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Last Movie You Watched 
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Code:
You see, here's my problem with The General -- you say Keaton was one of cinema's greatest comedians, but I not only don't find the General funny, I legitimately have no idea what parts are supposed to be funny


maybe you should try watching some of his other films.


Wed Jan 22, 2014 1:28 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Unke wrote:
Red 2 (2013)
Retired CIA and MI6 agents (Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren) travel around the globe in order to prevent a nuclear bomb from going off in the Kremlin. So they are searching for the missing scientific genius Bailey (Anthony Hopkins) in London, have an ecounter with a former Cold War adversary and KGB spy (Catherine Zeta-Jones) in Paris, are accompanied verywhere by Bruce Willis’s character’s wife (Mary-Louise Parker), who is looking for adventure, and are pursued by an Asian contract killer (Byung-Hun Lee).
This sequel to 2010’s action comedy ‘Red’ isn’t as good as the original and that was mediocre. The formula of some old codgers turning out to be superspies and saving the world is good enough for the odd comedic scene and there are some good visual gags, but the movie would have to be a lot funnier in order to work as a comedy. While Malkovich and Hopkins give suitably over the top performances, it may be funny to see Helen Mirren brandishing huge guns, but that joke got old the first time around. Bruce Willis seems completely disinterested and doesn’t have any chemistry with Parker, who is downright annoying (which, to be fair, might be the fault of how the character is written rather than her acting). Lee’s character is superfluous and only serves the function to intersperse the boring stretches (and there are a few) with generic martial arts scenes. The other action scenes are standard stuff, too: shoot-outs and car chases of the kind you’ll have seen 1,000 times before. The movie is mildly diverting, but no more than that. 4/10

Drug War (2012)
During a drug raid at a toll booth somewhee in China, police captain Zhang’s (or Chang’s?) (Sun Hong Lei) drug enforcement unit captures the meth producer Choi (Louis Koo), who agrees to cooperate with the authorities in order to avoid the death penalty. In the course of the risky investigation, Zhang grows increasingly suspicious of Choi.
‘Drug War‘ seems to be a bit of a forum favourite and perhaps my expectations were too high as a result. The movie provides a realistic (or seemingly realistic) look at an operation by a Chinese drug enforcement agency with few memorable set pieces. Apart from the ending, there isn't much action and the movie is not filmed in the stylised way, which I would have expected from noted Hong Kong action director Jonnie To. That doesn’t mean that ‘Drug War’ is a bad movie. Indeed, the relative lack of style and the setting in mainland China rather than in the overpopulated, neon-lit urban jungle that is Hong Kong helps to make the movie seem more realistic and sets it apart from the typical triad gangster movie. I also liked the performance of by the actor playing the police inspector. That being said, I also found very little to get excited about and the movie seemed to be somewhat inconsequential, although I cannot put my finger on the reasons for this. I doubt I’ll remember this film in a year’s time. Still, ‘Drug War’ is at least a very decent police procedural. 6/10

R.I.P.D. (2013)
When policeman Nick (Ryan Reynolds) informs his partner Hayes (Kevin Bacon) that he will return the gold, which they have embezzled in the course of a raid, he is murdered by Hayes. Because of his background in law enforcement, Nick is offered to redeem himself in afterlife and to join the Rest In Peace Department, which is protecting the living against the monstrous undead. To this end, Nick is partnered with the former Old West lawman Roy (Jeff Bridges).
I confess that I didn’t finish this film, so it could reasonably be argued that I’m not qualified to have an opinion on it. I couldn’t even tell you how much I’ve seen of this movie, because I kept nodding off after the half hour mark. However, I saw enough of ‘R.I.P.D.’ to know that my time would be better spend doing other stuff. That kitchen floor sure needed a good cleaning. My opinion in short: It’s a ‘Men in Black’ rip-off without any of the humour and excitement of ‘Men in Black’. And I didn’t even like ‘Men in Black’. 3/10

I think you should finish RIPD, cause it's kinda to take someone seriously who reviews a film without finishing it, and the film starts getting pretty interesting around the halfway point so I think you should try and finish it.


Wed Jan 22, 2014 3:01 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
calvero wrote:
Code:
You see, here's my problem with The General -- you say Keaton was one of cinema's greatest comedians, but I not only don't find the General funny, I legitimately have no idea what parts are supposed to be funny


maybe you should try watching some of his other films.


I liked Sherlock Jr. Some of the gags were very inventive and the short length worked better for him, I think, than feature length of The General

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Wed Jan 22, 2014 3:34 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Jeff Wilder wrote:
11;14 (2005)

First heard about this when I saw a trailer for it on my A History Of Violence DVD. This made me curious and so I added it to my Netflix que.

Surprising that this one didn't get more attention. It's a pretty good mix of dark comedy and drama. The hyperlink approach is similar to what we already saw in Magnolia, Short Cuts etc. But its approach is original enough it doesn't feel like a retread. The film in some ways is like a more gritty Go.

Kinda strange to see Elliott from ET driving drunk in the opening scene.

*** Quite entertaining.


I own this film and I'm quite fond of it. It was a gift, but regardless, I found it surprisingly good. Pretty good cast also: Hillary Swank, Henry Thomas, Rachel Leigh Cook, Patrick Swayze, Colin Hanks, Ben Foster, Barbara Hershey... obviously most of the "young'uns" weren't famous yet, but still.

And since you mentioned Thomas, a film that also stars him and has perhaps a similar tone is Suicide Kings (from 1997). Have you seen it? Aside of Thomas, it features a cast of 90's young "hot" stars like Jeremy Sisto, Sean Patrick Flannery, Jay Mohr, Johnny Galecki, plus Christopher Walken, Denis Leary, and Brad Garrett. Solid and entertaining film as well.

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Wed Jan 22, 2014 7:42 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Life During Wartime

The most awkward sequel ever made? All characters played by different actors save for two? Is that an intentional choice or could Solondz just not get Hoffman and Dylan Baker back on board? Like Happiness, this movie is uncomfortable but sometimes for random reasons. It's also just too dreary. I just don't know what to make of it, really. It works best when it plays for humor, but mostly it's down in the dumps and just plain odd.


Wed Jan 22, 2014 9:01 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
MGamesCook wrote:
Life During Wartime

The most awkward sequel ever made? All characters played by different actors save for two? Is that an intentional choice or could Solondz just not get Hoffman and Dylan Baker back on board? Like Happiness, this movie is uncomfortable but sometimes for random reasons. It's also just too dreary. I just don't know what to make of it, really. It works best when it plays for humor, but mostly it's down in the dumps and just plain odd.


I'm still not sure how I feel about Happiness, it's about time I returned to it.

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Wed Jan 22, 2014 9:29 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
A Hard Day's Night (1964)

Interesting blend of techniques and styles. Not crazy about the grandpa subplot, but the film contains great integration of songs and has some absolutely magical scenes (the Beatles running around the field to "Can't Buy Me Love"). Loved the light touch of humor as well. 8/10

Lone Survivor (2013)

Lot of hokiness, but damn if the "you are there" feeling isn't so intense, emotional and often painful (whenever they rolled down the hill I winced bad), so it works in the moment, even with already knowing the outcome. 6.5/10


Thu Jan 23, 2014 12:19 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
peng wrote:
A Hard Day's Night (1964)

Interesting blend of techniques and styles. Not crazy about the grandpa subplot, but the film contains great integration of songs and has some absolutely magical scenes (the Beatles running around the field to "Can't Buy Me Love"). Loved the light touch of humor as well. 8/10

Lone Survivor (2013)

Lot of hokiness, but damn if the "you are there" feeling isn't so intense, emotional and often painful (whenever they rolled down the hill I winced bad), so it works in the moment, even with already knowing the outcome. 6.5/10
I really enjoyed Lone Survivor, when the characters got injured you could hear the entire audience wincing, almost like they were feeling the characteres pain, the battle scenes were also really intense and well done. I definitely hope Peter Berg makes more films like this(though I wouldn't another Battleship either).


Thu Jan 23, 2014 12:38 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
So a while ago I watched Inside Llewyn Davis. Since then, I haven't really been processing it as much as I've been evaluating my thoughts, vetting them, sorting them out.

What I keep coming back to: I loved it.

Some people around here that I deeply respect (Petey and Kunz, primarily) had, at best, mixed feelings about it. I understand them, but the film just moved me. The Coens weave a tale that's depressing and sad, yes, but also hopeful and challenging. Llewyn speaks in cliches about sticking to his artistic guns, but it comes from a real place within him and a desire to make his life mean something. We know his relationship with is father is strained and that to many people, he's their "folk-singer friend" -- not quite famous, but an impressive dinner guest (the dinner scenes were just unbearably awkward and wonderful). I was struck by that to almost no one he's just Llewyn -- and to those who do claim him that way, he's unliked. Which is not to say he's easy to root for. He's consistently selfish and morally bankrupt. He has no problems sleeping with his friends wife, possibly impregnating her, then asking the same friend for money, yada yada. He's kindof a sleazeball, but in a puppydog way. The journey to and from Chicago is the vitally important stretch, in my mind, although I know some found it merely an entertaining sidebar.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
When he plays his song for the producer, because we've seen the film to this point and we know the filmmakers, we know where this is going. The response seems callous, but he offers real advice when he suggest that Llewyn join up with a group. It's not the toughest of or cleverest move the Coens have made, but having someone say "Play me something from Inside Llewyn Davis" works splendidly, and I believe it's the question Llewyn really answers when he plays the song. It's such a sad number, probably the worst choice to win a new fan, but Llewyn just can't help himself.

In the end, as with so much else, Llewyn dodges his big break, making room for the biggest of breaks. The final line of the film is as intriguing an ending the Coens have given us: is Llewyn giving up, or just the opposite? Perhaps the old man who socks him in the face is a metaphor for life and the way it knocks people down. Perhaps the cat is some version of the man. My read was that that's not the important question, it's whether Llewyn's going to get up. Right before he plays "Fare Thee Well" he says "one more before I go." And the Dylan thing, which should probably feel gimmicky but didn't, just shattered me.


I've saw it again and it felt like I'd seen it a hundred times, which is the same feeling I had with Fargo and No Country. I felt like I knew every scene well but still found nifty stuff consistently, and I think Isaac just kills it. As I said, the opinion of those I trust (not just here) genuinely made me reevaluate my feelings. But alas: It's my favorite movie of the year, and maybe of the last few. The heart wants what it wants.


Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:43 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Shade2 wrote:
So a while ago I watched Inside Llewyn Davis. Since then, I haven't really been processing it as much as I've been evaluating my thoughts, vetting them, sorting them out.

What I keep coming back to: I loved it.

Some people around here that I deeply respect (Petey and Kunz, primarily) had, at best, mixed feelings about it. I understand them, but the film just moved me. The Coens weave a tale that's depressing and sad, yes, but also hopeful and challenging. Llewyn speaks in cliches about sticking to his artistic guns, but it comes from a real place within him and a desire to make his life mean something. We know his relationship with is father is strained and that to many people, he's their "folk-singer friend" -- not quite famous, but an impressive dinner guest (the dinner scenes were just unbearably awkward and wonderful). I was struck by that to almost no one he's just Llewyn -- and to those who do claim him that way, he's unliked. Which is not to say he's easy to root for. He's consistently selfish and morally bankrupt. He has no problems sleeping with his friends wife, possibly impregnating her, then asking the same friend for money, yada yada. He's kindof a sleazeball, but in a puppydog way. The journey to and from Chicago is the vitally important stretch, in my mind, although I know some found it merely an entertaining sidebar.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
When he plays his song for the producer, because we've seen the film to this point and we know the filmmakers, we know where this is going. The response seems callous, but he offers real advice when he suggest that Llewyn join up with a group. It's not the toughest of or cleverest move the Coens have made, but having someone say "Play me something from Inside Llewyn Davis" works splendidly, and I believe it's the question Llewyn really answers when he plays the song. It's such a sad number, probably the worst choice to win a new fan, but Llewyn just can't help himself.

In the end, as with so much else, Llewyn dodges his big break, making room for the biggest of breaks. The final line of the film is as intriguing an ending the Coens have given us: is Llewyn giving up, or just the opposite? Perhaps the old man who socks him in the face is a metaphor for life and the way it knocks people down. Perhaps the cat is some version of the man. My read was that that's not the important question, it's whether Llewyn's going to get up. Right before he plays "Fare Thee Well" he says "one more before I go." And the Dylan thing, which should probably feel gimmicky but didn't, just shattered me.


I've saw it again and it felt like I'd seen it a hundred times, which is the same feeling I had with Fargo and No Country. I felt like I knew every scene well but still found nifty stuff consistently, and I think Isaac just kills it. As I said, the opinion of those I trust (not just here) genuinely made me reevaluate my feelings. But alas: It's my favorite movie of the year, and maybe of the last few. The heart wants what it wants.

This is a great write-up, Shade.
[Reveal] Spoiler:
The Dylan thing's kind of funny in the moment, mostly because it's Dylan, but it gets sadder after the fact. Llewyn tries and tries (given, in his own way) for the whole film to do his own thing and right when he leaves, folk music arrives. If he feels like getting back up again, he might have a lot of Dylan-inspired folk-related gigs in his future. If.

My friend disliked Inside Llewyn Davis because he perceived the main character to be incapable of doing the things needs to do, i.e. he's stupid. Arrogance and stupidity are two different things, though, and I dare say he misread the film entirely. People as talented as Llewyn get ignored all the time independent of what their personality is like and it's not like Llewyn's a convicted felon. He's just been thrown one too many Clayton Kershaw curveballs. It's hard to be pleasant if you're facing Clayton Kershaw all the time.

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Thu Jan 23, 2014 2:02 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Pedro wrote:
This is a great write-up, Shade.


Well shucks. Thanks homey.

Pedro wrote:
My friend disliked Inside Llewyn Davis because he perceived the main character to be incapable of doing the things needs to do, i.e. he's stupid. Arrogance and stupidity are two different things, though, and I dare say he misread the film entirely. People as talented as Llewyn get ignored all the time independent of what their personality is like and it's not like Llewyn's a convicted felon. He's just been thrown one too many Clayton Kershaw curveballs. It's hard to be pleasant if you're facing Clayton Kershaw all the time.


That's an excellent cross-cultural reference, friend-o. I'd agree that your friend misread the film. Llewyn is far from stupid. He's naive and generally unaware of tact, although it's much more what he resorts to than what he leads with. When he gets in the car with Johnny Five and Roland Turner, there's a moment where he seems hopeful for a happy discourse with lovers of the craft, but he's met with disinterested jadedness, and he can only take Roland's insults for so long.

Llewyn perceives his biggest battle as between art and commerce -- he just wants to make good music, he wants to be a real artist, and he doesn't want to do anything to betray that, but on the other hand he wants to make real money, to be a big deal, and if he can't have that, well, he'll set out to sea. He lives his life like he's waiting to tell people about how pathetic his life once was. His reaction when Jim tells him he wrote "Please Mr. Kennedy" is not Llewyn being a tool, he just can't grasp why or how Jim's doing it -- the artist in him can't see how he can sell out, and the Working Musician in him isn't capable of writing such a thing.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
It's probably not coincidental that Troy Nelson and Fuckin' Murray Abraham are respectively the kindest person toward Llewyn and the most helpfully honest. Troy is just grateful to be here and happy to make a new friend and too big-hearted to even realize when he's being mocked. Abraham watches Llewyn play and responds honestly -- hey, kid, you're no star, but if you want to be a backup you can make a career of this. Those two will work together to make Troy a big star in a way Llewyn can never be, and in a way they're different sides of what Llewyn could be if he got out of his own way.


Perhaps the singular thing that makes the Coens my favorite working filmmakers is that they never ever scream their theme or even their thoughts at you. As they've said, here's this guy and we're going to toss him into a rough world and see how he reacts. Or to follow your excellent metaphor, let's send him in to face Kershaw and see what he can do -- but what makes him different from most of the Serious Men the Coens have chronicled is that he won't gladly settle for a walk.


Thu Jan 23, 2014 3:52 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
The Iceman (2012)

Michael Shannon does his best impression of Clint Eastwood's and Jonny Depp as Donny Brasco's love child in this mediocre thriller.

The Iceman is a mostly true story about a guy who whores his murdering services to a New York crime family in the 1970s. The beginning of the film succeeds in building some intrigue, and then succeeds further in killing it off. Shannon puts in a decent performance, but has little script or direction to work with. The end result is a bit like one of those documentary-dramas you see on the various TrueCrime channels.

Filler.

6 or 7/10

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Thu Jan 23, 2014 5:24 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Vexer wrote:
Unke wrote:
R.I.P.D. (2013)
...
I confess that I didn’t finish this film, so it could reasonably be argued that I’m not qualified to have an opinion on it. I couldn’t even tell you how much I’ve seen of this movie, because I kept nodding off after the half hour mark. However, I saw enough of ‘R.I.P.D.’ to know that my time would be better spend doing other stuff. That kitchen floor sure needed a good cleaning. My opinion in short: It’s a ‘Men in Black’ rip-off without any of the humour and excitement of ‘Men in Black’. And I didn’t even like ‘Men in Black’. 3/10

I think you should finish RIPD, cause it's kinda to take someone seriously who reviews a film without finishing it, and the film starts getting pretty interesting around the halfway point so I think you should try and finish it.


Vexer, I may misunderstand your post, but I do normally finish a movie when I've started it, even if it's a bad one, so I don't quite understand why I shouldn't be taken seriously just because I didn't finish watching 'R.I.P.D.' Of course, it would be completely justified to dismiss my opinion on this particular movie, because I didn't see all of it. That's why I made it clear that I didn't.

That being said, my time and money are limited. Life's too short for finishing watching movies, which I don't like, just for the sake of watching them to the end. I've since read Berardinelli's review of 'R.I.P.D.' (and one or two others) and, despite of your endorsement, I don't think that my money and time would be well-spent on re-renting the film.

I also think that it's fair to review a movie, which you haven't seen in full, if you make it clear that you didn't. Normally, there comes a point in a movie when my opinion on it is pretty certain. It is rare that the ending of a movie changes my appreciation of the film as a whole (although it does happen). In the case of 'R.I.P.D.', I don't think that the wreckage was salvageable.


Thu Jan 23, 2014 8:23 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Shade2 wrote:
His reaction when Jim tells him he wrote "Please Mr. Kennedy" is not Llewyn being a tool, he just can't grasp why or how Jim's doing it -- the artist in him can't see how he can sell out, and the Working Musician in him isn't capable of writing such a thing.


This is the crux of why I so despised Llewyn. His reaction to that song really, really angered me. More so than any character action I can remember in quite some time. For one, it's obviously a huge dick move to mock the song in the first place considering he's only there because his friend (who's wife he fucking impregnated!) did him a solid because he genuinely felt bad for him. Second, and the biggest reason why I hated the character, Llewyn wants to play the tortured, down-on-his-luck artist when it's convenient for him. He took that job, accepted that paycheck, and still had the nerve to mock the song and pretend he's above it all. I know a handful of people like that in real life, and man, they're the fucking worst. You just want to punch them in the face. Constantly. Of course, the film is designed to make the audience feel unsympathetic towards Llewyn, but it got the point where I would have been more mad if he did make it big (Oddly enough he reminded me a little of Barton Fink in that he has the audacity to think he’s deserving of some kind of special treatment because he has a moderate amount of talent, and treats people accordingly. Llewyn’s worse though because he seems to know he’s a dick, while Barton seems almost clueless.).

I found Llewyn to be something of a cypher for a real artist - a singer of folk song covers who's unable to create anything of his own. Full of the ego, but devoid of the talent and work ethic necessary to 1) push oneself into real self-analysis and 2) you know, make it as an artist. I thought the contrast with Dylan at the end of the film spoke to this idea a bit (as if Dylan coming onto the scene as a writer-singer signifies the arrival or a “real” artist).

I took the ending as signifying that Llewyn’s life has been something of a cycle where over and over again he sabotages any real chance he has at, well, anything tangible. I got the impression that his dead partner was the true artist of the duo and his death left Llewyn in a precarious state professionally. The slight differences between the beginning and the end could be read as a hopeful indicator of change within the man, but as Shade said, the important thing is where he goes after the movie ends. Personally, I think Llewyn needs to decide what kind of man he's going to be before he worries about the artist he's going to be. Then again, in any real artist that's all one in the same.

Now, none of that inherently makes the film good or bad. I'm far from against a movie with an unlikable protagonist (I wouldn't be able to love the Coens if I was), but I did have issues with that in this movie. Llewyn was just such an asshole that it was hard for me to care about his internal strife when he's so outwardly being a dick. Mind you, I still like the movie and am interested in seeing it again to reevaluate how I feel, I just really, really hated Llewyn.


Thu Jan 23, 2014 11:03 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Computer Chess (2013)

Intellectually stimulating on some level, but way too low key on everything else. Feels like it wants to be Primer or Pi, but gets upstaged by dramedy subplots that go no where. 5.5/10

Berberian Sound Studio (2013)

There are endings left ambiguous/mildly confusing because they fit the tone or content of their stories, and then there are those that seem the directors do so just because. I'm afraid my feeling goes towards the latter on this one. Still very much worth a watch because of the superb atmosphere and lush directing, and of course the soundtrack. Never has melon cutting sounded so sinister. All combine to create unease out of minimal plot really well. I also find the lives and behind-the-scene stuff of all who work there more interesting than what the film eventually becomes.

Would love to watch that film within the film, The Equestrian Vortex, too. 7/10


Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:58 pm
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Unke- I would think someone like you would've avoided seeing RIPD altogether, it dosen't sound like the type of film that would normally appeal to me, so i'm wondering why you checked it out to begin with.

It's reasonable for people to want someone to actually finish a film before reviewing, a lot of people got REALLY pissed at Roger Ebert when he gave a movie a one star review before finishing it, so he had to go back and finish it and update his review in order to correct his mistake.

I think at the very least if you haven't finished a film, then you shouldn't give it a rating.


Thu Jan 23, 2014 2:18 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
There's this guy I used to read a lot in the early 2000s named Rob Blackwelder. His site was called splicedonline.com, but he left the film criticism field in 2005 I believe. I'm pretty sure JB gave him a shout-out back in the days when he used to highlight other movie sites. At any rate, Rob walked out on a movie every now and then, and he said so in his review. The only two times I can think of were the original RESIDENT EVIL and something called SERIES 7: THE CONTENDERS, and he gave zero stars to each. That's probably the appropriate rating for a movie you found so bad you couldn't even finish it.

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Thu Jan 23, 2014 2:42 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
The Spectacular Now (2013) - 3.5 out of 4 (SPOILERS BELOW!)

I love, love, love indie romance/coming-of-age films like this one. Over the past few years, Adventureland, (500) Days of Summer, and Perks of Being a Wallflower have all been favorites of mine. In fact, I can say with certainty that any year wouldn't be complete without one film in this genre of this quality.

One common aspect of all the above films is the care the creators demonstrate for their characters. It is easy to get emotionally invested in these characters when they've been written with such honesty. And what makes these films even better is that this is not only applicable to the primary and secondary characters, but also perfunctory characters who're on-screen for at most one or two minutes, maybe less. Characters like Bob Odenkirk's Dan who is the owner of the bow tie store where the protagonist Sutter works, or the latter's school teacher played by Andre Royo, or even the unnamed older guy in the bar sharing a drink with Sutter towards the end of the film. I always feel that when a film works for me, it is because these tertiary characters feel like living, breathing people. And that's what essentially separates the aforementioned films from those that just miss the mark.

Coming back to TSN after that brief digression, what I loved most about it was the way it built the relationship between the central characters, with nary a false note in sight. Sutter (Miles Teller) has just broken up with his girlfriend Cassidy (Brie Larson) and decides to celebrate it by going on a drinking spree which ultimately lands him at the doorstep of Aimee (Shailene Woodley), and what follows is one of the most beautifully drawn out relationships I've seen all year. Aimee's kind of an introvert who avoids people most of the time, and they avoid her in return. Sutter's the consummate extrovert by comparison and can strike up a conversation out of virtually nothing. He is intrigued by her, and she finally has someone she is able to connect to. All's well and good. Yet for most of the first half of the film, I had an uneasy feeling in my stomach that Sutter will end up breaking her heart. Maybe it had something to do with how they showed him to be aloof by nature, or how his friend kept bringing it up, or merely the way he looked at his ex.

But then they open up to each other and find many things in common. Dysfunctional families, having to fend for themselves, being at crossroads in life, the usual stuff. While Sutter uses his charm and outgoing nature as a facade to hide some deep-seated problems, Aimee just bottles it all up inside. And in each other, they finally find companions they can be honest with. This primarily being Sutter's story (we don't even see a shot of Aimee's mom, though we do get a delightful one of her younger brother), he goes to meet his dad (Kyle Chandler) at the behest of Aimee, and learns that he may have more in common with him than he would like to admit. That leads to what is arguably the film's best scene where Sutter breaks down to his mom (Jennifer Jason Leigh). He admits that all her fears about him being similar to his dad were right. And he finally realizes that he has to mature and drop this shell he has built for himself since his dad moved on. I read in JB's review that a lot of people felt like the ending was open-ended, and I couldn't disagree more. Open-ended would've been the film fading to black while Sutter is driving down the road. The way their eyes meet and the look of perplexed relief on Aimee's face says it all. All we don't get is the token kiss and make-up, which we know is coming after the fade-to-black.

Going back to my point about minor characters making an impact, scenes like the one where Cassidy's new boyfriend barges in at the bow-tie shop where Sutter works looking for a fight only to have a long conversation about hooking up with Cassidy or the one where Cassidy says Sutter will always remain her favorite ex-boyfriend or even the delightful prom scene where Cassidy and Sutter have a dance while Aimee looks on. Those are the kind of scenes I love, completely devoid of any artifice whatsoever. Even the token fight scene between Sutter and Aimee feels realistic and in sync with what we've come to expect from these characters so far.

A lot of people have remarked this to be Shailene Woodley's breakout performance. While I strongly disagree since she was brilliant in The Descendants (for which we here at RV gave her the Best Supporting Actress Pedro. YAY!), this is just as good, if not better, than that one. She plays the shy, sensitive, introverted girl to perfection, and this is the kind of role a lesser actress could've easily overdone, especially the shy and sensitive part. If there's a breakout performer, it has to be Miles Teller. While the charm and funny traits of the character seem to come naturally to him, he shines in the more dramatic scenes as well, and especially nails the breakdown scene. (And this film made me wonder whether the only way I'll get to see Mary Elizabeth Winstead is in off-hand roles like in this film. It made me sad.)

That's about as glowing as anything I've written for any film this year, but as I said before, this is a genre that I have a huge soft spot for. But irrespective of whether you're into this kind of film or not, TSN is worth checking out as it is one of the best indie films of the year.

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Thu Jan 23, 2014 2:43 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
peng wrote:
Computer Chess (2013)

Intellectually stimulating on some level, but way too low key on everything else. Feels like it wants to be Primer or Pi, but gets upstaged by dramedy subplots that go no where. 5.5/10

Berberian Sound Studio (2013)

There are endings left ambiguous/mildly confusing because they fit the tone or content of their stories, and then there are those that seem the directors do so just because. I'm afraid my feeling goes towards the latter on this one. Still very much worth a watch because of the superb atmosphere and lush directing, and of course the soundtrack. Never has melon cutting sounded so sinister. All combine to create unease out of minimal plot really well. I also find the lives and behind-the-scene stuff of all who work there more interesting than what the film eventually becomes.

Would love to watch that film within the film, The Equestrian Vortex, too. 7/10


I've been interested in both of these for quite a while, especially Computer Chess. You're the first non-critic I know who's seen it, so your thoughts have bummed me out. The AV Club ranked it fairly high on their best of 2013 list. I can't remember if The Dissolve did as well, but my guess is they did.


Thu Jan 23, 2014 3:09 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
PeachyPete wrote:
peng wrote:
Computer Chess (2013)

Intellectually stimulating on some level, but way too low key on everything else. Feels like it wants to be Primer or Pi, but gets upstaged by dramedy subplots that go no where. 5.5/10

Berberian Sound Studio (2013)

There are endings left ambiguous/mildly confusing because they fit the tone or content of their stories, and then there are those that seem the directors do so just because. I'm afraid my feeling goes towards the latter on this one. Still very much worth a watch because of the superb atmosphere and lush directing, and of course the soundtrack. Never has melon cutting sounded so sinister. All combine to create unease out of minimal plot really well. I also find the lives and behind-the-scene stuff of all who work there more interesting than what the film eventually becomes.

Would love to watch that film within the film, The Equestrian Vortex, too. 7/10


I've been interested in both of these for quite a while, especially Computer Chess. You're the first non-critic I know who's seen it, so your thoughts have bummed me out. The AV Club ranked it fairly high on their best of 2013 list. I can't remember if The Dissolve did as well, but my guess is they did.


They did indeed

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