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Last Movie You Watched 
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
thered47 wrote:
peng wrote:
Blonde Almond wrote:
Farewell, My Concubine 5/10.


I liked this a good deal (my no. 5 of that year, methinks). I view the detachment more as a way for the film not to get too melodramatic (as the nature of the story will be easy to succumb to). I remember that the casualness of the suicide scene is what makes it hit hard.


I loved Farewell My Concubine. It's nearly 3 hours long (if memory serves me) and I was engrossed throughout the entirety of it. I do think the last scene might have been a little abrupt and underplayed, but it's not surprising if you consider the outcome of the play that the entire story is based on. I've been meaning to put together a top 25 queer films list for my blog and it's definitely going to be on there. It's just one of those really well done epics that never loses sight of the characters.
-Jeremy


I was going to reply to Kunz to not be disheartened by my indifferent reaction, and your guys' posts should help relay the message that the film is still worth taking the time to watch. There's a lot going on in Farewell, My Concubine that I didn't get into too much detail with in my thoughts above, especially in the queer psychology of the Dieyi character (whose gender confusion comes in large part from having to take on the female concubine role at an early age in acting school: "I'm a girl, not a boy"). But as a drama, the film for whatever reason left me almost completely cold. This might not be entirely fair, but I think my impression of Farewell, My Concubine was hurt by me having already seen To Live. The two films share a common approach (personal drama shaped by the shifting political and social climate of China through the 1900s), but the latter got me invested in the lives of the characters in a way the former never could.

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Sun Feb 23, 2014 11:26 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Blonde Almond wrote:


I was going to reply to Kunz to not be disheartened by my indifferent reaction, and your guys' posts should help relay the message that the film is still worth taking the time to watch. There's a lot going on in Farewell, My Concubine that I didn't get into too much detail with in my thoughts above, especially in the queer psychology of the Dieyi character (whose gender confusion comes in large part from having to take on the female concubine role at an early age in acting school: "I'm a girl, not a boy"). But as a drama, the film for whatever reason left me almost completely cold. This might not be entirely fair, but I think my impression of Farewell, My Concubine was hurt by me having already seen To Live. The two films share a common approach (personal drama shaped by the shifting political and social climate of China through the 1900s), but the latter got me invested in the lives of the characters in a way the former never could.


Interesting. I also find (as I assume you do) To Live to be an underrated masterpiece, so I might run into the same obstacles.

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Sun Feb 23, 2014 12:06 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Red Dawn (1984) For some reason I missed this during the 80's or I didn't remember it at all. Anyway, I thought the film was very mediocre. I can accept the propaganda aspect of it, but it is plagued by mediocre acting with only Swayze and maybe Powers Boothe being above average. Overall, there are some nice moments here and there, and some really dark undertones, but the execution of it all was uneven. It's still mildly entertaining, but it could've been way more stronger. Grade: C+ or maybe a bit less.

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Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:55 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Red Dawn is an incredibly shitty movie. It's fascinating if you examine film from a sociological perspective like I tend to do. But it doesn't make it less shitty.

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Sun Feb 23, 2014 9:46 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
Red Dawn is an incredibly shitty movie. It's fascinating if you examine film from a sociological perspective like I tend to do. But it doesn't make it less shitty.

I thought it was decent, though I find the remake to be a superior film overall.


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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
Red Dawn is an incredibly shitty movie. It's fascinating if you examine film from a sociological perspective like I tend to do. But it doesn't make it less shitty.


Red Dawn was the right action movie at the right time. It wasn't great, but it was reflective of the fears of the USSR in the early 80's.

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Mon Feb 24, 2014 10:43 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
I went to my local campus film series this weekend and saw Rubber 2010. It has been described as hipster bullshit. I don't consider myself a hipster, but there is a lot of evidence offered by a co-worker that I am a hipster, not only a hipster, but a hipster that is too hip and contrarian to associate with hipsters. In short, the ultimate hipster.
Dammit. I think he might be right.

I really liked this movie which is a celebration of "no-reason". Characters act, action unfolds, events transpire... for no reason. If you see the trailer, be warned, you are about to see a movie that differs from the trailer immensely. I personally can't imagine anyone being 'meh' about Rubber which seemed to garner strong divisive reactions from the crowd.

Opening scene:
Desert. Nerdly-looking man in dated shirt, tie and glasses stands with armloads of binoculars. Before him is a gravel road with perhaps a dozen chairs arranged randomly down a length of about 1/8 mile. -These are wooden dining room chairs, not the type you'd expect to see out of doors. From a side road, a late 1980's Caprice Classic turns on to the gravel road and slowly drives towards the camera. The car weaves slowly, deliberately from chair to chair, not crushing them, but just bumping them. Each chair, as it is bumped, falls to pieces on the ground. The car pulls up and a man climbs out of the trunk. He is wearing a sheriff's uniform. He walks to the driver's side of the car where he raps on the window. The window rolls down and the driver hands the man a glass of water. A glass. The man approaches the camera where he breaks the fourth wall. He doesn't drink the water. Instead he pours it on the ground.
All of it for no reason.

Trashy and highbrow at the same time. Damn. I do sound like a hipster.

If nothing else this is the "spinach cinema" that Ebert referred to. Maybe you don't like it, but it is good for you.

I will admit it dragged a bit in some spots (even at a skinny 82 minutes) and for that reason I can only give 3/4.

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Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:44 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Eden Lake - 2008 (James Watkins)

Terrifying thriller, all the more frightening because it seems so real. Characters like Brett and his yobbish gang do exist in the UK.


Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:03 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Her - Wow, what a film! Spike Jonze continues his impressive run with another wildly imaginative motion picture that deals with fantasy, but in a much more grounded way than his previous efforts did. While it's definitely in the realm of science fiction in that the technology presented isn't available yet, said technology doesn't seem far off. It's far from the most original concept he's undertaken either, because a human falling in love with a piece of technology is a sci-fi trope, but here it's done with remarkable feeling and compassion. Thanks to Jonze's deft hand behind the camera and (remarkably) script, and Joaquin Phoenix's sensitive, incredible performance, one readily believes that Theodore has fallen for his operating system, and even further it's hard for the viewer not to fall for her either. Whatever his faults off the screen, Phoenix always has had the ability to generate empathy in viewers, and this role is no different.

The revelation here is Scarlett Johansson's vocal work as Samantha, Theodore's electronic love interest. It's amazing how the character resonates despite being only a voice. It's even quite a bit different than past great vocal performances like Andy Serkis as Gollum (yes, there's also motion capture involved, but his vocal work is fantastic), Tom Hanks as Woody, Robin Williams as the Genie, Jeremy Irons as Scar, etc. because the character is only a voice. There's nothing else remotely anthropomorphic about her, yet she feels completely real and relatable as a character despite the lack of physicality. I know the mainstream film awards struggle with recognizing "non-standard" acting like this, but it should be recognized. I might even go so far as to call it her best acting performance yet. Phoenix deserves credit for Samantha's effectiveness as well, because he's basically playing their dialogue scenes like long telephone conversations, which are notoriously hard for actors to pull off.

Which isn't to detract from the work of the rest of the cast though. Amy Adams lends her considerable talent to the role of Theodore's best friend who befriends the operating system her husband (Matt Letscher, who leaves a good impression despite relatively brief screen time) left behind after they divorced. Adams continues to prove herself reliable, and her work in the last couple scenes in particular is remarkable. Chris Pratt and Olivia Wilde make the most of their brief screen time, essaying memorable characters and delivering the choice lines they have expertly. I'm still not really a Rooney Mara fan; I find her rather off-putting, but that quality suits her character, Theodore's estranged (soon-to-be-ex) wife, who is the one character who really gives him a hard time about falling for an OS, which is understandable given their history. Even Jonze (credited as Adam Spiegel, so I didn't realize it was him until I saw IMDb's cast list) does hilarious vocal work as the foul-mouthed alien child who's the playable character of an immersive 3D video game that Theodore plays in two great scenes.

I really feel like I've barely scratched the surface of this remarkably dense film. In addition to being packed with ideas and showing a very realistic and sobering (especially in how technology discourages "real human interaction") vision of the near future, it's visually striking (another hallmark of Jonze's films) with remarkable production design (I loved the huge phone in Amy's apartment), fantastic score, and even visual effects (I loved the aforementioned video game). I haven't even touched on the fantastic turn the plot takes in the final half hour, which just adds to an already incredibly thought-provoking story. Metaphysical sci-fi rules! As I stated in the Recent Reviews thread for it, this film was instant #1 of the Year after I watched it, and only one 2013 picture I've seen since has come close to matching it, a review of which I'll post soon. Easily 10/10.


Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:32 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Awf Hand wrote:
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
Red Dawn is an incredibly shitty movie. It's fascinating if you examine film from a sociological perspective like I tend to do. But it doesn't make it less shitty.


Red Dawn was the right action movie at the right time. It wasn't great, but it was reflective of the fears of the USSR in the early 80's.


I completely agree. Few films capture the atmosphere of right-wing paranoia in the 1980s as effectively as Red Dawn. It's still a shitty movie, but fascinating to study as a cultural item.

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Mon Feb 24, 2014 5:16 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
And after watching the 80's cheesefest of Red Dawn (1984) yesterday, why not? Red Dawn (2012) To be honest, I found myself enjoying this one significantly more than the original. Granted, it's far from an excellent film, but I felt that for the most part, it was executed better. Just like the original, the film rushes into action during the first 20 minutes, but I felt that everything flowed better in the remake. The acting isn't that good, but I thought it was slightly above the original. Unfortunately, aside of a surprise death near the end, the remake decides to soften up what little made the original interesting during the last act. But to be honest, other than that, I thought this one was better. Grade: B

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Mon Feb 24, 2014 10:58 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Thief12 wrote:
And after watching the 80's cheesefest of Red Dawn (1984) yesterday, why not? Red Dawn (2012) To be honest, I found myself enjoying this one significantly more than the original. Granted, it's far from an excellent film, but I felt that for the most part, it was executed better. Just like the original, the film rushes into action during the first 20 minutes, but I felt that everything flowed better in the remake. The acting isn't that good, but I thought it was slightly above the original. Unfortunately, aside of a surprise death near the end, the remake decides to soften up what little made the original interesting during the last act. But to be honest, other than that, I thought this one was better. Grade: B

Seems we agree on the film, the "surprise death" was the only I didn't really like about the film as it felt a little too forced and unbelievable.


Tue Feb 25, 2014 1:50 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Faust

This 1926 flick may be my new favorite Murnau film. It seems like there's a new special effect in every scene, but they all contribute significantly to the story. It's a thrilling, surprisingly dark tale that confirms Murnau's interest in the occult. Unlike Sunrise, the story is neither simple nor predictable and goes off some unexpected tangents. I look forward to the bluray should it ever appear.

Strike

I don't understand the emphasis on Eisenstein. They say he invented montage, but the truth is, no movies since him, even today, take as extreme an approach as he did. A film made entirely in the editing room feels shapeless to me, and this one in particular often makes absolutely no sense. I feel like some historians try to separate Eisenstein's style from the fact that he made propaganda films, but I don't think it's possible to separate those two things. Intolerance, Nosferatu, The General, City Lights, Passion of Joan of Arc, and others still hold up today as great pieces of storytelling, and they used the same basic methods that almost all good movies have used ever since. A good film has to be made "in-camera." Battleship Potemkin is interesting to watch, but Strike is just incomprehensible.


Tue Feb 25, 2014 9:19 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
MGamesCook wrote:
I don't understand the emphasis on Eisenstein. They say he invented montage, but the truth is, no movies since him, even today, take as extreme an approach as he did. A film made entirely in the editing room feels shapeless to me, and this one in particular often makes absolutely no sense. I feel like some historians try to separate Eisenstein's style from the fact that he made propaganda films, but I don't think it's possible to separate those two things. Intolerance, Nosferatu, The General, City Lights, Passion of Joan of Arc, and others still hold up today as great pieces of storytelling, and they used the same basic methods that almost all good movies have used ever since. A good film has to be made "in-camera." Battleship Potemkin is interesting to watch, but Strike is just incomprehensible.


I'm pretty much with you. Battleship Potemkin is a hell of a piece of moviemaking, but Strike is mehhhhhh

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Tue Feb 25, 2014 10:12 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Last Days on Mars (2013)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1709143/
Liev Schreiber heads a group of astronauts who have resided on Mars for the last 6 months (living in a sort of colony like set-up on the surface, with two trucks) looking for evidence of life on Mars. They are on the last day when they hit pay dirt.
2013 has proven to be banner year for hard sci-fi (my absolute favourite genre) releases: the sublime Europa Report, Astronaut: The Last Push and of course Gravity. However, Last Days on Mars can't really stand toe to toe with those films. Indeed, it reminded me more of 2007's Sunshine and 2012's Prometheus, films that start off well enough only to fall apart in their own bullshit. Sets, acting, direction, effects etc are all competently done and my issue really lies solely with the story, that promises much but completely comes apart during the 2nd and 3rd acts when the life they find:
[Reveal] Spoiler:
infects the crew and, just like in Prometheus, turns them into... zombies. Yep, zombies. So life on Mars somehow evolved to infect human beings and turn them into zombies? Presumably because zombies.

6/10.


Tue Feb 25, 2014 5:00 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
MGamesCook wrote:
I don't understand the emphasis on Eisenstein. They say he invented montage, but the truth is, no movies since him, even today, take as extreme an approach as he did. A film made entirely in the editing room feels shapeless to me, and this one in particular often makes absolutely no sense. I feel like some historians try to separate Eisenstein's style from the fact that he made propaganda films, but I don't think it's possible to separate those two things. Intolerance, Nosferatu, The General, City Lights, Passion of Joan of Arc, and others still hold up today as great pieces of storytelling, and they used the same basic methods that almost all good movies have used ever since. A good film has to be made "in-camera." Battleship Potemkin is interesting to watch, but Strike is just incomprehensible.


I'm pretty much with you. Battleship Potemkin is a hell of a piece of moviemaking, but Strike is mehhhhhh


Yeah. Have you seen Alexander Nevsky? Anyone?


Tue Feb 25, 2014 11:44 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
I've seen it. It made me want to kill Aryans.

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Tue Feb 25, 2014 11:56 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Syd Henderson wrote:
I've seen it. It made me want to kill Aryans.

So it works as an effective propaganda piece? http://www.theguardian.com/film/2009/oc ... el-history


Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:49 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
nitrium wrote:
Syd Henderson wrote:
I've seen it. It made me want to kill Aryans.

So it works as an effective propaganda piece? http://www.theguardian.com/film/2009/oc ... el-history


It served its purpose, but it's heavy-handed to me. Potemkin's propaganda, too, but it's also a solid piece of film-making.

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Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:13 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Cold Comes the Night (2013)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2511428/
Above average crime drama about a partially sighted mobster (Bryan Cranston, sporting a Russian accent) who abducts a struggling solo mother (Alice Eve) and her daughter in order to get the money back (for his boss) that was taken by a corrupt cop (who is also the solo mother's ex) from a vehicle impounded after a murder. It has to be said it was nice seeing Bryan Cranston post Breaking Bad and he does a reasonably credible job as the stereotypical East European bad guy. Yeah, nothing much to this film really, everything here is decidedly average and forgettable, but it's nonetheless watchable while it lasts and at just 90 minutes doesn't wear out its material.
6.5/10.


Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:36 pm
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