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Last Movie You Watched 
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Blonde Almond wrote:
Frozen will find a spot onto my Top 10, and I imagine I'll be the only one to hold it in that high a regard.


It's on my Top 10 right now. And it has a shot at staying there.

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Tue Dec 31, 2013 4:53 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Bad Santa

Best worst santa movie ever.

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Wed Jan 01, 2014 12:41 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
The Departed Hadn't watched this in a while. Even though I'm not a huge fan of Scorsese, this is probably one of my favorite films of his. Great performances all around with some intense moments. Grade: Probably an A-

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Wed Jan 01, 2014 2:57 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
thered47 wrote:
Bad Santa

Best worst santa movie ever.


Best Christmas movie ever, in my opinion.


Wed Jan 01, 2014 3:20 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Unke wrote:
thered47 wrote:
Bad Santa

Best worst santa movie ever.


Best Christmas movie ever, in my opinion.

Agreed, i'll gladly watch this over A Christmas Story and It's A Wonderful Life any day.


Wed Jan 01, 2014 3:30 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Akeelah and the Bee (2006)

Certainly one of the best "family films" that I have seen in recent memory. And i'm not even into the spelling bee movie genre. :lol: I was impressed with the ending - quite non-formulaic for such movies. Great performances all around, especially from the young lead - Keke Palmer. I'm surprised we haven't been seeing her in more high profile roles in recent years. 3 and a half out of 4 stars.


Wed Jan 01, 2014 7:21 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Blonde Almond wrote:
Frozen will find a spot onto my Top 10, and I imagine I'll be the only one to hold it in that high a regard.


It made me smile quite a bit. My only complaint was that there was a large portion at the end of the movie where there was no song. I found the songs in Frozen very enjoyable, and they kept me engaged. I lost a little bit of interest when the music stopped.

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Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:01 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Ashes and Diamonds

A young man in the Polish Resistance Army is assigned to assassinate a Communist official in the days following the end of World War II. While on assignment, he meets and falls in love with a bartender, causing him to rethink his whole outlook on life. The area tread here is familiar nowadays; the "killer with a heart" plotline has been mined pretty thoroughly. But director Andrezj Wajda is a skilled craftsman, and this movie is engaging, despite it being copied by many other films that came after it.

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Thu Jan 02, 2014 10:26 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Taleswapper wrote:
Akeelah and the Bee (2006)

Certainly one of the best "family films" that I have seen in recent memory. And i'm not even into the spelling bee movie genre. :lol: I was impressed with the ending - quite non-formulaic for such movies. Great performances all around, especially from the young lead - Keke Palmer. I'm surprised we haven't been seeing her in more high profile roles in recent years. 3 and a half out of 4 stars.


She does a lot of television work. She starred in a couple of TV series for several years, winning "young artist" kinds of awards and is finally getting back into movies. I nominated her for best actress for playing Akeelah, and she was my first choice that year.

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Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:36 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
Ashes and Diamonds

A young man in the Polish Resistance Army is assigned to assassinate a Communist official in the days following the end of World War II. While on assignment, he meets and falls in love with a bartender, causing him to rethink his whole outlook on life. The area tread here is familiar nowadays; the "killer with a heart" plotline has been mined pretty thoroughly. But director Andrezj Wajda is a skilled craftsman, and this movie is engaging, despite it being copied by many other films that came after it.


That movie's cinematography was gorgeous, but I found the plot rather underwhelming.

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Thu Jan 02, 2014 6:40 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Henry & June (1990) **1/2

The first film to warrant an NC-17 rating (and, in fact, it help precipitate its creation) this look at American author Henry Miller and his wife (June, natch) deserves points for its judgment-free depiction of sexual exploration, but it's not actually that good as a movie. Fred Ward is good in the lead, aside from his really, really bad bald cap, and Maria De Medeiros (who you know from Pulp Fiction) makes a good match with him, but I never got the impression there was much urgency to the proceedings. The characters move around the sexual carousel in a way that's interesting enough, but never compelling.

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Thu Jan 02, 2014 6:43 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
I'm watching Scorsese's Bob Dylan documentary No Direction Home. I've liked all of Scorsese's documentaries I've seen except for Shine a Light, and I like this one a lot. Still only an hour into part one, which deals how a not-particularly-outstanding teen musician for Minnesota found good influences in New York, absorbed them like a sponge, and became an original BOB DYLAN. I'm learning a lot about the musical scene of the late 50s and early sixties.

It was courageous for the film to start off with one of the worst renditions of "Like a Rolling Stone" I've heard, but the rest of Dylan's singing is fine. I always liked him on intimate ballads, where his not-pretty voice works for him.

Edit: Finished part 1, which takes us almost to "Bringing It All Back Home," which began the peak of his career, to be followed by "Highway 61 Revisited" and "Blonde on Blonde," two of the best albums ever.The video selections are not necessarily chronological. He's already done "Like a Rolling Stone," "Ballad of a Thin Man" and "Mr. Tambourine Man." Excellent documentary, with interviews with Allen Ginsberg, Baez, Suze Rotolo (Dylan's girlfriend in the early 1960s) and Mr. Zimmerman himself. I look forward to Part II. (9 of 10 for part I)

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Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:39 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Big Ass Spider (aka Mega Spider) (2013)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1830713/
Another low-brow movie. I don't know why I watch so many of these when there are actual good movies to watch, but I digress. Greg Grunberg (you know you seen him before somewhere - turns out he's the cop with telepathic powers from TV's Heroes) plays an exterminator who combats a giant spider (genetically engineered from alien DNA no less) the size of a house when the military continually fail to bring the beasty down. His sidekick, Jose (Lombardo Boyar), has most of the best lines, and is consistently pretty funny. The effects are surprisingly good, and the whole tongue-in-cheek B-movie feel the director (Mike Mendez) is obviously going for is just about perfect. Not nearly as bad as you might expect.
6/10.


Fri Jan 03, 2014 7:56 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
nitrium wrote:
Big Ass Spider (aka Mega Spider) (2013)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1830713/
Another low-brow movie. I don't know why I watch so many of these when there are actual good movies to watch, but I digress...


With a title like that, how could you resist?

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Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:51 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Prisoners Pretty darn good thriller that had me on edge most of the time. Perfectly acted and neatly directed, so far it's the best 2013 film I've seen (not that I've seen much though). Grade: A-

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Fri Jan 03, 2014 9:03 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Syd Henderson wrote:
nitrium wrote:
Big Ass Spider (aka Mega Spider) (2013)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1830713/
Another low-brow movie. I don't know why I watch so many of these when there are actual good movies to watch, but I digress...


With a title like that, how could you resist?


Absolutely. The title alone interests me. I'm going to have to look that one up.

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Fri Jan 03, 2014 10:07 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
12 Years a Slave (2013)

So what keeps this from being an exercise in miserablism, of which I've some misgivings going in? Context and unsentimentality. It does not only portray the horror of slavery, but also every shade of what drives people to do it. Social constraints, religious interpretations, or just plain greed. And it does this in with a clear, sure-handed direction, never get too weepy or manipulative, letting the violence and performances speak for themselves. There are some astounding sequences of great power, the most haunting of which is a harrowing 5-minute long-take demonstrating how commonplace things have gotten. Amidst all the horrors, the film still captures some very human beauty in how the slaves resist their situations, led by Lupita Nyong'o's heartbreaking performance and an understated, towering turn from Chiwetel Ejiofor. 9.5/10


Fri Jan 03, 2014 10:19 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
From my third week of December:

Investigation Of A Citizen Above Suspicion - You ever look at a synopsis for a film you’ve never seen before and think to yourself, “It’s almost a guarantee that I’m going to love the hell out of this”? That kind of anticipation can be both a blessing and a curse. There have been times when I’ve gone into a film with enormously high expectations, and had them not only met but exceeded. But then there have been times when I’ve gone into a film with enormously high expectation, only to be left puzzled by my unexpectedly muted reaction. It’s not that the film is bad per se, it’s just that it didn’t quite connect in the way you were hoping. Such is the case with Investigation Of A Citizen Above Suspicion, the Elio Petri-directed Oscar winner from 1970. Gian Maria Volanté plays an unnamed police inspector, recently promoted from homicide to a more politically-oriented position. But we learn of his occupation only after the opening scene, which has him murdering his mistress in the heat of passion. Instead of combing over the crime scene to remove any evidence, however, he plants obvious clues to incriminate himself. When the investigators seem all too willing to overlook the obvious, he continues to steer their attention back to him, in an effort to see whether or not he is indeed “above suspicion.”

It’s a setup littered with promise, and Petri does everything he can to inject the film with as much energy as possible. The camera is constantly moving, an appropriate choice considering the restless nature of the inspector character, and the whole thing is supported by a jaunty, springy score from Ennio Morricone that sounds like it could have just as easily been in one of Sergio Leone’s classic westerns (the connection is heightened by the presence of Volanté, most recognizable for his villainous roles in the first two films of Leone’s “Man With No Name” trilogy). And yet, the film ends up feeling a little too reserved, a little too distant, to be completely involving. At least its message is a worthy one; Petri paints an unflattering picture of Italian bureaucracy, an authoritarian world where men of power and influence look after one another, even at the expense of those in less fortunate positions. The inspector’s actions eventually become something of a cry for help, a desperate revolt against the people who would dare promote him away from his comfortable existence. That political focus is the film’s main virtue; as a piece of drama, it just never quite shifts into high gear. 7/10.

Zatoichi The Fugitive - The fourth film in the Zatoichi series. Following up the great New Tale Of Zatoichi, a film I found to be the highlight of the series so far, was always going to be a tough task. So it doesn’t come as much surprise to discover that, with one notable exception, this entry falls a little short of the consistently high quality its predecessor and the other early films display. As is customary, Zatoichi The Fugitive opens with the blind swordsman traveling alone through the Japanese countryside. But there’s rarely a dull moment in the life of the deadly masseur, and soon enough he is standing over his fallen enemies and listening to the wishes of a dying man. His leads him to a nearby village, where once again he finds himself caught in the middle of a troublesome and deadly rivalry. But even more troublesome is the return of his old flame Otane (Masayo Banri, reprising her love interest role from the first two films).

The presence of Otane is in a way emblematic of the film’s overall sense of complacency. The character is there to inject some deeper significance into what is otherwise a quite routine story, but she never seems like anything more than a convenient narrative device, even with some brief musings on how the character has become a much different kind of woman since the last time she and Zatoichi crossed paths. This angle isn’t given much more than a cursory exploration though. She exists as a placeholder, which is as good a description as any for the film itself. Now, I did mention an exception earlier. The final stretch is absolutely phenomenal, an extended showdown where allegiances are tested, true natures are revealed, and much blood is spilled. The body count remained relatively low throughout the first three films, but that absence of carnage is corrected in the concluding 20 minutes of Zatoichi The Fugitive. It’s riveting, and almost redeems the lack of interesting material preceding it. I doubt I’ll remember much of anything related to the early sections of the film, but the rousing finish will hold a fond place in my memory. 6/10.

American Hustle - In his own unique way, David O. Russell has become one of the most interesting filmmakers currently working today. I say “in his own unique way” because he tends to operate differently than most of the so-called “auteurs” of this generation, making his mark through character and script moreso than visual panache. Not to say he doesn’t have a good cinematic eye, but as a visual stylist, he’s more of a chameleon, shaping his style depending on the type of material he’s filming. With his latest film, Russell repurposes the free-flowing camera and narrative tricks of ’90s era Martin Scorcese, with a little Robert Altman thrown in for good measure, for a con artist comedy/drama loosely based on the famous Abscam sting of the ’70s. At least in terms of subject matter, the material is a perfect fit for the eclectic filmmaker. Just as Russell seems to take on several different identities as a director, so too do the characters at the heart of American Hustle.

In less skilled hands, the constant evocations of Goodfellas- and Casino-era Scorcese would be a constant and irritating distraction. Russell gets away with it because of his offbeat brand of humor and playful approach (the opening title sequence, of the characters walking down a hallway to the sounds of Steely Dan’s ‘Dirty Work’ is among my favorite moments of the year). There’s a particular rhythm to his brand of comedy that you can never quite get a handle on, and it’s exhilarating to watch the actors (all of whom turn in terrific performances) diving into the material with gusto. Admittedly, the film does come across sometimes as too shambolic and aloof, and that creates some shortcomings; there isn’t much detail given to the central operation, and not much tension in how it all plays out. The actual con elements of this con caper are never the most interesting ones at play. But the film remains compulsively watchable in spite of its flaws, and I think it all comes back to Russell’s penchant for creating fascinating characters and memorable interactions between them. The film never stops having fun long enough to start taking itself too seriously, and I think that’s something to celebrate. 8/10.

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Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:10 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Thief12 wrote:
Prisoners Pretty darn good thriller that had me on edge most of the time. Perfectly acted and neatly directed, so far it's the best 2013 film I've seen (not that I've seen much though). Grade: A-


Right on. Wish this was getting more love -- I'd be astonished if it garners a single Oscar nomination

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Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:35 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
You're Next (2013)

A weird mix of family drama mumblecore and bloody home invasion. The realistic feeling of the former maybe helps highlight the flaws a little too much (cringey dialogue, some shaky cam, and characters acting stupid), but it also enhances the emotions and suspense. The film gets darkly funny at times and has fun cleverly subverting a few tropes too. And the most subverting it gets is in having a most kick-ass, take-charge Final Girl who obliterated through many cliches of her past incarnations. She's far from being as well-developed or as full a character, but I'm tempted a few times to think of her as slasher genre's Ellen Ripley. 7/10

Also, surely one of the horror lines of the year:

[Reveal] Spoiler:
"I stuck a blender in his head and killed him."


All is Lost (2013)

The minimalism works brilliantly most of the time (my attention wanes a bit only towards the end; the film could have been trimmed slightly). No backstory, almost no dialogue, and just one man against nature. The direction is crisp and clear, and Robert Redford invites our empathy fully. There is something profound about a movie that focuses absolutely on the now, just struggling through one obstacle after another to live past the next minute. 8.5/10


Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:35 am
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