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Last Movie You Watched 
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Blonde Almond wrote:
Laura - Otto Preminger's 1944 classic brings along with it a considerable amount of baggage, in the form of near-universal acclaim. Along with its official selection into the United States National Film Registry , which recognizes significant film works, it's a part of several AFI Best Of lists, including the Top 10 Mysteries, where it places ahead of The Third Man and The Maltese Falcon, among others. And yet, my reaction to the film is closer to indifference than anything else. Don't get me wrong; the film is solid enough. But I can't help but feel it's missing certain elements needed to make it truly special. Despite its common labeling as a classic example of noir, it never really felt like one to me. It feels more like a traditional whodunit, with a small cast of suspects and an investigator piecing together the clues to finally determine the true culprit. The closest it comes to the weird darkness you normally associate with noir is when the detective starts to obsess over the portrait of the dead title character, which is quickly abandoned after a midpoint twist changes the specifics of the initial crime. The idea of obsession plays a big role in the film, with the three main male characters each falling under the spell of the title character, but as played by Gene Tierney, the viewer is never exactly sure why Laura is so desirable. She lacks the screen presence that someone like Lauren Bacall could have brought to the role. Likewise, Dana Andrews is a whole lot of nothing in the main role of the police investigator; I mentioned recently that one of the pleasures of noir for me is watching the central anti-heroes, and that pleasure is distinctly missing from Laura. Most of the interest comes from the supporting performers instead, especially from Clifton Webb as Laura's mentor and Vincent Price as the man who wants to take her away from him. They're both brilliant, but they're not enough to elevate the film above its weaknesses. In the end, I guess I'm just still unsure as to what all the fuss is all about. 6/10.].


I. Am. So. With. You.

Even Ebert's Great Movies review is pretty tepid.

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Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:56 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
I. Am. So. With. You.

Even Ebert's Great Movies review is pretty tepid.


I know, right? I read Ebert's review hoping to gain some insight, and he ends up mostly rationalizing the film's many weaknesses as the keys to its brilliance. Huh?

A couple more films:

Samsara - Ron Fricke has made a career out of traveling the world and capturing images of breathtaking beauty. Originally the director of photography on Godfrey Reggio's Koyannisqatsi, he then moved on to direct himself the stylistically similar Baraka (which I've yet to see) and now his most recent effort, Samsara. Fricke filmed his images over a course of four years and in 25 different countries, using only 70mm film. And there really is no denying it, the images on display in Samsara are breathtaking. My favorite occurs near the beginning, with an aerial shot of Burmese temples scattered around a luminously green landscape, while other sections almost look like they would be right at home among the futuristic settings of Cloud Atlas. It's awe-inspiring to think that there are such places here on our planet. So as purely a collage of transcendental visuals, the film is a clear success.

Where it runs into trouble is how it combines those images to push forward a central message, a message that isn't really much different from Koyannisqatsi, which was made over 30 years ago. The film opens with quiet images of natural environments and of the deserted structures of ancient civilizations. It then contrasts these with the hustle and bustle of the modern world, of cars on freeways and people going about their busy lives (usually shown in fast motion). Along with this, the viewer is also bombarded with genuinely disturbing images of robotic technology and animals being unceremoniously slaughtered in factories. The message is clear: somewhere along the line, the world has changed from a primarily natural environment to an artificial one, one dominated by assembly-line habits and an overreliance on technology, where spiritual concerns are more secondary (but crucially not quite dead). I suppose there's nothing inherently wrong with this point. In fact, I agree with it completely. It's just tough to shake the feeling that Fricke has already made this point before, and better, with his past films. Still though, it's recommended viewing for the spectacular quality of the images alone, and if you're new to Fricke's work, there's a good chance you're going to come away from it legitimately impressed. 7/10.

The Leopard - Certain films draw you immediately into their worlds, while others take a little while for the viewer to get acclimated to their style and pace. Luchino Visconti's 1963 film adaptation of the Giuseppe di Lampedusa's novel is more the latter than the former, but once it starts to gain momentum, it doesn't let up. For anyone unfamiliar with the history of 1860s Sicily, and I would include myself in that group, the material in the early going, with the introduction of the characters and the focus mainly on the country's political situation, is somewhat hard work. It isn't until the second hour that the film settles down and finds its focus. The narrative follows a respected but aging prince who finds his influence diminishing in a world of political revolution. After leaving his estate to journey to his country home with his family, the prince starts to plan a marriage between his handsome nephew and the mayor's daughter, in the hopes of ensuring his family has a prosperous future. The prince has class and respect but diminishing influence, while the mayor has considerable influence but no class and respect.

This is all fairly melodramatic material, but the film is redeemed through its direction and cinematography, which are exemplary, and the three central performances. It's nice to see Alain Delon in a role that allows him to traverse a wider range of emotions than the constant poker face he has in Jean-Pierre Melville's films, and Claudia Cardinale playfully bites her lip a couple times and it's one of the sexiest things I've ever seen. Really though, it's Burt Lancaster that dominates this film, even though his voice is dubbed over in Italian. Lancaster called his performance in the film his best ever, and it's tough to argue with his assessment (although J.J. Hunsecker would probably have something to say about that, and I have a soft spot for his final film appearance as Moonlight Graham in Field Of Dreams). It's a performance that asserts his natural overpowering screen presence, and yet his character is one who is lamenting his increasing irrelevance. Late in the film, his character muses: "We were the leopards, the lions, those who take our place will be jackals and sheep, and the whole lot of us - leopards, lions, jackals and sheep - will continue to think ourselves the salt of the earth." The prince's status may be diminishing, but Lancaster the actor will always be a leopard, a lion. 8/10.

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
McCabe & Mrs Miller (1971) : 2 3/4 Stars
John McCabe (Warren Beatty) is a gambler who becomes partner with a prostitute (Julie Christie) and their enterprise thrives in an old mining town but trouble arrives when a big corporation tries to buy them out and McCabe tries to negotiate as he is still playing poker. This is an unconventional Western set in cold weather (a bit similar to "The Great Silence"). Julie Christie's acting is very good (she even got nominated for an Oscar for this film) but Beatty most of times looks as playing himself lol. Now I recommend to watch it , particularly if you like unconventional Westerns

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Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:47 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Heaven Can Wait (Lubitch)

A man arrives at the gates of hell, requesting entry. The devil isn't so sure he belongs, so the man runs through a life of womanizing and general hell-raising that is the plot of this film. Despite the synopsis, this is a very tame film (even by Hays Code standards) and though the acting is good and the writing very sharp, I couldn't help but think that it could really have been a lot funnier. I've never seen the 1978 remake to compare, though.

13 Assassins

This was recommended to me by a fellow Reelviewer, and it is a doozy. A group of samurai seek vengeance on a shogun who has dishonored their clan, and from than director Takashi Miike creates one hell of a film. The last 45 minutes of action sequences are unreal; why can't they do more stuff like this in the States?

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Mon Mar 18, 2013 7:36 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
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I've never seen the 1978 remake to compare, though.


The 1978 Heaven Can Wait isn't a remake of Lubitsch's Heaven Can Wait, its a remake of Here Comes Mr. Jordan.


Mon Mar 18, 2013 7:54 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
calvero wrote:
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I've never seen the 1978 remake to compare, though.


The 1978 Heaven Can Wait isn't a remake of Lubitsch's Heaven Can Wait, its a remake of Here Comes Mr. Jordan.


How about that...you learn something new every day.

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Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:52 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Oz The Great and Powerful (2012) 1.5/4

I’m trying to wrap my head around the majority of positive reviews for this film. Were they watching the same film as me? Or were they simply high like our protagonist played by James Franco. There is not much to say here. This is a pretty terrible film--rotten script, bland acting, and a plot hole big enough to drive a tractor-trailer through.

Chasing Ice (2012) 2.5/4

Do we actually need another documentary about climate change? Probably not. Chasing Ice proves that it’s all been done before—just perhaps not in this manner. This is a doc that never really creates any profound message; it never delves into any new, uncharted territory. The film is perhaps strongest within its final act, the problem however, is that it takes 50 uninteresting minutes to get there.

Wreck-It Ralph (2012) 2.5/4

Don’t tell me this is better than Toy Story—its not. This is an overall mediocre animated flick that has a vast number of worlds to explore, yet it restricts it self to only a few. The restrictive setting was ultimately forgivable, however, when a film goes against it’s own logic to deliver a sub-par twist..well..I can’t forgive that.

The Intouchables (2012) 3/4

Ever watch a film that’s too sweet to believe? The Intouchables is that film, clichés and all, however there is still a lot to admire here.

The Paperboy (2012) 1/4

Never have I seen a film that puts its main mystery on the backburner only to do nothing in return. The Paperboy is a giant mess that never comes close to resembling a well-structured film—in fact there is little to no structure at all. As you begin to become comfortable with the director’s sleazy style, the film completely changes tone to become a dark thriller of sorts. Regardless, this film misses on every point that it aims for. At least I get to say that I’ve seen Nicole Kidman pee on Zac Efron.

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Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:38 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
calvero wrote:
Quote:
I've never seen the 1978 remake to compare, though.


The 1978 Heaven Can Wait isn't a remake of Lubitsch's Heaven Can Wait, its a remake of Here Comes Mr. Jordan.


How about that...you learn something new every day.


To make it better, Here Comes Mr. Jordan is the movie adaptation of a play called Heaven Can Wait. The title was changed to avoid confusion with the Lubitsch film. And there's a musical sort-of sequel to Here Comes Mr. Jordan entitled Down to Earth which is title of the Chris Rock remake of Here Comes Mr. Jordan. (And the original Down to Earth inspired, of all things, Xanadu.)

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Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:22 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
5 Centimeters per Second is the speed of a falling petal from a cherry blossom. It's also an animated movie by Makoto Shinkai who also did The Place Promised in Our Early Days, which I liked quite a bit.

This one is not sf at all. It's three stories about love and disconnection, connected by the character Takaki Tono. The first is about an intense junior-high school friendship between him and Akari which is severed when their parents' jobs separate them by half the length of Japan. Tono is taking a rail trip to see Akari before Tono's family moves to Kagoshima at the south end of Kyushu. However, there is a heavy snowstorm causing train delay after delay and cutting into their little time together.

Part two finds Tono in high school, where he is dreaming about being an astronaut but is actually about a high school girl who has an unspoken love for him. This is the best part of the movie for me; it hurts.

Part three takes Tono to a job that he quits when he realizes that it's draining his passions away. Akari is about to be married. They pass each other at a railroad crossing, and they start to turn to each other but a train passes between them and when it's gone, so is Akari.

This is rather slight plotwise compared with The Place Promised in our Early Days, but makes up for it with the incredible beauty of the art (except, oddly, for the characters themselves) and a nice soundtrack. You should check Yahoo images or Google images of 5 Centimeters per Second to see what I mean.

Image

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Last edited by Syd Henderson on Tue Mar 19, 2013 1:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Mar 19, 2013 2:17 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JackBurns wrote:
Oz The Great and Powerful (2012) 1.5/4

I’m trying to wrap my head around the majority of positive reviews for this film. Were they watching the same film as me? Or were they simply high like our protagonist played by James Franco. There is not much to say here. This is a pretty terrible film--rotten script, bland acting, and a plot hole big enough to drive a tractor-trailer through.


I saw this over the weekend, and while I liked it more than you, I still can't give it a complete recommendation. Sam Raimi has a tendency to mix camp and semi-serious drama that usually works, but I didn't like it this time out. That sort of style works better in horror movies like the Evil Dead series or his last film, Drag Me To Hell. It also didn't help that the comedy in this movie wasn't very funny. I also thought all the cutesy nods back to the original halted whatever momentum the film had. Those homages should be seamlessly woven into the story as opposed to stopping the film entirely so the munchkins can sing and dance.

There is a kind of weird Christ parallel with Oz, however. It's something Raimi kind of explores in Army of Darkness, but it's more prevalent here. The whole idea of a mystical, powerful man coming from "somewhere else" to save this world is interesting even if it isn't completely explored.

I'm not sure what plot hole you're referring to, though. Care to elaborate?


JackBurns wrote:
Wreck-It Ralph (2012) 2.5/4

Don’t tell me this is better than Toy Story—its not. This is an overall mediocre animated flick that has a vast number of worlds to explore, yet it restricts it self to only a few. The restrictive setting was ultimately forgivable, however, when a film goes against it’s own logic to deliver a sub-par twist..well..I can’t forgive that.


After seeing this a few weeks ago, I steadfastly stand by my support of Brave as the year's best animated film. This one isn't bad, but it doesn't have any interest in using it's visuals to tell it's story, something virtually every Pixar movie makes a point of doing. Pixar is film, they just happen to make animated movies. Other animation studios don't do that. This movie just isn't in Brave's league in any way, shape, or form.

It's still too bad Brave's story is seen as uninspired when it's anything but, and something like this is hailed as original. Soylent Green is people and Wreck-It Ralph is formula.


Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:40 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
PeachyPete wrote:


I saw this over the weekend, and while I liked it more than you, I still can't give it a complete recommendation. Sam Raimi has a tendency to mix camp and semi-serious drama that usually works, but I didn't like it this time out. That sort of style works better in horror movies like the Evil Dead series or his last film, Drag Me To Hell. It also didn't help that the comedy in this movie wasn't very funny. I also thought all the cutesy nods back to the original halted whatever momentum the film had. Those homages should be seamlessly woven into the story as opposed to stopping the film entirely so the munchkins can sing and dance.

There is a kind of weird Christ parallel with Oz, however. It's something Raimi kind of explores in Army of Darkness, but it's more prevalent here. The whole idea of a mystical, powerful man coming from "somewhere else" to save this world is interesting even if it isn't completely explored.

I'm not sure what plot hole you're referring to, though. Care to elaborate?


The plot hole I'm referring to is:
[Reveal] Spoiler:
The Wicked Witches have a seemingly all powerful crystal ball that is able to look anywhere, anyplace---yet they don't see what Glinda and Oz are planning? It seems silly, and if the film were true to this point the witches should have been able to easily see what was coming and overt their plans.

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Tue Mar 19, 2013 1:24 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
[Reveal] Spoiler:
There's a magical barrier. Can the ball see through it?

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Tue Mar 19, 2013 3:43 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Syd Henderson wrote:
[Reveal] Spoiler:
There's a magical barrier. Can the ball see through it?


[Reveal] Spoiler:
I would assume it can for these reasons:

1) Evanora knows that Glinda will be in the Dark Forest at a specific time, so she can obviously track her somehow.
2) The Witches knows Oz and Glinda are up to something, it shows them looking in on them in one occasion if memory serves me right.
3) The barrier can obviously be penetrated by Mila Kunis and her incredible amount of firey-evil.

Also another plot hole, the "Poppyfield" in the original only "works" when the Wicked Witch of the West uses her magic, but in this one it just works...

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Tue Mar 19, 2013 4:15 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Yelling To The Sky

Starring Zoe Kravitz (Lenny's daughter) and Jason Clarke of Zero Dark Thirty with Tim Blake Nelson and Gabourey "Precious" Sidibe in supporting roles. This film seems like an attempt to put elements of the aforementioned Precious and Menace II Society together. Unfortunately it isn't as succesaful as those two films. It lacks the chilling look at Urban nihilism of the latter and isn't as harrowing yet uplifting as the former.

Kravitz and Clarke work well here and Sidibe is decent although her screen time is too limited and her character (a truly nasty girl) too underwritten to rise above one-dimensional.

On the whole this one shows promise. But doesn't quite reach its full potential. **1/2.

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Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:10 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Hells Angels on Wheels (1967)
The most remarkable thing about this 60ies biker exploitation movie – apart from claiming to having been officially approved by Hells Angels MC - is the needless descriptive of the title: The eponymous outlaw motorcycle club is indeed well-known to favour wheeled vehicles over, say, horse-drawn or rocket-propelled modes of transport. “Hells Angels in Hot Air Balloons” or “Hells Angels with Jet Packs” might have made for a better movie, though. But I digress. This movie starts off reasonably well with scenes of bikers gathering and riding their thundering machines in formation, which looks and sounds quite wild and magnificent. Then the title sequence ends. For the remaining 90 minutes, I was bored by a rudimentary plot about a petrol station attendant with an attitude (Jack Nicholson, yes that Jack Nicholson) joining the Hells Angels as a prospect. This is just an excuse to show a poorly staged fistfight every few minutes. The filmmakers even manage to make a body painting orgy so boring that I started to press the fast forward button. If you feel the need to watch a biker exploitation movie, watch ‘The Wild Angels’ instead. That’s not a good movie either, but at least it is reasonably entertaining. This one is plain bad. 3/10

Black Mama, White Mama (1973)
On to another exploitation film, this time of the sub sub genre of Women in Prison films, which are set in jungle-based correctional facilities. A black prostitute with an attitude (Pam Grier) and a blonde revolutionary are imprisoned in a Filipino prison camp. In order to quickly remove any uncertainties about the movie’s intentions, within five minutes one of the guards says the key sentence “Ok, strip ’em and get ’em wet!” and we are treated to lots of boobs. And so is the lesbian dominatrix warden, who peeps into the shower through a spyhole while pleasuring herself. Before a conflict with the warden plays out, Pam Grier and the blonde revolutionary are shackled together and taken away to be interrogated by a corrupt policeman, but manage to escape. Now we’re in a bizarre remake of ‘The Defiant Ones’ with the corrupt police, a Country & Western loving pimp (Sid Haig), the revolutionaries and another pimp, who must have served as the inspiration of Jabba the Hut, hot on the ladies’ trails.
Of course, this isn’t a good movie. Actually, ‘Black Mama, White Mama’ has been assembled rather shoddily. However, I would argue that this is part of the fun in a so-bad-it’s-good way. The movie is charmingly naïve in its blunt attempts to provide kicks for an undemanding audience and I was amused enough to rate it as an above–average movie. 6/10


Wed Mar 20, 2013 3:41 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Avatar

Re-watched this today. My initial impression was pretty much confirmed. Great special effects. Everything else was well done kidy a little... blandly. Still a solid 3 star film.
-Jeremy

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Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:19 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
thered47 wrote:
Avatar

Re-watched this today. My initial impression was pretty much confirmed. Great special effects. Everything else was well done kidy a little... blandly. Still a solid 3 star film.
-Jeremy


I think Avatar has been like Titanic in the fact that after the initial wave of enthusiasm, everyone was so willing to hate the movie that it's now underrated. It doesn't simply offer great special effects -- it creates a world, and the FX are in service of that. Plus it features Stephen Lang's terrific turn as the villain.

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Fri Mar 22, 2013 3:05 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Over the past few weeks, I've watched some ESPN documentaries. A brief rundown:

The Marinovich Project: The subject of this film is Todd Marinovich, who was literally bred from birth to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. He became just that, and his life also became a downward spiral of drugs and depression. It's an interesting story, but the filmmakers play softball with a lot of things, especially the obvious reality that Marinovich's dad fucked his son's life up from the very start, and deserves a lot of the blame for the things that happened to his son. If you like football, you may like this.

No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson: Directed by Steve James, this focuses on a racially motivated fight NBA player Allen Iverson was involved in during his high school basketball career, and the way the trial and media coverage divide his community. James is a good filmmaker, but he is hamstrung by the fact that practically no one wants to talk about the incident on camera. However, the film makes pretty clear that justice in America is hardly colorblind.

Tim Richmond: To the Limit: About Tim Richmond, on of NASCAR's brightest stars in the late 1980s who died of AIDS before the decade was out. Richmond wasn't merely a good race car driver; he was a great one, and had he lived it is likely Dale Earnhardt would not have won seven championships and Jeff Gordon would not have been as dominant in the 1990s. NASCAR fans will probably like this, but I think the film could have been longer; Richmond was a colorful guy, and an incredible personality. Also, the film lets NASCAR off the hook way too easily for how they treated Richmond during the end of his life.

The Two Escobars: About Pablo Escobar, Andres Escobar, and the rocky relationship forged by Colombian soccer and drug money. This really captures the pulse of the time, and it is compelling viewing even if you're not a soccer fan. I can wholeheartedly recommend this.

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Fri Mar 22, 2013 6:31 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
thered47 wrote:
Avatar

Re-watched this today. My initial impression was pretty much confirmed. Great special effects. Everything else was well done kidy a little... blandly. Still a solid 3 star film.
-Jeremy


I think Avatar has been like Titanic in the fact that after the initial wave of enthusiasm, everyone was so willing to hate the movie that it's not underrated. It doesn't simply offer great special effects -- it creates a world, and the FX are in service of that. Plus it features Stephen Lang's terrific turn as the villain.

I wasn't "willing" to hate it, I just think the 3-D blinded some critics(including JB) as to how unremarkable the story was otherwise. It's not a bad film, but it's not that great of a film either, it's just decent at best.


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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
thered47 wrote:
Avatar

Re-watched this today. My initial impression was pretty much confirmed. Great special effects. Everything else was well done kidy a little... blandly. Still a solid 3 star film.
-Jeremy


I think Avatar has been like Titanic in the fact that after the initial wave of enthusiasm, everyone was so willing to hate the movie that it's not underrated. It doesn't simply offer great special effects -- it creates a world, and the FX are in service of that. Plus it features Stephen Lang's terrific turn as the villain.


I think that you are right on the money, Kunzie !

No mater what viewers would write here , Cameron will be laughing all the way to the bank ;-)

As far I am concerned, Avatar was great story telling with high entertainment delivered by leading edge technology at the time which was not a gimmick but necessary to the movie. Knowing what Cameron have done with sequels in the past (Aliens , Terminator 2 even wrote First blood 2) ) I can hardly wait for Avatar 2 :-)

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