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Last Movie You Watched 
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
Synedoche, New York (2008) ***1/2

This movie didn't captivate me the way that Eternal Sunshine and Adaptation did (though, in fairness, both did require lots of thinking-about, so maybe neither really captivated me initially) but I admire the hell out of what Kauffman was trying to do and largely achieved. Anyone here seen it?


I saw it 2-3 years ago and it left me pretty down for a few days (I believe the one they call ed_metal_head had a similar reaction, but good luck finding that guy). It's an incredibly dense, heady film that requires more than one viewing to fully wrap your head around. I only have one viewing and don't feel terribly comfortable discussing it based on how long ago it was and how difficult the movie is at times.

I just remember I was pretty depressed after watching it. I remember writing something lengthy here (in this thread, I believe), but a search turned up zero results.

Atlantic City is a pretty fantastic movie. Louis Malle is a pretty fantastic director. It's a sad movie about sad people who sadly try to convince themselves that their sad lives have some kind of meaning. Then Burt Lancaster sadly lives out his fantasy. It's truly a great movie, but it's really, really sad. Not in a "I'm crying my eyes out" way, but in "These people are pathetic and doomed" way.

In the Mouth of Madness is one of John Carpenter's more underrated efforts. It's a surreal biblical allegory that also deals with the artist's relationship with the art he creates. I liked it quite a bit, but I usually like Carpenter movies quite a bit. He makes unpretensiously weighty movies better than virtually anyone. This one is all over the place, has some fairly bad acting, but made me think and was legitimately creepy in parts.


Tue May 21, 2013 11:45 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
PeachyPete wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
Synedoche, New York (2008) ***1/2

This movie didn't captivate me the way that Eternal Sunshine and Adaptation did (though, in fairness, both did require lots of thinking-about, so maybe neither really captivated me initially) but I admire the hell out of what Kauffman was trying to do and largely achieved. Anyone here seen it?


I saw it 2-3 years ago and it left me pretty down for a few days (I believe the one they call ed_metal_head had a similar reaction, but good luck finding that guy). It's an incredibly dense, heady film that requires more than one viewing to fully wrap your head around. I only have one viewing and don't feel terribly comfortable discussing it based on how long ago it was and how difficult the movie is at times.

I just remember I was pretty depressed after watching it. I remember writing something lengthy here (in this thread, I believe), but a search turned up zero results.


Yes you did Pete. That post, as well as the responses to your post got me watching it.

http://reelviews.net/reelviewsforum/viewtopic.php?p=62971#p62971

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Tue May 21, 2013 4:04 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
ram1312 wrote:
Yes you did Pete. That post, as well as the responses to your post got me watching it.

http://reelviews.net/reelviewsforum/viewtopic.php?p=62971#p62971


Thanks for that, Rammy. Sincerely. I just spent the last 45 minutes going through 20 or so pages of this thread and getting all nostalgic. Not only did we have a nice discussion of Synedoche, New York, but there was also a great discussion between Zeppelin and JJoshay on In the Realm of Senses, Vexer's introduction to George Orwell, Zeppelin volunteering to impregnate me, one of the many incarnations of the Crimes and Misdemeanors debate (possibly even the first!) between Kunz and myself, Blonde Almond's 0/10 review of I'm Still Here, followed by Ken turning around and calling it brilliant, a ton of general hilarity from ed_metal_head (notably the sentence: "Any anal birth is guaranteed to leave a little schmutz on the child," which I'm off to go post on his Facebook wall after I finish this post), and many other posts from the "old guard" of the forum.

That was great. We need to get back to cussing each other out one day, using dick, fart, and pussy jokes the next, and digging deep (pun 100% intended) into a movie the immediately after. This place was the fucking balls in the summer of 2010.


Tue May 21, 2013 4:53 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
PeachyPete wrote:
"Any anal birth is guaranteed to leave a little schmutz on the child,"

Oh god. I'm going to be laughing at this for at least half an hour. Again.

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Tue May 21, 2013 5:09 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
PeachyPete wrote:
ram1312 wrote:
Yes you did Pete. That post, as well as the responses to your post got me watching it.

http://reelviews.net/reelviewsforum/viewtopic.php?p=62971#p62971


Thanks for that, Rammy. Sincerely. I just spent the last 45 minutes going through 20 or so pages of this thread and getting all nostalgic. Not only did we have a nice discussion of Synedoche, New York, but there was also a great discussion between Zeppelin and JJoshay on In the Realm of Senses, Vexer's introduction to George Orwell, Zeppelin volunteering to impregnate me, one of the many incarnations of the Crimes and Misdemeanors debate (possibly even the first!) between Kunz and myself, Blonde Almond's 0/10 review of I'm Still Here, followed by Ken turning around and calling it brilliant, a ton of general hilarity from ed_metal_head (notably the sentence: "Any anal birth is guaranteed to leave a little schmutz on the child," which I'm off to go post on his Facebook wall after I finish this post), and many other posts from the "old guard" of the forum.

That was great. We need to get back to cussing each other out one day, using dick, fart, and pussy jokes the next, and digging deep (pun 100% intended) into a movie the immediately after. This place was the fucking balls in the summer of 2010.


*Sad sigh* I'm still a happy member around here, but there's not question in my mind that 2010 was the height of the Forum. You said it above perfectly. I could get into a huge argument with Ragnarok one day and then praise Ed's shiny metal head the next while simultaneously recommending Z AND explaining why Pete was wrong about Crimes and Misdemeanors. Back when Vexer was the only crazy forum member, Patrick was making filmed reviews, and we were assaulted by spambots on a daily basis.

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Tue May 21, 2013 6:49 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
PeachyPete wrote:


Atlantic City is a pretty fantastic movie. Louis Malle is a pretty fantastic director. It's a sad movie about sad people who sadly try to convince themselves that their sad lives have some kind of meaning. Then Burt Lancaster sadly lives out his fantasy. It's truly a great movie, but it's really, really sad. Not in a "I'm crying my eyes out" way, but in "These people are pathetic and doomed" way.


Thanks for praising Malle. He's significantly underrated and my favorite French director.

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Tue May 21, 2013 6:50 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
Patrick was making filmed reviews


I still make filmed reviews.....I just shifted to reviewing music. And I miss Ed and major :cry:


Tue May 21, 2013 7:38 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
patrick wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
Patrick was making filmed reviews


I still make filmed reviews.....I just shifted to reviewing music. And I miss Ed and major :cry:


But movies >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> music!

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Tue May 21, 2013 7:42 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Primer (2004) 2.5/4

I can’t say this is the most well structured film. I was confused for a good amount of the viewing, and I don’t think it has a lot to do with my wits (although that its arguable). Perhaps a second viewing would help, but I looked at a drawn diagram explaining this film afterwards, and was still just as confused. The time travel elements were interesting, but the confusion in certain scenes made it difficult to tell what exactly was happening. There was few times where I could go back mentally and say, “This happened, so this is what is happening now.” As I said previously I had a very vague idea as to what was going on, and in turn the made for an odd viewing experience. The narrative isn’t really all that impressive either in my opinion. The ending emphasizes a sort of agenda of one of our main characters. This is great, but I wish it had been possible to see throughout the course of the film. Overall I just wasn’t satisfied with this film.

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JackBurns wrote:
Primer (2004) 2.5/4

I can’t say this is the most well structured film. I was confused for a good amount of the viewing, and I don’t think it has a lot to do with my wits (although that its arguable). Perhaps a second viewing would help, but I looked at a drawn diagram explaining this film afterwards, and was still just as confused. The time travel elements were interesting, but the confusion in certain scenes made it difficult to tell what exactly was happening. There was few times where I could go back mentally and say, “This happened, so this is what is happening now.” As I said previously I had a very vague idea as to what was going on, and in turn the made for an odd viewing experience. The narrative isn’t really all that impressive either in my opinion. The ending emphasizes a sort of agenda of one of our main characters. This is great, but I wish it had been possible to see throughout the course of the film. Overall I just wasn’t satisfied with this film.


I wasn't satisfied per se, but I liked the movie more than you did. I enjoyed the impenetrability, at least initially, and was impressed by the film even as it left me outside looking in.

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Tue May 21, 2013 9:20 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Frances Ha

I saw this at a free screening in DC. It's breezy and fun to sit through, and it will speak well mid-and-late 20-somethings who can't seem to figure out life after college (much like the main character here). Obviously, Noah Baumbach has a thing for New York City and even more of a thing for Woody Allen as this movie is shot in black and white in a very romanticized version of the city. Greta Gerwig once again is superb and many scenes feel completely natural. It's not something I'll remember when it comes time to make a Top 10 List, but I had a good time.

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
PeachyPete wrote:
ram1312 wrote:
Yes you did Pete. That post, as well as the responses to your post got me watching it.

http://reelviews.net/reelviewsforum/viewtopic.php?p=62971#p62971


Thanks for that, Rammy. Sincerely. I just spent the last 45 minutes going through 20 or so pages of this thread and getting all nostalgic. Not only did we have a nice discussion of Synedoche, New York, but there was also a great discussion between Zeppelin and JJoshay on In the Realm of Senses, Vexer's introduction to George Orwell, Zeppelin volunteering to impregnate me, one of the many incarnations of the Crimes and Misdemeanors debate (possibly even the first!) between Kunz and myself, Blonde Almond's 0/10 review of I'm Still Here, followed by Ken turning around and calling it brilliant, a ton of general hilarity from ed_metal_head (notably the sentence: "Any anal birth is guaranteed to leave a little schmutz on the child," which I'm off to go post on his Facebook wall after I finish this post), and many other posts from the "old guard" of the forum.

That was great. We need to get back to cussing each other out one day, using dick, fart, and pussy jokes the next, and digging deep (pun 100% intended) into a movie the immediately after. This place was the fucking balls in the summer of 2010.


Ah, I miss tossing around with Zepp :(

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Wed May 22, 2013 12:23 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Red Dawn (1984)

Coming at a time of continuing geopolitical tension between the US and the Soviet Union (and its Communist allies), Red Dawn was the first film to be released with the newly minted PG-13 rating. Severe weather in Russia has caused the wheat harvest to fail. In a fit of desperation, they and their allies in Cuba and Central America, launch a ground offensive against the United States with forces coming up out of Mexico and across the Bering Strait and down through Alaska. Advanced paratroopers land and take control of Calumet, Colorado and a small group of high school students (Charlie Sheen, C. Thomas Howell, Darren Dalton, Brad Savage, Doug Toby) escapes with one of their older brothers (Patrick Swayze) to the mountains. They plan to wait out the occupation until the US military can liberate the town. But waiting is not so easy. They still have friends and family in town and not knowing their fates takes a toll on the group of survivors. Eventually a small group goes into Calumet to get information and comes to learn that the occupiers, led by Cuban Colonel Bella, has executed many of the would-be trouble makers in town, and sent many others to a re-education camp on the outskirts of town. From there the scouts return back to the mountains but not before picking up Lea Thompson and Jennifer Grey to add to the group.

Eventually the group of surivalists turns from being scared kids hiding out into a resistance group hectoring and terrorizing the occupying Cubans and Russians. Quick strikes and bomb atttacks by the kids are met with fierce retalliation against the Calumet civilians. As the months drag on through the winter, the constant fight for survival begins to take its toll.

Red Dawn is not a bad movie. It does stretch the bounds of credibility at many points as the kids are able to stage elaborate strikes against superior forces that would require precision timing and training and yet emerge without any scratches; at times the violence is almost too cartoonish. But the script from Kevin Reynolds and John Milius (Dirty Harry, Apocalypse Now) does a fairly decent job of having the psychological tolls take effect on both sides of the battle.

Definitely a product of its times, it's not great filmmaking, but the messages are a tad deeper than what you would expect from this kind of fare. You could probably chalk this one up as a guilty pleasure. 2.5 / 4.0


Wed May 22, 2013 9:11 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
The Rapture (1991)

I'd heard about this movie years ago. But didn't get around to watching it until today.

It's totally uncompromising. Watch it one way, you expect it to be a condemnation of religion, then for a while you might see it as an endorsement. What's courageous about it is that it could be either or both. In some ways it presents its story and leaves the audience to make up their own minds.

The Rapture is often harrowing to watch, especially during one particular scene towards the climax. In some ways it reminded me of A Serious Man albeit minus the humor.

In some ways, writer/director Michael Tolkin trips over his ambitions here. But unlike most films, these trips are minor.

I don't know if I'll ever watch this again. But I'm glad I did see it.

****

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Wed May 22, 2013 8:59 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Star Trek Into Darkness - As someone who has a strongly positive view of J.J. Abrams' polarizing 2009 reboot of the Star Trek franchise, I was looking forward to this sequel perhaps more than any other summer blockbuster this year (which isn't saying much; this might be the only summer blockbuster this year that sparks even a small amount of interest in me). My reaction to this new film is positive but also reserved; there are areas where it's an improvement over the first reboot, but it also takes some key steps backward. Contrary to what the title suggests, this isn't the film where Star Trek makes the jump into Nolan Batman territory. Just like the first film, things are never allowed to get too serious, even when the script is addressing issues of terrorism and military overreach. A big part of this has to do with the chemistry between the cast members, which is continuing to develop nicely (although some of them are relegated mostly to background status and are only given one or two moments to shine individually). That sense of fun and joviality was one of the big selling points of the 2009 film, and really the fact that that energy is replicated here is itself almost reason enough to recommend it.

There are certain areas though where the film really stumbles. Some of this is just minor problems with pacing (the opening sequence is way too loud and chaotic, while the conclusion is incredibly abrupt and underwhelming), but there's one issue that is much more serious. For this film, there is an attempt to reincorporate some classic Trek elements in a way that is more than just simple fan service, but in a couple key areas this really fails, particularly with the unnecessary reintroduction of an iconic Trek villain and a completely misjudged restaging of perhaps the most revered moment in Trek history. Where that original moment before felt truly meaningful, here it passes by with essentially no consequence, and its seemingly-irresolvable impact to the plot ends up being reversed in only 15 minutes time.

Abrams pulled a similar thing with his approach to Super 8, which I remember not having much of a problem with at the time (maybe because I'm more sympathetic to 1970s "Spielbergian" filmmaking than anything related to Star Trek) but now it's starting to bother me more and more. I think Abrams has talent, but like George Lucas he seems more at home as a producer than as a director. As the latter, he relies too often on the audience's knowledge of past influences to generate emotion instead of taking the time to find a more natural and original way to generate the same effect. He's perfectly capable of better too, which is what makes it a little baffling; I would point to the opening sequence of the first Star Trek reboot as proof that he can create an emotional, spine-tingling sequence without excessive plundering of the past. The good news is that Star Trek Into Darkness retains the same fun energy that was so prevalent in the first film, and it remains an incredibly energetic and enjoyable experience overall. It is incredibly disappointing through to see the filmmakers dipping back into the well of the past so quickly and so clumsily, especially since the 2009 film seemed to signal a journey into more uncharted territory. 7/10.

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Thu May 23, 2013 12:43 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Blonde Almond wrote:
Star Trek Into Darkness - As someone who has a strongly positive view of J.J. Abrams' polarizing 2009 reboot of the Star Trek franchise, I was looking forward to this sequel perhaps more than any other summer blockbuster this year (which isn't saying much; this might be the only summer blockbuster this year that sparks even a small amount of interest in me). My reaction to this new film is positive but also reserved; there are areas where it's an improvement over the first reboot, but it also takes some key steps backward. Contrary to what the title suggests, this isn't the film where Star Trek makes the jump into Nolan Batman territory. Just like the first film, things are never allowed to get too serious, even when the script is addressing issues of terrorism and military overreach. A big part of this has to do with the chemistry between the cast members, which is continuing to develop nicely (although some of them are relegated mostly to background status and are only given one or two moments to shine individually). That sense of fun and joviality was one of the big selling points of the 2009 film, and really the fact that that energy is replicated here is itself almost reason enough to recommend it.

There are certain areas though where the film really stumbles. Some of this is just minor problems with pacing (the opening sequence is way too loud and chaotic, while the conclusion is incredibly abrupt and underwhelming), but there's one issue that is much more serious. For this film, there is an attempt to reincorporate some classic Trek elements in a way that is more than just simple fan service, but in a couple key areas this really fails, particularly with the unnecessary reintroduction of an iconic Trek villain and a completely misjudged restaging of perhaps the most revered moment in Trek history. Where that original moment before felt truly meaningful, here it passes by with essentially no consequence, and its seemingly-irresolvable impact to the plot ends up being reversed in only 15 minutes time.

Abrams pulled a similar thing with his approach to Super 8, which I remember not having much of a problem with at the time (maybe because I'm more sympathetic to 1970s "Spielbergian" filmmaking than anything related to Star Trek) but now it's starting to bother me more and more. I think Abrams has talent, but like George Lucas he seems more at home as a producer than as a director. As the latter, he relies too often on the audience's knowledge of past influences to generate emotion instead of taking the time to find a more natural and original way to generate the same effect. He's perfectly capable of better too, which is what makes it a little baffling; I would point to the opening sequence of the first Star Trek reboot as proof that he can create an emotional, spine-tingling sequence without excessive plundering of the past. The good news is that Star Trek Into Darkness retains the same fun energy that was so prevalent in the first film, and it remains an incredibly energetic and enjoyable experience overall. It is incredibly disappointing through to see the filmmakers dipping back into the well of the past so quickly and so clumsily, especially since the 2009 film seemed to signal a journey into more uncharted territory. 7/10.


Very good review ! better than mine :-) I agree with the score while I wrote that it was dark without mentioning due the Terrorism scenes it is as you wrote far from Nolan's style indeed. I concur with the minor problems you describe too. Looking forward to the next installment in the franchise and I will not miss JJ Abrams if he does not come back ;-)

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Thu May 23, 2013 2:48 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
patrick wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
Patrick was making filmed reviews


I still make filmed reviews.....I just shifted to reviewing music. And I miss Ed and major :cry:


But movies >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> music!


Baby steps, Kunzie. Pat has moved his filmed reviews out of the bathroom and into a hallway. That's progress!

Blonde Almond wrote:
he relies too often on the audience's knowledge of past influences to generate emotion instead of taking the time to find a more natural and original way to generate the same effect. He's perfectly capable of better too, which is what makes it a little baffling; I would point to the opening sequence of the first Star Trek reboot as proof that he can create an emotional, spine-tingling sequence without excessive plundering of the past. The good news is that Star Trek Into Darkness retains the same fun energy that was so prevalent in the first film, and it remains an incredibly energetic and enjoyable experience overall. It is incredibly disappointing through to see the filmmakers dipping back into the well of the past so quickly and so clumsily, especially since the 2009 film seemed to signal a journey into more uncharted territory.


I felt similarly about the 2009 reboot, and this section of your final paragraph sums up my thoughts on the movie perfectly. It's kind of remarkable that the movie still manages to be pretty good given how many different ways it's disappointing.

I have seen exactly zero movies lately, mostly because I'm a schmuck. And because of the NBA playoffs. I hope to see Stories We Tell this weekend because Sarah Polley is fantastic. This is the end of my update.


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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Django Unchained (2012)
I rewatched Quentin Tarantino’s homage to Spaghetti Westerns and Blaxploitation films on DVD, after having gained a very positive impression of the movie in the cinema with the reservation that my bladder considered it way too long. That still holds true even in the comfortable environment of my living room. Basically, the film should have ended with the big climactic shoot-out. Everything after, including Tarantino’s grating cameo, is absolutely superfluous. It wouldn’t have hurt to cut some of the fat as well. I also didn’t like some of the musical tracks, but that’s a minor quibble. Other than that, this is the first time that a Tarantino protagonist has a proper character ark and a motivation other than merely getting revenge since ‘Jackie Brown’. It has a real story and characters with whom you can empathise. The acting is great and although Christoph Waltz has the most showy role, which was rightfully awarded an Oscar, Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson are equally good in atypical roles. In my opinion, it is Jamie Foxx who has the most difficult part, though, and his acting is outstanding. In the beginning, his Django is a timid, broken man, which is an appropriate cinematic depiction of a slave. He doesn’t change overnight once he is freed, but is at first wary of and curious about this strange German dentist-turned-bounty hunter. Slowly, the acceptance by Dr. King Schultz as a fellow man rather than an object gives Django greater confidence and by the end of the movie, he has become strong and assertive. All of this is depicted in a very subtle manner.
All of this actually means that my opinion of the movie hasn’t changed. It is good and some parts of it are excellent, but it is too long and undisciplined to be very good. 7/10

Seven Psychopaths (2012)
I’ve heard this film described as “Adaptation meets Tarantino” and this tagline isn’t too far off. Martin McDonagh, director of the much better ‘In Bruges’, has concocted a plot revolving around a hard-drinking scriptwriter (Colin Farell), who only has the eponymous title for his screenplay and seeks inspiration from his friend (Sam Rockwell), who is in a scheme of abducting dogs from and returning them to their rightful owners while cashing in on the finders’ fee. This scheme also involves Christopher Walken and it goes horribly wrong when a gangster boss’s (Woody Harrelson) dog is kidnapped . Tom Waits also shows up for a scene.
Intermittently, ‘Seven Psychopaths’ is clever and funny, but most of the time, it didn’t do much for me. The comparisons with Tarantino movies are quite apt (the initial discussion of two gangsters about gouging eyeballs could have been lifted from a bad Tarantino screenplay) and ‘Seven Psychopaths’ comes up short. The screenplay-within-the-movie device sometimes makes it unclear whether we are watching fact or fiction and whether one influences the other, which is certainly intended but didn’t quite work. In fact, at times I was thinking that McDonagh noticed obvious weaknesses of his movie and chose to address them explicitly, but that doesn’t really solve any of the movie’s problems. It’s okay and good for a few laughs, but just about average. 5/10

Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
This magical realist movie is told through the eyes of a young girl named Hushpuppy, who lives with her father in a dirt poor but self-sufficient community called “The Bathtub”, which is on the floodplains beyond a levee in South Louisiana. Her relationship with her father is strained due to his hard drinking and allround erratic behaviour, but he also proves to be a warmhearted protector, particularly when a storm causes “The Bathtub” to flood and threatens the existence of the settlement.
Wow: The (then) six year old Quevenzhané Wallis, who plays Hushpuppy, has a fantastic screen presence and probably is the best child actor I ever saw in a film. Dwight Henry, the lay actor playing her father, is equally convincing and both of them are responsible for giving this movie a great sense of authenticity and veracity (it helps that they look lke real people and not like movie stars). You never think that there are actors on screen, they seem to be the characters they impersonate. There isn’t that much plot but the movie focusses on the relationship between daughter and father, which is complicated by an absent mother, and it’s all the better for it. I found this movie strangely moving and being heartfelt without any hint of cloying sentimentality. The first-time filmmakers manage to conjure some wonderful, even magical, images from the bayous of the Misssissippi delta. However, there are two problems with ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’, the first of which concerns the eponymous beasts. Hushpuppy associates global warming and melting polar icecaps with the defrosting of ancient ice age beasts (which she terms aurochs, although they look less bovine and more like pigs). In her imagination (?), these Terry Giliam-esque monsters tear south to “The Bathtub” and I assume they are meant to be allegorical, but actually cannot quite figure out what exactly they stand for and what purpose they serve in the movie. They should have been left out. Second, a lot of the film is filmed using shaky, handheld cameras, which is a distraction at best. Whoever thought that shaky-cam would make things look more real and authentic should take a look at Italian neorealist films and ask himself/herself: Why do these movies feel so real wthout Rossellini or De Sica ever shaking their equipment?
Nevertheless, these are two flaws of an otherwise magical gem and I really liked this movie. Very good: 8/10


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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Unke wrote:
Django Unchained (2012)
I rewatched Quentin Tarantino’s homage to Spaghetti Westerns and Blaxploitation films on DVD, after having gained a very positive impression of the movie in the cinema with the reservation that my bladder considered it way too long. That still holds true even in the comfortable environment of my living room. Basically, the film should have ended with the big climactic shoot-out. Everything after, including Tarantino’s grating cameo, is absolutely superfluous. It wouldn’t have hurt to cut some of the fat as well. I also didn’t like some of the musical tracks, but that’s a minor quibble. Other than that, this is the first time that a Tarantino protagonist has a proper character ark and a motivation other than merely getting revenge since ‘Jackie Brown’. It has a real story and characters with whom you can empathise. The acting is great and although Christoph Waltz has the most showy role, which was rightfully awarded an Oscar, Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson are equally good in atypical roles. In my opinion, it is Jamie Foxx who has the most difficult part, though, and his acting is outstanding. In the beginning, his Django is a timid, broken man, which is an appropriate cinematic depiction of a slave. He doesn’t change overnight once he is freed, but is at first wary of and curious about this strange German dentist-turned-bounty hunter. Slowly, the acceptance by Dr. King Schultz as a fellow man rather than an object gives Django greater confidence and by the end of the movie, he has become strong and assertive. All of this is depicted in a very subtle manner.
All of this actually means that my opinion of the movie hasn’t changed. It is good and some parts of it are excellent, but it is too long and undisciplined to be very good. 7/10

Seven Psychopaths (2012)
I’ve heard this film described as “Adaptation meets Tarantino” and this tagline isn’t too far off. Martin McDonagh, director of the much better ‘In Bruges’, has concocted a plot revolving around a hard-drinking scriptwriter (Colin Farell), who only has the eponymous title for his screenplay and seeks inspiration from his friend (Sam Rockwell), who is in a scheme of abducting dogs from and returning them to their rightful owners while cashing in on the finders’ fee. This scheme also involves Christopher Walken and it goes horribly wrong when a gangster boss’s (Woody Harrelson) dog is kidnapped . Tom Waits also shows up for a scene.
Intermittently, ‘Seven Psychopaths’ is clever and funny, but most of the time, it didn’t do much for me. The comparisons with Tarantino movies are quite apt (the initial discussion of two gangsters about gouging eyeballs could have been lifted from a bad Tarantino screenplay) and ‘Seven Psychopaths’ comes up short. The screenplay-within-the-movie device sometimes makes it unclear whether we are watching fact or fiction and whether one influences the other, which is certainly intended but didn’t quite work. In fact, at times I was thinking that McDonagh noticed obvious weaknesses of his movie and chose to address them explicitly, but that doesn’t really solve any of the movie’s problems. It’s okay and good for a few laughs, but just about average. 5/10

Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
This magical realist movie is told through the eyes of a young girl named Hushpuppy, who lives with her father in a dirt poor but self-sufficient community called “The Bathtub”, which is on the floodplains beyond a levee in South Louisiana. Her relationship with her father is strained due to his hard drinking and allround erratic behaviour, but he also proves to be a warmhearted protector, particularly when a storm causes “The Bathtub” to flood and threatens the existence of the settlement.
Wow: The (then) six year old Quevenzhané Wallis, who plays Hushpuppy, has a fantastic screen presence and probably is the best child actor I ever saw in a film. Dwight Henry, the lay actor playing her father, is equally convincing and both of them are responsible for giving this movie a great sense of authenticity and veracity (it helps that they look lke real people and not like movie stars). You never think that there are actors on screen, they seem to be the characters they impersonate. There isn’t that much plot but the movie focusses on the relationship between daughter and father, which is complicated by an absent mother, and it’s all the better for it. I found this movie strangely moving and being heartfelt without any hint of cloying sentimentality. The first-time filmmakers manage to conjure some wonderful, even magical, images from the bayous of the Misssissippi delta. However, there are two problems with ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’, the first of which concerns the eponymous beasts. Hushpuppy associates global warming and melting polar icecaps with the defrosting of ancient ice age beasts (which she terms aurochs, although they look less bovine and more like pigs). In her imagination (?), these Terry Giliam-esque monsters tear south to “The Bathtub” and I assume they are meant to be allegorical, but actually cannot quite figure out what exactly they stand for and what purpose they serve in the movie. They should have been left out. Second, a lot of the film is filmed using shaky, handheld cameras, which is a distraction at best. Whoever thought that shaky-cam would make things look more real and authentic should take a look at Italian neorealist films and ask himself/herself: Why do these movies feel so real wthout Rossellini or De Sica ever shaking their equipment?
Nevertheless, these are two flaws of an otherwise magical gem and I really liked this movie. Very good: 8/10


Good writeups, but isn't it a bit solipsistic to say that since you cannot figure out what's going on with the aurochs, they should have been left out?

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Unke wrote:
However, there are two problems with ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’, the first of which concerns the eponymous beasts. Hushpuppy associates global warming and melting polar icecaps with the defrosting of ancient ice age beasts (which she terms aurochs, although they look less bovine and more like pigs). In her imagination (?), these Terry Giliam-esque monsters tear south to “The Bathtub” and I assume they are meant to be allegorical, but actually cannot quite figure out what exactly they stand for and what purpose they serve in the movie. They should have been left out. Second, a lot of the film is filmed using shaky, handheld cameras, which is a distraction at best. Whoever thought that shaky-cam would make things look more real and authentic should take a look at Italian neorealist films and ask himself/herself: Why do these movies feel so real wthout Rossellini or De Sica ever shaking their equipment?


I took the aurochs to be a metaphor for Hushpuppy's fears about how she is going to handle herself in future challenges. When she stands up to the aurochs at the end, she's asserting her strength and ability to tackle whatever troubles come her way headfirst. For that purpose, the aurochs get the job done, but I'm not much of a fan of them. The film already has such a strong mythic, magical realist style and their inclusion is a little too much.

I love your invocation of Italian Neorealism to counteract the idea that shaky-cam heightens authenticity. Good call.

Unke wrote:
Seven Psychopaths (2012)
I’ve heard this film described as “Adaptation meets Tarantino” and this tagline isn’t too far off. Martin McDonagh, director of the much better ‘In Bruges’, has concocted a plot revolving around a hard-drinking scriptwriter (Colin Farell), who only has the eponymous title for his screenplay and seeks inspiration from his friend (Sam Rockwell), who is in a scheme of abducting dogs from and returning them to their rightful owners while cashing in on the finders’ fee. This scheme also involves Christopher Walken and it goes horribly wrong when a gangster boss’s (Woody Harrelson) dog is kidnapped . Tom Waits also shows up for a scene.
Intermittently, ‘Seven Psychopaths’ is clever and funny, but most of the time, it didn’t do much for me. The comparisons with Tarantino movies are quite apt (the initial discussion of two gangsters about gouging eyeballs could have been lifted from a bad Tarantino screenplay) and ‘Seven Psychopaths’ comes up short. The screenplay-within-the-movie device sometimes makes it unclear whether we are watching fact or fiction and whether one influences the other, which is certainly intended but didn’t quite work. In fact, at times I was thinking that McDonagh noticed obvious weaknesses of his movie and chose to address them explicitly, but that doesn’t really solve any of the movie’s problems. It’s okay and good for a few laughs, but just about average. 5/10


I liked the film more than you did, but I can see where you're coming from. I found the sub-Tarantino elements that are more prevalent in the first half to be a little tiring, and for me the film really hits its stride when the characters go out to the desert.

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