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Last Movie You Watched 
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Ken wrote:
Traffic, Ocean's 11, Solaris, and (I admit through gritted teeth) Magic Mike are all pretty damned stylish, even if their style doesn't always reach out and smack you in the mouth. I'm not sure Soderbergh himself has a singular identifiable style, but he makes up for it by selecting stylistic elements to suit whatever he's working on. He's definitely not stylistically flatlined like Ron Howard or actively anti-style like Paul Greengrass.


Agreed; even though I still feel like Soderbergh's films have an arguably distinct, visual style.

Also don't forget The Limey--not only a solid film, but its kinda the first film in Soderbergh's portfolio that really exudes and harnesses his up and coming "style" as a whole.

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Last edited by JackBurns on Thu Dec 05, 2013 1:59 am, edited 2 times in total.



Thu Dec 05, 2013 1:22 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
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I'm not sure Soderbergh himself has a singular identifiable style, but he makes up for it by selecting stylistic elements to suit whatever he's working on.


I tend to prefer the directors who have a singular, consistent stylistic approach...and even, I admit, the ones whose style whacks the viewer in the head. Soderbergh also just hasn't worked in any genres that pique my interest. Traffic does have some style, but I found it to be constricting rather than stimulating. I also just found the script to be really dry. He does, however, apply the same academic professionalism to all his projects, striking me as a man with many high standards and few passions.


Thu Dec 05, 2013 1:40 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Dallas Buyers Club (2013) 2.5/4

Great performances abound, Dallas Buyers Club regretfully suffers from a timid direction that doesn't offer any new insights into the world of AIDS or homosexuality. While the first act of the film prevails in setting up a great sense of urgency and ripeness, the remaining acts seem to blunder--loosing some of the qualities conveyed during the first act. Although Matthew McConaughey delivers a noteworthy performance, the film seems to only be concentrating on his sole characterization, and in turn character development as a whole is cast to the side. In short, Dallas Buyers Club isn't a bad film per se, its just ultimately lukewarm and lackluster.

Philomena (2013) 3/4

A sweet, emotional ride with Judi Dench that misfires more than it works. The film's themes of religion and its role in the lives of certain individuals are certainly ambitious, but its messages always remain cloudy. However, theres an inherent charm that consistently moves throughout the film; one that is continually complemented by its main performers. Even though the performances here are strong, characters are cast into highly stereotypical roles that sometimes undercut the film as a whole. Spawning from these characterizations are forced moments of nauseating sappiness, and while bearable, they always feel unneeded. Yet even with these issues, Philomena works in its depiction of humanity and raw emotion. Overall its difficult to place a firm rating on this film; it lies directly on the 2.5/3 line, but (again) theres a charm or an appeal to this film that is hard to dismiss.

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Thu Dec 05, 2013 1:56 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
MGamesCook wrote:
I tend to prefer the directors who have a singular, consistent stylistic approach...and even, I admit, the ones whose style whacks the viewer in the head. Soderbergh also just hasn't worked in any genres that pique my interest. Traffic does have some style, but I found it to be constricting rather than stimulating. I also just found the script to be really dry. He does, however, apply the same academic professionalism to all his projects, striking me as a man with many high standards and few passions.

That's probably a fair statement. He's a smart storyteller, but (strictly going by his work) he doesn't seem like he's particularly obsessive about the things in his movies.

When he directs, it's because he's got the chops to handle it. He might not have a personal library of slowly accumulated, well-loved books on whatever the subject is--but sometimes, movies need that. Sometimes, genres get into ruts if they're populated exclusively by storytellers who have a warm 'n' fuzzy relationship with their material. That's not to say that the resulting film is a guaranteed masterpiece, but at least it'll keep the gene pool fresh.

I might not put Soderbergh in the league of Schrader or Kubrick, but certainly in the league of James Cameron* or Nicholas Meyer. Or maybe a lesser spiritual cousin to the Coen Brothers.


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*I might have classed Cameron closer to the previous category than the latter if he'd stopped making movies after Terminator 2, or possibly True Lies.

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Thu Dec 05, 2013 2:08 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Frozen (2013)

Watching Frozen helped me nail down why I haven't been into Tangled as most people. These two are just too noisy/frantic to dig to anything resonating. Frozen wins out over Tangled though because the animation is stunning and its songs pleasant (still, only "Let It Go" stands out, both for the song and its gorgeous sequence). I also loved the nicely subverted ending, even though they can't resist spelling it out, and how the love story is a secondary concern. Pleasantly surprised by Olaf, too; his humor is more innocently wry than annoying, and, to use a comparison from what the people behind the script must have been watching, in the spirit of Arrested Development's Buster (also look out for "finish each other's sandwiches" and a chicken dance). 8/10

Monsters University
is still my top animated film this year, although I have yet to see The Wind Rises. IMO, this kind of Disney's frantic noisiness is more suited to Wreck-It Ralph's tone and story. That movie relatively more downtime for retrospection, and it allows things to resonate and get poignant. It's still my favorite animation post-Toy Story 3.


Thu Dec 05, 2013 6:42 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
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Sometimes, genres get into ruts if they're populated exclusively by storytellers who have a warm 'n' fuzzy relationship with their material.


Definitely.

Quote:
I might not put Soderbergh in the league of Schrader or Kubrick, but certainly in the league of James Cameron* or Nicholas Meyer. Or maybe a lesser spiritual cousin to the Coen Brothers.


I can see the connection to Meyer.


Thu Dec 05, 2013 7:42 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Flirting With Disaster

A neurotic comedy in which a man, wife and kid in tow, goes searching for his birth parents. And I do mean neurotic; everyone in this film is neurotic, especially Ben Stiller, who actually plays the Neurotic Jew character that Woody Allen perfected very well. Anyway, this isn't too bad for the first two thirds, and then it goes off the rails at the end. But some of it is funny.

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Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:01 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
NotHughGrant wrote:
Ken wrote:
You have to admire Soderbergh for being willing to turn his hand any kind of material he pleases, and for never settling into a rut. He's got one of the most varied bodies of work of any modern director. He's also a director who's good when he's not being great.


Yeah, but it strikes me as diversity for the sake of it. With someone like Kubrick, you got the feeling he would just make a film about what he wanted it to at the time in question. His diversity was organic.

With Soderbergh, it's as if he's deliberately, mechanically trying to be diverse to big himself up.


The contemporary filmmaker who's closest to him would be Richard Linklater, at least in terms of diversity. But on the whole I always got the sense that Linklater has more of a personal stake in the material. Even in his more commercial projects (School Of Rock). Whereas I wouldn't say Soderbergh is/was just a director for hire. But it seems lately like he's trying to be the indie Ron Howard. Seemed that way since the first Ocean's movie. My two favorites of his are Sex Lies and Videotape and Out Of Sight. Traffic, King Of The Hill and The Informant are also pretty good. Contagion and Haywire were entertaining while on yet faded pretty fast once they were over. I enjoyed the twists and turns in Side Effects yet I also agree with this:

JamesKunz wrote:
Side Effects' morality is really, really queasy. But as a film it's enjoyable enough


Yet perhaps the best comparison for Soderbergh isn't Howard or even Linklater. But Ken Russell. Someone once wrote that Russel's "failures are often as interesting as his suceeses" and that's true of Soderbergh as well.

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Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:05 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Sick: The Life And Death Of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist

This is a fantastic documentary about performance artist Bob Flanagan, who suffered with cystic fibrosis his whole life and turned to S&M as a way of dealing with his pain. Unique subject matter aside, this is an incredibly intimate work, showing Flanagan's life, work and relationships with no varnishing. Director Kirby Dick has gone on to make more polished and mainstream-acceptable films, but this is a remarkable work and deserves to be seen.

Worth noting: This film showcases some of the most extreme of Flanagan's performances. The viewer will see images of Flanagan having his scrotum pierced, having a ball inserted into his anus, being shit upon, and having his penis nailed to a board. For some this will only be encouragement to see the film. Others will give it a wide berth.

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Thu Dec 05, 2013 8:48 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Big Trouble In Little China - Although John Carpenter is a name that has come to be predominantly associated with the horror genre, the filmmaker has occasionally stepped outside of his comfort zone throughout his career, most successfully with the sci-fi romance of Starman and the dystopian action of Escape From New York. But it’s this effort from 1986 that stands out as the true oddball in Carpenter’s oeuvre, a blending of martial arts action and old-school serial adventure that has its tongue planted firmly in cheek. Big Trouble In Little China is headlined by Kurt Russell, clearly having a lot of fun as the mullet-sporting trucker Jack Burton. For reasons too complicated to get into, Russell finds himself tagging along on an adventure to defeat a Chinese sorcerer, who seeks a woman with green eyes to dispel an ancient curse. Despite his top billing, Russell doesn’t fill the role of the typical action hero. Instead, he’s more like the bumbling sidekick, constantly getting himself into trouble while his partner-in-action Dennis Dun (Wang Chi) handles all the real heroics. This is a smart decision by the filmmakers, allowing Russell to show off his considerable comic chops while also enforcing the film’s essentially light-hearted nature.

Carpenter’s film is thoroughly goofy, much more than I was expecting it to be. In fact, the surprise was so great that it took me some time to warm up to the film’s charms. There are similarities here with what Steven Spielberg brought to the screen in his Indiana Jones films, but while those films played their material with a certain degree of seriousness, this is unmistakably a comic adventure, one that delights in its flaunting of well-worn clichés with great success. The film does pile on the Eastern mysticism a little too much though; in any other situation it could be seen as offensive, but because the film is so high-energy and clearly isn’t meant to be taken seriously at any point, Carpenter gets away with it for the most part. If I had seen Big Trouble In Little China for the first time when I was ten, I would’ve thought it was the best movie ever. It has everything a little boy could ever want: martial arts action, physical comedy, memorably cheesy one-liners and admirably retro special effects. Fifteen years later, I’m a little removed from what I imagine to be the film’s primary audience, but I still found its youthful spirit to be quite infectious. 7/10.

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Thu Dec 05, 2013 10:54 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Amazing Spider-Man

Just watched it for the first time yesterday. This is a weird movie. I can see where Webb was sorta trying to give it the 500 Days of Summer cute feeling, but to be honest I got a really depressive vibe from i. Seriously, I felt as if I spent 2 hours inside the head of a depressed person. More specifically, a depressed person's fantasy. This has mostly to do with the way the film is paced. So many empty spaces. It reminded me of an older animated movie like Brave Little Toaster, where everything is depressed just by default. The bridge scene for a particularly sharp instance of that effect. I found it bothersome because, despite being a superhero fantasy, this doesn't strike me as a happy movie or even a positive one. Felt like a real funk.


Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:20 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
John Carter

I really, really want to like this movie. And I suppose I do, more now than when I saw it in theaters. I have the benefit of some familiarity with the particulars going in, and there's a luxury of going at a more flexible pace at home. This goes a long way toward mitigating the problems of John Carter, but it doesn't solve them. It's a fun, cool, old-school adventure story with lots of swashbuckling heroics that ought to beat the pants off the superhero flicks and Star Wars retreads of today's cinema, but unfortunately there's too much story by half. Too many subplots to manage, a few too many major players without enough screentime or clear motivations, and a love story (with a competent, credibly tough female lead!) that might have been the centerpiece of the film if it had had enough room to breathe in the middle of all the other business.

Carter himself is a sight to behold. He leaps through the air like a giant grasshopper and swings tremendous weights by a link of chain. He's a warrior made for visual storytelling. His exploits aside, though, the battles feel simultaneously too long and too short--I'm guessing because the ratio of important things happening to unimportant things isn't high enough. A battle scene should be a story in miniature; it needs developments, a crescendo, and a resolution. It's not enough to put lots of soldiers on the screen and hold of the conclusion until the excitement starts to fizzle.

Who knows? Hell, I don't know. Perhaps in another universe, there's a longer John Carter movie or even a two-parter where all this stuff gets taken care of properly. In our world of overly long and unnecessarily dupled Kill Bills and Matrices, a double feature length John Carter of Mars might show the world that some movies deserve to take the extra time.

Five Thark right arms out of Eric Stoltz.

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A thought occurs to me: in the casting speculation for Wonder Woman, did anyone ever consider Lynn Collins? She's basically the incarnation of Diana in all but name here.

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Fri Dec 06, 2013 3:08 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Who's Lynn Collins?


Fri Dec 06, 2013 3:11 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Vexer wrote:
Who's Lynn Collins?


She was a protégé of James Brown and had a few Soul/funk hits in The 70ies. You may know The much-Sampled "think (about)" it or "Mama Feelgood", which is Featured in The blaxploitation Movie 'Black Caesar".


Fri Dec 06, 2013 5:33 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Lynn Collins is the female lead in John Carter.

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Fri Dec 06, 2013 6:11 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Ken wrote:
Lynn Collins is the female lead in John Carter.

Ah, I saw that movie months ago and somehow completely forgot about her, guess that shows how forgettable the movie was for me.


Fri Dec 06, 2013 6:32 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Re Big Trouble in Little China, I always liked the henchmen in the straw hats that had brims so low you wondered how they kept from bumping into things.

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Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:42 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Almost Famous

I have mixed feelings about this film. On one hand, when it focuses on the music, it's golden. As a tribute to the glory days of rock n' roll, there are few other films that capture the true spirit of the time so well. However, when the film focuses on Will and his neurotic mom, it's not as engaging. However, I appreciate the spirit and the feelings captured in this film; it recalls an era where music actually meant something.

There are two absolutely stellar scenes in this film, both of which involve Elton John. The first, in which everyone sings the song about Tony Danza, is pretty widely known. The second is more subdued but even more powerful. It also doesn't hurt that "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" is one of my favorite Elton songs.

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Sat Dec 07, 2013 11:06 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Bad Girl (1931) is a good slice-of-life drama where you periodically want to brain the girl and boy and say, "just tell each other what you're doing, you idiots!" But then you wouldn't have a movie, since this is not just about the struggles of a young couple (Dot and Eddie Collins) to make ends meet in the depth of the depression, but about their failure to communicate, to the point that, when they discover they're going to have a baby, each is convinced the other hates the idea. Eddie starts moonlighting as a prizefighter to save up for the hospital bill, doesn't tell Dot that is what he's doing, so she's convinced he's been in a brawl in a bar. (I'd think the lack of alcohol on his breath would be a giveaway that's not true.) Or maybe he's having an affair?

It doesn't occur to Eddie Collins to try playing second base for the White Sox.

However, this is a good if sometimes frustrating look at life among the struggling, with a lot of the best scenes involving background characters. One of the best is an aging tenement dweller calling her sister to tell her their mother just died. Just a minute or so to establish a memorable character.

The title (I think) comes from Dot's brutal brother's accusation that since she's just come in at 4:00 a.m. to announce she's getting married in the morning to a guy he didn't know existed, she's no better than a streetwalker. There's nothing particularly scandalous about her.

1932 was the year Grand Hotel won the Academy Award for Best Picture but was nominated for no other Oscars. Bad Girl won Frank Borzage his second award as Director (the other was for 7th Heaven), and unless City Lights was eligible, he deserved it this time. It's a very well-directed film. (7.5 of 10)

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Sat Dec 07, 2013 12:27 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
Almost Famous

I have mixed feelings about this film. On one hand, when it focuses on the music, it's golden. As a tribute to the glory days of rock n' roll, there are few other films that capture the true spirit of the time so well. However, when the film focuses on Will and his neurotic mom, it's not as engaging. However, I appreciate the spirit and the feelings captured in this film; it recalls an era where music actually meant something.

There are two absolutely stellar scenes in this film, both of which involve Elton John. The first, in which everyone sings the song about Tony Danza, is pretty widely known. The second is more subdued but even more powerful. It also doesn't hurt that "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" is one of my favorite Elton songs.


Did you see the theatrical version or the untitled bootleg cut? The latter is the way to go as it's longer. I LOVE and ADORE this movie SO much! When people ask me what is my favorite movie of all time, this movie is usually the answer I'll give them.


Sat Dec 07, 2013 5:48 pm
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