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Last Movie You Watched 
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
KWRoss wrote:
The May Movie Binge continues!!!!!

The Ides of March

Now this is what I'm talking about. In recent years, I've noticed so many more of my friends and acquaintances shifting from die-hard liberal/conservative to middle-ground, and some have even given up on voting for one of the two main parties altogether. This movie gives a pretty convincing argument for doing so. It's a compulsively watchable political thriller, but its ultimate point is that even the most appealing candidate has to play dirty a lot, and when it comes to running campaigns, no one is noble. No, I don't necessarily need a movie to tell me this, but I love the fact that a movie, any movie, is willing to go there and shout a wake up call. Loved this. Easily would've made my Top 10 of 2011 had I made one.


Really? I found this movie so disappointing. The big revelation is that...politicians are dirty? Wow. Shocker. Reminds me of when Green Zone tried to make a shocking punchline out of "There WERE NO WMDS!"


That's not a "big revelation." It's simply the stance the movie is taking. The reason I consider it a wake-up call for many is that when it comes to politics, we're so divided and so passionate that most of us just toe the party lines, picking and choosing who we want to bash and who we want to praise, conveniently ignoring the fact that BOTH sides have a lot of problems.

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Sun May 26, 2013 11:58 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
KWRoss wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
KWRoss wrote:
The May Movie Binge continues!!!!!

The Ides of March

Now this is what I'm talking about. In recent years, I've noticed so many more of my friends and acquaintances shifting from die-hard liberal/conservative to middle-ground, and some have even given up on voting for one of the two main parties altogether. This movie gives a pretty convincing argument for doing so. It's a compulsively watchable political thriller, but its ultimate point is that even the most appealing candidate has to play dirty a lot, and when it comes to running campaigns, no one is noble. No, I don't necessarily need a movie to tell me this, but I love the fact that a movie, any movie, is willing to go there and shout a wake up call. Loved this. Easily would've made my Top 10 of 2011 had I made one.


Really? I found this movie so disappointing. The big revelation is that...politicians are dirty? Wow. Shocker. Reminds me of when Green Zone tried to make a shocking punchline out of "There WERE NO WMDS!"


That's not a "big revelation." It's simply the stance the movie is taking. The reason I consider it a wake-up call for many is that when it comes to politics, we're so divided and so passionate that most of us just toe the party lines, picking and choosing who we want to bash and who we want to praise, conveniently ignoring the fact that BOTH sides have a lot of problems.
Most people are aware that both sides have problems, I didn't need this film to tell me that. For most, it's a matter of which side's problems you find more glaring.


Mon May 27, 2013 12:11 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Vexer wrote:
Most people are aware that both sides have problems, I didn't need this film to tell me that. For most, it's a matter of which side's problems you find more glaring.


It's not that I'm naive and "needed" to be told this by a movie. I've been aware of it long beforehand. All I'm doing is praising Ides of March for taking that stance because I don't often see it much in the movies.

So, I'm assuming you don't care for this movie as well, right? ;)

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Last edited by KWRoss on Mon May 27, 2013 11:08 am, edited 1 time in total.



Mon May 27, 2013 12:24 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
The Strangers (2008) ***

What a bleak movie. Up there with Alien3 really, in terms of the movies that don't even believe in the possibility of hope or human goodness. One of the better horror films I've seen from the 2000s, not that that is saying especially much.

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Mon May 27, 2013 10:18 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Death rides a Horse (1967)
A boy witnesses how is family is brutally raped and murdered by a gang, whose masked members are identifiable only by tattoos, visible scars or flashy jewelry. After the gang sets fire to the house and leaves, a hitherto uninvolved bandit saves the boy from the flames. 15 years later, the boy has grown up into a formidable but inexperienced gunslinger called Bill (John Philip Law). One day, a mysterious stranger named Ryan (Lee van Cleef) rides into town after having been released from a labour camp, apparently looking for members of the gang who committed the atrocity. Bill wants to team up with Ryan in order to get his revenge, but Ryan wants to get there first to collect a lot of money, which the gang owes him.
I could start by praising the positives about this typical Spaghetti Western, but there’s no beating around the bush: This movie isn’t well-made. Some of the editing is amateurish, the dubbing is atrocious and the acting by lead John Philip Law (star of actor’s movies such as ‘Barbarella’ or ‘The Golden Voyage of Sinbad’ ) leaves a lot to be desired. Hm, thats actually a bit harsh: He’s very good at spinning hs revolver around his fingers, which is his most important job in this film. Lee van Cleef is actually all right, but he is more of a screen presence here than a true actor. The movie is very violent for its time a hallmark of a all Spagheti Westerns and its revenge-themed plot may have been a bit more original at the time of its release. I thought it was a bit stayed, though, although the movie distinguishes itself with some nice set pieces. Perhaps it might interest some film buffs that Tarantino borrowed some of the Ennio Morricone soundtrack and the red-tinged flashbacks in ‘Kill Bill Vol. 1’ from this movie.
Overall, it’s an okay movie but really not worth seeking out unless you are a fan of this subgenre. 5/10

A Shot in the Dark (1964)
The chauffeur of the rich tycoon Monsieur Ballon (George Sanders) is shot dead in maid Maria’s (Elke Sommer) room with her holding the smoking gun still in her hands. Everybody else in the household but Maria have an alibi. So the only logical conclusion is that she must be innocent according to the Sûreté’s finest, Inspector Jacques Closeau (Peter Sellers).
This is the second movie in the ‘Pink Panther’ series, all of which I watched some 25 years ago. I remember finding Peter Sellars’s Closeau really funny then, but also noticing how progressively worse the films got. The later instances (not counting the relatively recent remakes starring Steve Martin, which I haven’t seen) are actually completely terrible movies and should be avoided at all costs. There’s even one which exclusively recycles footage from older Pink Panther movies because Peter Sellers had died (Think ‘Game of Death’). Consequently, I was worried that my bargain bin purchase of ‘A Shot in the Dark’ might prove to be a waste of money.
As it turns out, there was no need for concern, because ‘A Shot in the Dark’ is really funny and, in my opinion, the best of the series. The first ‘Pink Panther’ movie is a lighthearted caper movie focussing on David Niven’s catburglar “The Phantom”. Inspector Closeau is actually just a side character, although Peter Sellars steals every scene. This one focusses completely on Sellars’s antics, who creates one of cinema’s great comedy personas in Inspector Closeau, and introduces the characters of Commissioner Dreyfuss (Herbert Lom) and Closeau’s servant and martial arts trainer Kato (Burt Kwouk). The comedy is of the slapstick variety, which is not to everybody’s taste, but works well for me. The movie also has this 50ies/60ies glamour evident in, for instance, Hitchcock movies or the early James Bond films, which hasn’t been recaptured since (with the notable exception of Spielberg’s ‘Catch Me if You Can’). Henry Mancini’s theme is very catchy and just as good as the more famous “Pink Panther theme”, which is absent from this film (such as the cartoon Pink Panther in the opening credits). If you are in the mood for light comedy, this might be a film for you. 8/10


Mon May 27, 2013 11:29 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JackBurns wrote:
I finally finished off the unofficial Vengeance trilogy this past week, which I have to say was overall an enjoyable experience—even if the other two entries don’t live up to their big brother Old Boy.

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) 3/4

This is an extremely enjoyable epic revenge tale. Wook’s camerawork is terrific—this guy can frame a shot like no other. Mr. Vengeance is full of stylistic flourishes, and it’s easy to see how viewers could argue that there is little substance overall. While I can concur that characters are not fully fleshed out, this film really takes its subject matter seriously. I found the “cause and effect” workings of this film to be quite interesting, especially in the context of pure, all out revenge.

Lady Vengeance (2004) 2.5/4

Is it just me or is it slightly bothersome when a film tries to rapidly change its tone? Why start a film out with light black comedy and quickly change it to a firm serious demeanor? I can accept tonal shifts I guess, but they have to be done right—the acts need to be able to mesh together in a way that’s not distracting. Ultimately this is where Lady Vengeance fell apart for me. The first and second acts are played out with dark humor. The viewer is given an engaging plot, with a sense of mystery at its core. For the first two acts this works seamlessly, but once the second act comes to an end Wook abruptly changes the films tone. Instead of humor, the audience is given a dark look into a serial killer. The idea of shared vengeance is put across in the third act, and this is by far the most interesting aspect of the film. With that said it just doesn’t work—it doesn’t mesh so to speak. The first and second act work great, and so does the third act. But these acts don’t work very well combined. They work better separately. Overall, the compelling events of the third act don’t feel earned. Our main characters story feels bumpy. She’s out for revenge, but we never get a clean picture of everything that built this thirst for revenge. All in all, this film may be my go to example for the parts not making a sturdy whole.


I actually had the opposite reaction - I thought that 'Lady Vengeance' was the more coherent movie.


Mon May 27, 2013 11:31 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Ministry of Fear

Eh. I guess now it's safe to say that I just don't get film noir (or most films from the 40's and 50's for that matter). This is one of those stories that has such a simple story and plot arc, you sometimes wonder why it takes so long to get to where it's going. There are a few interesting elements scattered throughout (the scene with a tailor dialing a phone using a gigantic pair of scissors made me a bit nervous for the protagonists life) but they rarely add up to a compelling whole.

Then there is the fact that the Nazi spy ring is borderline incompetent, begging the question of why they weren't found out sooner. In the film they are passing along important information about an allied invasion by having a microfilm baked into a cake (that part isn't too bad) but then they enter it into a contest where the winner wins by guessing the correct weight, which leaves open the ginormous possibility that it's going to end up in the wrong hands. Which it does. It's one thing if you can spot plot holes after the movie, but this one I noticed right away.
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Mon May 27, 2013 2:52 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Unke wrote:
JackBurns wrote:
I finally finished off the unofficial Vengeance trilogy this past week, which I have to say was overall an enjoyable experience—even if the other two entries don’t live up to their big brother Old Boy.

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) 3/4

This is an extremely enjoyable epic revenge tale. Wook’s camerawork is terrific—this guy can frame a shot like no other. Mr. Vengeance is full of stylistic flourishes, and it’s easy to see how viewers could argue that there is little substance overall. While I can concur that characters are not fully fleshed out, this film really takes its subject matter seriously. I found the “cause and effect” workings of this film to be quite interesting, especially in the context of pure, all out revenge.

Lady Vengeance (2004) 2.5/4

Is it just me or is it slightly bothersome when a film tries to rapidly change its tone? Why start a film out with light black comedy and quickly change it to a firm serious demeanor? I can accept tonal shifts I guess, but they have to be done right—the acts need to be able to mesh together in a way that’s not distracting. Ultimately this is where Lady Vengeance fell apart for me. The first and second acts are played out with dark humor. The viewer is given an engaging plot, with a sense of mystery at its core. For the first two acts this works seamlessly, but once the second act comes to an end Wook abruptly changes the films tone. Instead of humor, the audience is given a dark look into a serial killer. The idea of shared vengeance is put across in the third act, and this is by far the most interesting aspect of the film. With that said it just doesn’t work—it doesn’t mesh so to speak. The first and second act work great, and so does the third act. But these acts don’t work very well combined. They work better separately. Overall, the compelling events of the third act don’t feel earned. Our main characters story feels bumpy. She’s out for revenge, but we never get a clean picture of everything that built this thirst for revenge. All in all, this film may be my go to example for the parts not making a sturdy whole.


I actually had the opposite reaction - I thought that 'Lady Vengeance' was the more coherent movie.


Yea I feel like I'm in the minority here, because most people have the opposite feelings. However, I wouldn't pride either film on being the most coherent pieces of cinema.

For me, Lady Vengeance feels like a split experience. It splits its tone right down the middle, and does so without any apparent reason. I was good with the tone of the first half, and I was good with the tone of the second half--they just don't fit together as one coherent whole( to me). Mr. Vengeance plays it pretty straight throughout the entire narrative (at least in my opinion), we know who is out for who, we know why, and the viewer can draw pretty good connections from this. On the other hand, Lady Vengeance gets dizzying after a while. The first half keeps going back and forth, and it never presents the person who inspires all of this until the end of the second act--instead it focuses time on black comedy and a pretty deplorable sub plot with the daughter. I suppose it just like things a little more concentrated, especially when it comes to the subject of revenge, and for me Mr. Vengeance feels more even, and concentrated per se.

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Mon May 27, 2013 3:34 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
The Verdict (1982) 2.5/4

Sidney Lumet is one of my favorite directors. The first time I watched Network I cried with laughter. The first time I watched 12 Angry Men I was in 10th grade and nearly fell asleep (but then I revisited it a few years later and fell in love). However, it is with a heavy heart that I must say this film let me down. Yes, Paul Newman offers a solid performance, but other elements of the film overshadow his acting abilities. Newman follows a path that is formulaic. A down-on-his-luck lawyer finds a case that could bring home the bacon, but instead he fights for a sense of justice. Newman's vindication is weak, and come on, this guy is a drunk--a slob--why can't we see this guy for who he truly is? I was never convinced of Newman's good hearted turn around. This is a guy who is out for his own glory, and I wanted to see more of that. Instead, we get a typical arc, that to me was ultimately disappointing.To sum it up, The Verdict is smothered by formula, and offers a cringe worthy character that is is nothing other than a grade "A" cypher.

The Hangover Part III (2013) 1/4

If you thought Part II felt unwarranted, repetitive, and drastically familiar then you will more than likely feel the same way with this entry. My hate feels a little more deep with this film though. I'm a fan of the first film, and enjoy the non-formulaic approach it took in making a solid comedy. With that said, the elements of the first film have been constantly copied and pasted to these other sad, sad entries. The qualities that made the first film incredibly likable have been recycled so many times that it feels nothing more than extremely contrived. Once again Allen creates an issue, Doug is taken/missing/gone, and the Wolfpack are the only members of society that can make things right. You've seen these events or manifestations of these events before. When I see a film, I want to be entertained, I want to be engaged, I want to have some form or aspect of originality--none of these elements are present in Part III, only mass amounts of deja-vu.

Beowulf (2007) 2/4

I felt like I was watching a medieval wax museum that had suddenly come to life. The mannequins resembled their human counterparts and took on strong Irish/English accents, but something felt like it was missing. It's hard to see emotion in this film. The characters move, walk, drink, and talk like us but theres a stiffness to their cutouts that constantly reminds you of their "fakeness." The motion capture itself doesn't really feel justified. I can understand using the technology for some of the scenes, but for the most part I don't see the need. Zemeckis offers a different look inside the long poem that we all dreaded to read during our high school English classes. Yet, this new twist that Zemeckis uses never seems to serve any real purpose. I suppose it gives the film somewhat more of a structure than if it were to follow the original tale, yet still it does little to nothing with this new look. It's clear that a theme of fathers and sons is trying to be conveyed, but it basically goes no where with this subject matter and essentially vanishes into a sea that doesn't have much depth.

When Harry Met Sally (1989) 2.5/4

Shun me, but I just don't see it. A good majority of this film just feels phony and overly repetitive.

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Mon May 27, 2013 4:56 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JackBurns wrote:
The Verdict (1982) 2.5/4

Sidney Lumet is one of my favorite directors. The first time I watched Network I cried with laughter. The first time I watched 12 Angry Men I was in 10th grade and nearly fell asleep (but then I revisited it a few years later and fell in love). However, it is with a heavy heart that I must say this film let me down. Yes, Paul Newman offers a solid performance, but other elements of the film overshadow his acting abilities. Newman follows a path that is formulaic. A down-on-his-luck lawyer finds a case that could bring home the bacon, but instead he fights for a sense of justice. Newman's vindication is weak, and come on, this guy is a drunk--a slob--why can't we see this guy for who he truly is? I was never convinced of Newman's good hearted turn around. This is a guy who is out for his own glory, and I wanted to see more of that. Instead, we get a typical arc, that to me was ultimately disappointing.To sum it up, The Verdict is smothered by formula, and offers a cringe worthy character that is is nothing other than a grade "A" cypher.

When Harry Met Sally (1989) 2.5/4

Shun me, but I just don't see it. A good majority of this film just feels phony and overly repetitive.


Disagree on The Verdict. It was flawed sure (the "Laura" character could have been elimintaed entirely). But for the most part I thought it was very good to great. A lot better than those assembly line lawyer films of the Grisham variety.

Agreed 100% on When Harry Met Sally. It has a few memorable moments. But on the whole it doesn't ring true.

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Mon May 27, 2013 7:45 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
I liked Beowulf more than you (by about half a star) but you nailed a lot of the problems with it. It may be an inherent problem with motion capture.

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Mon May 27, 2013 10:10 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Unke wrote:

A Shot in the Dark (1964)
The chauffeur of the rich tycoon Monsieur Ballon (George Sanders) is shot dead in maid Maria’s (Elke Sommer) room with her holding the smoking gun still in her hands. Everybody else in the household but Maria have an alibi. So the only logical conclusion is that she must be innocent according to the Sûreté’s finest, Inspector Jacques Closeau (Peter Sellers).
This is the second movie in the ‘Pink Panther’ series, all of which I watched some 25 years ago. I remember finding Peter Sellars’s Closeau really funny then, but also noticing how progressively worse the films got. The later instances (not counting the relatively recent remakes starring Steve Martin, which I haven’t seen) are actually completely terrible movies and should be avoided at all costs. There’s even one which exclusively recycles footage from older Pink Panther movies because Peter Sellers had died (Think ‘Game of Death’). Consequently, I was worried that my bargain bin purchase of ‘A Shot in the Dark’ might prove to be a waste of money.
As it turns out, there was no need for concern, because ‘A Shot in the Dark’ is really funny and, in my opinion, the best of the series. The first ‘Pink Panther’ movie is a lighthearted caper movie focussing on David Niven’s catburglar “The Phantom”. Inspector Closeau is actually just a side character, although Peter Sellars steals every scene. This one focusses completely on Sellars’s antics, who creates one of cinema’s great comedy personas in Inspector Closeau, and introduces the characters of Commissioner Dreyfuss (Herbert Lom) and Closeau’s servant and martial arts trainer Kato (Burt Kwouk). The comedy is of the slapstick variety, which is not to everybody’s taste, but works well for me. The movie also has this 50ies/60ies glamour evident in, for instance, Hitchcock movies or the early James Bond films, which hasn’t been recaptured since (with the notable exception of Spielberg’s ‘Catch Me if You Can’). Henry Mancini’s theme is very catchy and just as good as the more famous “Pink Panther theme”, which is absent from this film (such as the cartoon Pink Panther in the opening credits). If you are in the mood for light comedy, this might be a film for you. 8/10


Yeah this one is completely delightful. I watched all of them last year and it was an exercise in masochism by the end. At least it guaranteed that my yearly bottom 10 would be stuffed. With that said, though, A Shot in the Dark is legitimately fun.

JackBurns wrote:
The Verdict (1982) 2.5/4

Sidney Lumet is one of my favorite directors. The first time I watched Network I cried with laughter. The first time I watched 12 Angry Men I was in 10th grade and nearly fell asleep (but then I revisited it a few years later and fell in love). However, it is with a heavy heart that I must say this film let me down. Yes, Paul Newman offers a solid performance, but other elements of the film overshadow his acting abilities. Newman follows a path that is formulaic. A down-on-his-luck lawyer finds a case that could bring home the bacon, but instead he fights for a sense of justice. Newman's vindication is weak, and come on, this guy is a drunk--a slob--why can't we see this guy for who he truly is? I was never convinced of Newman's good hearted turn around. This is a guy who is out for his own glory, and I wanted to see more of that. Instead, we get a typical arc, that to me was ultimately disappointing.To sum it up, The Verdict is smothered by formula, and offers a cringe worthy character that is is nothing other than a grade "A" cypher.


Completely with you. You said it all, man, you said it all.

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Mon May 27, 2013 10:20 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Unstoppable

Tony Scott's final film is the exact kind of movie I enjoy watching on cable. It's an undemanding 90 or so minutes full of easily recognizable cliches and plot points that suceeds because of how well it's edited and Denzel Washington's charisma. The movie has 5-6 different groups of people in different areas dealing with the same situation. Essentially, all you need to do for a film like this is cast a likable big star, some lesser known supporting players, film a few exterior shots or a train flying by, and then film some explosions. Everything will come together in the editing room. It's the kind of movie with a fairly large budget that seems really, really easy to make.

That said, the editing creates a sense of suspense, and the production comes off as very professional. The film might be nothing more than prepackaged entertainment for the masses, but it at least succeeds in being that.


Tue May 28, 2013 12:02 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
This year's Memorial Day weekend offerings:

Gung Ho! (1943)
Shot and released during the height of World War II, this movie details the creation of the Raider battalion, a new echelon of United States Marines whose training and missions take them above and beyond what an already well-trained Marine will endure. The first 30 minutes of the movie are dedicated to the formation and training of the new recruits and we meet several of the candidates as they are interviewed by the officers as to why they want to join the Raiders. Occuring just weeks after Pearl Harbor, many of the responses are raw with anger towards Japan with revenge as a primary motivator. The second two-thirds of the movie is the transport to and execution of the mission: the first attack on one of Japan's home islands: Makin Island.

The characters in Gung Ho! are largely stock and are portrayed by unknowns. The stand-out actors are Randolph Scott playing the battalion CO and a young Robert Mitchum as one of the rank and file soldiers. Much of the dialog is very much "God and country" with some of it delivered directly into the camera for an audience that at that time was sacrificing much on the home front as part of the war effort. Technically the movie was well shot and the battle sequences well executed. Not all of the movie was battle glory as there are several deaths of sympathetic characters that are not without blood. While some of the performances are a bit wooden and the dialogue stilted, it's still an enjoyable 90 minutes. 3.0 / 4.0

Pork Chop Hill (1959)

Set during the ending phases of the Korean War, the North Koreans and Chinese have taken over a hill of limited military significance. The US brass decides that they need to take it back so as to show their resolve at the bargaining table at Panmunjom. Gregory Peck's Lt. Joe Clemons is tasked with re-taking the hill with limited support. This is largely Peck's film, and he spends much of it doing what he does best: performing his duty in the most noble way possible. When Clemons' men have gained a strategic objective, it has not come without cost and it is at this time communications with the rear are cut-off. The forward squads' positions become perilous, but nobody knows to send reinforcements.

This is a pretty good movie for setting up the parameters of the mission for the audience and then showing many of the ways that things can go amiss in the heat of battle. If I had one knock on the movie it's that as the American's suffer heavy losses, these are relayed as just statistics in dialogue ("I started with 40 men and only 15 made it to this point") and comparatively very few casualties are shown on screen to add weight to those numbers. Some nice supporting parts by familiar faces such as Norman Fell and Martin Landau. IMDB also lists Rip Torn, George Peppard, Robert Blake, and Gavin MacLeod, but the heck if I could pick them out of all of the uniformed dog faces. 2.5 / 4.0

The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel (1951)

After Erwin Rommel's campaign in north Africa, a temporary illness has forced him to return to Europe where he is able to observe the efforts of the German army as it struggles to maintain its hold on territories it won during the early stages of WWII. In Africa, Rommel had to deal with incomprehensible orders from Berlin, but he still had enough distance and autonomy that he could use his brilliance to great effect against the British forces. Closer to home, Rommel witnesses first hand the poor strategic decisions and blunders being orchestrated out of Berlin by military commanders who have no experience or tactical accumen. He becomes disillusioned by the war effort, but he is a good soldier and knows how to take orders, even though he knows the cause will be lost. That is, until some close acquaintences of his inform him of a plot to remove the problem in Berlin that will allow the military commanders the chance to either execute the war properly, or sue for a peace that will not result in the destruction of Germany.

Rommel is played as a sympathetic character expertly by James Mason, who brings out the conflict between the soldier doing his duty as dictated by his superiors and doing his duty as common sense would dictate. The movie does an excellent job detailing the workings of the German military hierarchy as well as the paranoia that comes about as everyone in the higher ranks are under constant surveillance by the Gestapo looking for signs of incompetence or disloyalty, real or imaginary. One of the standout scenes is when Rommel takes a meeting with Hitler to detail what he sees are the shortcomings in the defense against the oncoming Allies, and he comes away from this meeting realizing the madness that has infected his leader. Another brisk movie at around 90 minutes, but well shot and acted throughout. 3.0 / 4.0


Tue May 28, 2013 12:59 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Crazy Heart - 3 stars

Fairly by-the-numbers plot about a washed-up country legend whose relevance has long passed but needs to work small gigs in small towns because he's broke. No points for guessing he's an alcoholic who abandoned his son, and that he's laden with regret. Even fewer points for guessing that his path to redemption opens up because of a younger woman. It's the details that matter though: everything about this movie feels genuine. Jeff Bridges gives a wonderful performance as Bad Blake. It makes every care and burden this man carries palpable, and Maggie Gyllenhaal impresses as his love interest, who thankfully doesn't have blinders on when it comes to his vices. She begins to trust him, even with her son, who's the same age as Blake's was when he abandoned him. Does the other shoe drop? Well I did say this movie was genuine, didn't I? Thankfully it doesn't let Blake off the hook either; when he tries to clean up she doesn't welcome him back with open arms. Trust is difficult to regain once it's lost after all. Colin Farrell and Robert Duvall (Is he semiretired? He's an actor I wish would do more work.) are fine in small roles; though both are important in Blake's recovery as a younger country star who wants Blake to write songs for him and Blake's best friend respectively, they don't have enough screen time to craft memorable roles. Everything revolves around Blake, and Bridges carries the film expertly. Bridges and Farrell prove to be respectable singers too, and that leads me to the other standout: T-Bone Burnett's songs. I really don't know why it took me so long to see this one, especially since I'm a big fan of Burnett's film work. A slow first hour that, given the movie's familiar plot, really could have been shorter and/or paced better is the main drawback, and what prevents Crazy Heart from being great. Recommended for fan of Burnett, the cast, and good acting. File Bridges and Burnett under deserved Oscar winners.


Tue May 28, 2013 5:30 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
George Washington (2000) 2.5/4

Yes this is a beautifully shot film. I like the themes--I'm always one for a good coming of age story. However, I really can't say much more than that. The acting here isn't professional, and you CAN tell. Somehow it seems that people have merited the attributes of nonprofessional actors to the point that they can do no wrong. In films such as Beats of the Southern Wild, this works because the people acting are clearly very talented. In George Washington it feels different. At times I felt like I was watching a high school theater performance. This doesn't help with the kind of dialogue that these characters are given. I found the dialogue (mostly the narration but not limited to it) in this film to be utterly unbelievable, to the point where it totally goes against the setting that Green has captured. This isn't the language of children raised in the midtown areas of a small North Carolina town, this is the language of literature professors and it comes off as gut wrenchingly scripted. There are visibly haunting moments in this film, and that is truly where the strengths of the film lie. However by the third act things got a little odd with George and his super hero get-up. I was still interested in the feelings and thoughts of the other children. I don't care about the white rail road workers, who offer little to nothing in this film. I care about this life changing event that has occurred, yet this gets bogged down at times by focusing on other seemingly unimportant things. There is a good amount here to like, but for me theres quite a bit more to dislike. For a first feature Green does an acceptable job, but it just can't win me over.

An Education (2009) 3/4

This is a delightful film for the most part. I found the films main reveal to be slightly predictable, partly because the viewer is given many hints that something is "up." Regardless, The acting is solid and I found the cinematography to be really special at times. I wouldn't say that An Education offers any new insights into the female world other than, well, get your education and stay away from charming older men.

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Last edited by JackBurns on Tue May 28, 2013 10:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Tue May 28, 2013 9:37 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
PeachyPete wrote:
Unstoppable

Tony Scott's final film is the exact kind of movie I enjoy watching on cable. It's an undemanding 90 or so minutes full of easily recognizable cliches and plot points that suceeds because of how well it's edited and Denzel Washington's charisma. The movie has 5-6 different groups of people in different areas dealing with the same situation. Essentially, all you need to do for a film like this is cast a likable big star, some lesser known supporting players, film a few exterior shots or a train flying by, and then film some explosions. Everything will come together in the editing room. It's the kind of movie with a fairly large budget that seems really, really easy to make.

That said, the editing creates a sense of suspense, and the production comes off as very professional. The film might be nothing more than prepackaged entertainment for the masses, but it at least succeeds in being that.


I loved Unstoppable, and think it may be Scott's best film. What you say is spot-on: It doesn't strive to be anything terribly deep, but what it does it does very, very well.

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Tue May 28, 2013 9:51 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JackBurns wrote:
George Washington (2000) 2.5/4

Yes this is a beautifully shot film. I like the themes--I'm always one for a good coming of age story. However, I really can't say much more than that. The acting here isn't professional, and you CAN tell. Somehow it seems that people have merited the attributes of nonprofessional actors to the point that they can do no wrong. In films such as Beats of the Southern Wild, this works because the people acting are clearly very talented. In George Washington it feels different. At times I felt like I was watching a high school theater performance. This doesn't help with the kind of dialogue that these characters are given. I found the dialogue (mostly the narration but not limited to it) in this film to be utterly unbelievable, to the point where it totally goes against the setting that Green has captured. This isn't the language of children raised in the midtown areas of a small North Carolina town, this is the language of literature professors and it comes off as gut wrenchingly scripted. There are visibly haunting moments in this film, and that is truly where the strengths of the film lie. However by the third act things got a little odd with George and his super hero get-up. I was still interested in the feelings and thoughts of the other children. I don't care about the white rail road workers, who offer little to nothing in this film. I care about this life changing event that has occurred, yet this gets bogged down at times by focusing on other seemingly unimportant things. There is a good amount here to like, but for me theres quite a bit more to dislike. For a first feature Green does an acceptable job, but it just can't win me over.


Shame. I've been meaning to see this one for a while and Ebert rhapsodizes about it. Have you seen any of his other work, pre-tailspin? I liked All the Real Girls and Snow Angels (the latter with reservations) and have Undertow in my queue

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Tue May 28, 2013 10:26 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
JackBurns wrote:
George Washington (2000) 2.5/4

Yes this is a beautifully shot film. I like the themes--I'm always one for a good coming of age story. However, I really can't say much more than that. The acting here isn't professional, and you CAN tell. Somehow it seems that people have merited the attributes of nonprofessional actors to the point that they can do no wrong. In films such as Beats of the Southern Wild, this works because the people acting are clearly very talented. In George Washington it feels different. At times I felt like I was watching a high school theater performance. This doesn't help with the kind of dialogue that these characters are given. I found the dialogue (mostly the narration but not limited to it) in this film to be utterly unbelievable, to the point where it totally goes against the setting that Green has captured. This isn't the language of children raised in the midtown areas of a small North Carolina town, this is the language of literature professors and it comes off as gut wrenchingly scripted. There are visibly haunting moments in this film, and that is truly where the strengths of the film lie. However by the third act things got a little odd with George and his super hero get-up. I was still interested in the feelings and thoughts of the other children. I don't care about the white rail road workers, who offer little to nothing in this film. I care about this life changing event that has occurred, yet this gets bogged down at times by focusing on other seemingly unimportant things. There is a good amount here to like, but for me theres quite a bit more to dislike. For a first feature Green does an acceptable job, but it just can't win me over.


Shame. I've been meaning to see this one for a while and Ebert rhapsodizes about it. Have you seen any of his other work, pre-tailspin? I liked All the Real Girls and Snow Angels (the latter with reservations) and have Undertow in my queue


I would still say check it out, you may feel differently. I haven't seen any other of Green's work besides Pineapple Express.

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Tue May 28, 2013 10:33 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Movie No. 19 for the month of May. James Kunz, as promised, I have nutted up and watched more movies :)


Melancholia

Put this one in the "flawed but fascinating" category. On the one hand, it's an end-of-the-world movie that's really about a small group of people and how they cope. Kirsten Dunst is extraordinary; even during some of the movie's slower spots (predominantly in the beginning as it takes a long time to set events in motion), she's the glue that holds the film together. And it's a visual tour de force; the opening images and music may have a whiff of pretension to them, but they're awe-inspiring to watch, and you can say the same thing about the film as a whole.

On the other hand, WOW, this movie's science is as godawful as I have seen in a long time. I'd understand an asteroid headed on a collision Earth, but a "hidden" planet? Really? That graph showing the trajectory of both Earth and the planet Melancholia was laughable, and how the hell does the planet "fly by" Earth one night and then return one day later to collide with it? Give me a break. I know science fiction is allowed to bend a few rules, but for a movie that is clearly set in our reality, at least try not to have logical gaps that a high school student could poke holes in.

Still though, I like the movie and think it's worth watching. I like it when something epic and global like worldwide destruction is given an intimate, character-based perspective. It's a refreshing change of pace. 3 stars out of 4.

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Tue May 28, 2013 11:04 pm
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