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Last Movie You Watched 
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
^yeah its really good, much better than The Haunting


Tue Aug 06, 2013 1:14 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Star Trek II and III

I can see why Wrath of Kahn is so well regarded, it actually feels like a movie (although Sulu is given almost nothing to do...).

III has a silly fight between Kirk and a Christopher Lloyd that should have been cut. Although I liked the idea of the Genesis planet dissolving because Kirk's son cheated (much like Kirk cheated in Starfleet). Although come to think of it, it seems that the movies do a lot of revealing that the Enterprise Crew are cheats what with Scotty revealing he grossly overestimates repair times in order to appear like a miracle worker. I'm now expecting Spock to reveal he has a computer chip implanted in his brain with the entire contents of wikipedia on it. I did like that 3 was better able to feature the rest of the crew with Spock out of the picture for most of the running length. Could have done without the silly fight scene is all.
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Tue Aug 06, 2013 8:57 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Have you seen The Undiscovered Country?

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Tue Aug 06, 2013 9:20 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
No... I'm now watching the original series films for the first time. I've seen the next gen, but never the original until now. Well, part of one of them on TV. Not sure which one.
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Tue Aug 06, 2013 9:42 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Ken wrote:
Have you seen The Undiscovered Country?


That one was so perfect

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Tue Aug 06, 2013 10:57 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Yeah, it seems like they were really out to give the fans a treat with that one. I have to wonder why Nick Meyer either left or hasn't been approached to do more since then. He and Star Trek bring out the best in each other.

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Wed Aug 07, 2013 6:02 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
The Hunt (2012) 4/4

Why is it so difficult to start expressing thoughts about your first four star film of the year? I suppose its because you have so many thoughts and feelings about the film coming from so many directions; it can be difficult to summarize your thoughts on something that you quite loved from a cinematic viewpoint. So now, I will try to begin. First off, The Hunt (IMHO) is a pretty spectacular film. I won’t argue that the film is perfect cinema; I had a couple small, minor complaints about the film, but The Hunt presents its dark subject matter in a way that is truly unforgettable. In many ways The Hunt unravels like a dark, subdued Hitchcock film. Our protagonist is an ordinary man, a schoolteacher, whose small stint of family problems seem minimal when a seemingly innocent event sends his world into a lurid spiral. Director Thomas Vinterberg creates moments of despair that squeeze your insides with pure tension; a scene where a child is simply picked up and carried a short distance evoked an amount of edginess that is unshakable. While The Hunt doesn’t follow an original narrative, its approach is extremely admirable, which is greatly aided by solid direction and a stellar performance from Mads Mikkelsen.

The Island President (2011) 3/4

This doc is certainly easy on the eyes. The scenery in The Island President is simply beautiful. The gorgeous beach scenery and the small glimpses of paradise greatly contrast with the films plunge into modern day politics. Politics and the political game itself is conveyed through meandering environmental talks, and a “end of the rope” plan to save an island country that is being threatened by the effects of unchecked industrialization. While The Island President offers a pretty magnificent looking glass into the world of politics, it takes a while to find its footing. There seems to be a large amount of questions left unanswered by the documentary, possibly from a main focus on the environmental issues that the film poses. Singling out the environment provides the film with a central focus, (which is appreciated) but social issues that prove important are left ignored and viewers may be left with a desire for a little more information.

Goon (2011) 3/4

I haven’t had this much fun with a comedy in a long, long time. While Goon is a little too dependent on the overused underdog formula, it always seems to be aware of its formulaic crutches. This tongue-in-cheek approach suits Goon to a tee, and it elevates a good amount of its material above the usual, expected goofiness.

The Wolverine (2013) 2.5/4

Bryan Singer’s X-Men and X2 successfully created a dark, realistic world where comic heroes could thrive. This approach was bold. Singer was adapting a series loved by most comic book junkies; not to mention the 90’s kids who would get up early on Saturday mornings to take in a fresh dose of their favorite animated extravaganza. The X-men wore bright yellow and blue costumes, and their subject matter wasn’t necessarily all that heavy. Yet Singer looked deeper, shattered the ideas of yellow suits and replaced them with black leather. Singer saw the X-Men universe as a grim, despondent place, and it paid off for two solid entrees in the franchise. The Wolverine, directed by James Mangold, begins with a first act that is extremely reminiscent of the films of X-Men past. Mangold focuses on a Wolverine who is broken, and wrapped in an unwanted immortality. However, this image of “The Wolverine” is only successful for a small amount of the film, and the visage of our character quickly gets lost in a dull, narrative shuffle. The second act of the film maintains consistent tone with the first act of the film, but it noticeably begins to fumble with its progression into the third act. In the third act The Wolverine becomes a sloppy, soupy mess that is riddled with a pointless villain and the silly introduction of another. Overall, The Wolverine strongly focuses on the individuality of Wolverine and his human nature. There’s a dark story at the heart of this film, but its never allowed to completely shine through.

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Wed Aug 07, 2013 5:46 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
The Talk of the Town: Cary Grant is a labor activist on the run after he's been arrested on suspicion of burning down the factory that supports the town. The owner of the factory is doing his best to whip the townspeople into a lynch mob. Grant takes refuge with an old friend, a schoolteacher. However, the house he takes refuge in is about to be rented from her by a brilliant law professor who insists on the proper procedures of the law, which means that if he catches Grant, he turns in Grant, who is a fugitive after all. So we have the setup for a melodrama, which happens to be a romantic comedy. The triangle is Grant, Jean Arthur, and Ronald Colman, the story is as much about how the law can be used for justice and for injustice. For a supposed comedy, it gets pretty dark and is intelligently written. Colman is very good and almost certainly would have been nominated for an Oscar if Random Harvest hadn't come out the same year. I think this is easily the better movie.

Colman's law professor is supposedly partly based on Felix Frankfurter, although Colman's character isn't an Austrian Jew. (8.5 of 10.)

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Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:19 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Star Trek: The Voyage Home

Oh man, this is the best comedy I've seen in a long time. I'm not even sure which part I like best. Chekhov walking around asking where the nuclear submarines are in his heavy Russian accent is certainly at the top. As was the bit about Spock doing too much LDS. Of course the environmental message might have been laid on a little thickly, but in the absence of silly fisticuffs, I won't complain too much.
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Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:36 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
When Worlds Collide (1951)
A scientist discovers a star, which will collide with Earth in less than a year. The United Nations and other scientists don’t heed his warnings about the imminent end of the world, so the scientist and his associates build a spaceship in order to escape to an inhabitable planet, which is orbiting the star.
1950ies science-fiction movies can be charming and imaginative, despite of (perhaps because of) their dated special effects. This George Pal-produced movie actually won an Oscar for special effects, which I find baffling because they are indeed terrible. The matte painting in the final shot must be one of the worst matte paintings of all time, for instance. Further, ‘When Worlds Collide’ has little to offer besides the special effects sequence showing the destruction of Earth. There is an interesting conflict when the decisions are made who to take on board of the spaceship, but it isn’t handled well and not the focus of the plot anyway. Actually, the plot has no focus whatsoever and the movie mostly consists of boring exposition. Bad film: 3/10

The Paperboy (2012)
Two newspaper reporters (Matthew McConaughey, David Oyelowo) investigate the murder of the local sheriff in a small town in late 1960ies Florida. They try to prove that the convicted murderer on death row (John Cusack) is innocent and are helped by the younger brother of one of the reporters (Zac Efron) and the inmates fiancé (Nicole Kidman) , with whom Zac Efron’s character falls in love.
‘The Paperboy’ isn’t interested in its plot the investigation is little more than an excuse to bring the characters together - but in individual scenes of sex and violence, a sultry Southern atmosphere, characters with secrets and overblown melodrama. Although it is lacking in narrative pull, it is never boring, because it is so over the top, but that also means it isn’t a fully convincing movie. Also, some filmmaking choices (handheld camera and editing) are intrusive at times. Not exactly a good movie, but reasonably entertaining: 6/10


Fri Aug 09, 2013 5:31 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Star Trek: The Final Frontier

I didn't think this one was too bad. Not great and a little silly in places. I think I would also have liked more explanation as to who the being they found was and why it had been exiled but oh well. While I appreciated the religious subtexts, which I found fascinating if a bit muddled. A Messianic figure starts out wandering in a desert, gathers followers, absorbs peoples guilt before sacrificing himself to save others. It was almost too on the nose. Also an interesting subtext about the danger of looking for god directly. I'd been led to believe that this was going to be one big muddled mess, and it was muddled in places but not so much one couldn't figure out the general thrust of what was happening. Not as good as 2 or 4 but closer to them then I had been led to believe.

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Fri Aug 09, 2013 7:52 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Europa Report - After subjecting myself to a series of consistently terrible films which employed the “found footage” technique, I was just about ready to completely give up on trying to mine any kind of quality from any similar future endeavors. But then a film like this comes long, one that, much like the 2010 Norwegian effort Trollhunter, suggests that interesting things can still be done with the tired approach, as long as you have a strong enough foundation. Actually, to call Europa Report simply a “found footage” film is somewhat misleading. Director Sebastián Cordero and screenwriter Phillip Gelatt set up the scenario of an ambitious space mission to Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, where the high levels of ice and water suggest the possible presence of alien life. Somewhere along the way, however, the spacecraft loses communication with Earth, only reestablishing a link at the very end of their mission. The film is constructed from 1) “found footage” taken from the spacecraft’s cameras, and 2) documentary-style talking head interviews with two Earthbound project leaders played by Embeth Davidtz and Dan Fogler, who provide background details and theorize on some of the more fascinating scientific possibilities of the mission. It’s an approach that reminded me of the 2002 horror film My Little Eye, which also used a seemingly-limitless supply of hidden stationary cameras to create feelings of insecurity and unease. Like that film’s director Marc Evans, Cordero has good instincts when it comes to maximizing tension in spite of the limitations of the style.

Because this is a work of science fiction, it’s not too much of a surprise to learn that there is more to Europa than the astronauts initially perceive. Cordero wisely doesn’t place too much emphasis on that angle; instead, the suspense comes naturally through the intricacies and sudden challenges of the space mission, creating sequences of prolonged, intensely claustrophobic tension, from the deep space repairing of a communications link to the dangerous risks involved with walking on the irradiated Europa surface. Although this is a work of fiction, the parameters of the mission and the exploits of the astronauts feel completely plausible, giving the film a strong level of believability that similarly-themed works don’t reach (the astronauts are played by recognizable if not necessarily famous faces, District 9‘s Sharlto Copley and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo‘s Michael Nyqvist being the most recognizable). Ultimately, Europa Report works not only as an interesting technical exercise, but as a strong piece of suspense storytelling and a nice injection of intelligence into the world of science fiction film. 8/10.

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Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:20 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JackBurns wrote:
The Hunt (2012) 4/4

Why is it so difficult to start expressing thoughts about your first four star film of the year? I suppose its because you have so many thoughts and feelings about the film coming from so many directions; it can be difficult to summarize your thoughts on something that you quite loved from a cinematic viewpoint. So now, I will try to begin. First off, The Hunt (IMHO) is a pretty spectacular film. I won’t argue that the film is perfect cinema; I had a couple small, minor complaints about the film, but The Hunt presents its dark subject matter in a way that is truly unforgettable. In many ways The Hunt unravels like a dark, subdued Hitchcock film. Our protagonist is an ordinary man, a schoolteacher, whose small stint of family problems seem minimal when a seemingly innocent event sends his world into a lurid spiral. Director Thomas Vinterberg creates moments of despair that squeeze your insides with pure tension; a scene where a child is simply picked up and carried a short distance evoked an amount of edginess that is unshakable. While The Hunt doesn’t follow an original narrative, its approach is extremely admirable, which is greatly aided by solid direction and a stellar performance from Mads Mikkelsen.


This sounds really interesting, and Mads Mikkelsen is always worth watching. Unfortunately I think I might have missed it if it ever had a brief theater run here in Phoenix. I'll add it to the list along with Stories We Tell for films I need to catch up with on DVD.

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Sat Aug 10, 2013 1:26 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Unke wrote:
When Worlds Collide (1951)
A scientist discovers a star, which will collide with Earth in less than a year. The United Nations and other scientists don’t heed his warnings about the imminent end of the world, so the scientist and his associates build a spaceship in order to escape to an inhabitable planet, which is orbiting the star.
1950ies science-fiction movies can be charming and imaginative, despite of (perhaps because of) their dated special effects. This George Pal-produced movie actually won an Oscar for special effects, which I find baffling because they are indeed terrible. The matte painting in the final shot must be one of the worst matte paintings of all time, for instance. Further, ‘When Worlds Collide’ has little to offer besides the special effects sequence showing the destruction of Earth. There is an interesting conflict when the decisions are made who to take on board of the spaceship, but it isn’t handled well and not the focus of the plot anyway. Actually, the plot has no focus whatsoever and the movie mostly consists of boring exposition. Bad film: 3/10



But when worlds collide, said George Pal to his bride...

One thing I want to say about this film. Yes it's pretty bad. But there's a scene where they're desperately trying to build stuff before they leave earth and there's a big sign in front of the workers that says

WASTE ANYTHING BUT TIME.

I always thought that was pretty neat and interesting. One takeaway from a mediocre film

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Sat Aug 10, 2013 2:07 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Elysium

I posted something a little longer in the review thread, but in short it's half a good film and half incoherence.




Ghost In The Shell

A generally solid anime pic. It takes place in a world where everyone, from their bodies to their memories and consciousness, is computerized. The conflict arises when a hacker by the name of the Puppet Master enters the picture, and uses his technical skill to hack into others' bodies. I think this would have been a little better had the characters been developed more and the story explained a bit more (this film has a lot of plot for a 90-minute film). But it is better than Elysium, which treads on some similar territory.

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Sat Aug 10, 2013 7:11 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country

Well, so here's how I would rank them now that I've seen all of original series:

1 - Wrath of Kahn 3.5 stars
2 - The Final Frontier 3 stars
3 - The Undiscovered country 3 stars
4 - The Voyage Home 3 stars
5 - The Search For Spock 2.5 stars
6 - The Motion Picture 1.5 stars

Not a lot to say about it, other than I thought that they did manage to go out on a high note.
I did have a nitpick:
-Why do high profile dignitaries/leaders/presidents not have anything resembling proper security in movies? I had the same nit about Skyfall where the villain just walked into a building with the Prime minister with two assistants and zero preparation and nearly kills everyone important. Here the Enterprise crew is able to beam down, no problem (wouldn't this be the first thing you would put in place would be one of those nifty shields to prevent this from happening?). No one's monitoring the space around the planet where the peace conference is taking place, so an entire space battle is able to take place without anyone noticing. And there didn't look like there were any security guards at the place what-so-ever...

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Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:00 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Blonde Almond wrote:
Europa Report
Ultimately, Europa Report works not only as an interesting technical exercise, but as a strong piece of suspense storytelling and a nice injection of intelligence into the world of science fiction film. 8/10.

Agreed. For me personally it is the best film I've seen this year (I rate it 9/10). I'm a sucker for "hard sci-fi" though.


Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:19 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Sinister (2012) - *** out of *****

This is far from the worst horror film I've ever seen, but it was disappointing because the subject matter could have had more done with it. I always find it less than scary when too much of the source of terror is shown, and the scenes with the missing kids had the same effect for me that seeing a fat diseased prostitute would have on a typical man's erection. They were just that off-putting for me. Ethan Hawke turned in a fairly good performance as the beleaguered protagonist, and it was a nice touch to show the impact that his work was having on his family. It's just too bad that in the end, this was simply another big-bad-monster horror rather than a true masterpiece that could leave one having trouble sleeping for a long period of time.

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Sun Aug 11, 2013 7:46 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
The Promise (Chen Kaige

Wanted to love this movie, ultimately had a hard time. The cartooniness of it ended up annoying me more than I expected. You know a film is cartoony when it makes the last two Resident Evil films look realistic. Even Kung Fu Hustle is a lot more seamless than this. Kaige is usually not an action director, so he may be overreaching himself a bit here. The effects are jarring and inconsistent, as is the editing. The set pieces look like a cartoon, yet the landscape shots can't help but be naturalistic. Though it all comes together plot-wise pretty nicely, the movie itself doesn't. I saw the full version, not the truncated one, but the tone still shifts wildly and in ways that don't feel right. The acting is good, and it's the main thing that grounds this film in reality.

My Blueberry Nights

Wanted to love this one too, but was ultimately underwhelmed. I thought 2046 was one of the most adult, heartbreaking films I've ever seen. But here, Wong Kar Wai backs off from the harshness of it. I mean honestly, I was glad it ended the way it did, but frankly I thought that main romance was a bit underdeveloped. 2046 was borderline too depressing. But the short stories along the way didn't do much for me. Straithain's was heartfelt but a little cliched. Natalie Portman was good, but a bit extraneous. Wai's stylistic touches aren't integrated as well as they should be, I could see where some viewers might feel put off.

White Dog

Why hadn't I seen this before? Instantly one of my favorite films of the 80s. Could've been cheesy and dumb, instead it's powerful and heartbreaking. The kind of thing, perhaps, that could hold up to being screened in classrooms. Far beyond what I was expecting from the director of the silly Shock Corridor. The concept is developed shockingly well, and has the most convincing direction I've ever seen in a dog movie.

The Conjuring

For this one, I feel like my leg is being pulled. The nuanced WB logo at the beginning was the coolest part. Not only do I find Wan's set-ups to be un-scary (Insidious spooked me out more), but there's so many wasted moments that could have been scary and weren't. So many times when I became so bored that I was just desperate to jump out of my seat, and was certain that such a moment was about to come...and it didn't. That's the cliched, guilty-fun movie I was expecting, and it wasn't even that. That doll would have been trite in the 80s, the dog thing would have been tired a week after Rear Window came out in 1954. I dunno, Wan's direction is a little more confident than you'd expect it to be, but that's the only good thing I can say about it. He stages camera movements that you maybe wouldn't expect from a young director? But that doesn't make it good.

As for the movie itself, I have to say I'm a little bothered by it's hype because I can't shake the idea that the fundamentalist protagonists are a big part of the appeal. I remember a time when fundamentalist evangelicals were nut jobs, worthy only of exaggerated villainy, like Marcia Gay Harden in The Mist. Now, it's like Carrie's mom is the hero, not the villain. "God brought us together." Seriously? I take great exception to that, I don't think I should have to be an demon-fearing Catholic to have a good time in a horror movie. None of my Catholic friends have ever tried to force their views on me, even though I know some of them do believe in exorcisms, but this movie kinda does force it, and that's not right. Let people believe what they want to believe, but keep in the Church, not in the movie theater. As for being a horror movie, I'm really a bit lost as to which parts of this movie are actually supposed to be scary.

Perhaps that despite subtext, it's really just getting praised the way Argo got praised. Dryness for the sake of dryness. But on this one, I'm still scratching my head as to why. I have to admit, I'm stumped.


Mon Aug 12, 2013 1:23 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Not surprised to hear that Conjuring wasn't scary, but the religious subtext makes it sound even more off-putting, it sounds like Conjuring had a similar ending to Wishmaster 2(main characters have to turn to God to vanquish a demon).


Mon Aug 12, 2013 3:18 pm
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