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Last Movie You Watched 
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Planes 2: Fire and Rescue (2014)

Concur with CasualDad's assessment above. Where the first Planes movie suffered by being too derivative of Cars, this go round expands the story by having Dusty hook up with a wilderness firefighting team based in a Yosemite/Yellowstone like National Park. Dusty has developed a mechanical problem that prevents him from further racing and getting certified as a fire fighter will help keep his home airport from getting shutdown by safety inspectors.

There are still a lot of familiar notes being struck (the plucky love interest, the wizened mentor with a mysterious past, the quirky sidekick) which seem a bit uninspired, but a lot of the action sequences are pretty well done. Certain plot points are telegraphed a mile away, but to the kid audience that this is geared towards, those will probably not be spotted so easily. The voice work is solid, but not outstanding. Saw it in 2-D, but on the big screen some of the action sequences flying into the raging infernos were pretty cool. My 6 year old thought the movie was very good as well. 3.0 / 4.0


Wed Jul 30, 2014 9:20 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Before Sunrise (1995)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112471/
"It's called The Cemetery of the No Name because they often didn't know who these people were. Maybe a first name, that's all.
I always liked the idea of all those unknown people lost in the world. When I was a little girl, I thought that if none of your family or friends knew you were dead, then it's like not really being dead. People can invent the best and the worst for you.
Ah, here she is, I think. Yeah, this is, this is the one I remember the most. She was only 13 when she died. That meant something to me, you know, I was around that age when I first saw this. Now, I'm 10 years older, and she's still, 13, I guess."

This scene seems ironic to me now. It's been 19 years since I first watched this film (and over a decade since I last saw it); while I have gotten older, Celine and Jessie haven't aged a day, frozen forever in time and space. The scenario is of course pure romantic fantasy - attractive boy meets attractive foreign girl on a train. No two people are THAT articulate and have on tap a repertoire of so many "interesting" things to say to each other. The dialogue is still fresh and by not having a single pop-culture reference gives the film a timeless appeal. Hawke's and Delpy's on-screen chemistry remains as intoxicating as it was back in 1995.
9.5/10.

Before Sunset (2004)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0381681/
I always found this a somewhat contrived sequel. IMO the first film's somewhat ambiguous ending was perfect. However, the dialogue still sparkles - and I prefer the "insights" of the protagonists in this film over the first - it's less fanciful and more adult in nature. One strange thing I noticed is that they both seem to smoke now (which I found a bit jarring, since neither apparently smoked in the first film). Clocking in at just 80 minutes (25 minutes shorter than Before Sunrise), the film was over long before I had grown tired of watching it. Before Sunset is in essence simply more of the same, a location change from Vienna to Paris notwithstanding, but that's fine with me.
9/10.


Wed Jul 30, 2014 6:20 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Before Midnight (2013)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2209418/
Contrary to our esteemed host and most critics, I found the latest entry in the Before series the weakest. For starters, there are numerous pop-culture/technology references (which will almost certainly "date" the movie in future years). Further, rather than spending the entirety of the running time solely in the company of Jessie and Celine, there are now SIX supporting characters that all feature, particularly in one overlong sequence at an outside dinner table. None of these people are as interesting as Jessie and Celine (we don't "know" them), and this segment imo was unnecessary and put a major drag on the proceedings.
The key issue, however, is that the "spark" has diminished. Of course this is the whole point of the film, but the allure/interest/magic of the predecessors was that very spark. Watching the protagonists have a typical (well I suppose it would be "typical" for highly articulate people) domestic was almost painful, since at this stage we have so much of our own preconceptions and expectations about how these two interact with one another - and you don't really expect this sort of thing from these two. Yes, it's still all very well scripted, acted and executed, so mostly I'm just nitpicking... but I just can't help but be somewhat disappointed.
8.5/10.


Thu Jul 31, 2014 12:40 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
nitrium wrote:
On the Beach (1959)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053137/
Yesteryear A-listers galore star in this post-nuclear apocalypse film directed by Stanley Kramer (It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World), in which the crew of a surviving US atomic submarine docked in Melbourne, Australia (which was evidently spared any conflict), cavort with the locals after everyone in US and Europe has been wiped out. Gregory Peck stars as the submarine's captain while Ava Gardner plays his Australian love interest. Anthony Perkins and Fred Astaire also have significant screen time.
The tone of On the Beach seemed very off to me. Their one fear is that the nuclear fallout cloud is five months from reaching Australia, and so may soon all die from radiation exposure. Everyone is given suicide pills they can take to end their suffering, should the need arise. One would perhaps expect against this ominous bleak backdrop that everyone would be a bit down and depressed. Remarkably the opposite seems to be true. The film is surprisingly light, even breezy. No one from the sub seems to much care that everyone they knew and loved in the US are dead. Similarly the Australians aren't particularly gloomy about their situation either - post-apocalypse it'll be business as usual in Melbourne apparently, even though they may only have months to live.
[Reveal] Spoiler:
And indeed they all die. This marks the 3rd film I have seen this month where everyone dies.

Performances are typical for films from this period - i.e. imo slightly hammy compounded by unnatural dialogue - but it only bothered me for a few minutes. Endless refrains of various arrangements of the Australian folk song "Waltzing Matilda" play throughout the film ad nauseam - you'll wish you could unremember it by the end.
Not terrible by any means, but imo not exactly a classic either. I can't help but wonder what Ingmar Bergman might have done with the same scenario.
6.5/10.


Light and breezy aren’t exactly terms I would use in connection with ‘On the Beach’. Ava Gardner’s character is an alcoholic trying to find solace in a relationship with Gregory Peck’s submarine captain, although she knows it will only be until their inevitable and imminent death, while the submarine captain won’t commit to a relationship in memory of his late wife. Fred Astaire’s character is a cynic and spends his last days hedonistically, such as racing at the last Grand Prix of Australia, which turns into a suicidal demolition derby. Anthony Perkins’s character discusses with his wife how to best administer suicide pills to their infant child. How bleak do you want it to get, nitrium?


Thu Jul 31, 2014 11:30 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
There’ve been some interesting discussions on this forum lately, such as the one about the term “Ewwwww” or about the significance of a movie’s popularity for determining its quality, to which I’d like to contribute belatedly in the context of reporting on some the last movies I watched:

Transformers: Age of Exctinction (2014)
In one word: “Retch”! Or alternatively: “Barf!”
I usually tend to appreciate a movie more when I’ve seen it in the cinema rather than on a small screen, but in the case of the stupendously overlong ‘Transformers 4’, I bitterly regret having paid a whooping 16 Pounds 50 (including 3D surcharge). That’s over 27 US Dollars more in the coffers of filmmakers, who show a blatant disregard, nay, contempt for the audience of their movie. It’s one thing for a “popcorn movie” to have a thin, inconsistent plot, which only serves as peg on which to hang special effects-heavy action scenes. I can tolerate this to some extent, such as in the terribly plotted ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’, which was still fun. However, it is unforgivable for a movie script to point out its glaring plot-holes to the audience as if it wouldn’t care in the first place and to bloat the movie’s running time of nearly three hours with an overplotted yet underthought narrative (or two even), obviously superfluous scenes and completely dispensable characters. What was the purpose of the geologist and of Stanley Tucci’s character’s Chinese assistant other than eye candy? Other than providing a very lame sidekick and love interest for the damsel in distress, what was the narrative purpose of the Irish rallye driver? Criticising the numerous geographical mistakes concerning the scenes in Hong Kong is mostly nitpicking (although it shows a lack of care to depict Hong Kong traffic as right-sided rather than left-sided). But why do the heroes go there in the first place, when they intend to keep a (sort of) weapon of mass destruction from detonating in a densely populated area? Famously, Hong Kong is one of the, if not the, most densely populated area on the planet! When the evil corporate CEO explicitly states that they have to relocate from the US to the company’s factory in Ghuangzhou and the movie show a “title card” with a view of Beijing’s “bird’s nest” Olympic stadium and the title “Bejing, China”, it is an insult to the audience’s intelligence. Why do they produce super-secret weaponry for the US military in China (of all places) anyway? When the presidential aide is given the short shrift by the head of the CIA and the black ops guy played by Kelsey Grammar, why does it have no consequence other than a brief phone call which allows the aide to smirk something like: “You said you had it under control, didn’t you?” Speaking of the authorities’ response to Transformer mayhem and the appearance of a space ship, it is laughable when the Hong Kong police decide “we cannot handle this, we have to call in the military” after a robot-on-robot battle has been raging in and destroying much of Hong Kong Central for the best part of half an hour. Why does the black ops villain still think he could enjoy the spoils of his evil scheme when his blatant violation of civil rights including murder of innocents has been uncovered and he realistically faces a life in prison? A major villain stomping off the battleground saying something to the effect of “I’ll be back for the next sequel” is no satisfying resolution to a plot point. I could go on, but it would make me feel nearly as depressed as when I left the cinema with my ears ringing from the deafening noise of the movie, which is surely so extraordinarily loud in order to distract you from the numerous inconsistencies.
All right, I admit that I am just not the target audience for this movie, never having played with the toys, watched the cartoon or having enjoyed any of the earlier Transformers movies. But who is? Certainly, the iffy sexual innuendo in some of the humour is inappropriate for a pre-teen audience, who might actually play with these toys, and too juvenile for the 30/40 somethings who might remember the 1980ies cartoon TV series. And in the absence of any coherent story or involving characters, most teenagers would certainly become restless and bored in a movie of 2 hours 45 minutes. So why do people go to see ‘Transformers 4’? Why have I? Well, I went with a group of others and sci-fi/fantasy and action are the only genres we could agree upon. Because of time constraints it was either this or ‘Mrs. Brown’s Boys D’Movie’ (no idea). So ‘Transformers 4’ won. And I think that this is the key to understanding the movie series’ popularity and explains why popularity doesn’t equal quality: People go to watch Transformers movies, because there’s nothing better on. These films are made for an audience, who go to the cinema because it is a social event, not because they really want to see a particular film. They are made for groups of male teenagers, who can agree on watching sci-fi and action movies and little else. So they pick the current “event movie”, the recognisable brand for their Saturday evening entertainment rather than taking a risk. It’s not the movie itself, which makes it a good night out, but the act of going to the movies. And the filmmakers know this and make Transformers movies loud and visually busy while showing the middle finger to the audience when it comes to story and characters. Transformers movies are like the fireworks in ‘Land of the Dead’, used to distract zombies with light and noise while plundering shops for provisions, only that the studios are picking your pocket.
Apologies for the lenghty rant. I just had to get this off my chest. And because this has become an essay-length review, I should mention the positives of ‘Transformers 4’ as well. I liked how Stanley Tucci’s corporate CEO character had created a cult of personality not unlike that of Steve Jobs. I also liked how the Hong Kong-based action scenes, as far as human-on-human violence are concerned, make good use of the architecture, like climbing on the ubiquitous air conditioning units. The action scenes are generally much clearer and better to follow than in previous Transformers movies and Michael Bay’s high-gloss visual style is wholly appropriate for the movie. In fact, I think that it is unfair to make Michael Bay the whipping boy for this movie’s failure. This isn’t an auteurist movie, but corporate product from beginning to end. Therefore, I wonder why the producers including none other than Steven Spielberg haven’t been criticised as much. Most of all, though, the movie is a dud because the script is exceptionally poor. Overall, 2/10 for me.

The Lego Movie (2014)
And here is another corporate event movie. It even has the company name in its title! Yet, this is corporate moviemaking done right. There is an all-pervading sense of joy, a clear understanding what makes Lego bricks work as a toy, a love of the material, but also a certain ironic distance to it. ‘The Lego movie’s story is confusing and scattershot, but due to the closing scenes, it actually all makes sense. Without wanting to reveal any specifics: This is the kind of story an imaginative pre-teen might dream up while playing with Lego bricks. At least I did. There are loads of pop cultural references and in-jokes, which, like in the Transformer movie, beg the question for whom this movie was made. I think that it might be too hyperactive for young children, who wouldn’t get most of the terrific jokes about Batman or Star Wars, but that it has been made with dads in mind, who remember playing with Lego and who rediscover it while playing with their children. That means that it’s a movie just made for me. Hey, I had a “1980ies space guy”, whose helmet was cracked exactly in the same place as the movie astronaut’s helmet. Unfortunately, not everything is awesome. I watched the movie on a tiy TV screen and, probably because of that, I found it hard to make out what’s going on. The movie is a tad too fast and too hyperactive for me. That being said, I loved the visual style with its bright colours and CGI, which was made to look like stop-motion Lego animation. It’s a movie made with a lot of care. Very good: 8/10 (might even be 9/10 after rwatching it on a bigger screen)


Thu Jul 31, 2014 11:31 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
So, I’ve been derelict in posting about my recent viewings.

The Grand Budapest Hotel
I’m really enjoying the last Wes Anderson movies I’ve seen. Moonrise Kingdom being the other most recent. The visual style is captivating and he seems to populate his movies with characters that are relatable, but yet somehow larger than life (and subdued at the same time) caracatures of themselves. These people all reside in a slightly different version of our world. You can read a synopsis of it elsewhere. I found this movie engaging and fun, even if I did play “spot-the-star” a bit more than I should have.

Her
So much said about this move and so many spoilers to avoid. I was conflicted with Phoenix’ character. Is he an insufferable dork, or a regular guy who spends so much of his time creating false correspondence and relations for other people that he doesn’t recognize the falseness of his relationship with “Her”? I’ve not met someone like him who can be normal and cool and fun in a social setting, but yet so easily drawn into a relationship with an OS. I enjoyed the movie, but found this to be a bit of a stumbling block.

Sightseers The wife picked this one out to me pleasant surprise. Small indy with some good pedigree behind the scenes. This is sort of a [Natural Born Killers[/b] via Edgar Wright. Awkward psychopaths get together for good times, good sex and dark comic murder. Maybe a few of you have heard of it this one? I liked it, but not enough to heartily recommend. While this is a character movie, it would have benefited from a viewing on a larger screen. Also, the sound mixing was horrible, requiring some scenes to have the volume cranked and then other scenes blowing us out of the room.

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Thu Jul 31, 2014 1:48 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Unke wrote:
Light and breezy aren’t exactly terms I would use in connection with ‘On the Beach’. Ava Gardner’s character is an alcoholic trying to find solace in a relationship with Gregory Peck’s submarine captain, although she knows it will only be until their inevitable and imminent death, while the submarine captain won’t commit to a relationship in memory of his late wife. Fred Astaire’s character is a cynic and spends his last days hedonistically, such as racing at the last Grand Prix of Australia, which turns into a suicidal demolition derby. Anthony Perkins’s character discusses with his wife how to best administer suicide pills to their infant child. How bleak do you want it to get, nitrium?

Does anyone even cry in On the Beach or display any emotion whatsoever when it comes to the fact everyone is or are potentially about, to die? What about that group fishing scene with locals singing Waltzing Matilda? That crew member who jumps ship, finds everyone in San Francisco dead, and then also goes fishing!? And to answer your question, in my defense, I saw Threads in the same month.


Thu Jul 31, 2014 8:48 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Quote:
I think that it is unfair to make Michael Bay the whipping boy for this movie’s failure. This isn’t an auteurist movie, but corporate product from beginning to end.


It's definitely a corporate product, but I think Bay finds plenty of room to make it his own in directorial terms. Bay is a romantic at heart, not a cynic, as evidenced by the opening scenes on Wahlberg's farm. The shot on the porch with the red sky and shooting star behind Wahlberg feels genuine to me. That doesn't come just from the number crunching of financial execs. Granted, many parts of the film aren't anything like that. But I think Bay has a genuine fascination with the tactility of the robots and their machines. And I think he has fun creating a faux-gravitas from the whole yarn.

I have fun with a line like this, from Lockdown: "You see my face, your life is DONE!" This oversized toy takes himself so damn seriously, I can't help being entertained by that. It may be junk, but it's proud junk, unabashed and unashamed of itself.


Thu Jul 31, 2014 9:34 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Blue Ruin (2013) ***1/2

I love a great thriller more than I love anything in film-dom. A truly great thriller must be exciting, of course, feature characters we're interested in and (most crucially) a sense of reality/stakes. If it's clear your main character is going to end up fine by the end and everything will work out, then you're not a great thriller.

Blue Ruin, my friends, is a great thriller. RENT IT.

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Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:08 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Awf Hand wrote:

Her
So much said about this move and so many spoilers to avoid. I was conflicted with Phoenix’ character. Is he an insufferable dork, or a regular guy who spends so much of his time creating false correspondence and relations for other people that he doesn’t recognize the falseness of his relationship with “Her”? I’ve not met someone like him who can be normal and cool and fun in a social setting, but yet so easily drawn into a relationship with an OS. I enjoyed the movie, but found this to be a bit of a stumbling block.


Totally agree with what you've said here. I've viewed Her three times now, because I love Pheonix and Spike Jonze, but I just can't buy into his character. There's something that just doesn't work and I think you've hit the nail right on the head.

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Fri Aug 01, 2014 1:14 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
wisey wrote:
Awf Hand wrote:

Her
So much said about this move and so many spoilers to avoid. I was conflicted with Phoenix’ character. Is he an insufferable dork, or a regular guy who spends so much of his time creating false correspondence and relations for other people that he doesn’t recognize the falseness of his relationship with “Her”? I’ve not met someone like him who can be normal and cool and fun in a social setting, but yet so easily drawn into a relationship with an OS. I enjoyed the movie, but found this to be a bit of a stumbling block.

Totally agree with what you've said here. I've viewed Her three times now, because I love Pheonix and Spike Jonze, but I just can't buy into his character. There's something that just doesn't work and I think you've hit the nail right on the head.

I always just found it completely unbelievable, given the technology on display, that "Her" doesn't have an avatar. You know, like the one in the video game he plays. It just makes no sense whatsoever, especially given that "Her" wants so very much to provide a physical manifestation (enter semi-hooker) for her lover. But she never achieves more than a "voice" with all that technology? Suspension of disbelief seriously strained.


Fri Aug 01, 2014 5:00 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
nitrium wrote:
Unke wrote:
Light and breezy aren’t exactly terms I would use in connection with ‘On the Beach’. Ava Gardner’s character is an alcoholic trying to find solace in a relationship with Gregory Peck’s submarine captain, although she knows it will only be until their inevitable and imminent death, while the submarine captain won’t commit to a relationship in memory of his late wife. Fred Astaire’s character is a cynic and spends his last days hedonistically, such as racing at the last Grand Prix of Australia, which turns into a suicidal demolition derby. Anthony Perkins’s character discusses with his wife how to best administer suicide pills to their infant child. How bleak do you want it to get, nitrium?

Does anyone even cry in On the Beach or display any emotion whatsoever when it comes to the fact everyone is or are potentially about, to die? What about that group fishing scene with locals singing Waltzing Matilda? That crew member who jumps ship, finds everyone in San Francisco dead, and then also goes fishing!? And to answer your question, in my defense, I saw Threads in the same month.


If memory serves right, the mother, who doesn't know how to best kill her child, cries quite a bit, but I generally got the idea that the movie's characters were trying to keep a stiff upper lip and keep it together rather than breaking down. I believe this to be a plausible scenario (compare, for instance, the much-invoked "spirit of the Blitz"). By the way, the submarine crew member, who goes fishing after finding about about the situation in North America, is deserting because he wants to die where all his loved ones have died rather than protracting the inevitable by returning to Australia.

MGamesCook wrote:
Quote:
I think that it is unfair to make Michael Bay the whipping boy for this movie’s failure. This isn’t an auteurist movie, but corporate product from beginning to end.


It's definitely a corporate product, but I think Bay finds plenty of room to make it his own in directorial terms. Bay is a romantic at heart, not a cynic, as evidenced by the opening scenes on Wahlberg's farm. The shot on the porch with the red sky and shooting star behind Wahlberg feels genuine to me. That doesn't come just from the number crunching of financial execs. Granted, many parts of the film aren't anything like that. But I think Bay has a genuine fascination with the tactility of the robots and their machines. And I think he has fun creating a faux-gravitas from the whole yarn.

I have fun with a line like this, from Lockdown: "You see my face, your life is DONE!" This oversized toy takes himself so damn seriously, I can't help being entertained by that. It may be junk, but it's proud junk, unabashed and unashamed of itself.


That's exactly what I don't like about the 'Transformerys' movies (well, one of the many things, to be honest): Their overbearing self-importance and po-faced insistence to be taken seriously at face value. Not being familiar with the "mythology" of Auto-Bots, Decepti-Bots and Whatever-Bots, I find it extremely silly. I mean, these are movies about giant battle robots from space who turn into cars. There's nothing wrong with a silly premise like this, but, in my opinion, it requires a lightness of touch and a sense of fun to turn it into an entertaining movie. But I think that you and I are expecting different things from movies such as this, because you notoriously don't like 'The Avengers', which, in my opinion, had exactly the sense of irreverent fun, which is lacking so much from the 'Transformers' movies (perhaps with the exception of the first one).


Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:35 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Some more of the movies, I have recently watched:

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)
It’s the sequel to the reboot of the Planet of the Apes movies, a movie series already featuring four sequels to the 1968 classic and a remake. That doesn’t read very promising, but I like the general and deliciously bizarre concept at the heart of all Planet of the Apes movies and this is a good entry into the series.
With the exception of the Tim Burton remake, ‘Beneath the Planet of the Apes’ and, perhaps, ‘Battle for the Planet of the Apes’, ‘Rise of...’ has the least ambition of all Planet of the Apes movie insofar as it isn’t very interested in being a political allegory. With its central conflict not just being about humans vs. apes but also hawk-ish individuals in both groups vs. factions promoting co-existence (in this, it strongly resembles ‘Battle for the Planet of the Apes’), it could be interpreted as a metaphor for conflicts such as the one between Israelis and Palestinians or, perhaps more fittingly, it could be seen as a metaphor for colonialists vs. natives, but the movie is only a half-hearted allegory at best. Particularly after the first and rather slow half, the movie is primarily aiming to be an entertaining action-adventure and it succeeds at that. That doesn’t mean that the movie would be dumb, far from it. (Although there are a few logical problems, one of which, involving the use of guns, is indeed hard to swallow.) Rather, the movie has a compelling and three-dimensional central character in super-chimp Caesar (a motion-capped Andy Serkis) and nearly all characters have plausible motivations and act accordingly, such as Gary Oldman’s character, who could have easily been made into a standard action movie villain. The movie also has a remarkably nihilistic streak, which I appreciated. ‘Cloverfield’ director Matt Reeves comes up with some striking images as well, helped by the excellent CGI. It’s not perfect and doesn’t come close to the quality of the original classic, but it’s a fine movie in its own right. 7/10

Hercules (2014)
Well, on the one hand this isn’t the movie I wanted to see. The trailers for ‘Hercules’ showed the eponymous Greek hero battling the Nemean Lion, the Hydra of Lernäa and the Erymanthian Boar and I would have loved to see an adaptation of the mythological twelve labours of Hercules. This isn’t it. I think the filmmakers missed an opportunity here to not only provide kick-ass summer blockbuster entertainment - the legend of Hercules with all of its sex, violence, monsters and outright craziness could certainly be made into an entertaining movie - but also to provide some classical education or at least get some kids interested in Greek mythology. (That’s one of the reasons why I like ‘300’ so much: It is remarkably faithful to Herodotus’s mythologising account of the Battle of Thermopylae.) Instead, ‘Hercules’ is an adaptation of a comic book, which tries to deconstruct the hero: As played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Hercules is the leader of a ragtag gang of mercenaries who play up his reputation as a demigod in order to get lucrative assignments, although they may get more than they bargained for when they are hired to assist the king of Thrace (John Hurt) in a civil war.
On the other hand, my previous experience with movie adaptations of ‘Hercules’ consists of a number of cheap Italian B-movies made in the 1960ies, all of which are awful and have nothing to do whatsoever with the mythological character. (To be fair, it is possible that these swords & sandals films were originally featuring Italian strongman hero Maciste, who might have been renamed Hercules for the German release.) Compared to those movies, 2014’s ‘Hercules’ stands tall. With the attempt to deconstruct the legend, at least this film has an idea about what to do with the character and, although the action-heavy movie is nothing to write home about, it is competently made by director Bratt Ratner. If you have a fondness for muscular heroes in loincloths, you could do much worse than watching ’Hercules’, which isn’t bad, just mediocre. 5/10

The Outsiders - The Complete Novel (1983/2005)
Based on a popular novel (unread by me), Francis Ford Coppla’s ‘The Outsiders’ is a drama about teenage gangs in the 1960ies. The “Greasers” from the wrong side of town are an all-star gang of 1980ies teen idols C. Thomas Howell, Ralph Macchio, Matt Dillon, Emilio Estevez, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Tom Cruise (“The Brat Pack”) with lots of grease in their hair, obviously, whereas the “Socs” are the preppy rich kids, who make live hard for the “Greasers”. When a group of “Socs” viciously attacks two young “Greasers”, the Ralph Macchio character kills a “Soc” with his switchblade knife and, with the help of the delinquent Dal (Dillon), he and his best friend, the lyrical-minded narrator (Howell), have to hide from the law and the “Socs”.
Watching this director’s cut of ‘The Outsiders’, which, supposedly, is closer to the source novel and includes some nice rockabilly tracks by Elvis Presley, I vaguely remembered that I had seen this movie before and didn’t like it then. At first, I thought that the movie moved along nicely and that my former dislike might have been based on a prejudice against the cast of teen heartthrobs. Liking Ralph Macchio, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe or Tom Cruise was seriously uncool in the 1980ies, unless you were a bubble-permed, aerobic leggings wearing girl. I quickly found out that not liking ‘The Outsiders’ doesn’t have anything to do with trying to be cool but a lot with my general dislike of overwrought melodrama. The story isn’t bad at its core, but the movie is filled with soppy scenes, in which overacting teen idols emote their overripe dialogue. There is so much crying in this movie that I wanted to shout: “You’re supposed to be a switchblade-wielding gang of juvenile delinquents? For Heaven’s sake, man up, you whimps!” Speaking of the dialogue, which may or may not be taken from the source novel, everything in this film is expressed in dialogue, so when a character is running away from his home because his parents have a fight and he looks angry and confused, he will (sobbingly) tell someone else “I’ve run away from home, because I am so angry and confused that my parents are fighting again. Why does life have to be so hard on us, boohoo.” But it’s not just the acting or the dialogue, Coppola’s direction is also geared for maximum corniness. The disconnect between the actors’ dramatising their characters’ emotions and the lack of genuine emotion in the movie is ehanced by the movie’s look of artificiality. Even the dirt on the “Greaser’s” jeans looks carefully applied and the world of this movie looks like how someone with an 80ies sense of style would imagine the early 60ies. I guess that you could make the case that the movie achieves what it aims for, if that is being a melodramatic tearjerker for teenage girls, but it is certainly not for me. Watch ‘The Wanderers’ instead, or even better: Watch ‘Rebel without a Cause’. Liked the music, though, even the sentimental Stevie Wonder theme song. 3/10


Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:36 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Interesting comments re: Her and Phoenix in particular.

Watching the story - his story - play out over the past few years (I'm not there, his general antipathy towards the industry, and his recent gluttony of more meaty roles) it looks like the very same industry is trying to make him into a kind of stateside Daniel Day Lewis.

Despite not being without talent, I doubt he has the requisite talent. Jonze and others should be wary of stamping square pegs into round holes.

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Fri Aug 01, 2014 7:52 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
NotHughGrant wrote:
Interesting comments re: Her and Phoenix in particular.

Watching the story - his story - play out over the past few years (I'm not there, his general antipathy towards the industry, and his recent gluttony of more meaty roles) it looks like the very same industry is trying to make him into a kind of stateside Daniel Day Lewis.

Despite not being without talent, I doubt he has the requisite talent. Jonze and others should be wary of stamping square pegs into round holes.


Did you SEE Phoenix in The Master?

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Fri Aug 01, 2014 11:31 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
NotHughGrant wrote:
Interesting comments re: Her and Phoenix in particular.

Watching the story - his story - play out over the past few years (I'm not there, his general antipathy towards the industry, and his recent gluttony of more meaty roles) it looks like the very same industry is trying to make him into a kind of stateside Daniel Day Lewis.

Despite not being without talent, I doubt he has the requisite talent. Jonze and others should be wary of stamping square pegs into round holes.


Did you SEE Phoenix in The Master?


Indeed. And while I can't speak for anywhere else, in the US he's been regarded in some circles as a all-time great actor well before any of the drama of recent years. Personally I think he's (narrowly) a better actor than DDL and a genuine artist in every sense (though I'm Not There as a movie is less than great, as a piece of method acting it's something special). Either way, I don't get the square peg/round hole idea at all, given the breadth and depth of his career, choices, and performances.

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Blue Ruin (2013) ***1/2

I love a great thriller more than I love anything in film-dom. A truly great thriller must be exciting, of course, feature characters we're interested in and (most crucially) a sense of reality/stakes. If it's clear your main character is going to end up fine by the end and everything will work out, then you're not a great thriller.

Blue Ruin, my friends, is a great thriller. RENT IT.


I think this is exactly what I needed this weekend. Thanks, homeboy.


Fri Aug 01, 2014 12:06 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
NotHughGrant wrote:
Interesting comments re: Her and Phoenix in particular.

Watching the story - his story - play out over the past few years (I'm not there, his general antipathy towards the industry, and his recent gluttony of more meaty roles) it looks like the very same industry is trying to make him into a kind of stateside Daniel Day Lewis.

Despite not being without talent, I doubt he has the requisite talent. Jonze and others should be wary of stamping square pegs into round holes.


Did you SEE Phoenix in The Master?


I have not. I don't doubt his ability as an actor. I just found this character to have traits that seemed conflicting.
[Reveal] Spoiler:
When he was on a date with the Olivia Wilde character he seemed smooth and non-awkward and able to relate to her. His interactions with the Amy Adams character bordered on casually flirtatious much like a guy who is good at picking up women. But then he's spinning around at a beachside boardwalk holding up his phone so "Samantha" can see where "they" are. This seemingly cool guy has bonded with his computer to a point where his inhibitions completely fall away.
That seemed a bit off-putting to me.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
I loved the 2001 take applied to Her with the intelligent machine arriving at a point of awareness that it outgrew its users. I also found it exceedingly clever that the main character worked at a job where he had to fabricate sincerity all day every day and then fell victim to fabricated sincerity and what will ultimately be his occupational replacement.


As for Phoenix, he won me over with Walk the Line. His acting and vocal performance was on par with Gary Busey's as Buddy Holly. I really hope he doesn't go down the same freakish road.

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Fri Aug 01, 2014 12:33 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Quote:
That's exactly what I don't like about the 'Transformerys' movies (well, one of the many things, to be honest): Their overbearing self-importance and po-faced insistence to be taken seriously at face value. Not being familiar with the "mythology" of Auto-Bots, Decepti-Bots and Whatever-Bots, I find it extremely silly. I mean, these are movies about giant battle robots from space who turn into cars. There's nothing wrong with a silly premise like this, but, in my opinion, it requires a lightness of touch and a sense of fun to turn it into an entertaining movie. But I think that you and I are expecting different things from movies such as this, because you notoriously don't like 'The Avengers', which, in my opinion, had exactly the sense of irreverent fun, which is lacking so much from the 'Transformers' movies (perhaps with the exception of the first one)
.

Yeah, we come at popcorn movies from opposite directions maybe. I can't remember offhand what you thought of Man of Steel and Skyfall, but for me, seriousness is an essential part of the fun. If you're just going to make a film completely sarcastically, therefore cynically, why even bother making a movie? And to spend half a billion dollars funding a piece of facetious snark is just something I can't comprehend. Do people want to see these ridiculous superheroes and robots or don't they? They really want to see it, except they want it to be treated as a joke? That makes no sense at all.

Because facetious snark doesn't cost a quarter billion. Any high school kid can do impose irreverence onto something for no budget at all. So in the case of something on the scale of Avengers, you're taking a quarter billion dollar concept and deliberately reducing it to an approach that requires no budget at all.


Fri Aug 01, 2014 4:48 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
MGamesCook wrote:
Quote:
That's exactly what I don't like about the 'Transformerys' movies (well, one of the many things, to be honest): Their overbearing self-importance and po-faced insistence to be taken seriously at face value. Not being familiar with the "mythology" of Auto-Bots, Decepti-Bots and Whatever-Bots, I find it extremely silly. I mean, these are movies about giant battle robots from space who turn into cars. There's nothing wrong with a silly premise like this, but, in my opinion, it requires a lightness of touch and a sense of fun to turn it into an entertaining movie. But I think that you and I are expecting different things from movies such as this, because you notoriously don't like 'The Avengers', which, in my opinion, had exactly the sense of irreverent fun, which is lacking so much from the 'Transformers' movies (perhaps with the exception of the first one)
.

Yeah, we come at popcorn movies from opposite directions maybe. I can't remember offhand what you thought of Man of Steel and Skyfall, but for me, seriousness is an essential part of the fun. If you're just going to make a film completely sarcastically, therefore cynically, why even bother making a movie? And to spend half a billion dollars funding a piece of facetious snark is just something I can't comprehend. Do people want to see these ridiculous superheroes and robots or don't they? They really want to see it, except they want it to be treated as a joke? That makes no sense at all.

Because facetious snark doesn't cost a quarter billion. Any high school kid can do impose irreverence onto something for no budget at all. So in the case of something on the scale of Avengers, you're taking a quarter billion dollar concept and deliberately reducing it to an approach that requires no budget at all.

Agreed, I find it endearing that the Transformers films take themselves mostly seriously(though I do like their attempts at humor, which I don't find "juvenile" in the least, I laughed quite a bit in the 4th film, mainly at Stanley Tucci's character) I would find it very irritating if they were sarcastic and played as a complete face like in the case of Superman III, which turned the character into a complete and utter joke and was really painful to watch because of it(Richard Pryor and the junkyard fight were the only good things about that film).

Most people don't see the Transformers films because there's nothing better, they see them because they genuinely want to do so, so I wouldn't stereotype fans of these movies as "zombies"(I could easily make the same comment about fans of Twilight, but I don't).


Fri Aug 01, 2014 5:37 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Quote:
Agreed, I find it endearing that the Transformers films take themselves mostly seriously(though I do like their attempts at humor, which I don't find "juvenile" in the least, I laughed quite a bit in the 4th film, mainly at Stanley Tucci's character) I would find it very irritating if they were sarcastic and played as a complete face like in the case of Superman III, which turned the character into a complete and utter joke and was really painful to watch because of it(Richard Pryor and the junkyard fight were the only good things about that film).

Most people don't see the Transformers films because there's nothing better, they see them because they genuinely want to do so, so I wouldn't stereotype fans of these movies as "zombies"(I could easily make the same comment about fans of Twilight, but I don't).


If anything, I'd criticize Transformers for not being serious enough much of the time. I find some of Bay's humor amusing, but wouldn't mind if there were a bit less of it. Bay's humor isn't always teenage-oriented, sometimes it's more like your mom awkwardly trying to be funny in front of your friends. Still, I kind of enjoy it on and off. It's also possible to have irreverence and gravitas at the same time in the same movie. Bond has done so on several occasions. Best way is to find a balance.


Fri Aug 01, 2014 11:00 pm
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