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James Kunz watches movies his forum friends recommend 
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Post James Kunz watches movies his forum friends recommend
Hey so I figured I would start up a thread to tell you all what I thought of the movies you filled my queue with. Feel free to join in on the discussion--this isn't just for me and the recommender.

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Sun Sep 04, 2011 10:13 pm
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Post Re: James Kunz watches movies his forum friends recommend
Movie: Cell 211

Recommender: Numerous, forgotten

Rating: *** (/4)

I fucking love prison movies. The milieu is just inherently interesting. So I went into Cell 211 expecting to like it, and I wasn't disappointed. The story jumps right into its interesting premise (prison guard is caught up in riot, but the prisoners don't know he's a guard) and develops a good relationship between the lead prisoner, an imposing figure named Malamadre, and the quick-thinking guard, Juan. The story develops organically from there, does a good job building up excitement, and doesn't fall back into formula at the end. Despite some qualms, listed below, it's a worthy film.

Issues I had with the film:
[Reveal] Spoiler:
The character of Juan's wife is used in a really plot-devicey fashion. She shows up outside the prison conveniently in order to be beaten to death in a riot (outside the prison? Huh?) so that our hero Juan can experience a dramatically-potent case of Stockholm Syndrome. The whole sequence felt very forced and scripted, and took me out of the moment. In addition, I felt the director violated the "show don't tell" doctrine a few times in a nonsensical manner, such as not showing us Juan's body at the end but having a prison guard tell us he's dead. Why? It's far less effective.


Still, despite my issues, it was a worthy first suggestion by my bewubbed Reelviewers, whoever they were.

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Sun Sep 04, 2011 10:23 pm
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Post Re: James Kunz watches movies his forum friends recommend
JamesKunz wrote:
Movie: Cell 211

Recommender: Numerous, forgotten

Rating: *** (/4)

I fucking love prison movies. The milieu is just inherently interesting. So I went into Cell 211 expecting to like it, and I wasn't disappointed. The story jumps right into its interesting premise (prison guard is caught up in riot, but the prisoners don't know he's a guard) and develops a good relationship between the lead prisoner, an imposing figure named Malamadre, and the quick-thinking guard, Juan. The story develops organically from there, does a good job building up excitement, and doesn't fall back into formula at the end. Despite some qualms, listed below, it's a worthy film.

Issues I had with the film:
[Reveal] Spoiler:
The character of Juan's wife is used in a really plot-devicey fashion. She shows up outside the prison conveniently in order to be beaten to death in a riot (outside the prison? Huh?) so that our hero Juan can experience a dramatically-potent case of Stockholm Syndrome. The whole sequence felt very forced and scripted, and took me out of the moment. In addition, I felt the director violated the "show don't tell" doctrine a few times in a nonsensical manner, such as not showing us Juan's body at the end but having a prison guard tell us he's dead. Why? It's far less effective.


Still, despite my issues, it was a worthy first suggestion by my bewubbed Reelviewers, whoever they were.


Not sure how much you love TV shows, but if you love prison films, you should really check out the first two seasons of Oz. A show I actually decided to stop viewing midway through the fourth season (for now, at least), just because it is a draining viewing experience due to the utter bleakness it contains. But those first two seasons are just something else. Phenomenal melodrama.

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Sun Sep 04, 2011 10:28 pm
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Post Re: James Kunz watches movies his forum friends recommend
I can't remember for sure if I pointing you in this direction, but I did like it.

I had about the same issues with it as you did. I really enjoyed Luis Tosar's performance as Malamadre. Otherwise...

[Reveal] Spoiler:
I agree that killing the wife in that way was silly, not least because I wasn't sure if we were supposed to believe she was dead at first or not. She was a useful character in a plot-sense, but didn't need to be onscreen as much as she did -- all we had to know was that he loved her. The end might have been more haunting if he hadn't killed the guard but had still died at the end.



It's just about inevitable that this was getting an American remake. I can live with that. What I can't live with is that Paul Haggis is directing/rewriting. There's not really any movies that Haggis is the right choice for, but in this case, I'm beyond skeptical. I recall you liked The Next Three Days more than I did, James, but the original of that film was certainly tighter a more hard-boiled...if Haggis drags his remake out and inserts racial stuff, I'll stay away...


Sun Sep 04, 2011 10:33 pm
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Post Re: James Kunz watches movies his forum friends recommend
Shade wrote:
I can't remember for sure if I pointing you in this direction, but I did like it.

I had about the same issues with it as you did. I really enjoyed Luis Tosar's performance as Malamadre. Otherwise...

[Reveal] Spoiler:
I agree that killing the wife in that way was silly, not least because I wasn't sure if we were supposed to believe she was dead at first or not. She was a useful character in a plot-sense, but didn't need to be onscreen as much as she did -- all we had to know was that he loved her. The end might have been more haunting if he hadn't killed the guard but had still died at the end.



It's just about inevitable that this was getting an American remake. I can live with that. What I can't live with is that Paul Haggis is directing/rewriting. There's not really any movies that Haggis is the right choice for, but in this case, I'm beyond skeptical. I recall you liked The Next Three Days more than I did, James, but the original of that film was certainly tighter a more hard-boiled...if Haggis drags his remake out and inserts racial stuff, I'll stay away...


I actually haven't seen either version of the Next Three Days, as it so happens. As I was watching this one though, I could feel the Hollywood remake coming. I wonder how they'll work the ETA angle though...we don't have political prisoners in America like that

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Mon Sep 05, 2011 8:33 am
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Post Re: James Kunz watches movies his forum friends recommend
Cool thread, James. I do believe the recommendation came via this forum's smoothest operator, Shadé, as I recall a recent write-up. Hope you stick it out too. This is at least the 4th thread of this nature but none have gone too far. Of course, that's partially based on a lack of forum response.


Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:03 pm
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Post Re: James Kunz watches movies his forum friends recommend
ed_metal_head wrote:
Cool thread, James. I do believe the recommendation came via this forum's smoothest operator, Shadé, as I recall a recent write-up. Hope you stick it out too. This is at least the 4th thread of this nature but none have gone too far. Of course, that's partially based on a lack of forum response.


Thanks Ed!. Yeah I will certainly keep writing, because I think it's fun for people to hear what happens with their recommendations (Shade is also good at this, for what it's worth) and if people don't write, that's cool, I'll just pretend they're reading anyway :)

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Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:41 pm
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Post Re: James Kunz watches movies his forum friends recommend
JamesKunz wrote:
Thanks Ed!. Yeah I will certainly keep writing, because I think it's fun for people to hear what happens with their recommendations (Shade is also good at this, for what it's worth) and if people don't write, that's cool, I'll just pretend they're reading anyway


I just want to echo that I like the idea of this thread as well. I tried to follow-up in the Last Movie You Watched thread based on the recommendations I got, but faltered a bit. I think keeping us up to date on stuff here would be sweet, for a number of reasons, not least of which is it'll be a good place for people to drop by to get ideas on what to watch...which is one of the great purposes of this whole forum deal, no?

JimmyKay...any idea what you'll be watching next?


Mon Sep 05, 2011 10:52 pm
Post Re: James Kunz watches movies his forum friends recommend
Love the idea of this thread. Hopefully, the river of suggestions we gave you provides you with a reservoir of good cinema.


Mon Sep 05, 2011 11:03 pm
Post Re: James Kunz watches movies his forum friends recommend
Glad to help James, BTW any chance you'll end up watching The Siege next? I hope you'll like that film as much as I did.


Mon Sep 05, 2011 11:57 pm
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Post Re: James Kunz watches movies his forum friends recommend
Hey I don't want to say what my next one will be, in case I end up getting sidetracked for whatever reason and not seeing it and thus disappointing my millions of fans, but I'm going to try to keep it going at a reasonable clip, so stay tuned I guess

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Tue Sep 06, 2011 6:26 am
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Post Re: James Kunz watches movies his forum friends recommend
Vexer wrote:
Glad to help James, BTW any chance you'll end up watching The Siege next? I hope you'll like that film as much as I did.


I agree with Vex about a movie? Wow, time to play the lottery. (Just teasing Vex).

The Siege would be an appropriate film for 9/11. Eerily prescient.


Tue Sep 06, 2011 10:27 am
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Post Re: James Kunz watches movies his forum friends recommend
Movie: Valhalla Rising

Recommender: Dan, Ed

Rating: **1/2 (/4)

So this is my first Refn film and to paraphrase Thomas Haden Church talking about pinot grapes in Sideways, it was a little raw, but showed excellent potential for growth. The man can clearly frame a shot and he knows his way around a camera, but from a story perspective it wasn't nearly as impressive. It's kinda like a movie made up of the worst parts of Herzog--like watching Heart of Glass when you could be watching Aguirre. Slow-moving, obviously going for symbolic meaning without really thinking it through, and with maybe 100 lines of dialogue, it's sometimes rather leaden as a film.

Additionally, this was a rare case where the location of the film shoot mattered a great deal. It took me way too long to realize they had traveled to America, in large part because every scene in the film looked really, really, really like it was shot in the same place. But though I have many issues with the film, I will remember it, especially for the beginning sequences or the nightmarish journey on the longboat. I can't really recommend it, but I'm certainly going to see Drive next week.

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Fri Sep 16, 2011 7:08 pm
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Post Re: James Kunz watches movies his forum friends recommend
JamesKunz wrote:
Movie: Valhalla Rising

Recommender: Dan, Ed

Rating: **1/2 (/4)

So this is my first Refn film and to paraphrase Thomas Haden Church talking about pinot grapes in Sideways, it was a little raw, but showed excellent potential for growth. The man can clearly frame a shot and he knows his way around a camera, but from a story perspective it wasn't nearly as impressive. It's kinda like a movie made up of the worst parts of Herzog--like watching Heart of Glass when you could be watching Aguirre. Slow-moving, obviously going for symbolic meaning without really thinking it through, and with maybe 100 lines of dialogue, it's sometimes rather leaden as a film.

Additionally, this was a rare case where the location of the film shoot mattered a great deal. It took me way too long to realize they had traveled to America, in large part because every scene in the film looked really, really, really like it was shot in the same place. But though I have many issues with the film, I will remember it, especially for the beginning sequences or the nightmarish journey on the longboat. I can't really recommend it, but I'm certainly going to see Drive next week.


Oh, I'm so glad you didn't hate this! When I first saw the movie I made a new forum topic [reelviews.net] and said

Quote:
To summarise: On the Reelviews scale this is more of a Zeppelin movie than a James Kunz movie.


In short: I recommend the movie highly, but I'm not sure I ever recommended it highly to you. It's quite the relief to hear you're ambivalent about the experience but I would have much sooner encouraged you to check out something like Little Manhattan or Bad Timing or even Super.


Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:14 pm
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Post Re: James Kunz watches movies his forum friends recommend
ed_metal_head wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
Movie: Valhalla Rising

Recommender: Dan, Ed

Rating: **1/2 (/4)

So this is my first Refn film and to paraphrase Thomas Haden Church talking about pinot grapes in Sideways, it was a little raw, but showed excellent potential for growth. The man can clearly frame a shot and he knows his way around a camera, but from a story perspective it wasn't nearly as impressive. It's kinda like a movie made up of the worst parts of Herzog--like watching Heart of Glass when you could be watching Aguirre. Slow-moving, obviously going for symbolic meaning without really thinking it through, and with maybe 100 lines of dialogue, it's sometimes rather leaden as a film.

Additionally, this was a rare case where the location of the film shoot mattered a great deal. It took me way too long to realize they had traveled to America, in large part because every scene in the film looked really, really, really like it was shot in the same place. But though I have many issues with the film, I will remember it, especially for the beginning sequences or the nightmarish journey on the longboat. I can't really recommend it, but I'm certainly going to see Drive next week.


Oh, I'm so glad you didn't hate this! When I first saw the movie I made a new forum topic [reelviews.net] and said

Quote:
To summarise: On the Reelviews scale this is more of a Zeppelin movie than a James Kunz movie.


In short: I recommend the movie highly, but I'm not sure I ever recommended it highly to you. It's quite the relief to hear you're ambivalent about the experience but I would have much sooner encouraged you to check out something like Little Manhattan or Bad Timing or even Super.


I'm sorry if I implied you were like "RAWRG JAMES YOU MUST SEE THIS!" it just was raised by Dan and you gave it a hearty endorsement so I added you on the "recommenders" list. And I bet I will indeed like Bad Timing more, but I wanted to see a Refn film before Drive.

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Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:14 pm
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Post Re: James Kunz watches movies his forum friends recommend
JamesKunz wrote:
I'm sorry if I implied you were like "RAWRG JAMES YOU MUST SEE THIS!" it just was raised by Dan and you gave it a hearty endorsement so I added you on the "recommenders" list. And I bet I will indeed like Bad Timing more, but I wanted to see a Refn film before Drive.


You didn't imply that and there's no need to be sorry. I'm glad you saw the movie. I was just clarifying that I never expected you to love it outright.


Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:57 pm
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Post Re: James Kunz watches movies his forum friends recommend
Movie: T-Men

Recommender: MGamesCook

Rating: ***/4

I'm a big fan of film noir, but one of my huge problems with the genre is the fact that, when you come right down to it, it's damn hard to keep a lot of them apart. First of all, you've got "generic noir title" issue--Force of Evil and Badge of Evil, Kiss Me Deadly vs. Killer's Kiss, The Big Heat against The Big Sleep...and so on and so forth. And then the plots often follow similar templates and storylines, making things more difficult even for a man with a good memory, like myself.

With that said, I'm happy to report that T-Men rises above the morass. Telling a hard-edged docudrama about an undercover investigation against counterfeiters, it's incredibly well-directed (love those shadows, baby!) and zips merrily along. While I had problems with the unbelievably thudding narration and the lack of development of our hero, I found the film overall to be quite good. It lacks the moral shading which can make noir so thrilling, but it does a good job with building the undercover op from the ground up, generates considerable tension (including one fairly shocking character death) and features some wonderful cinematography. So all in all a solid recommendation from Mr. MGamesCook.

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Sat Sep 24, 2011 10:14 pm
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Post Re: James Kunz watches movies his forum friends recommend
JamesKunz wrote:
Movie: T-Men

Recommender: MGamesCook

Rating: ***/4

I'm a big fan of film noir, but one of my huge problems with the genre is the fact that, when you come right down to it, it's damn hard to keep a lot of them apart. First of all, you've got "generic noir title" issue--Force of Evil and Badge of Evil, Kiss Me Deadly vs. Killer's Kiss, The Big Heat against The Big Sleep...and so on and so forth. And then the plots often follow similar templates and storylines, making things more difficult even for a man with a good memory, like myself.

With that said, I'm happy to report that T-Men rises above the morass. Telling a hard-edged docudrama about an undercover investigation against counterfeiters, it's incredibly well-directed (love those shadows, baby!) and zips merrily along. While I had problems with the unbelievably thudding narration and the lack of development of our hero, I found the film overall to be quite good. It lacks the moral shading which can make noir so thrilling, but it does a good job with building the undercover op from the ground up, generates considerable tension (including one fairly shocking character death) and features some wonderful cinematography. So all in all a solid recommendation from Mr. MGamesCook.


Incredibly well-directed: that's what it comes down to. I don't have as much of a problem with the narration, as it gives the film a nice air of camp to go along with the darkness. Check out Border Incident, a similar tale without the narration, and you'll probably find it a bit duller. Dennis O'Keefe is definitely a limited actor, which is why his character remains largely undeveloped; but it's interesting to compare him to the other agent and discover why they each end up where they do. Anyway, I think he's made up for by Schemer and Moxie, the latter of which is one of my favorite movie thugs of all time. Watch the way he cymbal-slaps the agent's ears together in the hotel, then when placed in a social situation, pouts and skulks like a scared kid. Charles McGraw certainly knew how to bring out the victim in a sociopath, however subtly. Mann must have shot this in 2-3 weeks at most, and it's one of the best uses of a minimalist budget I can think of. So many master shots, so many meanings conveyed swiftly and subtly...not to mention all the symbolism. For instance, watch how the agents sit beside a fountain when quizzing each other. They must purge, or purify themselves of their previous identities, water of course being a common motif for purification in a great variety of films. Mann employs that motif again in Bend of the River. Next time you see it also watch for the constant separation of face from hands, and how that evolves during the course of the film.

As you say, it zips along; it's an easy film to re-watch multiple times in a row not only because of how fast it moves, but because of how much each scene has to offer and how strangely segmented they all are (a Mann trademark). The film contains moments of great effect that are entirely disjointed from one another: the tiring search for Schemer, the torture scene, the tragic wife incident at the farmer's market, the murder in the steam bath, etc. This is as scholarly and arty as pulp filmmaking gets, and never once does it become indulgent.


Sun Sep 25, 2011 1:37 am
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Post Re: James Kunz watches movies his forum friends recommend
Movie: Black Death

Recommender: Evenflow

Rating: ***/4

Phil recommended this story of knights battling during the Black Plague, and once I saw Sean Bean's grizzled visage on the poster I knew this was going to be a movie for me. I find the middle ages to be a terrific, and relatively underused, setting for films and I'm always excited for such a film. Hell, I even saw Timeline. And guilty pleasured the shit out of it!

Black Death, as you can guess from the title, takes place during the years when the bubonic plague was ravaging Europe, England in particular in the film. A group of knights goes on a mission to a village where, reportedly, necromancers have kept the plague at bay. It starts as a fairly routine, if interesting, "men on a mission" type movie, but gets much more interesting in the second half, when the knights reach the village.

I crave complexity in my characters and my movies, and that's where Black Death shined for me. I'm not saying it's Shakespeare, but it did an exceptional job creating an almost complete absence of typical "heroes" and "villains," especially with the extremely dark coda. So while it tended towards the conventional a few times, I left with a very positive impression.

Thanks Phil!

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Wed Sep 28, 2011 9:12 pm
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Post Re: James Kunz watches movies his forum friends recommend
JamesKunz wrote:
Hell, I even saw Timeline. And guilty pleasured the shit out of it!


Hamburgered ;)


Wed Sep 28, 2011 9:22 pm
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