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

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

Postby Mach6 » Sat Dec 08, 2012 6:52 pm

Well, this should take care of everybody til March 1st. ;-)

I don’t have anything movie related to talk about lately due to the increased hours at my work. (I long for the days when I was an unemployed bum, well maybe not. :? ) If the Mayans are wrong about the apocalypse, I hope to catch The Hobbit, Django Unchained, Jack Reacher, & Die Hard 5 (I refuse to call it by its ridiculous official title) at the theaters. I also want to give Dredd 3D at least a rental since I heard it’s a lot like The Raid: Redemption & Karl Urban just ruled it.
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:27 am

Tom Tykwer/The Wachowski's CLOUD ATLAS (2012) in theaters for the first time. Count me in the camp that was completely blown away by "Cloud Atlas'" ambition and overall ability to add-up to more than the sum of its many very messy parts. It really helped that I'd seen Spielberg's "Lincoln" the day before because, narratively, both movies are linked by the idea that at any given time someone/something has the capacity for greatness that affects us all. As an editor I loved how the end of each segment links to the next and, considering how easily this could have made incomprehensible in the hands of an incompetent editor, that "Cloud Atlas" isn't at all hard to follow. The ending and the montage of actors/roles during the credits (nice touch that the fonts for the actors' names changed along with each of their roles) nailed it for me, got me teary-eyed (as did the Frobisher-Sixsmith story toward the end) and sent me out the theater feeling like I had seen something spectacularly messy but wonderful.

Given they're now on a severe box office downward spiral ("The Invasion," "Speed Racer," "Ninja Assassin" and now "Cloud Atlas") this might be the last time The Wachowski's have access to these resources, so it's amazing to me that they managed to maximize their $100 million budget (a lot of which went to pay for Hanks, Berry, etc.) to deliver what amounts to "The Fountain 2.0" on a bigger, yet still intimate and personal, scale.

WRECK-IT RALPH 3D (2012) in theaters for the first time. The ads misled me into expect more licensed videogame characters appearing in the flick (they appear mostly at the beginning and end, with wordless background cameos in-between), which takes place mostly in a game world that's like a cross between "Mario Kart," "Fantasy Zone" and "My Little Pony." And frankly the humor and voice-overs (particularly Sarah Silverman's grating voice) kept it too firmly anchored in the realm of children's movies for my taste. Still, there are moments and little touches (like the characters in Ralph's game retaining their frame-skip jerky animation in the high-def world, a few genuinely funny jokes/cameos, the end credits' tribute to specific games/genres, etc.) that made me glad I saw "Wreck-It Ralph" in 3D, but this isn't a movie I plan to rewatch often (or ever) on 3D home video.

Steven Spielberg's LINCOLN (2012) in theaters for the first time. The restrain Spielberg shows in this account of the last tumultuous months of Abraham Lincoln's life (most of which revolves around the political procedural machinations about the passage of the 13th Ammendment to The Constitution) is remarkable considering the year before he went all-out with every trick in the book to bring World War I to cinematic life in "Warhorse." Except for an ending that literally goes a couple of scenes and/or 5 minutes too long (the "A.I." syndrome again, but restrained) Spielberg avoids the distracting CGI vistas/crowds and/or show-off USA war fields circa 1865 and lets an excellent cast of committed actors carry the film on their faces, shoulders and words. Daniel Day Lewis is predictably excellent in the title role, but there's enough room in the screenplay for Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, David Strathairn, an unrecognizable James Spader and many more (including John Hawkes and Tim Blake Nelson) to make this the rare bio epic that is both educational, thrilling and an all-around great flick. Smart of Spielberg to wait until the 2012 elections to show the film, since it's clearly a parallel between the Democrats of 1865 opposing the 13th ammendment and the Republicans of 2010 opposing the passage of Obamacare... not that there's anything wrong with that. ;-)
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby Ash22 » Fri Dec 14, 2012 7:50 pm

The Lord of The Rings: Fellowship of the Ring - I haven't seen the movie in several years and I'll admit that I regret not seeing the movie when it was in theaters eleven years ago. The movie still holds up very well and there's isn't a dull moment I can find in the movie. This is one of those movies where a director and the writers can stuff everything into a two hour time slot to satisfy the studios.
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby mavrach » Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:52 am

Hard Eight - My first time seeing Paul Thomas Anderson's first movie. It was rough around the edges for what I'm used to from him, but was an excellent movie nonetheless. It's hard for me to watch Phillip Baker Hall and not think of him as Bookman from that Seinfeld episode, but he holds this down effectively as the lead.

Triangle - This took a while to draw me in, but ends up being a terrific logical loop. It's hard to say without spoiling, and the plot synopsis of a mysterious boat in the Bermuda Triangle doesn't sell this terribly well. But I recommend it.

Splice - Schlocky and predictable, but surprisingly entertaining.

The Inbetweeners - I finished the 3rd series of this British sitcom and I highly recommend it. The first two series' are on Netflix instant. I had to buy the DVD set to get to the 3rd, but I was fine with that since I loved the show. It's a raunchy show about 4 high school kids.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:22 pm

A few things I've watched lately, some on my brand-new 21:9 LED HDTV. 8)

Stanley Kubrick's DR. STRANGELOVE... (1964) on Blu-ray. I tried showing this to my folks over the Thanksgiving vacation and they flat-out rejected it and I had to shut down the movie after 30 minutes. My bad for building it up as one of the best comedies of all time because they felt the movie wasn't funny at all. Afterwards I saw it by myself, showed it to my father alone the following day (with subtitles turned on and explaining everything to him; he still didn't like the movie but acknowledged that it was ballsy and different) and was among the movies I tested my new HDTV with. "Dr. Strangelove" is special to me (if anything my folks' rejection of it made me appreciate it even more) and that ending makes me teary-eyed from joy (!) every time I see it. :cry:

Francis Ford Coppola's APOCALYPSE NOW (1979) on Blu-ray. What else can I say that hasn't been said a million times already? Simply an amazing, ballsy and singular vision of 'war as hell' that, while glamorizing war (as do most war movies), goes to places of the minds and hearts of men (soldiers and commandres as well as filmmakers) seldom seen in American cinema.

Woody Allen's MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY (1993) on DVD. This, Hitchcock's "Psycho" and a certain vampire movie from Sweeden (see below) were the biggest hits with my folks in Arizona of all the movies we saw over Thanksgiving week. They loved it because they love Diane Keaton and, so far, they've liked the Allen movies I've put in front of them. Me? As a big "Annie Hall" fan this is the closest to a sequel (Marshall Brickman co-writing, Allen & Keaton playing their characters as if Alvin and Annie were a long married couple, Jerry Adler in a great understated performance, etc.) we'll ever get, not to mention it's funny as hell.

Wes Anderson's RUSHMORE (1998) on Blu-ray. This movie didn't make much of an impact with my folks when we saw it last November. Seeing it again last week I'm still blown away by how (a) Jason Schwartzman gets away playing a teenager when he looks much older (the same trick Andrew Garfield pulls in "The Amazing Spider-Man"), (b) how colorful/pretty the cinematography/production design looks (without going into "Moonrise Kingdom's" over-the-topness) and (c) how the movie builds and builds toward an ending that achieves perfect, heartfelt and fulfilling pathos for audience and characters alike (Olivia Williams' 'except you' retort to Max never fails to tear-me up). I love this movie, which shines in widescreen anamorphic format.

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (2008) on Blu-ray. I decided to show this to my folks after the "Dr. Strangelove..." debacle (in English to keep the subtitle reading from taking them out of the movie), in part because I figured out this would be unlike any vampire movie they've ever seen before. Turns out that, except for one of them seeing one of the "Twilight" movies while chaperoning some neighbor's tweens, neither had seen a vampire movie before, not even Lugosi's "Dracula." So, ironically, the movie that I thought would show them breaking the conventions of vampire movies is now their default reference point to future vampire stuff, which they're now eager to see after getting a taste of the genre with Oskar and Eli. And gotta say, on their 52" Samsung LCD with a chilly desert air blowing from the open backyard, "Let the Right One" looked/felt better than I had ever experienced it before. 8)

Martin Campbell's GREEN LANTERN 3D (2011) on 3D Blu-ray for the first time. Never seen the theatrical cut of the movie in 3D before (only the extended version on 2D Blu-ray) and, since it's the only 3D movie I own that was shot in anamorphic 2:35:1 (the shape of my new Vizio TV), it's the movie I chose to test the set's passive 3D with (which is awesome). While parts of "Green Lantern" remind me of "Supergirl" in that the superhero does his heroic deeds mostly anonymously without people pointing at Hal Jordan as he does his heroic deeds (which to me is an important part of the awe of the masked hero myth) the middle part of the movie picks it up a notch, then splutters along into a rushed finale (in which civilians get killed, which is then completely ignored... WTF?!!?) that barely sets-up a sequel that is unlikely to materialize given the movie's dismal box office performance. Not the worst superhero movie ever made, it just seems like it every time Blake Lively comes on the screen.
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby Kenneth Morgan » Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:21 am

I think tonight I'll watch the repeat of "Carol for Another Christmas" on TCM. I saw it when it was aired this past Sunday. I thought it was OK, particularly if you're used to Rod Serling's writing style. Steve Lawrence was surprisingly good as the Ghost of Christmas Past, and Peter Sellers gave one of his best performances as "ME".
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby Kenneth Morgan » Sat Dec 22, 2012 6:59 am

Kenneth Morgan wrote:I think tonight I'll watch the repeat of "Carol for Another Christmas" on TCM. I saw it when it was aired this past Sunday. I thought it was OK, particularly if you're used to Rod Serling's writing style. Steve Lawrence was surprisingly good as the Ghost of Christmas Past, and Peter Sellers gave one of his best performances as "ME".


CORRECTION: That's on this afternoon.
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Sat Dec 22, 2012 2:01 pm

My DVR is set, thanks for the heads-up.

Just saw HYDE PARK ON HUDSON (2012) in theaters for the first time. Gosh, such a disappointment considering Bill Murray gives another great and effortless lead performance as the sparkle that sets reactions from every other character (kings, cousins, friends, lovers and what not) he interacts with. The movie's not too-subtle historical FDR porn (figuratively and, in one jarring scene, literally) breaks no new ground or explores terrain that hasn't been covered already by a metric ton of media (particularly books) except in its relentless focus on the circle of life around FDR as a never-ending soap opera of repressed emotions. Laura Linney is saddled with badly-written and flatly-delivered narration (which commits the cardinal sin of contemporary viewpoints spoken too on-the-nose during a historical recreation), especially when contrasted with the cliche'/stereotypical but hilarious dialogue spoken by the English monarchs (as seen in "The King's Speech"). The too-obvious Oscar bait trappings (a score working overtime to ring emotion being the main offender) hinder, rather than highlight, the movie's good intentions. Pass.
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby Kenneth Morgan » Sun Dec 23, 2012 12:28 pm

Well, as soon as I finish up work, I'll head home for "Fitzwilly" on TCM, followed by "The Bishop's Wife". And, tomorrow night, it's the Alistair Sim "Christmas Carol", followed by Midnight Mass from St. Patrick's. I hope Monsignor Ed Koch will be well enough to attend.
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Sun Dec 23, 2012 3:23 pm

^^^ Don't they televise St. Patrick's Midnight Mass on some local TV channel? I'm pretty sure I've seen it as I've channel surfed the set. And when/where was Koch made Monsignor except a long time ago inside his own bloated ego? ;-)

Saw Sacha Gervasi's HITCHCOCK (2012) in theaters for the first time. Everything that Spielberg's "Lincoln" did right (using a specific/important moment/event of a subject's life that summarizes their life) both "Hitchcock" and "Hyde Park on Hudson" do wrong, particularly inserting a boatload of made-up composite characters speaking with thoughts/words/perspectives informed by the well-chronicled past of their subject matters. At least, like Bill Burray's take on FDR, Anthony Hopkins commits to his Hitchcock impersonation so much you buy it because it's one of the least troublesome aspects about the events/people it reenacts. The more you know about the making of "Psycho" (and anyone posting here or familiar-enough with Hitch's body of work falls in those categories) the more "Hitchcock" will both infuriate and bufuddle you, although personally the liberties taken with the characterizations of Janet Leigh and Vera Miles are a lot less offensive given the movie's many other strikes against it. The 'F This Movie' gang's podcast on "Hitchcock" is a great listen on the subject.
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby Kenneth Morgan » Sun Dec 23, 2012 10:09 pm

J.M. Vargas wrote:^^^ Don't they televise St. Patrick's Midnight Mass on some local TV channel? I'm pretty sure I've seen it as I've channel surfed the set. And when/where was Koch made Monsignor except a long time ago inside his own bloated ego? ;-)


The Mass is televised over WPIX-TV, Channel 11 in NYC. I'm not Catholic, but I like watching it for the music and message.

As for "Monsignor Ed Koch", that's what John Cardinal O'Connor would call him during the Mass when he was introducing the attending dignitaries. My Mom & Dad, who remembered O'Connor when he was Bishop of Scranton (just next to my Dad's hometown of Taylor), got a kick out of that. Mom recommended a book they wrote together, His Emminence and Hizzoner. I have it, but haven't started it yet.

Oh, and did you get to see "Carol for Another Christmas"?
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Sun Dec 23, 2012 10:38 pm

Safely tucked in the DVR. Will watch it on Christmad day along with, no joke, the last five episodes of "Dexter" from this season in a marathon. :o 8)
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Tue Dec 25, 2012 9:55 pm

^^^ Never mind. Circumstances compired to keep me from watching either "Carol" or the "Dexters." To be continued...

Sergio Corbucci's DJANGO (1966) at NYC's Film Forum for the first time. Franco Nero is freaking awesome in what would become his signature role (look for him as a saloon patron during a seconds-long cameo in Tarantino's new "Django Unchanged," for which Franco gets top billing) with Loredana Nusciak's Maria an appropriately sexy Italian babe. Though storywise its iffy at best (and Django often becomes a guest star in his own movie when the good and bad guy stories take over) and it doesn't reach the heights of Corbucci's/Nero's "The Mercenary" (which is a ton of fun and builds on the lessons learned from making "Django") this and Leone's "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly" (along with the other 'Man with No Name' flicks) are the cornerstones of the spaghetti western genre. And, having heard the theme song four times in less than a day (read below), the rather-silly theme song is the type of stuff designed to stay buried in your brain forever. 8)

Michael Heneke's AMOUR (2012) at NYC's Film Forum for the first time. Saw this right before "Django" because... why not? Seriously though, as someone that talked to and saw over Skype how my grandmother's last year of life was reduced to basic end-of-life care carried out by my mother and relatives (and I do mean I saw EVERYTHING over the Skype cam), Heneke's clinical eye and detachment from his subject matter (brought magnificently to life by Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva, with Isabelle Huppert's minor role giving her the best work she's done in years) results in a harrowing viewing experience. At least three times the movie does a scene that had the mostly-packed house sighing or wincing back at once. Alas, the movie's final few scenes betray both the opening scene and the atmosphere of realism Heneke had built over time. It's a testament to how much Trintignant and Riva win you over that "Amour," despite not being able to stick to landing (or doing so in the most obtuse of ways), is still one of the best movies I've seen in 2012.

Quentin Tarantino's DJANGO UNCHAINED (2012) in theaters for the first time. With (a) the original "Django" fresh on my mind and (b) me not fully liking a Tarantino movie since "Jackie Brown" (mostly because they're genre tributes that are too busy paying homage to old movies/styles rather than be their own stories) I can safely say that "Django Unchained" is an absolute blast from start to finish and, yes, a remake that's far superior to the original. Not only is the Cristoph Waltz show back in town and in full force (easily the best actor in a sea of bad-ass character men like Walton Goggins, James Remar, Don Johnson and James Russo, to name a few) but Tarantino actually makes an honest-to-goodness American spaghetti western which, by embracing the slavery storylines often ignored by the period Italian westerns and applying the revenge fantasy element from "Inglorious Bastards," gives the violence and grindhouse appeal a historical context that's both compelling and explosive. What "Goodfellas" was to the 'F' word "Django Unchained" is to the 'N' word, and what Patrick Stewart is to the live-action "X-Men" movies Samuel L. Jackson is to any potential live-action movie version of "The Boondocks." Jamie Foxx starts iffy but, as the movie progresses, his take on Django gets better and by the end you're totally cheering for him. It isn't perfect (DiCaprio overacts, Kerry Washington is given nothing to do and, predictably, the movie stops cold when Quentin shows up on-screen) but damn if "Django Unchanged" is not one of the most violent and entertaining movies of the year, which aren't mutually exclusive.
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby mavrach » Thu Dec 27, 2012 6:45 am

Paul - Meh, not too hot but you could do worse things with your time. Simon Pegg & Nick Frost are underused, and the whole alien thing was exhausted to death in the 90's. There are some fun moments and some welcome performances from folks like Jason Bateman. While it's nowhere close to Spaced, some of the pop culture references had me smiling. And I like that Sigourney Weaver is now making a habit of being voice-only then showing up as the final villain in the last scene (that's a spoiler for another movie ).

Lincoln - Saw this on Christmas day with my parents. It wasn't my first choice, but there was no way I was gonna get them to see Django Unchained[b]. My feelings on it were mixed to good. Many of the actors are too aware of how important the material is and it shows. Too many are making statements as opposed to being actual characters. Sally Field I especially found awful, whenever she was onscreen I felt like I was watching somebody act instead of actually having a character there. That may be because she was usually next to Daniel Day-Lewis, who nailed a historical figure who would've seemed like a caricature if done by any other actor. And I think Tommy Lee Jones has another Best Supporting Actor Oscar coming his way. On a technical level, this movie is perfect. But the story feels too, well, obvious. I felt like it was preaching to the choir, and much of Spielberg's regular manipulations were there. Aside from one exception late in the film, every single black person is making "Spielberg Face." But I couldn't think of a better way to tell this story, that may be the only route to go. I was happy to see the movie grounded in the political machinations and the behind-the-scenes that went on to secure the votes. And I think this movie (along with Schindler's List) should be mandatory viewing for every high school in the country. But as an adult I can't say I'd return to this one much in the future.

[b]Indie Game: The Movie
- Documentary available on Netflix Streaming about the personal perspective of releasing independent video games. It specifically focuses on Fex and Super Meat Boy, and this makes me with I owned an Xbox.

The Long Kiss Goodnight - I saw this a few times when it first came out. It always seems to come up in conversations here, and after the recent Renny Harlin discussions I gave it another day in court. I mostly have the same opinion now that I did then: the movie is enjoyable but not riveting. Geena Davis ends up being surprisingly good as an action hero, and her previous nice girl image works in favor of the story, because at first she's just an ordinary woman. Brian Cox had me in hysterics, I wish he had a bigger role. But in the end I could never totally get behind Harlin's work.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:34 am

Joe Wright's ANNA KARENINA (2012) in theaters for the first time. The weakest Joe Wright/Keira Knightly collaboration yet (and I loved "Pride & Prejudice" and "Atonement") with 'let's pretend its a theater play' vision that it commits to even though it makes the whole endeavor feel messy instead of heartbreaking or elegant. While "AK" rubs in your face how cheap/theatrical it is (the horse race scene in particular), either because of budget or creative thinking, it's jarring to have such a great tale of mad passionate adultery (undercut by Aaron Taylor-Johnson's very effeminite-looking Vronsky... whenever they're together Aaron and Keira seem to be having a contest as to who looks the prettiest) presented as if it was a Broadway show with Baz Luhrman-like camera tricks.

It's not a complete bust though. Dario Marianelli's music is exquisite, Jude Law steals the movie by virtue of playing repressed intellectual jealousy perfectly (he's the closest to a human being in a sea of 'types') and Keira, as expected (and seen in David Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method"), goes all in. There's also a "Black Swan"-type dance sequence that's sensual as hell (even more than the movie's actual sex scenes), but overall "AK" is flashes of brilliance and technical expertise (particularly costume design) amidst too messy an attempt to be unique.

Tom Hooper's LES MISERABLES (2012) in theaters for the first time. I've never seen or heard any movie or theatrical version of "Les Miserables" before so, on first impression, I'm reacting as much to the songs, characters and settings that were all new to me as I am to the movie. As characters, tunes and scenes that have tooled, re-tooled and perfected over decades by numerous casts (theatrical and movies) I was initially blown away by "Les Mis" on-screen. But this particualr version also highlights how little Tom Hooper actually brings that's unique or noteworthy. It's chop-chop and close-up close-up (with an odd two-shot or long-shot once every few dozen CU's), which contrasts sharply with Anne Hathaway's show-stopping performance of "I Dream The Dream." That's the one moment Hooper's CU is both warranted and left alone for minutes, and that's the movie adaptation of "Les Mis" I wanted to see and didn't get. You know you're movie musical is in trouble when you find yourself looking forward to Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter (which normally would be kryptonite) to essentially bring "Sweeny Todd"-type antics to liven-up the emotional flatline that the rest of the character's drama registers.

"Les Mis" at least nails the final couple of scenes (jarring ill-matching CU's of Selena Kyle and Wolverine notwithstanding) and, as a first time "Les Mis" viewer, the whole experience brought me to tears at the end. But that speaks more about the power of the source material than anything Hooper brings to this project other than the certainty this is the early and likely frontrunner for the Oscar race (if the standing ovation/huge applause at the end of my screening was any indication).
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:26 pm

Stanley Tucci's BIG NIGHT (1996) on Amazon On Demand for the first time. A good actor's movie about two Italian brothers in the 1950's struggling to keep their money-losing American restaurant afloat, "Big Night" works in that you end up caring so much about the brothers (Tony Shalhoub's Primo and Tucci's Secondo), their girlfriends (Minnie Driver's Phyllis and Allison Jenney's Ann) and even their rival Pascal (Ian Holm, who somehow sells well that his character is Italian) that your imagination helps you imagine all kinds of bright and happy endings after the rather-depressing one that ends the movie. I really liked the chemistry between Tucci and Shalhoub (and the latter with Allison Janney), Liev Schreiber in the background w/o saying a word, the shot of the restaurant patrons exhausted from eating so well and the whole 'rain outside/inside' scene. I have some issues with how some characters (particularly Marc Anthony) are underdeveloped, one-dimensional and/or just there, camera angles so basic and pedestrian they feel like a filmed stage play for PBS, stereotypical music plays over and over, and Minnie Driver & Isabella Rossellini are severely underused. And definitely don't see "Big Night" with an empty stomach because afterwards you'll want rush to the nearest Italian restaurant and manga to your heart's contest.

Yaron Zilberman's A LATE QUARTET (2012) in theaters for the first time. Like the performance of a difficult Beethoven music piece at the center of the narrative, Catherine Keener, Mark Ivanir and Philip Seymour Hoffman bounce off each other setting sparks as the terrific supporting cast at the service of a great elder-statement performance by a restrained Christopher Walken. "A Late Quartet" mines similar characters/locations as Kenneth Lonergan's "Margaret" (Manhattan's Upper West Side middle-to-upper class intellectuals) but from the POV of middle-aged/older folks and at the service of an honest-to-goodness Douglas Sirk-type melodrama, complete with Angelo Badalamenti's sentimental music sharing space on the soundtrack with Beethoven arrangements. The emotional baggage and personal consequences when an individual sells out his artistic integrity for the benefit (commercial as well as personal) of a group at the heart of "A Late Quartet" isn't a black or white issue since, as a group, the quartet in the movie have gotten so much more out of being together (personally as well as professionally) that the stakes for the performance the whole movie leads up to feel very real. It's a testament to the movie firing on its intended cylinders that it works despite some rather-limited and poorly-masked (by editing and camera angles) inability of the talented cast to properly mimic performing with the instruments they're supposedly good at playing.

Kathryn Bigelow's ZERO DARK THIRTY (2012) in theaters for the first time. As good and well put-together a military docudrama as I've seen, "Zero Dark Thirty's" 2nd half is a pretty tense and atmospheric re-enactment of the well-known details of a news story that isn't even two years old. This is where I felt I got my money's worth for seeing "ZDT," since outside of NBC News CG re-enactments of the mission nobody else but Hollywood will put up the millions to immortalize for posterity the highlight of a years-long mission to avenge the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It's the clinical, detached and impersonal way this story is told though (can't deviate much from the 'computer terminals/satellite surveillance/intersected communications' template that's been done to death already on movies like "Bourne," TV shows like "Homeland" and even videogames like the "Call of Duty" series) that makes Bigelow's work seem fairly easy and pedestrian. Which it isn't, this is a more nuanced attempt to do a realistic military thriller that doesn't lower itself to "Act of Valor" or "Rambo" histrionics. The torture scenes troubled me and made the first half-hour of "ZDT" tough to watch, but they were necessary to at least set the tone for the type of movie Bigelow was aiming for, and falls short of reaching.

In a movie cast with mostly unknowns (to great effect), why would Bigelow cast Tony Soprano in a bad wig as "C.I.A. Director"? No wonder Leon Panetta bad-mouthed the movie, Gandolfini plays Panetta (though technically he's not playing Leon, just a generic movie "C.I.A. Director") like an "intelligent" man that is taken by Maya's strength and determination. And, between this and "Argo," Kyle Chandler is already pigeonholing himself as the go-to 'midlevel-security government stooge' for movies (smart, because Hollywood will always be in need of those types of roles). Jessica Chastain is OK but, clearly by design and probably to emulate the little known facts about the real-life "Jen" that inspired the character, Maya is the most impersonal and cipher-like lead in a Hollywood movie to come down in some time. That might actually mirror reality (not accurately represent it though, since no such thing is ever true in a major motion picture) but also make for an overrated and OK-at-best Best Picture nominee.
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:36 am

François Truffaut's ANTOINE AND COLETTE (1962) on DVD for the first time. If you're a fan of "The 400 Blows," isn't it better to not know and leave up to my imagination what becomes of Doinel than to have Truffaut spell it out to me over four sequels? This 32 min. short made as part of a longer anthology movie, "Love at 20" (currently not available), is a pleasant-enough lark. For every misfire (like a flashback to an inconsequential scene in "400 Blows") there are inspired choices like bringing back Doinel's sidekick René (Patrick Auffay), having Antoine working for a record company to finance his movie-viewing habit and him having a better relationship with the parents of the girl he's pursuing (Marie-France Pisier's Colette) than he has with her. And even though he couldn't possibly afford the cool Paris apartments where he lives I'm glad "Antoine and Colette" presents us with a brighter "future" for Doinel than what the end of "400 Blows" hinted at. 8)

SHREK THE THIRD (2007) on HD-DVD for the first time. The first "Shrek" is one of my favorite and funniest animated flicks of the 2000's, and "Shrek 2" kept the party going and to me still felt fresh, sincere and even character-based. "Shrek The Third" is where the wheels literally come off the franchise before our eyes. John Cleese gets top-billing for next-to-no screen time, which is about as funny as fellow Python Eric Idle's Merlin schtick, as in not at all. Way too many supporting characters from all three movies crowd out Shrek and Fiona from their own movie (which is fine because they're really dull and uninteresting this time around). Eddie Murphy's already-tired Donkey schtick becomes nails-on-chalkboards bad. It's fitting the movie opens and ends (next-to-last scene) with a theater play, since the stakes and staging of gags plus what little story there is (Justin Timberlake's young Arthur taking over the Far Far Away kingdom) feel forced, artificial and just killing time until the movie reaches the 80 min. mark so it can roll credits.

There is some funny stuff in "Shrek The Third" (Larry King as "Doris," Gingerbread Man's weird flash-before-your-eyes montage, Puss in Boot's 'you're royally ____' line, etc.) and the CG animation isn't horrible for a five year old non-Pixar movie. Still, this is the type of disposable animated entertainment that makes you appreciate the likes "Brave" a lot more afterwards.

Leos Carax's HOLY MOTORS (2012) in theaters for the first time. Imagine if Jamie Foxx and the yellow cab in "Collateral" were, respectively, a nice older lady and a big white limousine. And, instead of driving Tom Cruise around L.A. to perform contract hits for an unknown/unseen boss, this vehicle drives a man around Paris to perform contract _____, and we as the audience are the known/seen bosses (set-up by a nice looking-at-the-audience reverse-perspective shot similar to one in Haneke's "Amour").

If Charlie Kaufman and Spike Jonze were French they'd probably be rolled into Leon Carax, and "Holy Motors" would be the tribute to the craft of acting and creating a 'magic movie moment' (an acknowledged-to-be-fake-but-sincerely-performed moment that a collective audience or individual embraces) that "adaptation" was to the art of screenwriting. "Holy Motors" constantly tests its audience with "Duck Amuck"-type Rorschach tests that, rather than confuse, enhance the dream-like state that the movie achieves early and never lets go off without ever being confusing or repellent (like Joe Wright's theater-artifice take on "Anna Karenina" came across). This will make a tremendous double-bill with "Cloud Atlas," except none of the talented actors in that ambitious misfire can hold a candle to the chameleon-like tour-de-force performance by Denis Lavant. And "Holy Motors" raises its own ante by daring the viewer to buy/reject the sincerity and 'magic' that each of its vignettes either achieves or not (it'll be up to each individual viewer to make that call). I've often referred to a perfect casting choice (like Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart in "X-Men") as the best special effect that no computer or special effect technician will ever be able to replicate (something Robert Zemeckis has spent the past decade proving conclusively). "Holy Motors" embraces the joy, sadness and artifice that 'magic movie moments' bring to both performer and audience alike, and we're all the better because of it.
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Sun Jan 06, 2013 9:10 pm

Terry Zwigoff's CRUMB (1994) on TCM-HD's 'TCM Underground' for the first time. If you're a documentary filmmaker with an interesting subject that's cooperative, interesting and honest when talking on-camera (a hat trick few subjects qualify for) your job is practically done. Just point the camera at him/her/them, shoot and then splice the good stuff together. I don't like Robert Crumb, as an artist or as a human being. I don't care for the stuff he draws and his sense of humor. His family though (poster childs all for the ugly underbelly of 50's America normalcy hiding deep. hurtful and ugly truths) and Robert himself are extremely interesting subject matters. Their frankness and openness about who they are along with Zwigoff's excellent use of Crumb's and other artists' artwork (including, in the movie's only heart-warming moment, his then-little daughter) with talking heads to put Crumb's cartoons into perspective makes for two of the freakiest (to me) but engaging hours of documentary filmmakers I've ever seen. The closing credits actually pack an emotional punch, proof that the documentary engaged me even though I didn't know or feel it until it was over.
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby Polynikes » Mon Jan 07, 2013 6:43 pm

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011). I am old enough to have watched the 1979 BBC adaptation with Alec Guinness, and this film is woeful by comparison. Judging by reviews on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes, a large majority of reviewers hold the same opinion. Trying to condense this book into a film is a mistake, because understanding the characters is crucial and a two hour film does not allow the luxury of enough time. Even allowing for this, it was a poor adaptation of the book. Some of the actors did a good job given the limitations of time and the script. Benedict Cumberbatch turned in a performance up to his usual fine standard (although why the writers felt the need to make Guillam gay is mystifying). Unfortunately, I thought Gary Oldman gave a poor portrayal of Smiley, failing to capture the strengths, weaknesses and foibles of the character. Like many others of my generation, I urge you to buy the BBC 1979 series on DVD.

The first 45 minutes of Robin Hood (2010). My children wanted to watch something on another channel, so I let them switch over. Ignoring the absurd liberties taken both with the legend and with history (and I gather these only get worse as the film progresses), the fascination for my wife and myself lay in trying to work out which accent Russell Crowe was going to use scene by scene. I think actors should try to change their accents if possible and if they can do it realistically. Renee Zellwegger was convincingly British in the Bridget Jones films and I am told by Americans that Hugh Laurie sounds as though he was born and bred in the USA in House. However, in Robin Hood Russell seems to delve into a hotchpotch of Irish, Scottish, and "soomwhere oop narth" in England. Hilariously bad. I shall try to get to see the whole thing, because I gather some of the action and landscape scenes have Ridley Scott's usual masterful touch, and I am told that if one can look beyond the awful script and terrible accent, it is an enjoyable romp. In t'meantime, Roossell, keep oop that amazing accent in taam for t'sequel, eh lad?
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Mon Jan 07, 2013 11:13 pm

The English version of Fritz Lang's M (1932) on Criterion Blu-ray for the first time. This alternate version of the seminal serial killer/noir/German expressionism genres is packed as a bonus feature (upscaled to 1080i and unrestored, like the unmolested-by-CGI original version of Mamoru Oshii's "Ghost in the Shell" on Blu-ray... boo!) and, frankly, the subtitled-in-English original German version really is all you need to ever see. Between the altered names, different camera angles for English performances (not as many as I expected) and just how awkward it feels to watch "M" in English, this alternate '32 version introduces distractions to Lang's tightly-constructed narrative/visuals where the original version had none. This curio version though, along with the alternate scenes from the French version, can only help one appreciate what mad thespian skills Peter Lorre could muster in multiple languages. Yes, the best camera angles and more gut-wrenching pathos from Hans Beckert's torment are still in the original version. But to see Lorre come close to matching that intensity and depth of performance in English and French despite Lang having nothing to do with it makes you appreciate the guy even more. It's no Spanish version of "Dracula" but "M" in English is worth seeing at least once.
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby Kenneth Morgan » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:59 am

Polynikes wrote:Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011). I am old enough to have watched the 1979 BBC adaptation with Alec Guinness, and this film is woeful by comparison. Judging by reviews on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes, a large majority of reviewers hold the same opinion. Trying to condense this book into a film is a mistake, because understanding the characters is crucial and a two hour film does not allow the luxury of enough time. Even allowing for this, it was a poor adaptation of the book. Some of the actors did a good job given the limitations of time and the script. Benedict Cumberbatch turned in a performance up to his usual fine standard (although why the writers felt the need to make Guillam gay is mystifying). Unfortunately, I thought Gary Oldman gave a poor portrayal of Smiley, failing to capture the strengths, weaknesses and foibles of the character. Like many others of my generation, I urge you to buy the BBC 1979 series on DVD.


I, too, watched the Guinness version when it was first shown here in the states, and I, too, didn't think much of the new movie. I agree that it seemed far too condensed; a good example of this is when Smiley interrogates Toby Esterhase. In the mini-series, he carefully draws out the truth of what he knows and how he slipped up. In the movie, he basically tells Toby, "Answer me or you're dead." And Hywell Bennett in the mini-series made a much better impression as Rikki Tarr, to say nothing of Ian Richardson and Ian Bannen.
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby Kenneth Morgan » Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:03 am

Not a movie or DVD, but my cable system just added Cozy TV. While I like some of the shows they're featuring (like, "I Spy" and "The Six Million Dollar Man", for example), they make some ill-advised cuts in the shows and have more commercials than the similar-themed and better Antenna TV. One thing I will say in praise of both: they don't have those lousy pop-up adds for other shows that fill up a third of the TV screen, like a lot of other networks have.

Now, if I could only get Optimum to add Retro TV and one other network I heard also shows older series. I think it's called MeTV, or something.
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:13 pm

Peter Jackson's THE HOBBIT (2012) on IMAX High-Framerate 3D for the first time. Though it lacks the humanity and appealing characters from the original "Lord of the Rings" trilogy (many of which guest-star for a few scenes to remind you how good those early 2000's movies were) "The Hobbit" still has an OK supporting rogues to tell its tale, plus it also has Ian McKellen. He's older and frailer (though stand-ins and SFX do a good job to cover it) but damn it if the movie doesn't feel like an old pair of comfortable shoes whenever Gandalf appears. The feel that Jackson & Co. are stretching a short story way beyond its intended length is ever-present, but the technology backing this uber-expensive-but-rousing boy's adventure has progressed to the point they can yield genuine thrills and excitements out a movie where nobody dies. The opening minutes at 48 fps feel like a PlayStation 3 video game cutscene, but by the time we get to the Dwarves' chase inside a mountain (a tour-de-force sequence) you're totally used to it and it feels like a natural extension of the original "LOTR" trilogy's use of then-cutting edge cinematic tools. Why this and "John Carter" didn't clean at the box office together speaks volumes about the power of familiarity.
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby hoytereden » Tue Jan 08, 2013 3:17 pm

Kenneth Morgan wrote:Not a movie or DVD, but my cable system just added Cozy TV. While I like some of the shows they're featuring (like, "I Spy" and "The Six Million Dollar Man", for example), they make some ill-advised cuts in the shows and have more commercials than the similar-themed and better Antenna TV. One thing I will say in praise of both: they don't have those lousy pop-up adds for other shows that fill up a third of the TV screen, like a lot of other networks have.

Now, if I could only get Optimum to add Retro TV and one other network I heard also shows older series. I think it's called MeTV, or something.

I just discovered METV on my system and it's so nice to see the old B&W shows again (with end credits intact!) 8) Hopefully it doesn't take the path that TVLand did and morph into a TBS/TNT/Nik@Nite clone.
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:13 pm

David Chase's NOT FADE AWAY (2012) in theaters for the first time. No movie this year that has left me as infuriated and dazzled (sometimes within the span of the same scene) as this one, a semi-autobiographical tale from the creator of "The Sopranos" about a group of teens growing-up in 1960's New Jersey that form a rock band and want to break into the biz. The young cast is OK but they tend to become ciphers at the service of the 'time warp through the 60's' mixture of musical interludes, TV clips and news of the day; none of the young leads (particularly John Magaro and Bella Heathcote as the central couple) really registers as audience surrogates but, unlike "Zero Dark Thirty," James Gandolfini actually connects as a grown-up parent that loves his children but can't relate to them or their dreams (sound familiar?). It's "That Thing You Do" (with some catchy music courtesy by Steve Van Zandt), "Almost Famous" and "The Color of Money," along with a healthy dose of Chase's pet peeves (social criticism, a passive mother, editing that doesn't follow the expected beats, etc.), that will make one reject or respect "Not Fade Away." It presents characters/themes that don't sugar-coat the hard road to success while also wallowing (especially during a love-it-or-hate-it ending that literally rubs viewers' face in it) into that magical state of mind within any teen from that era to make music, party with friends and enjoy life with its endless possibilities. It'd make an interesting double-bill with Tom Hanks' "That Thing You Do" since, while they're thematically alike, in execution and filmmaer vision they couldn't exist on more vastly separate planes of cinematic existence.
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby Steve T Power » Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:44 pm

The Living Daylights - Been a while since I'd dipped my toe into the pre-Craig Bond waters, even longer since I'd revisited what was once my favorite film in the series (best guess, maybe 2005 or 2006). Dalton definitely brings a darker edge to the role, which contrasts sharply with the slightly more Moore-era tone of the film, but damn is this ever one all encompassing trip. As far as scope goes, this is about as epic as Bond flicks get, going from sleepy Wintertime Austria to Mujaheddin rebels on horseback fighting Russian troops in Afghanistan. The big action in the final act is truly bewildering in scope, and the stuntwork rivals the insanity of Raiders of the Lost Ark on many occasions. I also LOVE Maraym D'Abo in this, one of the most real-world human of the Bond girls, and cute as a button, and I want me that Aston Martin Volante...
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:54 pm

^^^ My favorite Bond flick, and a fitting swan song from the series by John Barry (whose scores remained cherry even during the darkest hours of the Moore regime) in which even the bridges and transitional music are on a class of their own. 8)
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby tucco » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:28 pm

I always imagined that THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS was written for Roger Moore....seems that way doesn't it?
.....I watched DAYLIGHTS and LICENCE TO KILL recently and I am more shocked than ever at how crap LICENCE is. It's so different that I almost think of Dalton as a one-off Bond like Lazenby was
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Thu Jan 10, 2013 5:14 pm

Christopher McQuarrie's JACK REACHER (2012) in theaters for the first time. Holy crap, this is not the movie that TV ads and the trailers were selling... at all. Yes, it's a Tom Cruise star vehicle and, as with "Knight and Day," you wonder why Tom can't take a break from Ethan Hunt in-between "Mission: Impossible" paychecks. With Christopher "Usual Suspects" McQuarrie writing/directing though (from what I presume to be strong source material, as the resident Lee Child reader in my office assures me) and cherry-picked strong supporting players (particularly David Oyelowo, Robert Duvall enjoying himself and Werner Herzog taking one for the team 8)) carrying the slack when Cruise/Reacher smugness comes dangerously close to putting you off the character, the movie is constantly moving and genuinely entertaining. But the story, mystery and police procedural elements of "Jack Reacher" are what seal the deal for me because, even if you can predict some of the twists (mostly from watching too much procedural TV), the actors and direction commit to making the most out of its premise.

It's not perfect (every woman except Rosamund Pike, whose wide eyes remind of a deere caught in headlights, literally swoons for Cruise... in every got damn scene with females in his presence) but I sincerely hope if Cruise doesn't want to do more "Jack Reacher" movies (the character is too good to go to waste because the movie underperformed at the box office) they'll switch actors and keep going. An unexpected and most pleasant surprise.
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby Steve T Power » Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:27 pm

tucco wrote:I always imagined that THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS was written for Roger Moore....seems that way doesn't it?
.....I watched DAYLIGHTS and LICENCE TO KILL recently and I am more shocked than ever at how crap LICENCE is. It's so different that I almost think of Dalton as a one-off Bond like Lazenby was


I agree completely.

As for Daylights itself, I was under the impression that it was a Moore script, and they jiggered it a bit when Dalton came on board.
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby Steve T Power » Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:35 pm

Bad Boys - Yes, the 1995 Michael Bay debut. What a piece of utter garbage. The action was sparse and horrible, the villains were lame, there were way too many shots of will smith running in slo mo with a billowing shirt. What there was of the script was written by a dogs asshole... there are logical fallacies here that makes the Black Hawk chopper ride to Havana from Bad boys II seem like the work of a genius! Then there's that cast; Tea Leoni out Martin Lawrences Martin Lawrence in the annoying and "dumb as shit" category, and when Will Smith, still in 'Fresh Prince' mode is the best thing your flick has going for ya, you are in deep trouble. Lastly, there's that CONSTANTLY INTENSE score, which was an assault on the ear drums. To whomever it was that convinced me that this was actually one of Bay's better flicks, and that I should own it on Blu-Ray - you are dead to me...

After a rough evening, I just wanted a simple cop actioner, and this thing just RUINED my night...
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby hoytereden » Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:13 pm

Steve T Power wrote:Bad Boys - Yes, the 1995 Michael Bay debut. What a piece of utter garbage. The action was sparse and horrible, the villains were lame, there were way too many shots of will smith running in slo mo with a billowing shirt. What there was of the script was written by a dogs asshole... there are logical fallacies here that makes the Black Hawk chopper ride to Havana from Bad boys II seem like the work of a genius! Then there's that cast; Tea Leoni out Martin Lawrences Martin Lawrence in the annoying and "dumb as shit" category, and when Will Smith, still in 'Fresh Prince' mode is the best thing your flick has going for ya, you are in deep trouble. Lastly, there's that CONSTANTLY INTENSE score, which was an assault on the ear drums. To whomever it was that convinced me that this was actually one of Bay's better flicks, and that I should own it on Blu-Ray - you are dead to me...

After a rough evening, I just wanted a simple cop actioner, and this thing just RUINED my night...

I can remember several years back our store had a loop showing, among other films, a clip from Transformers. A young co-worker remarked one time about the genius of Michael Bay for the way he staged the slo-mo action sequences in his films. It was all I could do not to be incredibly rude in my answer to that. ;-)
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:31 pm

David O. Russell's SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (2012) in theaters for the first time. This has to be the most competently done movie (an Academy Award nominee for 2012) that my entire physical/emotional being rejected outright as it was unfolding. Phony, manipulative, acutely-aware-of-its own-existence-as-Oscar-bait and cast with actors (some, like Jennifer Lawarence, better than others) breathing life to quirky screenwriting concoctions instead of recognizable human beings (even the meant-for-counterbalance football fans are barely a step above cartoon characters), Russell covers "Punch Drunk Love" territory and makes his camera dolly, travel, zoom in/out and freaking run to try and add tension and drama where none exists. "Silver Linings Playbook" is actually a neat Hollywood pitch (bipolar attraction between people that cannot be anything less than honest about the way they see the world and each other) in search of a good execution, with actors that disappear into their roles instead of Bradley Cooper or Robert DeNiro engaging in phony pathos/quirky situations. After the past ten or so years I'm beginning to think the David O. Russell of "Three Kings" and "Flirting with Disaster" has gone away for good, and we're all the worse because of it.
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Sat Jan 12, 2013 10:16 pm

Richard Rush's COLOR OF NIGHT (1994) on Amazon on Demand for the first time. After the bad taste left by "Silver Linings Playbook" I so needed a palate cleanser, and this OTT erotic thriller (back when Bruce Willis was a sex symbol for all of five minutes in the mid-90's) about a psychiatrist investigating the murder of his shrink friend amongst the latter's patients was just what the doctor ordered: brain-dead dumb fun. Richard Rush, whose only recent movie prior to directing this was "The Stunt Man" 14 years prior (and hasn't directed a movie since), lets his cast act as if each of them is a different (better?) movie: Willis seems to be in a dramatic version of "Blind Date," Ruben Blades still thinks he's in "Predator 2," Brad Dourif appears to be Hazel Motes from "Wise Blood" on medication, and so on. Who the killer ends up being at the end isn't as important as if "Color of Night" plays the game well, and it mostly does if your tolerance for impossible coincidences and histrionic bad acting (I'm looking at you, Lesley Ann Warren) is sky-high. BTW, was Wes Anderson paying an homage to "Color of Night's" ending with the final action sequence in last year's "Moonrise Kingdom"? Becauses, wow, you know. ;-)
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Tue Jan 15, 2013 1:15 pm

THE DRAGON PAINTER (1919) on TCM-HD for the first time. I haven't watched nearly enough silent movies to claim to have been exposed to all genres, but this star vehicle for Japanese American silent actor Sessue Hayakawa (who also produced it) feels like the first "artsy indie" silent movie I've seen. It's set in Japan, stars Japanese actors and is all about Japanese culture, but "The Dragon Painter" is a 100% American motion picture portraying the madness of talented painter Tatsu (Hayakawa) who is obsessed with a mythical female woman, and what happens to Tatsu's talents when he achieves something akin to a relationship with his mentor's daughter. It's a simple story with simple visual tricks (shades of "Ugetsu's" finale but with a twist) that works despite (a) the lengthiest breaks-for-reading-silent-dialogue cards I've ever seen in a silent flick, (b) Sessue's acting being a little weird (his body acting reminds me of Toshiro Mifune but those crazy eyes of his... yikes!) and (c) the handful of times we see Tatsu's artwork it doesn't live-up to his alleged talent. Nice little silent movie (50 min.) that's introduced me to a silent performer I'd never seen before.

And now, for something completely different from "The Dragon Painter" (the complete opposite actually), we have REVENGE OF THE NINJA (1983) on DVD for the first time. Holy crap, I haven't had this much fun watching a movie in ages. What were they thinking (and smoking) at Cannon Films back in the early 80's? "G.I. Joe" cartoons had more realistic ninja action than this tale of drug dealers using Japanese dolls to smuggle their stuff into the country ('United States,' shown on-camera a couple of seconds after we see a US flag waving). This is such a tone-deaf 80's action flick that does with kids both what you're not supposed to (harm them or worse) and what you can get away with if you're G or PG (kicking a grown-up's ass), but the juxtaposition of the latter with the gory, bloody and violent ninja-on-thug action is one of the many aspects that give "Revenge of the Ninja" its charm. Keith Vitali's Hatcher, the requisite white guy friend that has a secret, looks Will Ferrell; despite the stuntman doing the heavy lifting Hatcher makes for a perfect 80's stereotype. And you gotta love that, at the center of this and many other 80's ninja stuff (particularly the "Master Ninja 1 & 2" episodes of "MST3K"), you have Shô Kosugi. His acting isn't great and his English is iffy but Shô looks like a legitimate bad-ass dude with skills and not a poser. You feel in every action scene (which he also choreographed) and acting moment that Shô is giving his all, and that's a nice counterbalance to the nuttiness director Sam Firstenberg brings to the "ninja" proceedings.

The folks at 'F This Movie' did a commentary track for "Revenge of the Ninja" that, while not the laugh riot we've come to expect from their group commentaries (Patrick Bromley flies solo), is worth a listen just to have an excuse to watch the movie one more time. 8)
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby Ash22 » Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:18 pm

Batman: Year One
Cowboys and Aliens
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby mavrach » Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:29 am

I feel funny copying & pasting from the Facebook group to here, but I'm doing it anyway!

Interview With the Vampire - I'd only seen this once when it first came out, and I'd dismissed it mainly because the casting made it seem more of a female wet dream. Seemingly every beautiful man in 90's Hollywood is present, led by Brad Pitt in his early Legends of the Fall phase, when he seemed to be appreciated more for his flowing hair than for his actual acting ability. And it does take a certain, um, security to watch the movie. That being said, the tone does fit the material, and the aforementioned cast does have the ability to sell their characters as well. Tom Cruise gives a rare performance, which makes me wish his career wasn't 90% "awesome guy" in leiu of more varied characters like here and in Magnolia.

The Edukators - Avoid at all costs. This was randomly added to a friend's Netflix queue and we watched it on a whim. Nothing more than socialist propaganda. I'm ok with hearing out any political perspective, but this forgets to be an actual movie in leiu of being manipulative instead.

Vampires in Havana - An insane animated Cuban movie from the 80's about vampire mobsters. Its low budget is masked by caricature animation. Recommended if you want to see something strange, but it's not for kids.

Casa De Mi Padre - The Will Farrell Spanish movie. It has a certain tonal humor to it, and yes Farrell keeps the Spanish thing going through the entire movie, accent and all. Half the humor comes from his presence trying to be serious. And supposedly if you know telenovelas there's a lot of in-jokes too. I laughed my ass off at this one and will definitely return to it.

Breakfast on Pluto - More Neil Jordan for me! Here's another where from the first few minutes you'd think you'd have it pegged as a quirky comedy, but it goes in its own directions instead. And Cillian Murphy is excellent in everything he's in.

Hard Boiled - Somehow I never saw this. I'd seen most of John Woo's US movies so I never held him in high regard. Needless to say I can't believe this is the same guy who brought us Mission Impossible II. What the hell happened to him? Anyways I've been looking for an action movie that I could enjoy as an adult the same way I did actions movies as a kid growing up, and this one nailed it. Wow!

The Killer - After watching Hard Boiled on a whim and loving it, this got bumped to the top of my queue. Again my view of John Woo has changed. While I always had the impression that his Hong Kong efforts were better movies, I thought they were all fun and crazy like Hard Boiled was. Then I got to The Killer and found a much more serious and contemplative movie. It's still a totally solid action film, but it actually sufferred a bit from differred expectations until I was able to recalibrate myself. I loved it but I'll need a second viewing to really soak it in. Next month maybe I'll buy this along with HB. Also looks like I'll be blind buying A Better Tomorrow I & II because they're not available from Netflix at all. Maybe I can find a box set.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby Dan Mancini » Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:07 am

Ash22 wrote:Batman: Year One

Loved the comic, but boy was the movie dull . . . even though the choice of Bryan Cranston to play Gordon was inspired.
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:34 am

mavrach wrote:I feel funny copying & pasting from the Facebook group to here, but I'm doing it anyway!

The site isn't in the position to turn down any contributions, even if its sloppy seconds. :) What's that Facebook address again?

The English-dubbed version of Jean-Luc Godard's CONTEMPT (1963) on Criterion DVD for the first time. Godard did his damnest, by casting multi-language actors speaking in French, English, Italian and German, to make it nearly-impossible to dub "Contempt" to English. A funny thing happened on the way to the movie getting an English-dubbed release in the States (late '64) though: the dub isn't nearly as laughable or bad as you'd expect. Yes, all the dialogue that Giorgia Moll's Francesca was translating for the other characters is now her own, and some of it is eye-rolling hilarious ('Now we're going to be treated to Jerry's quotations again') but it now elevates the character of Francesca as an equal of sorts to the other four. Also, since Godard's cinema has always been about calling attention to the artifice of movies and "Contempt" is about the making of a movie, all the characters speaking in English is one more layer of artifice (one not done by Jean-Luc himself but, nevertheless, an artifice) into a narrative already chock-full of them. I'm a purist about hearing foreign movies in their native languages, but so far in 2013 "M" and "Contempt" (both of which Fritz Lang at some level) have proven pleasant exceptions to my rule.

As for the movie itself, just WOW! That middle section in the Javals' apartment (a movie-within-a-movie about Paul and Camille's desintegrating marriage) has never felt so alive as it did this morning watching the ballet of camera movements, emotions and attitudes alternating between tender and bitter. The anamorphic compositions also look gorgeous, particularly in the closing sections set in Capri, and it's not all Raoul Coutard's doing since Jean-Luc is responsible for the movie looking as picturesque as it does (meaning that, if he had wanted to, Godard could have gone on to become a great helmer of normal movies). Jack Palance's Prokosch is a caged animal in heat (you can't take your eyes off of him when he's on-screen), Michel Piccoli's devil-may-care Paul denotes a wounded intellectual's pussy-whipped attitude and, against type, Brigitte Bardot's Camille embodies the contradictory existence of her (and the movie's) constant duality. "Contempt" is the closest Godard flirted with mainstream cinema, but, except for the uncalled-for-but-appreciated shots of Bardot's naked butt, it still manages to repel 'average' moviegoers while being the very type of linear, easy-to-follow story Godard went out of his way to dismantle.

Stanley Donen's CHARADE (1963) on Blu-ray for the first time. Ah, to believe there was a time in post-50's American cinema when a character like Audrey Hepburn's Regina Lampert wouldn't know what the acronym "CIA" stood for (meaning and history). This star vehicle for Hepburn and Cary Grant is basically a Paris travelogue adventure with a pretty clever MacGuffin (at least on first viewing), great supporting cast (Walter Matthau, James Coburn, a scenery-chewing George Kennedy, etc.) and the ability to create memorable individual scenes (most involving Hepburn and Grant flirting, although the wake at the church early on is a scream) that trascend the whole and overall substance of "Charade." A pleasant, amusing and dated flick with 60's style to burn (Maurice Binder-designed credits and a Henry Mancini score, 'nuff said) and some pretty snappy dialogue.

Jirí Menzel's CLOSELY WATCHED TRAINS (1966) on TCM-HD for the first time. While it doesn't reach the Czech New Wave heights of "Loves of a Blonde" or "The Firemen's Ball" this political comedy about the sexual impotence and inability to relate to others of a young man (Václav Neckár's Milos, a dead ringer for Michael Cera) trying to keep the family tradition of getting a cushy, easy job working at the train station circa World War II. One can't help but think of The Holocaust when Nazi trains drive by the station (carrying weapons and, every once in a while, german soldiers and hot nurses) as the movie makes a compelling, biting comment on the selfishness and impotence of the Czech citizens during past and then-present foreign occupations. For all its political messages though "Closely Watched Trains" squeezes pathos and comedy out of the human interaction between types (particularly Josef Somr's Hubicka, the horny station supervisor) until, ironically, Milos' awakening as a sexual being and Czech citizen results in dire consequences for all involved. A little too low-key and slow, "Closely Watched Trains" packs a wallop of a finale though.
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby hoytereden » Sat Jan 19, 2013 3:18 pm

Thanks J.M for mentioning BB's butt in Contempt. One of the natural wonders of the world at that time IMO. One of those "You could bounce a dime off it" models. Oh, and the rest of the movie was ok too! :lol:
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby Ash22 » Sun Jan 20, 2013 10:38 am

Dan Mancini wrote:
Ash22 wrote:Batman: Year One

Loved the comic, but boy was the movie dull . . . even though the choice of Bryan Cranston to play Gordon was inspired.


I agree about Cranston who was very convincing as Jim Gordon (right down to the glasses, mustache, and morals).
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Mon Jan 21, 2013 3:58 am

Jacques Tati's JOUR DE FETE (1949) on TCM-HD for the first time. Tati's directorial debut is a charming and hilarious 'couple of days in the life' of a small French town when the annual carnival shows up (which, as someone that partially grew-up in a third-world banana republic small town, can verify to the authenticity of this being a very big deal). Like a screwball version of "The Spirit of the Beehive" (!), the sight of an American movie sends innocent local bike-riding mailman François (Tati, whose look/appearance in this movie Steve Martin literally stole wholesale for the first "Pink Panther" remake) on a frenzy to try and make his laconic mail delivery pace match that of 'the Americans.' "Jour de Fete's" frenetic last half-hour, which builds on the running gags from the first hour (the buzzing fly, the shaky flag pole, the cross-eyed guy, etc.), feels like the missing link between sped-up silent comedy hijinks and "Pink Panther"-sized mayhem. Then "Jour de Fete," like the annual carnival it features, ends like all of Tati's movies do: simply, beautifully, with Jean Yatove's peppy music swelling and the overall feel they don't make movies like this anymore.

THE BAD SEED (1956) on TCM-HD for the first time. Fully committing to not showing much and letting its characters talk and talk and talk on the same location for 110-115 of its 129 minutes (think looong "Twilight Zone" TV episode on a miniscule budget and with a studio-imposed "happy" ending), "The Bad Seed" feels like the 50's warm-up to the 90's "The Good Son." Patty McCormack makes a believable self-centered phony bratt that is equally charming and (potentially) psychopathic, a nice counterbalance to the mopey-beyond-tolerance lead performance by Nancy Kelly. Supporting performances by women are mostly OK (Evelyn Varden and Eileen Heckart stand out) but the men are mostly relegated to passive loafs, and "The Bad Seed" most certainly did not earn its Orson Welles-inspired curtain call. Alas, unlike "The Baby" (see below), the filmmakers wimp out at the end with a cop out finale that robs the next-to-last final scenes of their emotion and power. Still, for 1950's melodrama, you'd expect Nicholas Ray directing and not Melvin LeRoy.

MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE (1971) on TCM-HD for the first time. Like "Scream" for Edgar Allan Poe fans (or people that liked Roger Corman's movie adaptations of Poe movies in the 1960's that don't mind sloppy seconds), this messy and dated but entertaining loose interpretation of the original EAP story owes just as much inspiration to "The Phantom of the Opera" to tell its tale of jealousy, revenge and murder. Herbert Lom is all but reprising his Phantom role from the '61 Hammer version (different character and motives, same overall look and motive) and he makes for a hell of a compelling foe even when he looks/acts like one of the ape men in Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey." Jason Robards and Christine Kaufmann are each in a different movie than the one we're watching though, making for very weak audience surrogates as the leads. Heck, Adolfo Celi (Largo in "Thunderball") is the inspector trying to solve the case but you're half-expecting him to join Michael Dunn for a wacky "Austin Powers" Mini-Me duet. The movie may fall short on logic and resources (Paris looks like the dressed Spanish set it is) but it's seldom dull or uninteresting even as it twists over itself to pull one over our eyes.

THE BABY (1973) on TCM-HD Underground for the first time. Ho--ly fu--cking sh--iiit! Now I've seen everything. This movie (which I'll try to not spoil to let you experience it for yourself... <i>IF YOU DARE!</i>) sounds like the work of perverse and/or sicko grindhouse exploiters, and it partially is. Because of when it was made there's an atmosphere of dread and 70's sleaze that "The Baby's" premise and PG rating only highlight even more. But the actors, which range from cheesy bad (Susanne Zenor's Alba, Michael Pataki) to crazy good (Ruth Roman's matriarch, Anjanette Comer getting weirder as the movie unfolds) to David Mooney in the title role, all fully commit to what is asked for them. Nobody winks or phones it in. It all leads up to whooper of a final scene (which still shakes you even if you can see it coming) that's like a bitter cherry atop a foul-tasting cake baked with sour dough, one that you simply can't look away from (or stop tasting) as "The Baby" unfolds. Saddest personal note: based on the family photo album my baby birthday parties were a lot like the one in the movie except I was normal-sized (well, most of me anyway :shock: ;-)).
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby Polynikes » Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:18 pm

hoytereden wrote:Thanks J.M for mentioning Brigitte Bardot's's butt in Contempt. One of the natural wonders of the world at that time IMO. One of those "You could bounce a dime off it" models. Oh, and the rest of the movie was ok too! :lol:


There is little of Brigitte Bardot's body which one does not see in the excellent The Wicker Man (the original 1973 version with Edward Woodward, not the crass remake with Nicolas Cage). For once, the nudity and eroticism are justified in relation to the plot, and "that scene" is not inserted solely for the pleasure of the male audience - although I do confess the latter is a welcome bonus. Leaving aside male lasciviousness, the 1973 version of The Wicker Man isa brilliant film and still unsettles me now on the umpteenth viewing.
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:23 am

SKY HIGH (2005) on Blu-ray for the first time. At its worst moments (and there are a few) "Sky High" feels, in tone and on-camera execution, like a made-for-TV Disney Channel version of "The Incredibles"-meets-"Kim Possible" hybrid that got a SFX budget bump at the last minute. "Sky High's" ambition is lofty but it didn't have the budget or skilled filmmakers to fully implement them. When it does work though this flick is a ton of fun. It's variations on one joke being repeated over and over with a good message for youngsters (everybody matters) and a handful of exciting set-pieces. Except for Michael Angarano's dopey mug (which wouldn't matter much if Will Stronghold wasn't the ever-present center of the movie) the casting of Sky High's teachers (Lynda Carter, Bruce Campbell's dead-on gym teacher, David Foley's hilarious Mr. Boy) and most of the students (Danielle Panabaker's adorable Layla, Steven Strait's deadpan Warren Peace, etc.) is spot-on and helps you overlook the dated SFX when their characters spring into action. Kurt Russell is OK (ditto Kelly Preston if she were in more scenes) but a few times he mugs the camera when dialing down the intensity was called for. And holy crap, how did they get The Commander baby to make those reaction faces? :-)

"Sky High" isn't perfect but, like its group of heroes (and sidekicks) in training, watching it overcome its limitations and achieve moments of greatness is where most of the fun comes from. It says something about how bad Fox screwed up its Y2K "Fantastic Four" movies that "Sky High" has better "F4"-like heroics with generic knock-offs in supporting/villainous roles than both "F4" movies combined.

Pedro Almadovar's THE SKIN I LIVE IN (2011) on Blu-ray for the first time. If I had watched this in 2011 like I should have it would have definitely made my Top 10 list. Almadovar is firing on all his trademark cinematic cylinders here (visually, stylistic, thematically, colorwise, etc.) except humor, which frankly would be out of place in what amounts to a modern-day gothic Cronenbergian horror tale of obsession, revenge, medical surgery and sexual relationships. It's Almadovar's ability to marry half-a-dozen absurd premises more at home in the script of a Stuart Gordon movie with his erotically-charged style, a memorably moody score by Alberto Iglesias and skillfully evoked memories of horror/mad scientist movies from decades past. The peeled-back-and-out-of-sequence-flashback chronology of how Antonio Banderas' Ledgard (think Dr. Frankenstein but sexier and a little bit saner) and Elena Anaya's Vera (an enigma that's at the core of the entire movie's dramatic structure) entered into each other's lives is helped tremendously by the actors (including supporting one's I'm not mentioning on purpose) giving the pitched-right tones in their performance. Not for the easily offended or squimish despite showing restrain, "The Skin I Live In" would make even Hiroshi Teshigahara proud. 8)
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby hoytereden » Thu Jan 24, 2013 2:18 pm

Polynikes wrote:
hoytereden wrote:Thanks J.M for mentioning Brigitte Bardot's's butt in Contempt. One of the natural wonders of the world at that time IMO. One of those "You could bounce a dime off it" models. Oh, and the rest of the movie was ok too! :lol:


There is little of Brigitte Bardot's body which one does not see in the excellent The Wicker Man (the original 1973 version with Edward Woodward, not the crass remake with Nicolas Cage). For once, the nudity and eroticism are justified in relation to the plot, and "that scene" is not inserted solely for the pleasure of the male audience - although I do confess the latter is a welcome bonus. Leaving aside male lasciviousness, the 1973 version of The Wicker Man isa brilliant film and still unsettles me now on the umpteenth viewing.

I believe it's Britt Ekland in The Wicker Man, not BB. I know the scene you refer to and..... :D
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby Polynikes » Thu Jan 24, 2013 4:06 pm

hoytereden wrote:
Polynikes wrote:
hoytereden wrote:Thanks J.M for mentioning Brigitte Bardot's's butt in Contempt. One of the natural wonders of the world at that time IMO. One of those "You could bounce a dime off it" models. Oh, and the rest of the movie was ok too! :lol:


There is little of Brigitte Bardot's body which one does not see in the excellent The Wicker Man (the original 1973 version with Edward Woodward, not the crass remake with Nicolas Cage). For once, the nudity and eroticism are justified in relation to the plot, and "that scene" is not inserted solely for the pleasure of the male audience - although I do confess the latter is a welcome bonus. Leaving aside male lasciviousness, the 1973 version of The Wicker Man isa brilliant film and still unsettles me now on the umpteenth viewing.

I believe it's Britt Ekland in The Wicker Man, not BB. I know the scene you refer to and..... :D


You are right, of course it is Britt Ekland! Sheer absent-mindedness on my part. Apologies for my error.
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby Dan Mancini » Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:58 am

Polynikes wrote:
hoytereden wrote:
Polynikes wrote:
hoytereden wrote:Thanks J.M for mentioning Brigitte Bardot's's butt in Contempt. One of the natural wonders of the world at that time IMO. One of those "You could bounce a dime off it" models. Oh, and the rest of the movie was ok too! :lol:


There is little of Brigitte Bardot's body which one does not see in the excellent The Wicker Man (the original 1973 version with Edward Woodward, not the crass remake with Nicolas Cage). For once, the nudity and eroticism are justified in relation to the plot, and "that scene" is not inserted solely for the pleasure of the male audience - although I do confess the latter is a welcome bonus. Leaving aside male lasciviousness, the 1973 version of The Wicker Man isa brilliant film and still unsettles me now on the umpteenth viewing.

I believe it's Britt Ekland in The Wicker Man, not BB. I know the scene you refer to and..... :D


You are right, of course it is Britt Ekland! Sheer absent-mindedness on my part. Apologies for my error.

The full-body shots were a body double hired without Ekland's knowledge (she'd only agreed to go topless). Apparently, Ekland was pissed when she found out about it.
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby Gabriel Girard » Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:52 am

J.M. Vargas wrote:
mavrach wrote:I feel funny copying & pasting from the Facebook group to here, but I'm doing it anyway!

The site isn't in the position to turn down any contributions, even if its sloppy seconds. :) What's that Facebook address again?


https://www.facebook.com/groups/346708228752891/
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:43 pm

^^^ Rats, you can't see the page without logging onto Facebook and I don't have an account. :(

Jean Vigo's (and Boris Kaufman's) A PROPOS DE NICE (1930) on Criterion Blu-ray for the first time. My first Vigo, and it's interesting to see a movie so old (basically a short silent avant garde 'day in the life' documentary with clearly-noted staged elements) whose technique feels so modern and contemporary. Everything from the sped-up photography of "Koyaanisqatsi" and "Baraka" to the stand-out-in-the-middle movement montage of "La jetée" and tilted/handheld/out-of-focus cinema verite technique trick is packed into 23 bustling minutes. Watching "À propos de Nice" twice in a row you appreciate that, within the seemingly innocuous peek at all kinds of people and things in the city of Nice (mostly the very rich, the really poor, the really wasted, the really weird and the very naked), Vigo (and Kaufman) sprinkles cinematic oddities and quirks that give it its own particular spark. My personal favorites: manhole-looking-up cam, the flip-side of the high-above-looking-down aerial shots that start the documentary.

J.J. Abrams' MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III (2006) on HD-DVD for the first time. Back before Abrams directed only outer space movies with the word "Star" in them (coming soon: J.J. directed remakes of "A Star Is Born," "Star Chamber" and "Starman") he made humble, small little films like the $150 million budgeted third installment of Cruise's action series. Before seeing "M:I III" I felt like a dummy for seeing the fourth "MI" movie before because it seemed like Ethan Hunt's wife character (Michelle Monaghan) was a big deal. Except for one really toching scene at the rooftop of the hospital she works at though (Cruise is also good in that for one brief moment he comes across as a human being) turns out Julia was just as generic and useless a 'type' (no resemblance to human beings allowed) as everybody else in the series. Jonathan Rhys Meyers is particularly shallow and generic ('who are you?' came to mind every time he appeared) while Philip Seymour Hoffman is in rare form phoning in his bad guy schtick. While the stakes-free action pieces in the middle look good and are well made (shades of the better "Alias" episodes throughout though, and the "True Lies"-stolen bridge shootout underwhelms big time) "M:I III" is book-ended by one of the worst teaser prologues (I'd rather have the words 'X DAYS EARLIER' plastered) and insulting final 15 minutes I've ever had to sit through in an action film, which is saying something. The series (and Cruise) bounced back in "Ghost Protocol" and it's nice that each "MI" movie looks and feels different, but except for the Vic Armstrong-supervised stunt work (which is aces) this is the most generic and vanilla of the "MI" movies to date.
'You can't make chicken salad out of chicken s***'
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J.M. Vargas
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Re: 2012-2013 WINTE(nd of the world!??)R Watching Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:49 am

hoytereden wrote:Thanks J.M for mentioning BB's butt in Contempt. One of the natural wonders of the world at that time IMO. One of those "You could bounce a dime off it" models. Oh, and the rest of the movie was ok too! :lol:
I'm as hetero as they come but, since Godard didn't want BB's butt (it's only there at the behest of the studio chiefs), I think "Contempt" would be better off without them just as "Psycho" would be the perfect movie without the shrink at the end explaining everything. It's the creativity with which JLG shoots the butt (at one point just lingering on the damn thing for no reason) that I admire more than the butt itself, so WOW to both of them. :lol:
'You can't make chicken salad out of chicken s***'
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