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Last Movie You Watched 
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
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Saw Prisoners myself and thought it was merely average, it had some good performances and a few interesting scenes, though for me it didn't really elevate itself above other thrillers much. There were a too many plot holes and I can't say the themes really resonated with me as much as most others.


I think it's above average and really kept me guessing. After a first viewing, it remains a good mood piece in the least. The sense of dread is cool.


Sat Jan 04, 2014 10:45 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Takers

This was a film recommended by Vexer. Now granted, some of the movies he likes are really God-awful. But others qualify as good entertainment; maybe not high art, but worth watching to pass the time. Takers is such a film; this is a pretty ordinary tale of guys pulling a heist and the cops who pursue them, but there's nothing outright awful about it. It's solidly crafted, with no major plot holes and capable acting. In short, it's the kind of film the studios used to crank out about once a week about 60 years ago.

As I said, Takers isn't really original. Any season movie watcher will see the double-cross coming (because there's always a double-cross in these films), and even Chris Brown doesn't stink up the proceedings (this is probably because he plays a thug, which is to say he basically plays himself). And I liked the ending. So overall, not bad.

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Sat Jan 04, 2014 10:46 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
Takers

This was a film recommended by Vexer. Now granted, some of the movies he likes are really God-awful. But others qualify as good entertainment; maybe not high art, but worth watching to pass the time. Takers is such a film; this is a pretty ordinary tale of guys pulling a heist and the cops who pursue them, but there's nothing outright awful about it. It's solidly crafted, with no major plot holes and capable acting. In short, it's the kind of film the studios used to crank out about once a week about 60 years ago.

As I said, Takers isn't really original. Any season movie watcher will see the double-cross coming (because there's always a double-cross in these films), and even Chris Brown doesn't stink up the proceedings (this is probably because he plays a thug, which is to say he basically plays himself). And I liked the ending. So overall, not bad.

Glad you liked one of my recommendations.


Sat Jan 04, 2014 10:51 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
Takers

This was a film recommended by Vexer. Now granted, some of the movies he likes are really God-awful. But others qualify as good entertainment; maybe not high art, but worth watching to pass the time. Takers is such a film; this is a pretty ordinary tale of guys pulling a heist and the cops who pursue them, but there's nothing outright awful about it. It's solidly crafted, with no major plot holes and capable acting. In short, it's the kind of film the studios used to crank out about once a week about 60 years ago.

As I said, Takers isn't really original. Any season movie watcher will see the double-cross coming (because there's always a double-cross in these films), and even Chris Brown doesn't stink up the proceedings (this is probably because he plays a thug, which is to say he basically plays himself). And I liked the ending. So overall, not bad.


I really loved the ending of this. It had so much style.

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Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:55 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
I really hated Takers upon seeing it in theaters but looking back I'm not sure why exactly.

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Sun Jan 05, 2014 12:00 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Fruitvale Station (2013)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2334649/
Emotionally effective true-story character study of Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan) focusing primarily on the final 24 hrs or so before being needlessly shot by a gung-ho police officer. The first 2/3rds are about Oscar's life (surprisingly and refreshingly not sugar-coated), the last 3rd revolves around the events leading up to and aftermath of his death. Superbly acted by all. Compelling, powerful and depressing.
8.5/10.


Sun Jan 05, 2014 12:13 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Watchmen Director's Cut ***

I haven't seen the theatrical version so this is all I have to go off of. Not sure what to make of this. I think there were a lot of really great and compelling scenes. Particularly all the scenes with the Comedian and Un-Masked Rorschach. There were some strong thematic implications about human beings and human nature which I found refreshing in a movie like this. The Director's Cut is 3 hours long, but I don't think it needed to be. There was a lot of trivial padding but it's largely forgivable because there are so many beautiful things to look at. Snyder's use of slo-mo was better in this than in 300.. and his visual style elevated the material he had to work with. I don't think the 3 hours is fully justified but I like a lot of what Snyder tried to do with this. I was satisfied.

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Sun Jan 05, 2014 12:25 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
nitrium wrote:
Fruitvale Station (2013)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2334649/
Emotionally effective true-story character study of Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan) focusing primarily on the final 24 hrs or so before being needlessly shot by a gung-ho police officer. The first 2/3rds are about Oscar's life (surprisingly and refreshingly not sugar-coated), the last 3rd revolves around the events leading up to and aftermath of his death. Superbly acted by all. Compelling, powerful and depressing.
8.5/10.


You weren't at all bothered by…

[Reveal] Spoiler:
Oscar conveniently turning over a new leaf on the exact same day of his, well, demise? Kinda over inflates the emotional punch, in my opinion.

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Sun Jan 05, 2014 12:30 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
The Skin I Live In

This movie has a kinship with Oldboy. It's less bothersome because for inevitable reasons, it's a bit less believable. I never found this movie entirely believable at any point, but it was always interesting. Cerebral and disturbing enough to be memorable.


Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:33 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Couple of John Cusack movies that I really like. Both repeat viewings.

1408 (2007) - 3 out of 4

I love psychological horror films of this sort where the scare factor comes from genuine creepiness and dread. (Which makes it all the more surprising that I haven't see The Shining yet.) This is the perfect Cusack role, and he has no trouble playing it to perfection creating a cynic who is easy to sympathize with.

Multiple Endings:
[Reveal] Spoiler:
When I saw the film the first time, I got the ending where Mike Enslin dies, and the hotel owner sees his burnt up ghost in the backseat of his car while listening to the conversation Mike has with his dead daughter.

Apparently that was deemed to be too much of a downer with test audiences, so the ending for the theatrical release (which is telecast on TV) is the below one.

Mike Enslin is pulled out of the fire and survives. The room is destroyed like the original ending. Mike moves back in with his wife. She discovers the tape while rummaging through the remaining items pulled out of the fire. Mike listens to his conversation with his daughter as his wife watches in horror.

As a primarily positive person, I think I might have ended up preferring the changed ending had I not seen the original first. But since the ending where Mike dies is what I saw first (thankfully!), I am going to have to side with that one despite the downbeat nature of it. It seems a more perfect fit for the film, and the room ends up getting destroyed, so Mike does not actually fail in his mission of taking the room with him.

Whichever version of the endings you see, this is still one of the superior horror films out there.

High Fidelity (2000) - 3.5 out of 4

This is one of those indie romances that is pretty easy to love and enjoy despite not doing anything wildly unique or revolutionary. The primary reason for my love of the film is that it is very easy to fall in love with these characters and the realistic conversations they have. This is another quintessential Cusack character if ever there was one. His monologues about his failures with love delivered directly to the camera are simply perfect. Although strictly a comedy, you're not going to be rolling on the floor laughing, except on a couple of occasions. This is more about generating chuckles and guffaws with wry humor than anything else. Towards the end of the film,

[Reveal] Spoiler:
Rob proposes to Laura and states his reasons for doing so. That monologue (and conversation) is one of the best sequences in the film. Rob says he is pretty much tired of the fantasy of relationships and wants to settle down. It is one of the few moments where the film touches deep subject matter, and it totally worked for me.


The film also sometimes tries to make a statement about how influential pop culture is to our lives. In one scene, Cusack's Rob states that you can enter into relationships solely based on the significant other's likes and dislikes in music, film, TV shows etc. It never takes that notion anywhere, primarily being a romantic comedy, but it is still interesting as an afterthought.

One of those films that I never miss whenever it is on TV.

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Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:37 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JackBurns wrote:
You weren't at all bothered by…
[Reveal] Spoiler:
Oscar conveniently turning over a new leaf on the exact same day of his, well, demise? Kinda over inflates the emotional punch, in my opinion.

This is supposed to be a true story, so I viewed it as such. That said, I very much doubt if I would remotely care weather he was a "genuine good guy" or not and so wouldn't really damage the emotional impact of him being needlessly shot dead. I believe that factually he was a father. Wasn't that enough for you?


Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:05 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
nitrium wrote:
JackBurns wrote:
You weren't at all bothered by…
[Reveal] Spoiler:
Oscar conveniently turning over a new leaf on the exact same day of his, well, demise? Kinda over inflates the emotional punch, in my opinion.

This is supposed to be a true story, so I viewed it as such. That said, I very much doubt if I would remotely care weather he was a "good guy" or not and so wouldn't really damage the emotional impact of someone being needlessly shot dead.


[Reveal] Spoiler:
It is supposed to be true, but many of the events surrounding the "goodness" of our character are completely fabricated (for whatever thats worth). I'm not trying to argue that the "goodness of Oscar "matters in relation to his killing. I'm arguing that Coogler, un-needingly, inflates our character here in order to garnish emotion. Throwing illegal substances into the ocean or holding a dying dog doesn't make Oscar's killing any more brutal or unjust does it? I don't think so. I think Oscar's love for his daughter and his youth were more than enough to trigger emotion here, but Coogler is determined to create a slight halo around our protagonist--one that isn't needed IMO.

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Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:47 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Balaji Sivaraman wrote:
High Fidelity (2000) - 3.5 out of 4

This is one of those indie romances that is pretty easy to love and enjoy despite not doing anything wildly unique or revolutionary. The primary reason for my love of the film is that it is very easy to fall in love with these characters and the realistic conversations they have. This is another quintessential Cusack character if ever there was one. His monologues about his failures with love delivered directly to the camera are simply perfect. Although strictly a comedy, you're not going to be rolling on the floor laughing, except on a couple of occasions. This is more about generating chuckles and guffaws with wry humor than anything else. Towards the end of the film,

[Reveal] Spoiler:
Rob proposes to Laura and states his reasons for doing so. That monologue (and conversation) is one of the best sequences in the film. Rob says he is pretty much tired of the fantasy of relationships and wants to settle down. It is one of the few moments where the film touches deep subject matter, and it totally worked for me.


The film also sometimes tries to make a statement about how influential pop culture is to our lives. In one scene, Cusack's Rob states that you can enter into relationships solely based on the significant other's likes and dislikes in music, film, TV shows etc. It never takes that notion anywhere, primarily being a romantic comedy, but it is still interesting as an afterthought.

One of those films that I never miss whenever it is on TV.


[Reveal] Spoiler:
Although he tapes "I Just Called to Say I Love You" for her. There's no way she'd like that sappy song. ;) He needs to consult the Jack Black character.

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Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:25 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Carrie (2013)

It starts off surprisingly enjoyable, in a slick kind of way. The middle portion is rushed as hell though, and the third act is a mess. Carrie's power also comes off a little too X-Men, so much that I don't feel the criticism of the prom scene being too identifying with the perpetrator, since it looks so silly at times (she even flied like Storm at one point, and I almost laughed). Chloe Moretz isn't the perfect match for the character like Sissy Spacek, but she is able to sell the insecurity and awkwardness pretty well. It's ok enough, but really a missed opportunity considering the talent behind it. 5.5/10

Saving Mr. Banks (2013)

There is a feeling of things being simplified for Disney consumption, and it goes on a little too long (the flashback could have been trimmed a little, despite how good Colin Farrell is in the role). Still, wonderful performances all around, saving what on paper could have been some stock types. Tom Hanks is his usual charming, convincing self, but Emma Thompson gives the character so much additional nuance and pathos. I don't feel the role is written that well, but Thompson is really engaging and touching. Her last scene almost chokes me up a little. 7/10


Sun Jan 05, 2014 7:20 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) - 3 out of 4

I really, really enjoyed this film. It was a very pleasant experience, but I don't know why, I loved it. I cannot put my finger on what it was. From James B's review,
Quote:
Films of this sort may have worked well in a "simpler" era but this one could have difficulty finding an audience in a time when a defining social characteristic is cynicism.

I think that is precisely why I love movies like this. We live in an era where cynicism is rife. Almost every other person I meet is extremely cynical about life. And I've always disliked cynicism. That is why watching this film was such a refreshing experience. Almost every character, with the exception of the token villain, had a sort of endearing quality to them. Even Patton Oswalt's Todd, who appears in a cameo, had that quality, and I think that is the reason I enjoyed this film so much.

I was also able to relate to Walter. I wouldn't say I zone out like Walter does in the film, but my imagination has been known to run wild a lot. On slow workdays, I will sit in my chair on conjure up the most vivid images of what my future could be like. I guess that also helped, in that I found his character arc inspiring.

Also, the ending:
[Reveal] Spoiler:
Most people who see the film will see it coming from a mile away. With Sean O'Connell's (Sean Penn) admiration of Walter, the picture was always going to be related to him. I was half expecting something mawkish. However, it turned out to be really moving, and I will admit to having a lump in my throat. I think it had to do with the excerpt that went along with the picture, but it was nicely done. The picture itself was also pretty evocative.

The visuals were pretty stunning as well. This was a real crowd-pleaser, and one I wouldn't mind watching again, especially after another usual round of cynical movies come by to jade me.

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Sun Jan 05, 2014 10:05 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
peng wrote:
Carrie (2013)

It starts off surprisingly enjoyable, in a slick kind of way. The middle portion is rushed as hell though, and the third act is a mess. Carrie's power also comes off a little too X-Men, so much that I don't feel the criticism of the prom scene being too identifying with the perpetrator, since it looks so silly at times (she even flied like Storm at one point, and I almost laughed). Chloe Moretz isn't the perfect match for the character like Sissy Spacek, but she is able to sell the insecurity and awkwardness pretty well. It's ok enough, but really a missed opportunity considering the talent behind it. 5.5/10


I agree a lot with this; the Carrie remake gets the basics right, but all the details wrong. As I recall, I made a longer post going into all this, but I can't remember where.

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Made in Britain (1982) (TV) ***

A British television film starring a very young Tim Roth and directed by Alan Clarke, who also did the excellent Scum (1979), Made in Britain spends 76 short minutes looking at a skinhead who resists everything, including attempts to help him, it reminded me of a line said in reference to Sam Rockwell's character in The Green Mile: this boy just does not care. The film is too narrowly focused to be great, but it's solid and has one truly terrific scene, in which an administrator uses a chalkboard to outline all the chances Roth has had, all the steps on the system that he's gone through, and the inevitable cycle in which he now finds himself

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Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:12 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
I watched a lot of movies during the recent festive season and, since I've set myself the aim of briefly reviewing all recently watched movies here, there's a lot of catching up to do. So, here we go with part 1:

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)
To my knowledge, Colonel Blimp is an old British cartoon character satirising pompous, reactionary and jingoistic British military officials. The Blimp-ish (albeit sympathetic) central character here is retired Major General Clive Wynne-Candy (Roger Livesey, the physician in 'A Matter of Life and Death') who commands a home guard exercise at the height of World War II. When a junior commander thinks it realistic not to wait with the war games until they officially start at midnight and takes the unprepared Wynne-Candy prisoner in a Turkish bath beforehand, the irascible old soldier harangues him for his unsporting behaviour. In return, the general is accused of outdated attitudes, which prompts Wynne-Candy to tell the story of his lifelong friendship with a German officer, starting shortly after the Boer Wars until the beginning of the second World War.
The fact that this classic by the writer-director team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger could be made at all is remarkable. It was made at the height of World War II after the London "Blitz" (against the opposition of Winston Churchill, no less) and features not only a sympathetic German character (differentiating between Germans as a whole and the Nazis) but also questions the old school warrior ethos of winning by a fair fight, which is promoted by the old general. Indeed, its central ideas on war or rather the conflict of ideas on war are very interesting, but, in my opinion, they are debated too explicitly by the characters, making this a very talky movie and close to a lecture - a problem I had with the ending of 'A Matter of Life and Death' as well. (Then again, the movie may be slightly more subversive than I thought at first: In a first flashback sequence, Wynne-Candy travels to Berlin to counter German propaganda against the British army's dishonourable conduct in the Boer Wars, in which the British Imperial forces actually employed a "scorched earth" policy and interned large numbers of civilians in so-called concentration camps, resulting in the death of thousands from malnutrition and lack of medical care. Was Wynne-Candy's idea about fighting a fair fight a self-delusion from the beginning?) As a consequence, I didn't find the film very engaging, although it is definitely intellectually stimulating and impeccably made. Overall, 'The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp' is a good movie, but not a very good one, in my opinion. 7/10

Redemption aka Hummingbird (2013)
Jason Statham plays a former special forces soldier who now lives as a homeless alcoholic bum in London. When he confronts some street-level thugs, he is forced to flee and breaks into an apartment, whose wealthy owner is away for months. The Stath assumes the apartment's owner's identity, cleans up his act and works his way up from dishwasher in a Chinese restaurant to Triad enforcer, all the while looking for a former friend of his, who was forced into prostitution and subsequently murdered by a serial killer. Parallely, he falls in love with a Polish Catholic nun (Agata Buzek), who starts questioning her faith.
Normally, you pretty much know what you're going to get in a Jason Statham movie. He is good at looking convincing in car chases (must be his sideways glances into the rearview mirrors) and he is great in fight scenes, so his movies are generally a framework for providing corresponding scenes. Here, The Stath actually has to do a bit of acting and he gives it a game try, showing more talent than the likes of Schwarzenegger and Stallone ('Rocky' and 'Copland' aside). It's not too difficult to look good compared to Agata Buzek, though, whose performance is absolutely terrible and, unfortunately, also central to most of the movie. The plot is utter rubbish, too. Can you guess why he turned into an alcoholic bum? Well, he needs to dull his senses, otherwise he becomes an unstoppable killer of evil men. Quote: "I need to drink to weaken the machine they made." A laughably bad movie, even by Statham's modest standards. 3/10

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Extended Edition (2012)
No need for a capsule summary here. Watching the first Hobbit movie in the cinema, I found the 3D High Frame Rate look distracting, which isn't a problem when you see it at home on a 2D TV set. My second issue with the movie was its bombastic and epic scope, which isn't in character with the book, but, as someone else on this forum has aptly suggested, it's probably best to think of the Hobbit movies as prequels to the Lord of the Rings trilogy rather than straight adaptations of the book, and they work well as such. Actually, the extended edition is closer to the spirit of Tolkien's novel, because it adds mostly scenes of lighthearted silliness and songs. There is no way around the third problem of 'An Unexpected Journey', though: This movie is full of expository scenes and, as a result, not paced very well. I still think it is a good fantasy movie, but it falls short of the Lord of the Rings movies. 7/10

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
Pacing isn't an issue in the second instalment of the Hobbit trilogy, making this a better movie than 'An Unexpected Journey'. (Although I'll admit that I very much enjoyed the reclining seats in the fantastically equipped movie theatre, which may have had something to do with my enjoyment of this second Hobbit movie.) Although I watched it in 3D and High Frame Rate like the first movie, I didn't find it distracting and much better done, which is where I vehemently disagree with James Berardinelli, who wrote that the special effects made the movie look like a computer game at times. He particularly singles out the "barrel escape sequence", which looked very good to me and obviously featured some real stuntwork of people going down rapids in barrels (plus CGI). Either that or it's so well-made that I couldn't tell the difference. Berardinelli correctly criticises that 'The Desolation of Smaug' cannot stand on its own, though. I starts where the first movie ends and it doesn't really have an ending - it stops on a cliffhanger moment, which just left me wanting more. In short, 'The Desolation of Smaug' has all of the advantages of the first movie without 'An Unexpected Journey's problems and is very good, if you like that thought of thing. 8/10

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013)
Calling the Percy Jackson movies cheap knock-offs of the Harry Potter series is a bit unfair (but only a bit). The idea of modern-day teenagers discovering that they are sons of Olympian gods and, therefore, demigods with superpowers themselves isn't so bad. The problem lies with the execution, which is by-the-numbers storytelling and moviemaking. Here, Percy Jackson and a few friends are on a quest for the Golden Fleece and in competition with a rival school team and some other teenager who is so angry that he wants to use the Fleece to revive the Titan Chronos, thereby destroying the world, or something. Not exactly bad, but worse than average.4/10


Sun Jan 05, 2014 5:13 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Quote:
To my knowledge, Colonel Blimp is an old British cartoon character satirising pompous, reactionary and jingoistic British military 'fficials. The Blimp-ish (albeit sympathetic) central character here is retired Major General Clive Wynne-Candy (Roger Livesey, the physician in 'A Matter of Life and Death') who commands a home guard exercise at the height of World War II. When a junior commander thinks it realistic not to wait with the war games until they officially start at midnight and takes the unprepared Wynne-Candy prisoner in a Turkish bath beforehand, the irascible old soldier harangues him for his unsporting behaviour. In return, the general is accused of outdated attitudes, which prompts Wynne-Candy to tell the story of his lifelong friendship with a German officer, starting shortly after the Boer Wars until the beginning of the second World War.
The fact that this classic by the writer-director team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger could be made at all is remarkable. It was made at the height of World War II after the London "Blitz" (against the opposition of Winston Churchill, no less) and features not only a sympathetic German character (differentiating between Germans as a whole and the Nazis) but also questions the old school warrior ethos of winning by a fair fight, which is promoted by the old general. Indeed, its central ideas on war or rather the conflict of ideas on war are very interesting, but, in my opinion, they are debated too explicitly by the characters, making this a very talky movie and close to a lecture - a problem I had with the ending of 'A Matter of Life and Death' as well. (Then again, the movie may be slightly more subversive than I thought at first: In a first flashback sequence, Wynne-Candy travels to Berlin to counter German propaganda against the British army's dishonourable conduct in the Boer Wars, in which the British Imperial forces actually employed a "scorched earth" policy and interned large numbers of civilians in so-called concentration camps, resulting in the death of thousands from malnutrition and lack of medical care. Was Wynne-Candy's idea about fighting a fair fight a self-delusion from the beginning?) As a consequence, I didn't find the film very engaging, although it is definitely intellectually stimulating and impeccably made. Overall, 'The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp' is a good movie, but not a very good one, in my opinion. 7/10


The timing and content of Blimp have an almost supernatural poignancy given the subject matter.

Not only did WW2 kill the empire, it was also the death of the highest minded ideals of 'fair play'. Or at least the ideals of the ideals. The film recognised these were seldom realised in practice, but the demise for what 'Blimp' stood for was not a good thing.

I really like this film, because it creates an almost seamless narrative between the story of a man, the story of a country, and the story of how ideas are extinguished by reality.

Blimp in the comic form was a crude stereotype. A sneering dig at colonial excesses. The film quite bravely humanizes something seemingly 'unhumanizable'

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Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:25 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Shade2 wrote:
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
I will concede one thing. Since 2000, there have been 22 nominations for black actors, more than all previous years combined.


That's certainly moving in a better direction, but it still is very limiting. Of those 22 nominations, these are the only ones that weren't required to be played by a black actor:

Denzel twice (Training Day & Flight)
Terrence Howard (Hustle & Flow)
Jamie Foxx (Collateral)
Halle Berry (Monster's Ball)
Queen Latifa (Chicago)
Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild)

And really, you could argue that Howard and all three women had to be played by a black actor, but I'm defining it as broadly as I can to be fair.


Considering that Matron Mama Morton was played by a Caucasian on Broadway, Latifah's role absolutely did not have to be played by a black actor. Honestly I don't remember why Morgan Freeman's role in Million Dollar Baby had to be played by a black actor; certainly Berry's role had many racial elements. Even Viola Davis' in Doubt didn't have to be black. Point taken, Shade2, but you might've missed a couple.

P.S.: Sorry for responding late, but I haven't read this topic in awhile.


Sun Jan 05, 2014 8:12 pm
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