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Last Movie You Watched 
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Hell

This German post-apocalyptic road movie is a worthy watch. Believable characters, an interesting premise and a striking visual style combine to make a good contribution to genre.

Echoes of The Road, Mad Max and even Texas Chainsaw Massacre. My biggest quibble is that many stretches of the movie were extremely dark (ironic, given the title - Hell means "bright" in German) and difficult to follow.

Worth seeking out.


Sun Dec 08, 2013 6:24 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:

I felt the same way about Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. I still have yet to see a Cassavetes movie


Cassavetes is a bit of an acquired taste. His style is very personal, and if you're willing to sit through a lot of ugliness, I think there are rewards in his filmography. But like I said, an acquired taste.

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Sun Dec 08, 2013 6:53 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Ironically, a couple of days before Paul Walker died, I had gotten ahold of a few films of his I was curious to check. Today I checked the first one: Running Scared, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. A pretty solid action film full of twists and intensity, with a kinetic, fast-paced directing. It gets sorta messy as it progresses, and the ending could've been better, but I still liked it a lot. Grade: B+

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Thief12 wrote:
Ironically, a couple of days before Paul Walker died, I had gotten ahold of a few films of his I was curious to check. Today I checked the first one: Running Scared, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. A pretty solid action film full of twists and intensity, with a kinetic, fast-paced directing. It gets sorta messy as it progresses, and the ending could've been better, but I still liked it a lot. Grade: B+


It has moments, but in the third act the dialogue degenerates into "I'M NOT A FUCKING COP I SWEAR TO FUCKING GOD FUCK I KILL YOU FUCK" so much so that even I got bothered by it. But for the first two thirds, it wanders down some intriguingly dark roads

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Sun Dec 08, 2013 8:55 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
Thief12 wrote:
Ironically, a couple of days before Paul Walker died, I had gotten ahold of a few films of his I was curious to check. Today I checked the first one: Running Scared, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. A pretty solid action film full of twists and intensity, with a kinetic, fast-paced directing. It gets sorta messy as it progresses, and the ending could've been better, but I still liked it a lot. Grade: B+


It has moments, but in the third act the dialogue degenerates into "I'M NOT A FUCKING COP I SWEAR TO FUCKING GOD FUCK I KILL YOU FUCK" so much so that even I got bothered by it. But for the first two thirds, it wanders down some intriguingly dark roads

Eh, I wasn't bothered by the swearing and thought the third act was pretty good.


Sun Dec 08, 2013 9:03 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Blonde Almond wrote:
Faces - Watching this 1968 film from John Cassavetes is the cinematic equivalent of being the only sober person in a room full of miserable drunks. Everyone has already started drowning their sorrows together, and all you can do is breathe in the desperation in the air. Apart from being a very down-to-earth martial drama, providing a window into the crumbling marriage between businessman Richard Frost (John Marley) and dissatisfied wife Maria (Lynn Carlin), Cassavetes’ film also takes on the general malaise of 1960s upper middle class socialites. For most of the film, Richard and Maria spend their time apart and in the company of others, the former with a sympathetic prostitute (Gena Rowlands), the latter with her vapid friends and eventually a freewheeling swinger type (Seymour Cassel, the film’s liveliest element). All this involves a good deal of booze, but of course, the intoxicated merriment on display in Faces is all just a guise, as the frivolity masks an overwhelming sense of dissatisfaction and a fear of confronting reality.

For better and for worse, you don’t see too many films like this made anymore, films that take such an aggressive and abrasive approach to their subject matter. Faces is 130 minutes long, and most of that time is made up of irritating conversations between heavily-intoxicated people. At times, it feels like Cassavetes is daring you to actively dislike the film; there’s even an odd, post-modern pre-title sequence which informs the viewer that, hey, the film coming up is probably not like what you usually watch. That opening sequence also hints at a lot of the intentional artificiality that is to follow. So much of the drama is about the different faces we put on for different situations and people, faces to mislead others from our true selves. A crucial scene late in the film between Marley and Rowlands serves as a final statement of sorts. After spending all of their time joking and laughing with each other, the two spend the night together and their conversations turn serious in the morning. This becomes too much for both of them to handle though, and it isn’t long before they revert back to their carefree personas. The moments when the characters’ facades crack open to reveal the inner desperation beneath are the ones that I found to be the most striking, but by the time they start to happen, I’ve already taken up that dare from Cassavetes. Faces undoubtedly has a great deal of merit and truth to it, but holy Hell is it a tremendous slog to sit through. 5/10.

The Tale Of Zatoichi Continues - Released in 1962, this is the second film in the famed Zatoichi series. As the title indicates, it is a direct sequel to The Tale Of Zatoichi, taking place around one year after the events of that introductory film. The blind swordsman and masseur Zatoichi (Shintaro Katsu) is making his way back to the town where the events of that first film took place. While on the way, however, he is hired to give a massage to an important politician. During his massage, he inadvertently discovers a secret concerning the politician that his aides do not want revealed. Instead of just asking Zatoichi to keep quiet, the aides decide to send men to kill him. There is also the matter of the armless samurai (Tomisaburo Wakayama, Katsu’s real-life brother) who seems to share a past connection with the blind swordsman. The action culminates in the setting as the first film, where Zatoichi discovers that former alliances are not engraved in stone.

At just 72 minutes, this film doesn’t waste much time before getting down to business (although Zatoichi does reveal himself to be a ladies’ man and sets aside some time for pleasure). The short running length, as well as the many ties back to the original film, gives The Tale Of Zatoichi Continues the slight feel of an extended epilogue, existing mainly to tie up loose threads. But unlike, say, Quantum Of Solace, to bring in another epilogue entry from a different long-running series, this film enhances rather than sullies the merits of its predecessor, bringing back old elements in a satisfying way while throwing new curveballs into the narrative. Having not yet seen any of the entries in the Zatoichi series beyond this one, I can’t say for sure whether or not they continue the kind of direct story continuity on display here. My guess though is that they mostly stand by themselves, which makes this film a somewhat different entry into the canon. Those who are already familiar with the characters and situations from the first film, particularly Zatoichi’s brief, ill-fated friendship with the sickly samurai Hanji, will get the most out of what this sequel has to offer. Lined up together, the two films form a truly epic samurai tale, and because both of them are so brisk, the best way to go would be to view them back-to-back in one sitting. 7/10.


Your experience with Faces sounds really similar to my experience with Chinese Bookie. I applaud you for taking the time to go through Cassavetes filmography; Chinese Bookie has completely put me off to his body of work. As you said his style is very grueling, and arguably irritating at times. The guy has a uniqueness, I'll give him that--- and like you said there is definitely some merit to be found, but its just so goddamn draining.

Really happy to see your thoughts on Zatoichi as well dude. I've seen the Criterion box set and man-o-man its tempting.

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Sun Dec 08, 2013 9:14 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Vexer wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
Thief12 wrote:
Ironically, a couple of days before Paul Walker died, I had gotten ahold of a few films of his I was curious to check. Today I checked the first one: Running Scared, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. A pretty solid action film full of twists and intensity, with a kinetic, fast-paced directing. It gets sorta messy as it progresses, and the ending could've been better, but I still liked it a lot. Grade: B+


It has moments, but in the third act the dialogue degenerates into "I'M NOT A FUCKING COP I SWEAR TO FUCKING GOD FUCK I KILL YOU FUCK" so much so that even I got bothered by it. But for the first two thirds, it wanders down some intriguingly dark roads

Eh, I wasn't bothered by the swearing and thought the third act was pretty good.


I wasn't bothered in any moral sense, I just find it wearyingly uncreative writing

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Sun Dec 08, 2013 9:19 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Blonde Almond wrote:
peng wrote:
I dunno.. both Blonde Almond and MGamesCook really liked it (with BA giving it 8/10), so if you're a big fan of him you might find something to like. Normally I would not mind the story and just go along with his style, but this times I feel the plot actively distracts me from enjoying him fully.

But seriously, those two scenes are pretty great I'd almost recommend the film just to get to them.


I still like the film, but I think I overrated it slightly when I first saw it (it's probably a 7/10 in my mind now). The first half is pretty rough going, but it finishes very strong. I think I originally wrote that it felt like a trial outing for De Palma, to see if he still had some of that old magic. You could almost subtitle the film How De Palma Got His Groove Back.

I agree about Rapace though. Between Passion and Prometheus, I'm starting to wonder if her stellar work in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo films was a fluke.


I thought she was perfectly fine in Prometheus. And she's terrific in the movie Dead Man Down.


Sun Dec 08, 2013 9:44 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
Ken wrote:
Blonde Almond wrote:
I agree about Rapace though. Between Passion and Prometheus, I'm starting to wonder if her stellar work in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo films was a fluke.

Haven't seen Passion, but Prometheus wasn't the greatest material to showcase her skills.


Agreed. Also, I think a clear and obvious difference here might be acting in her own language vs. a second language


I liked her in Prometheus, but I could definitely see her mentally going "ok.. English..English" at times in both films.


Sun Dec 08, 2013 9:46 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
I felt the same way about Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. I still have yet to see a Cassavetes movie


JackBurns wrote:
Your experience with Faces sounds really similar to my experience with Chinese Bookie. I applaud you for taking the time to go through Cassavetes filmography; Chinese Bookie has completely put me off to his body of work. As you said his style is very grueling, and arguably irritating at times. The guy has a uniqueness, I'll give him that--- and like you said there is definitely some merit to be found, but its just so goddamn draining.

Really happy to see your thoughts on Zatoichi as well dude. I've seen the Criterion box set and man-o-man its tempting.


Faces makes Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf look like The Philadelphia Story.

We'll see how long I last with Cassavetes. I'll finish up the rest of the films in the box set (A Woman Under The Influence, The Killing Of A Chinese Bookie, Opening Night), but if none of those strikes me as particularly great, it'll probably be a long while before I look into anything else from him. As Sexual Chocolate mentioned above, he's definitely an acquired taste, and I haven't acquired that taste yet.

I had saved some extra cash for that Zatoichi set, and I haven't for one moment regretted picking it up. It's far and away the most attractive collection I own. And the films so far have been consistently solid (I just finished up with the third one, New Tale Of Zatoichi).

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Sun Dec 08, 2013 9:53 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
One could say the same thing about the excessive swearing in any Tarantino film.


Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:16 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Delicatessen

Eh, I just couldn't get into this. I love weird movies, but I prefer the ones that are subversively weird as opposed to all out freaky. I would group this Jeunet movie with Eraserhead. Both films rub me the wrong way.

Diva

From the early 80s, this French offbeat-noir has a following but imo it's a little bit outdated. It has a cool nighttime vibe, but the story moves at a slow pace and the director's style doesn't seem to stand out very much as being anything that unique.


Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:33 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Vexer wrote:
One could say the same thing about the excessive swearing in any Tarantino film.


Because there are ways to write dialogue and ways not to. Scorsese is also good with swearing

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Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:20 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
MGamesCook wrote:
Delicatessen

Eh, I just couldn't get into this. I love weird movies, but I prefer the ones that are subversively weird as opposed to all out freaky. I would group this Jeunet movie with Eraserhead. Both films rub me the wrong way.

Diva

From the early 80s, this French offbeat-noir has a following but imo it's a little bit outdated. It has a cool nighttime vibe, but the story moves at a slow pace and the director's style doesn't seem to stand out very much as being anything that unique.


No mention of the justly-famous chase sequence in Diva? For shame.

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Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:21 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
Vexer wrote:
One could say the same thing about the excessive swearing in any Tarantino film.


Because there are ways to write dialogue and ways not to. Scorsese is also good with swearing

I was never overly impressed with Tarantino's dialogue myself, he really overdoes with the pop-culture references sometimes.


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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Vexer wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
Vexer wrote:
One could say the same thing about the excessive swearing in any Tarantino film.


Because there are ways to write dialogue and ways not to. Scorsese is also good with swearing

I was never overly impressed with Tarantino's dialogue myself, he really overdoes with the pop-culture references sometimes.


Vexer...sometimes I just don't understand what makes you tick.

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Mon Dec 09, 2013 12:02 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) - 3.5 out of 4

A minor digression: Immediately after seeing this film, I was kind of jealous. Harry Potter never got this kind of seamless translation from page to screen; at least, not until the end of the series. But on further thought, I realized why these books make a better translation to the big screen than others did. The books themselves are so briskly paced with hardly any breathing time for the reader. Things happen, things happen, and more things happen. And since a large percentage of the first two books (I am about 70% of the way through the third, which is obviously different) is about the actual games, which again is purely action, they lend themselves well to this kind of action entertainer. And I also understood why the third book is split into two parts, there's a lot more going on in that one, new characters are introduced, some backstory is added on existing characters etc. It has definitely moved slowly than the first two. However, I don't agree with the one year gap between the first and second films. That's a horrible wait for most people that I think they'll just read the book seeing as it is such a small read.

One big advantage for The Hunger Games is Jennifer Lawrence. With Daniel Radcliffe, besides the physical resemblance which is uncanny, he never could bring out the mental trauma of Harry, until the final two films, and even then not entirely convincingly. With Lawrence, she has owned the role right from the beginning, and except for a few blips in the early stages of this film, she brings out the scars that the first games have left on Katniss convincingly. I am not in love with the actual character of Katniss as others (my favorites are Haymitch and Peeta). She's a typical central hero character, thinking everything is about her, when the revolution is so much bigger than that, though she is its symbol. But I digress again.

As for the supporting cast, to continue the HP comparison, I would say it is about par. Woody Harrelson brings Haymitch to life. The humor and delivery is spontaneous, but he also understands the larger picture of what's at stake here. Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson are able company for Lawrence, though not nearly as tested. Hoffman is fucking Hoffman. If he gives a bad performance, the world ends. Jeffrey Wright, Sam Claflin and Jena Malone are perfectly cast, with the latter especially stealing every scene she's in. And I agree with JB about Patrick Espirit as Thread. He's on screen for all of two scenes, but made the character as despicable as the one in the books.

The production is great. The arena for the Quell, which is absolutely unique, is brought to screen perfectly. The writing borrows the best dialogues from the book (most of which come courtesy of Haymitch), and the direction is steady and even-handed. I loved the music in last year's film, and James Newton Howard continues the run with this one.

If you enjoyed the first one, this one's a no-brainer. If not, there's no point in watching this anyway.

P.S.: I know the HP comparison is silly and moot, since they're on different levels in terms of the book themselves, but being a HP fanatic, it is one that came to my mind as I saw this film.

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Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:25 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Quote:
It has moments, but in the third act the dialogue degenerates into "I'M NOT A FUCKING COP I SWEAR TO FUCKING GOD FUCK I KILL YOU FUCK"


I wouldn't say that's poor writing, since in all likelihood it was half improvised. Either way, I wasn't paying any attention to the dialogue. My attention was fixed on the crazy visual reality of the scene itself. Blacklighting an ice skating rink, and just the overall choreography and rhythm of it...haven't ever seen a thing like that from Tarantino. Actions speak louder than words.


Mon Dec 09, 2013 7:36 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Der Blaue Engel/ The Blue Angel (1930)
This movie made Marlene Dietrich an intrernational star, although it was actually designed as a vehicle for famous German actor Emil Jannings, winner of the first Best Actor Academy Award. Jannings plays the strict teacher Professor Rath (Emil Jannings) who catches his students passing around salacious pictures of cabaret singer Lola Lola (Dietrich). When Rath visits the local theatre "The Blue Angel", where Lola Lola's troupe is residing, in order to check on his students, he comes under her spell and hopelessly falls in love with her. He resigns from his position to marry Lola Lola, but when the money runs out, he is degradingly forced to become a clown and regularly humiliated by Lola Lola.
The movie has been simultaneously filmed in English and German. I watched the German language version and compared a few scenes with corresponding ones from the English language version and would say that that the differences are minor. The movie deserves its classic status mostly for launching Marlene Dietrich's remarkable career as a movie star and chanteuse. Indeed, she is a remarkable screen presence and exudes an air of predatory sexuality, which must have been rather shocking for the time. Marlene Dietrich also sings some of her trademark songs, such as "Ich bin von Kopf bis Fuß auf Liebe eingestellt"/"Falling in Love", but the style of chanson is an acquired taste. Irrespective of the songs, the filmmaking very much resembles silent movies stylistically, particularly with regard to Jannings's exagerrated acting style and the expressionist production design, which makes this film feel very dated. Director Josef von Sternberg generally does a good job, though. The movie's problems lie elsewhere, or more precisely, in the depiction of the development of the Professor Rath character. He basically turns from a strict disciplinarian to a henpecked human wreck in an instant and I suspect that the scriptwriters have left out quite a lot important material from Heinrich Mann's novel "Professor Unrat", on which the movie is based. As a result, the movie is "merely" good and not great. 7/10

King of New York (1990)
Gangster boss Frank White (Christopher Walken) is released from Sing Sing prison and reunites with his brutal enforcer Jimmy Jump (Laurence Fishburn) to take over his old turf by killing rival gang lords and jiving to Schoolly D. He also wants to do some good by raising money for a hospital for the poor. As far as I can tell, this also requires killing rival gang lords. Only a group of rogue cops (David Caruso, Wesley Snipes) stand in his way.
I was not surprised to read that maverick director Abel Ferrara (Bad Lieutenant) had formerly directed episodes of Miami Vice. This soft focus movie has a distinct 1980ies look, but a very stylish one at that. Regrettably, the story isn't up to much. White's motives are unclear - is he a modern Robin Hood or just another gangster boss? There are a lot of scenes which don't make that much sense and neither does the overall plot. As a compensation, you can watch Christopher Walken dance to Hip Hop music, which is quite entertaining, and the violent action scenes are done rather well, too. That makes it an average movie. 5/10

Real Steel (2011)
In the future, boxing and other martial sports have been made obsolete by fights between remote-controlled battle robots. A fortuneless former boxer (Hugh Jackman) makes a living as a robot controller. When his ex-wife dies, he agrees, at a price, to take custody of his estranged son over the summer while his future adoptive parents go on a holiday. Will the boy inspire change in his irresponsible father and make him change his mind about adoption? Will they both find and repair an outmoded battle robot and make it to a victorious championship fight against a seemingly invincible battlebot? Of course, they will.
The movie is terribly formulaic. It's as if a screenwriter had seen 'The Iron Giant' and only taken the insight from it that the combination of young kids and giant robots is really cute and would make a perfect fit with a standard father-and-son-bonding plot and the staid formula for an underdog sports movie. Surely, Hollywood moviemaking isn't as cynical as that. Anyway, the robot battle scenes are actually all right, although I fail to understand how repeatedly shouting "He's got no chance, he's a scrapheap" into a voice control microphone makes your battle robot work. Hugh Jackman is charismatic and a likeable screen presence. Overall, it's only a below average movie, not a really bad one. 4/10

Cherry, Harry & Raquel! (1970)
This Russ Meyer "skinflick" is pretty much only for people with a breast fetish. The incomprehensible and, frankly, irrelevant "story" is about a corrupt cop on the Mexican border hunting down a gangster called "the Apache" while having lots of sex. The plot - I use the term lightly - is repeatedly interrupted by surrealist scenes of a topless woman with a DD bra size cavorting around in the desert. I confess that seeing her jump on a trampoline wearing nothing but an Indian feather crown made me laugh. The movie is just about watchable, because it's so bizarre. 4/10


Mon Dec 09, 2013 8:43 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
MGamesCook wrote:
Quote:
It has moments, but in the third act the dialogue degenerates into "I'M NOT A FUCKING COP I SWEAR TO FUCKING GOD FUCK I KILL YOU FUCK"


I wouldn't say that's poor writing, since in all likelihood it was half improvised. Either way, I wasn't paying any attention to the dialogue. My attention was fixed on the crazy visual reality of the scene itself. Blacklighting an ice skating rink, and just the overall choreography and rhythm of it...haven't ever seen a thing like that from Tarantino. Actions speak louder than words.


Blacklit ice skating rinks may look interesting, but it's hard to argue that 'Running Scared' is not a particularly poorly written movie. It's not just because of the bad dialogue, of which the copious use of swearwords is only a symptom, or because it is a copycat Tarantino movie, which tries to be clever about using extreme violence (without having Tarantino's touch) and fit in pop culture references (the Russian gangster's obsession with an abridged version of a John Wayne movie). If I remember it correctly, the movie ends with a sort of twist - or rather, a revelation - that completely invalidates any prior action by the protagonist, including putting his own family into mortal danger.


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