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Last Movie You Watched 
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
While I do think the NotLD remake is generally inferior, it does make one major improvement by treating Barbara as a thinking, acting human being instead of a comatose wreck. That's the most embarrassing and badly dated shortcoming of the original.

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Sun Mar 09, 2014 10:49 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
Night of the Living Dead (1990)

The original Night is one of the greatest horror films ever. That is not in dispute. However, I'd never seen the remake, so I decided to have a go of it. Director Tom Savini tries to stay true to the feel of the original, but this is undone by a few things. First, Night is very much a product of its time. The racial and social commentary elements of the film weren't as relevant in 1990, and are largely excised. However, this has the effect of making the film mostly about people arguing. This is the film's second misstep; in Romero's original, Cooper's character was driven out of concern for his family. In this film, he's just an asshole. Finally, if there is ever a film that needs to be in black and white, it's Night of the Living Dead. The B/W, to me, has always seemed to heighten the tension. This film is in color, and I think it loses a little something because of it.

So what you have is the story, but not the things that make it a great story.


Also, the attempts at commentary (In which the characters basically say "Look! They're us and we're them!") come across as particularly ham-handed

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Sun Mar 09, 2014 10:53 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Ken wrote:
While I do think the NotLD remake is generally inferior, it does make one major improvement by treating Barbara as a thinking, acting human being instead of a comatose wreck. That's the most embarrassing and badly dated shortcoming of the original.

Absolutely agreed, Barbara in the original film has to be one of the absolute worst female characters of all time, she was incredibly obnoxious and irritating to the point where I was begging for her to get killed every time she opened her mouth. Ironic that the original film made strides in having a well-rounded black character, but had a horribly backwards female character.

I thought the commentary worked fine, for me it came across better then the attempts at commentary in Dawn Of The Dead(the whole shoppers = zombies parable didn't really work for me).


Sun Mar 09, 2014 10:56 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
Night of the Living Dead (1990)

The original Night is one of the greatest horror films ever. That is not in dispute. However, I'd never seen the remake, so I decided to have a go of it. Director Tom Savini tries to stay true to the feel of the original, but this is undone by a few things. First, Night is very much a product of its time. The racial and social commentary elements of the film weren't as relevant in 1990, and are largely excised. However, this has the effect of making the film mostly about people arguing. This is the film's second misstep; in Romero's original, Cooper's character was driven out of concern for his family. In this film, he's just an asshole. Finally, if there is ever a film that needs to be in black and white, it's Night of the Living Dead. The B/W, to me, has always seemed to heighten the tension. This film is in color, and I think it loses a little something because of it.

So what you have is the story, but not the things that make it a great story.


Also, the attempts at commentary (In which the characters basically say "Look! They're us and we're them!") come across as particularly ham-handed


Absolutely. I mean, that's the point of the story, but Romero's original is so good that you don't need it to be said. I suppose that since Vietnam had been over for 15 years by the time of the remake, the filmmakers thought people needed to be reminded.

And to take note of what Ken said, the character of Barbra is without a doubt an improvement. But Romero had already made that improvement in Dawn and Day, so here it is a bit more redundant.

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Sun Mar 09, 2014 11:34 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Ken wrote:
We don't have B-movies anymore. A B-movie is a weak movie that gets paired with a strong movie in a double feature. And like double features, B-movies are a thing of the past.

I know that's a nitpick, but you nitpicked first.


The term B-movie has never been restricted to the bottom half of a double feature. It's a lower-budget genre picture with B-list actors. That's it, and we still have plenty of those. I will say, I worry their days may be numbered, but not dead quite yet.

La Ronde

This is a great, underrated Max Ophuls movie. Like most of his others, it has a gimmicky structure, but it holds up well with its frank acknowledgement of sexual conquests. This movie's main flaw may be that it has no central character, but for 90 minutes it really works. It really doesn't feel like a 1950s movie; more like an indie you'd see at a film festival in the 90s, or now. It has that almost too-cute self-awareness. But it's cool. I feel it adds a lot to my understanding of Ophuls.


Mon Mar 10, 2014 12:31 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
MGamesCook wrote:
Ken wrote:
We don't have B-movies anymore. A B-movie is a weak movie that gets paired with a strong movie in a double feature. And like double features, B-movies are a thing of the past.

I know that's a nitpick, but you nitpicked first.


The term B-movie has never been restricted to the bottom half of a double feature. It's a lower-budget genre picture with B-list actors. That's it, and we still have plenty of those. I will say, I worry their days may be numbered, but not dead quite yet.

La Ronde

This is a great, underrated Max Ophuls movie. Like most of his others, it has a gimmicky structure, but it holds up well with its frank acknowledgement of sexual conquests. This movie's main flaw may be that it has no central character, but for 90 minutes it really works. It really doesn't feel like a 1950s movie; more like an indie you'd see at a film festival in the 90s, or now. It has that almost too-cute self-awareness. But it's cool. I feel it adds a lot to my understanding of Ophuls.


I like La Ronde a bunch too. Gimmicky for sure, but in service of greater meaning methinks

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Mon Mar 10, 2014 5:39 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
It's a gem which deserves more attention for sure.

Strange Cargo

Great movie! Well, almost. Another gem that deserves a lot more attention, this is a Clark Gable/Joan Crawford flick from 1940, directed by Frank Borzage. It seems Borzage certainly deserves more in-depth analysis than the "hopeless romantic" label he often gets stuck with. He's also a superb craftsman and storyteller with an ability to draw the viewer in which I think transcends the more outdated aspects of his movies. This one is best if you don't know what it is going into it. It's a surprisingly dense film, with a lot more supporting characters than I would have expected. I feel that the ending could have been stronger, and more powerful had it been bleaker. The reason why the conceit,
[Reveal] Spoiler:
involving a Christ-like stranger


feels so surprising is because this type of movie (which could have been a generic prison break yarn) is the last place I would expect to see it. Also because Borzage keeps the true conceit obfuscated for just about as long as he can, giving the film a tinge of Psycho-like revelation. It's a fascinating movie, my favorite kind of "weird flick." I hope to discover more older movies which are subversively weird. Thanks, calvero, for the recommendation.


Mon Mar 10, 2014 7:28 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Though not technically the last movie I watched, here's something on The Lost Honor of Katarina Blum.

In the midst of paranoia around the RAF, housekeeper Katharina Blum is in the unfortunate position of (very quickly) having fallen in love with Ludwig Götten, suspected bank robber and RAF activist. Radical, if you like. Terrorist, if you are a member of the police. After a one night stand, the police descend on Blum and under the presumption of her political associations with Götten attempt to disclose the whereabouts of the mysteriously missing activist. The tabloid media, here called The Paper, runs with the story and so begins the destruction of Blum's life with spurious claims of her political leanings, assassination of her character and those of her employer, and onward until she's left a shell of a person.

Told in bold strokes, the movie can't be accused of subtlety although it can't be accused of being a deeply political film so much as a very good media criticism; the tabloid journalist at the center may be a sniveling evil bastard, but the effects of his lies and distortions are such that I was immediately transported to 2014 where sniveling evil bastards are the mainstream, character assassination is not just for the supermarket tabloids, and being tried in the press is something that we've come to expect. Given that the 'comments' section of major news sites are overrun by uneducated and uninformed, though deeply opinionated, monsters it's almost the Good Ol' Days in 1975's West Germany.

I won't pretend expertise in the RAF outside what I've come across in articles and a surprising amount of contemporary fiction (American authors like to romanticize 1960s/70s European radicalism) but I don't have to pretend anything when it comes to American paranoia in the 21st century. With tabloid-quality reporters ruling the airwaves, so many so-called experts no more than a bitchier and far more serious Walter Winchell, and that horrible human being known as Nancy Grace (she sometimes calls herself Dr. Oz)... well, pardon the digression.

I like a movie that picks a side and doesn't back down from ruthlessly clawing at the eyes of a foul press. The press deserves it. It's hard no to be satisfied, really seriously happy, when Blum finally acts on her growing hatred. Even the epilogue, a fuck-up that shouldn't have been filmed (and with a fur coat from the costume department... oh lord), made me want to kick in doors and start punching reporters. The movie isn't all screed, no matter what this may read as. It's also the compelling story of housekeeper Katharina Blum, starry-eyed with love and powerless to change her course.

One last thing: the tabloid stooge, played by an actor that looked weirdly familiar, was the same guy that stitched three humans together in The Human Centipede. The characters weren't really all that different.

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Tue Mar 11, 2014 2:25 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Mr. Peabody and Sherman is a thoughtful exploration of child-raising techniques, young love and the role that dogs have played in history. It's really quite an educational experience. Bad pun alert. (7.5 of 10).

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Tue Mar 11, 2014 10:24 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Shane: What an awful, awful movie. Boring, inane, horribly acted, unwatchable trash. 0.5/4

300: Rise of an Empire: Bloody good fun! I loved it! 3/4

The Wind Rises: Magic! If this is indeed Miyazaki's swan song, it is a good one! 3.5/4

Blue Caprice: 90 minutes of self-indulgent crap. Can we please get rid of filmmakers who are trying to be artsy just to appeal to the Sundance crowd? You're not cool or hip, and your movies blow. And because it's meant to stroke the ego of the director rather than tell an honest story, it's insulting to the victims of the Beltway snipers and their families. 0.5/4

I reviewed all of them in length on my website.

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Wed Mar 12, 2014 3:55 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
The Man Who Wasn't There

Somehow I never got around to this until now. Completely blown away and moved by it. The noir anti-hero in films from the 40s and 50s was never really portrayed as a taciturn, ultra-lonesome, quasi-sociopathic introvert, and this movie makes me wonder why. Despite being loners, those characters were still pre-007 charmers brimming with charisma. But Ed Crane, even though his name is almost too blunt an allusion, feels real, sad, and relatable. Moreso, IMO, than Travis Bickle. I was really drawn into this story in a way that I haven't been for any movie in a little while. It does have its degree of suspense, and the craftsmanship is astonishing. I think the Coens and Deakins outdo Kubrick and others for sheer technical prowess. I also think this is one of their most emotional movies. It's sad and powerful. Some of the Coen movies leave me a little cold, but this one was just the opposite all the way through.

Inside Llewyn Davis

I was underwhelmed by this, as I gather many others were. For one thing, Billy Bob Thornton's performance got to me in the earlier film. Oscar Isaac's didn't. I just don't think this guy's acting is up to the task. He fares badly when compared to Michael Stuhlbarg as well. He reminds me a lot of Adam Goldberg, but I feel he never got to the point of likeability and just missed being highly interesting. I liked the first half for the most part, didn't care much for the second. I thought it was too somber and depressive, even compared to their bleaker movies. The threads didn't tie together in the end like they usually do in a Coen movie. Still, even without Deakins, the cinematography is astonishing and unreal. Great use of what I guess are lens filters. And I like the interpretation some people have that the Coens are imagining what it would be like without each other. But the script is unwieldy and just doesn't come together.


Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:19 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Huh. Interesting that, if you snipped or changed a few names/words here and there, these two reviews could have been switched to describe my feeling for the other movies (Davis sad and powerful, The Man underwhelming, etc.). Still, the different reactions, both emotional and thematic, that many find in their films are what make the Coens so unique. Most of their films can be easily and understandably chosen as one's personal favorite.


Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:39 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
MGamesCook wrote:
The Man Who Wasn't There

Somehow I never got around to this until now. Completely blown away and moved by it. The noir anti-hero in films from the 40s and 50s was never really portrayed as a taciturn, ultra-lonesome, quasi-sociopathic introvert, and this movie makes me wonder why. Despite being loners, those characters were still pre-007 charmers brimming with charisma. But Ed Crane, even though his name is almost too blunt an allusion, feels real, sad, and relatable. Moreso, IMO, than Travis Bickle. I was really drawn into this story in a way that I haven't been for any movie in a little while. It does have its degree of suspense, and the craftsmanship is astonishing. I think the Coens and Deakins outdo Kubrick and others for sheer technical prowess. I also think this is one of their most emotional movies. It's sad and powerful. Some of the Coen movies leave me a little cold, but this one was just the opposite all the way through.


This film could belong in my criminally under-appreciated Coens v Events beyond your control thread.

Difference between Ed and Larry/the dude/Llewelyn Moss is that rather than facing a cluster-fuck of events that turn his life upside down, Ed is slowly but surely rubbed out of reality by his own passiveness, which is illuminated by some of the loud and oafish arseholes around him. Gandolfini, Jon Polito and even his own wife provide varying contrasts to Ed's basically non-existent existence.

Whether the film is a warning against such passiveness may be an over-simplification on my part. But that aside, a very decent move indeed.

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Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:09 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
I need to rewatch that film. I remember loving it a lot, but I haven't seen it in several years.

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Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:40 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
The Angels' Share is the percentage of alcohol that is lost to evaporation as it's aged in barrels (2% per year according to the movie), but also the skimming that makes for a better life. This is my second Ken Loach movie, his second most recent, The other is his second film Kes, so I'm hitting him at both ends of his career.

The Angels' Share is a caper film and a comedy, but more substantial than that suggests. We have Robbie, a thuggish youth who has a history of violence, has inherited a feud from his father's generation, and also is a new father with the help of the lovely Leonie, and is desperate to become a worthy father. Unfortunately, this requires an occupation, which is kind of difficult to get if you have a criminal record and are sentenced to community service.

Fortunately, Robbie has a Community Service Officer who, between community service stints, takes his charges on field trips, including one to a brewery, where Robbie discovers an unexpected talent as taste-tester of fine liquors. Which puts him in a unique position because of a legendary and extremely rare scotch that is coming up for auction. One that is so rare and so exquisite that it may well sell for over a million pond for one barrel. And if Robbie and cohorts can manage to hijack some of it...

Okay, this is not as serious as Kes, but I really liked it. Robbie (Paul Brannigan, reminding me of a young, scruffy Robert Carlysle) and Leonie (Siobhan Reilly) make a delightful couple, and the film suffers during a long central section during which she's vanished, presumably either to nurse the baby or to avoid her pointing out all the flaws in her lover's plans. There's a tour of a brewery that I found interesting and fun (and our host very sexy), which forced me to go out and buy a bottle of scotch (at a much lower price). There's a funny scene where Robbie and his cohorts are sampling scotches like wine tasters at a competition.

And, unlike Kes, you don't need subtitles! (9 of 10, with the help of cheap scotch)

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Thu Mar 13, 2014 1:50 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Fish Tank (2009)*

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This is an uncomfortably real film to watch. And not just because of the real/bleak cinematography, tragic dress-sense of the protagonists, or general vibe of council estate voyeurism. It stacks up the multiple ways in which slightly better off people (all things considered) can exploit those on the bones of their arse.

Katie Jarvis (who as far as I can tell hadn't been heard of before or since this film) plays an angst-ridden 15 year old girl (Mia) who scratches out a materially and emotionally deprived existence on a high-rise project in the outskirts of London. Her Mum, who it appears is only about 10 years older than her, is a stereotypical selfish, cock-hungry estate bike, who treats both the chief protagonist and her younger sister as inconveniences to her low-rent party lifestyle.

Mia's life changes when her Mum's latest fella turns out to be a charming and handsome low-life chancer called Connor (played by Michael Fassbender sporting his bona fide Irish accent).

Mia is fascinated by Connor. He provides a deep contrast to the lower-level losers that constitute the rest of the local male population. Firstly he has a job, not a great one, but he isn't at the remote and impersonal mercy of state charity, which is nothing short of phenomenal given Mia's environment. He has a car, a living, a semblance of functionality, doesn't seem overly dependent on substances, and most importantly he looks a bit like a film star (Michael Fassbender in fact, albeit with scruffy hair).

What's uncomfortable here for me is, I can see Connor's mind working.

It transpires that Connor isn't what he claims to be. He actually has a family already, and is part of what you might call the aspiring middle-classes. His adventure into the lives of Mia and her family is just that - an adventure! A fuck of the month project - 2 for the price of 1 - as through various manipulations, he lands both Mia's Mum and then Mia herself.

His exploitation of Mia is a crude, but not unrealistic, composite of the way her and her Mum have been, and will continue to be, exploited their whole lives. It's hard-hitting and very well acted. But there are problems.

The Direction leans heavily into the poverty-porn territory that we saw taken to its literal zenith in Precious. In fact its early scenes look like they're trying to directly compete in these stakes. It takes skill and subtly to direct extreme environments like this, and in a scramble to prove how deprived parts of the UK are, this clearly overlaps into what I would depravity voyeurism. Pointing a camera at filthy high-rise flats and a mangy horse tethered to a rock ain't enough on its own. Give us a metaphor or something to work with.

I don't want to hit on Fish Tank too hard. I enjoyed much of it. Most of it even. The sum is greater than the parts, and the message (for want of a better word) is not patronising, sugar-coated nor unrealistic. These people exist on the fringes, and many of their lives have been, are, and will be condemned by their environments. Whilst society is figuring out methods and gimmicks to make things better for these outliers, let's not (metaphorically and actually) fuck with them.

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Thu Mar 13, 2014 6:34 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
The Sixth Sense

I went into this knowing the main twist. I didn't see it until now primarily because of it getting primarily bad (such as JB's) to mediocre reviews when it came out. However, my current partner recommended it very much and thus it kind of became inevitable for me to see it.

I'm not sure it deserved an oscar nomination or a place on the AFI's top 100 list, but it was much better than I expected given what I had initially read about it and again yes, I knew the twist. I kind of actually miss movies like this, that actually bother to deliberately slow the pace down and allow the atmosphere and characters to breath. Sure there are a few moments that could have been trimmed and a few scenes that are a little awkward but there's also a lot here to admire. Maybe it's seeing it this in an era where movies are sped up to the point of exhaustion but it was nice to see something that was fairly appropriately paced for it's subject matter (essentially an old fashioned ghost story).
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Thu Mar 13, 2014 10:30 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Grand Hotel (1932)

For a good long while, the film coasts along on its star power and gorgeous location, and not much else. Which is ok, because everyone seems to have a grand (and often hammy) time doing the film. But then the third act turns its characters richer and the initially bubbly tone grimmer than I expected, ending things on a pretty haunting note. The structure of strangers' lives intersecting is also entertaining even in its early form, with the highlight being the delightful turns by John Barrymore and Joan Crawford. 7.5/10


Fri Mar 14, 2014 11:25 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Quote:
I didn't see it until now primarily because of it getting primarily bad (such as JB's) to mediocre reviews when it came out.


uh, it got mostly great reviews when it came out. JB was in the minority. 85% on RT.

was one of the bigger word of mouth hits of the last 15 years.


Fri Mar 14, 2014 12:06 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Keep the River on Your Right

This documentary film follows a man as he returns to visit the tribe of native Peruvian cannibals he befriended over four decades prior. I was interested in this because I thought it would shed some light on a different culture, but it only does that slightly. The center of the film, Tobias Schneebaum, is not a terribly interesting guy, or at least he doesn't come off as such. The experiences he's had are interesting, but the film doesn't focus enough on them; about half the film is him complaining about old age (this is kind of humorous, as Schneebaum is a walking Jewish stereotype - think Woody Allen times 100). But this film is not what it could have been. Disappointing.

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