks."

CASINO ROYALE (2006) on Blu-ray. Very dry and polite but informative commentary track with director Martin ‘Green Lantern’ Campbell and producer Michael G. ‘my father-in-law used to make these’ Wilson. A few slightly-confusing plot elements (mostly about Vespa’s third-act decisions) were explained, budget complaints are made (there never seems to be enough) and appreciations to editor Stuart Baird (“Lethal Weapon,” “Superman: The Movie,” etc.) for giving the action scenes the editing beats necessary to build excitement are given. “Casino Royale” is still a pretty good action series reboot (I can only picture Michael Fassbender in place of Craig as a better modern-day Bond), a great-looking Blu-ray demo showpiece (it better be given the endless Sony plugs in the flick) and, at times, an oddly moving romance between doomed lovers. We should be getting the bonus features-packed double-dip of “Quantum of Solace” any day now that Bond 23, “Skyfall,” is coming by year’s end.

CINEMATIC TITANIC: DOOMSDAY MACHINE (2008/1976) on DVD for the first time. Wow… just… WOW!!! This poor man’s mix of the plots from “Women of the Prehistoric Planet” (MST3K #104) & "First Spaceship to Venus" (#211) embellished with the same sexist attitude toward women from “Project Moon Base” (#109) might be the single worst space movie I’ve ever seen. The ending goes for “2001”-type abstract open-endedness, but it feels more like the second coming of ‘Deeeep Huuuuurting.’ From the too-big-for-space-travel ships (‘I’ve seen cathedrals with lower ceilings than this’) to Casey Kasem literally doing a countdown (‘don’t patronize me Shaggy’) plus mismatched space footage from at least four different movies and “Match Game ‘73’s” Bobby Van doing horrible comic relief work until he’s replaced by an entirely different actor pretending to be him (!), “Doomsday Machine’s” awfulness needs to be watched/felt to be believed. Make sure the Titans are on board with you though; their near-perfect quips (‘I’ve seen less padding on a Tyler Perry character,’ shout-outs to Tom Servo and "Manos," etc.) and proper introduction to the “CT” premise make for welcome watch-along companions. The mid-movie interruptions are still lame but that's them growing pains for you (this was "CT's" 2nd show after their "Ooozing Skull" debut). For the record, the behind-the-scenes story about the making of “Doomsday Machine” is way more interesting than the movie has any right to be.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby azul017 » Thu Jan 19, 2012 11:48 am

Sleepaway Camp - Finally saw this... man is it bad. I knew the twist before I saw it, but even that was poorly handled. The two DTV sequels were so much better than this... at least those didn't take themselves seriously.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:06 pm

^^^ See it again, this time with the 'F this Movie' commentary track... 100% pure bit coin gold! ;-)
Last edited by J.M. Vargas on Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby mavrach » Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:08 pm

J.M. Vargas wrote:^^^ See it again, this time with the 'F this Movie' commentary track... 100% pure bit coin gold! ;-)


I still need to see it with the commentary. I thought just about the entire movie was amateurish, almost turning it off 15 minutes in. But I was blown away by the ending which I found to be almost masterful.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby molly1216 » Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:21 pm

mavrach wrote:
J.M. Vargas wrote:^^^ See it again, this time with the 'F this Movie' commentary track... 100% pure bit coin gold! ;-)


I still need to see it with the commentary. I thought just about the entire movie was amateurish, almost turning it off 15 minutes in. But I was blown away by the ending which I found to be almost masterful.

or do what i did...listen to the commentary and skip the movie!
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:29 pm

^^^ I'll second that. The commentary works (i.e. it's funny as hell) even without seeing the movie at the same time as long as you remember enough of the "Sleepaway Camp" plot/scenes to follow along. Wish that were also true with their "Reindeer Games" commentary though, I still haven't gotten a hold of a copy of the movie to sample Patrick and the gang taking a s*** on Frankenheimer, Affleck & Co. :(
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby Gabriel Girard » Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:53 pm

azul017 wrote:Sleepaway Camp - Finally saw this... man is it bad. I knew the twist before I saw it, but even that was poorly handled. The two DTV sequels were so much better than this... at least those didn't take themselves seriously.

I haven't seen the se quels but I agree with the gist of your review. I didn't know the twist in avance but I saw it coming from miles away.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby azul017 » Fri Jan 20, 2012 10:06 am

Gabriel Girard wrote:I haven't seen the sequels but I agree with the gist of your review. I didn't know the twist in avance but I saw it coming from miles away.


The production company actually posted all four Sleepaway Camp movies on YouTube a few months ago, so you can check the sequels out. (Or at least the second one, as the third took a big nosedive and the fourth isn't worth seeing at all.)
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby Dunnyman » Sat Jan 21, 2012 1:58 am

Got back from Haywire, and where did they go wrong? Glacial pacing. Poor script. And a complete waste of Antonio Banderas and Michael Douglas. Only thing worth it was Gina Carano showing herself to be one seriously bad-ass chick and the best thing in the film.
Edit: I did not know that she's a former MMA fighter and not exactly a professional actress. Her fight scenes looked incredibly authentic, and now I know why. However, looking at her as a very inexperienced actress, she handled the acting part quite well for a veritable rookie, and as a glamor girl, she was not at all hard to look at.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby molly1216 » Sat Jan 21, 2012 12:38 pm

Dunnyman wrote:Got back from Haywire, and where did they go wrong? Glacial pacing. Poor script. And a complete waste of Antonio Banderas and Michael Douglas. Only thing worth it was Gina Carano showing herself to be one seriously bad-ass chick and the best thing in the film.
Edit: I did not know that she's a former MMA fighter and not exactly a professional actress. Her fight scenes looked incredibly authentic, and now I know why. However, looking at her as a very inexperienced actress, she handled the acting part quite well for a veritable rookie, and as a glamor girl, she was not at all hard to look at.

When i saw the trailer, all i could think of was a lot of real actors hanging around the neck of Cynthia Rothrock.

Saint (2010) Bloody christmas indeed! great Danish slasher film starring Saint Nick and his band of Black Petes ....stealing kids and killing teenagers... There's a bit where someone shoots Saint Nicks undead horse that crashes 3 stories onto a police car then gets up and walks away...8) looks like i have another movie for my pile for next year..next to Rare Exports and Dead Snow.... BTW don't stream it from Amazon..they are streaming the english dub.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby Attrage » Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:16 am

The Big Chill - This film has many moments that I love (not to mention songs), but I think my favorite moment is when William Hurt "accidentally" knocks out Jeff Goldblum with a quaalude so he can stay up all night talking to the girl Goldblum has been mercilessly hitting on.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby mavrach » Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:41 am

The Running Man - Another childhood favorite. It's absolutely silly fun, but there is an eerieness from the satire side of it. With the proliferation of reality TV and corporate expansions, you try your best not to take this seriously. I assume the book was more serious in tone, whereas the movie took that as a springboard to make the Arnie action flick of that year. This makes a good double feature with Robocop.

But I have a blast watching this one. The 80's-rific Harold Faltermeyer soundtrack, the Arnold one-liners, Captain Freedom's Workout. And Dynamo is the personification of "so bad it's good."

And how about the casting of Richard Dawson, the host of Family Feud as the villain? I think that's freaking brilliant. The loveable TV host (my wife's family calls him "Mr. Kiss" in Spanish, Senor Beso, because he kisses his female guests) plays a perfect slimy two-faced TV personality here. That could've gone badly. Somehow I don't picture Louie Anderson faring well in thise role.

12 Monkeys - One of Terry Gilliam's more "normal" movies, which is saying a lot. But it's one of his best, with a tight plot that teeters on the edge of sanity without having some of the pacing issues that would plague Gilliams later work, and also without going into a wacky lala land, another of his strengths that can get out of hand. And further proof that Brad Pitt is awesome in supporting roles.

Monsters Inc - The forgotten Pixar film, which nobody seems to talk about. The plot may be the most kid-freindly, since it's about monsters in your closet, but I think of the pre-Wall-E era, this might be the best one.

Sherlock - The new BBC version. At first this appears to be a trendy reboot of the character, setting him in present day and all. But I haven't seen it suggested anywhere that this may have been done for practical & budgetary reasons. Isn't it a big cost-saver for a TV series to not have to construct period sets & costuming, and just focus on the storytelling? It feels like it was done for that reason and not as a gimmick, as it embraces current technology and just uses it as another tool to tell the story. If you liked the new Doctor Who incarnations, odds are you'll like this as well. Smart and fast paced.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby Dunnyman » Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:06 am

A couple of William Powell vehicles that were attempts to recreate the Thin Man dynamic. First up was Star Of Midnight where he and a badly miscast Ginger Rogers attempt to solve the crime, but the chemistry was non-existent. His snide asides bounce off of her, and she just doesn't have the sharpness needed to make it work, and reveals the script to be mostly fluff. Next up was The Ex Mrs. Bradford, where Jean Arthur takes up the foil role, and cracks it out of the park. As the ex to Powell's Dr. Bradford, she's not just writing mysteries, she insists on finding them when they're not there, except this time she's 100% right, it WAS murder, and a grand time is had by all as the double crosses, lies and deceptions come out before it's all wrapped up neatly at the end, despite the hokiest murder method in film history! Needless to say, their broken marriage is also repaired. Arthur and Powell were almost as good as Loy and Powell were, so why the heck didn't they work together more often? Watching many of Arthur's movies I kept thinking, "Why the heck couldn't Hollywood find better vehicles for her?" She had charm, the ability to work well in any kind of comedy, and she always seemed real, not like your typical movie star. Oh well.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby Gabriel Girard » Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:02 pm

mavrach wrote: 12 Monkeys - One of Terry Gilliam's more "normal" movies, which is saying a lot. But it's one of his best, with a tight plot that teeters on the edge of sanity without having some of the pacing issues that would plague Gilliams later work, and also without going into a wacky lala land, another of his strengths that can get out of hand. And further proof that Brad Pitt is awesome in supporting roles.

Funnily enough I watched it this weekend with my mom, stepdad and brothers. They seemed to really enjoy it except for my mom who thought it was too weird. we had to explain some of it to her.

Run Lola Run 13 years later this is still an entertaining, stylish, inventive film supported by the amazing Franka Potente.

Hard Times (1975) - A very interesting depression-era street fighting flick. It eschews any kind of sentimality or melodrama usually associated with sports films instead relying on strong dialogue, good performances, observation, a good sense of pace and un-flashy direction that is only there to support the atmophere and the story. At 52 Charles Bronson was still a force to be reconned with and the fighting scenes are directed with thought and tension. A very good movie, especially considering that it's Walter Hill's first director credit.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby Attrage » Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:07 am

Out for Justice - or as I like to call it Steven Seagal does Brooklyn. Oh man it's been years since I watched this and it's pretty much Steven Seagal movie - ie same script as pretty much every other Steven Seagal movie, just changed the characters' names and location but keep the basic premise the same: "bad guy wrongs Stevie or someone close to him, Stevie spends the next 80 minutes enacting vengeance the only way he knows how - by kickin *ss all over the place!" At least this was the last movie where Seagal actually used Aikido and very little stunt-double work. His one-on-one fight with "Sticks" in the pool hall is a brilliant display of a Phillipine martial art called "Arnis", it's not sped up - they really spar that fast. It's an amazing sport to watch. Another stand out for me is William Forsythe in this - he obviously had a ball playing an unapologetically b*stardly bad guy. And I had completely forgotten that Dominic Chianese was in this (Uncle Junior from The Sopranos) - he brings a gravitas to his role that this film really didnt deserve but it was great to see him anyway.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby mavrach » Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:56 am

Attrage wrote:Out for Justice - or as I like to call it Steven Seagal does Brooklyn. Oh man it's been years since I watched this and it's pretty much Steven Seagal movie - ie same script as pretty much every other Steven Seagal movie, just changed the characters' names and location but keep the basic premise the same: "bad guy wrongs Stevie or someone close to him, Stevie spends the next 80 minutes enacting vengeance the only way he knows how - by kickin *ss all over the place!" At least this was the last movie where Seagal actually used Aikido and very little stunt-double work. His one-on-one fight with "Sticks" in the pool hall is a brilliant display of a Phillipine martial art called "Arnis", it's not sped up - they really spar that fast. It's an amazing sport to watch. Another stand out for me is William Forsythe in this - he obviously had a ball playing an unapologetically b*stardly bad guy. And I had completely forgotten that Dominic Chianese was in this (Uncle Junior from The Sopranos) - he brings a gravitas to his role that this film really didnt deserve but it was great to see him anyway.


William Forsythe really was awesome in that, a genuinly scary villain. I also found the scene very interesting, where Seagal visits Forsythe's parents out of respect to tell them he's got to kill him. Some good elements in a movie that overall isn't that great.

I also have to admit to having an appreciation for Seagal's martial arts skills. Sure, he's got exactly one emotion and he's untouchable in fights, but his hand-to-hand style is efficient and brutal without the flashy movies we're used to seeing, which are impractical in real-life fights.
+1. this is very interesting.
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