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Last Movie You Watched 
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Byzantium (2012)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1531901/
A mother (Gemma Arterton) and daughter (Saoirse Ronan) vampire duo are hunted by The Brotherhood, a shadowy vampire consortium who doesn't like the idea of women in their men-only club. Well that's basically the "story" in a nutsehll. We do also get lengthy flashbacks throughout the film of how both the mother and daughter were "turned" 200 years earlier. It should be noted that these aren't "vampires" in the traditional sense - and certainly not those of the Bram Stoker persuasion. These "vampires" don't even have fangs (they have very pointy thumb nails instead), they can walk in daylight, garlic and crosses aren't mentioned, but I think you do have to "invite them in". The movie is slow paced and the story is kinda lame. That said, the numerous negatives for me were largely compensated by the typically excellent British acting and Neil Jordan's sublime direction. The way Jordon frames his shots is so mesmerising that I didn't even care how lame the proceedings actually were.
7/10.


Thu Sep 26, 2013 1:47 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Doesn't look like James is going to review this for some reason, so I'm stepping into the breach!

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is a bit like Jurassic Park with the dinosaurs replaced with taco creatures, burger monsters with french-fry legs, and sentient giant strawberries. There are giant creatures which I think are supposed to be scallionsaurs, that are a kind of homage to Spielberg. It's a high-concept movie. Flint's machine did not die in the previous movie, and Flint is hired by his new boss Chester V (a mad Mr. Science) to go back to the island and turn it off with a special USB drive. But Chester V is secretly evil...

Flint's old team assembles itself, including delightful mad meterologist/girlfriend Sam (Anna Faris), and Flint's sardine-mad father--much against Flint's wishes, since this was supposed to be a solo mission.

This is a reasonably good follow-up to a movie that was a pleasant surprise. The lost world is pretty, if weird. If I have any complaints, it's that the sight gags often go by too fast to catch them. Although there's an amusing scene where Flint's father is teaching animated pickles how to fish. I'd wager that's a first in movie history.

Now I'm starving and am going to the refrigerator with chair in hand. 6.5 of 10.

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Last edited by Syd Henderson on Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Sep 27, 2013 8:47 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
The Wanderers (1979) **1/2

This episodic look at a greaser gang in the Bronx never truly congeals into a fully realized film, and there's no question that some scenes work better than others, but it was a very interesting watch and I think it will stay in my mind. Not a good film per se, but one I'm glad I watched.

The Palm Beach Story (1942) ***

Probably the least compelling of the Preston Sturges films I've seen, it doesn't leap off the screen like some of the other ones I've seen (The Lady Eve, Sullivan's Travels, and Unfaithfully Yours are all **** films or near to them) and thus was a little bit disappointing. A solid film for sure, but from Sturges I've come to expect more.

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Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:49 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
The Palm Beach Story is funny though, and I really like Rudy Vallee as the mild-mannered millionaire. He gets the best line: "That's one of the tragedies of this life - that the men who are most in need of a beating up are always enormous."

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Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:05 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Dead Man Walking (1995)

A rewatch. Still incredibly powerful and raw meditation of a difficult subject, with two of the most accomplished performances of the 90's by Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon. 9.5/10


Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:35 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Syd Henderson wrote:
The Palm Beach Story is funny though, and I really like Rudy Vallee as the mild-mannered millionaire. He gets the best line: "That's one of the tragedies of this life - that the men who are most in need of a beating up are always enormous."


I did like that line quite a bit, but I didn't laugh as much as I did in the three Sturges films I mentioned

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Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:51 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
Syd Henderson wrote:
The Palm Beach Story is funny though, and I really like Rudy Vallee as the mild-mannered millionaire. He gets the best line: "That's one of the tragedies of this life - that the men who are most in need of a beating up are always enormous."


I did like that line quite a bit, but I didn't laugh as much as I did in the three Sturges films I mentioned


My favorite is "The Lady Eve," but Preston Sturges was in an incredible winning streak for about seven years. It's amazing "Hail the Conquering Hero" and "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek" could be made during World War II. "The Palm Beach Story" doesn't have the bite of some of his other comedies.

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Fri Sep 27, 2013 11:47 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Syd Henderson wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
Syd Henderson wrote:
The Palm Beach Story is funny though, and I really like Rudy Vallee as the mild-mannered millionaire. He gets the best line: "That's one of the tragedies of this life - that the men who are most in need of a beating up are always enormous."


I did like that line quite a bit, but I didn't laugh as much as I did in the three Sturges films I mentioned


My favorite is "The Lady Eve," but Preston Sturges was in an incredible winning streak for about seven years. It's amazing "Hail the Conquering Hero" and "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek" could be made during World War II. "The Palm Beach Story" doesn't have the bite of some of his other comedies.


Well I plan to watch them all, so I'll be sure to comment.

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Sat Sep 28, 2013 4:49 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Chinese Odyssey 2002 - Any kind of preconceived expectations for this 2002 film from director Jeffrey Lau should be set aside right at the outset. Despite the presence of Wong Kar Wai as a producer, what is on display here couldn’t be more different from that filmmaker’s regular output. In Ming Dynasty China, a princess (Faye Wong) gets fed up with being confined within the walls of the royal palace and decides to escape on an adventure. To disguise her identity while traveling outside of the palace walls, the princess presents herself as a man, but this draws the attention of the supposedly-intimidating but actually kind of lovable rogue Bully The Kid (Tony Leung), who is looking for a suitable husband for his tomboyish sister (Wei Zhao). Things get complicated when he starts to have his own confused feelings for the disguised princess. While all these shenanigans are happening, the princess’s brother/Emperor of China (Chen Chang) is given permission by his dominating mother to track down his sister. All sorts of ridiculous romantic complications ensue.

It’s tough for me to say with absolute certainty, but there might be something of a language barrier here. Effective comedy has so much to do with timing, and there doesn’t appear to be much of that in Chinese Odyssey 2002, its free-wheeling nature leaving very little time for most of the laughs to register properly. Matters aren’t helped by some very poor visual effects work and a disorienting editing style that creates a good deal of unnecessary confusion, especially in the early going. Whatever limited appeal the film has comes almost entirely through the energetic performances. Faye Wong is her typical beguiling self (even though it’s never remotely believable that anyone else could mistake her for a man), Chen Chang goes through most of the film wearing a ridiculous afro wig, and Tony Leung plays against his usual screen persona by acting like a complete goofball. Everything mercifully starts to settle down in the final third, the screwball antics taking a backseat to more romantic concerns. It’s in this actually more conventional stretch where the film seems to finally find its footing, but to get to that point you have to sit through some truly patience-testing material. In the end, it’s all just a little too much to take. 4/10.

The League Of Gentlemen - The second film in Criterion’s Eclipse collection Basil Dearden’s London Underground. At least at first glance, the pointed social commentary that was pervasive throughout the director’s 1959 film Sapphire, the first in this collection, is less immediately apparent in this 1960 caper flick, about a group of eight men banding together on the promise of a big score. These men (among them British stars Jack Hawkins, Richard Attenborough, Roger Livesey, and Nigel Patrick) all come from military backgrounds, but all of them for one reason or another had their service end on bad terms. They see the heist as an opportunity for some long-delayed justice, and they approach their illegal mission in the same manner as they would a military operation, each with their own duties and each expected to maintain a high degree of professionalism and obedience.

Sapphire was primarily an examination of racial tensions in late 1950s London, a focus that carried what was otherwise a fairly ordinary police procedural/whodunit narrative. The League of Gentlemen is more successful with its specific genre elements, and so it’s easier to enjoy simply as a heist film without the need for any additional subtext. That’s not to say subtext is completely absent though, as the film can also be seen as a commentary on the dissatisfaction and general sense of abandonment British military veterans felt towards their country after the end of WWII. It’s not something that threatens to overwhelm the film’s lighter nature; instead, there’s just a slight undercurrent of disdain, as these men go about taking some revenge on a country they feel has betrayed them. In fact, it’s the heist-as-military-operation conceit that generates most of the film’s humor, the irony of the situation inspiring plenty of witty wordplay and subtle visual gags. This aspect of the film is so strong that it elevates the actual heist itself, which isn’t the most memorable but suits its perpetrators in its efficiency and unnecessary flash, into something that maintains genuine tension and interest. That’s actually a nice way to sum up The League Of Gentlemen; it might not be the most exemplary heist film other made, but it’s given a distinct appeal through its fun hook and commitment to character.7/10.

*Some slight hints of spoilers in this next one*

Prisoners - If I only had one word to describe this 2013 kidnapping drama/procedural from director Denis Villeneuve, it would be “uneasy.” It’s a feeling that makes itself known almost immediately, as a Thanksgiving get-together between two families quickly turns into a frantic search for missing girls, and for the rest of the film’s two-and-a-half hour runtime, the viewer is rarely, if ever, given a moment of reprieve. At its center are two men played by Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal, the former the father of one of the missing children, the latter a police detective assigned to the case, each forced into a situation that will bring out their darker impulses. Villeneuve, working from a screenplay by Aaron Guzikowski, allows everything to unfold at an almost exhaustingly gradual pace, and he is expertly supported by Roger Deakins’ appropriately chilly cinematography, which brilliantly captures a small Pennsylvanian community on the brink of a cold winter. It’s an important note to make that, especially for a relatively mainstream thriller headlined by two normally-quite-likeable stars, Prisoners is close to uncompromising in its relentlessly intense tone (at the end of one particularly harrowing scene, the couple behind me in the theater could be heard consoling each other). Even though the film holds back from going over the edge into complete darkness, it’s still a grueling watch.

This is what separates the film from the pack though, its willingness to follow its two central characters into the dark abyss. At the beginning, Jackman’s character is an ordinary, albeit intense, man, one who considers himself prepared for the worst the world can throw at him. But he finds himself in a situation that leaves him completely powerless, a fact that he cannot handle and one that he will do his best to fight, even if his actions lead him down a road from which he cannot return. Elsewhere, the trajectory of Gyllenhaal’s character brought to mind the Bong Joon-ho’s Memories Of Murder in its portrayal of investigative obsessions, although without that 2003 film’s offbeat sense of humor. Like that film, Prisoners shows its central detective engaging in increasingly reckless actions as he is consumed more and more by the case, and how that can result in terrible consequences, a risky but welcome decision that adds some complexity to what is otherwise a more by-the-numbers protagonist. Unlike that film though, Prisoners isn’t so much concerned with the elusiveness of evil as it is with the recognition of evil existing within anyone, just waiting to rise up in times of agonizing desperation, and in that purpose it’s incredibly successful. Only the need to bring out the Talking Killer near the end to tie up all the loose threads feels like a slight misstep, but the film more than makes up for it with a perfectly-judged open-ended conclusion that invites the viewer to ask themselves the question of whether those who willfully step far outside traditional moral boundaries are deserving of redemption. I thought the film was very impressive, the kind of thriller that, for those that can handle its subject matter and unwillingness to hold back, delivers both in its thrills and in its ideas. 8/10.

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Sat Sep 28, 2013 6:20 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Blonde Almond wrote:


Prisoners - If I only had one word to describe this 2013 kidnapping drama/procedural from director Denis Villeneuve, it would be “uneasy.” It’s a feeling that makes itself known almost immediately, as a Thanksgiving get-together between two families quickly turns into a frantic search for missing girls, and for the rest of the film’s two-and-a-half hour runtime, the viewer is rarely, if ever, given a moment of reprieve. At its center are two men played by Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal, the former the father of one of the missing children, the latter a police detective assigned to the case, each forced into a situation that will bring out their darker impulses. Villeneuve, working from a screenplay by Aaron Guzikowski, allows everything to unfold at an almost exhaustingly gradual pace, and he is expertly supported by Roger Deakins’ appropriately chilly cinematography, which brilliantly captures a small Pennsylvanian community on the brink of a cold winter. It’s an important note to make that, especially for a relatively mainstream thriller headlined by two normally-quite-likeable stars, Prisoners is close to uncompromising in its relentlessly intense tone (at the end of one particularly harrowing scene, the couple behind me in the theater could be heard consoling each other). Even though the film holds back from going over the edge into complete darkness, it’s still a grueling watch.

This is what separates the film from the pack though, its willingness to follow its two central characters into the dark abyss. At the beginning, Jackman’s character is an ordinary, albeit intense, man, one who considers himself prepared for the worst the world can throw at him. But he finds himself in a situation that leaves him completely powerless, a fact that he cannot handle and one that he will do his best to fight, even if his actions lead him down a road from which he cannot return. Elsewhere, the trajectory of Gyllenhaal’s character brought to mind the Bong Joon-ho’s Memories Of Murder in its portrayal of investigative obsessions, although without that 2003 film’s offbeat sense of humor. Like that film, Prisoners shows its central detective engaging in increasingly reckless actions as he is consumed more and more by the case, and how that can result in terrible consequences, a risky but welcome decision that adds some complexity to what is otherwise a more by-the-numbers protagonist. Unlike that film though, Prisoners isn’t so much concerned with the elusiveness of evil as it is with the recognition of evil existing within anyone, just waiting to rise up in times of agonizing desperation, and in that purpose it’s incredibly successful. Only the need to bring out the Talking Killer near the end to tie up all the loose threads feels like a slight misstep, but the film more than makes up for it with a perfectly-judged open-ended conclusion that invites the viewer to ask themselves the question of whether those who willfully step far outside traditional moral boundaries are deserving of redemption. I thought the film was very impressive, the kind of thriller that, for those that can handle its subject matter and unwillingness to hold back, delivers both in its thrills and in its ideas. 8/10.


Nicely said, and I agree with your Memories of Murder comparison. Nice analogy there. All in all this was an incredibly intense 150 minutes in the theater.

Did anyone else notice one scene though that was almost completely lifted from The Vanishing? That bothered me

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Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:27 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
This is the End

Not good, which surprised me. I thought it would be pleasantly diverting, but it wasn't. It's an over-budgeted sledge hammer of a comedy whose over-wroughtness and incoherence obliterate humorous potential. I feel that this movie, despite its light-hearted nature, is too ambitious for its own good. Thus does it join the ranks of so many others. Event movies where the reach extended the grasp. I have to wonder if digital editing is what led to this consistent, unmistakable problem.


Sun Sep 29, 2013 2:25 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
MGamesCook wrote:
This is the End
Not good, which surprised me. I thought it would be pleasantly diverting, but it wasn't. It's an over-budgeted sledge hammer of a comedy whose over-wroughtness and incoherence obliterate humorous potential. I feel that this movie, despite its light-hearted nature, is too ambitious for its own good. Thus does it join the ranks of so many others. Event movies where the reach extended the grasp. I have to wonder if digital editing is what led to this consistent, unmistakable problem.

Agreed. Just didn't work for me overall. I found most the characters irritating and obnoxious (and not in the funny way that was apparently the intention), rather than endearing, and most of the gags weren't funny (I did like the bits with Michael Cera, which was preciously little).


Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:52 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
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Agreed. Just didn't work for me overall. I found most the characters irritating and obnoxious (and not in the funny way that was apparently the intention), rather than endearing, and most of the gags weren't funny (I did like the bits with Michael Cera, which was preciously little).


And they didn't do much with the gimmick that they were supposed to be playing themselves. Basically, the people who come up with character names just got the day off.


Mon Sep 30, 2013 1:30 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Alpha Dog (2006)

It's rare I come across a gem like this - a film so badly constructed you have to seriously wonder if they were taking the piss.

The script reads like a collection of non-sequiters; the direction is non-existent excepting some laughably misplaced flourishes; the characters so poorly developed and thought through that you can't bring yourself to even begin to give a shit.

Aprt from Oliver Wilde's tits, a complete waste of everyone's time.

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
The Wanderers (1979) **1/2

This episodic look at a greaser gang in the Bronx never truly congeals into a fully realized film, and there's no question that some scenes work better than others, but it was a very interesting watch and I think it will stay in my mind. Not a good film per se, but one I'm glad I watched.


I remember that movie very fondly, although I couldn't tell you anymore what it is I liked about it. Perhaps it's just because I like the Dion song.


Mon Sep 30, 2013 10:21 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Star Trek Into Darkness

It's okay. About as good as a sequel to the 2009 film could have been. The actors, for the most part, have a degree of earnestness. Visually, things could be a lot worse; at least it's colorful. There's a general aura of artifice but then...it is Star Trek, after all. The death scene actually works in the film's favor, suggesting a little subversion. I would put this movie above Pacific Rim as well as any other recent Marvel movie.


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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Unke wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
The Wanderers (1979) **1/2

This episodic look at a greaser gang in the Bronx never truly congeals into a fully realized film, and there's no question that some scenes work better than others, but it was a very interesting watch and I think it will stay in my mind. Not a good film per se, but one I'm glad I watched.


I remember that movie very fondly, although I couldn't tell you anymore what it is I liked about it. Perhaps it's just because I like the Dion song.


It has a certain something. Even when it's not great, it's interesting and compelling.

Also, I roam around and around and around and around and around

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Mon Sep 30, 2013 3:56 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2

Family fun night at the drive-in. 1$ hotdogs, 1$ softdrinks. Also bought the largest bucket of popcorn I've ever seen and got it refilled for 1$ -We were unable to finish the 2nd bucket. Hitting our local drive-in is always high on the kids' summer "bucket list". They were a bit dismayed that we didn't make it there until late September, but with the amoutn of fun we had stacked up this summer, we just didn't have time. Or, if we did have time, there was a movie they wouldn't have liked, or Smurfs 2 which we opted to avoid.

Cloudy was actually more clever than I expected it to be. If you've seen the trailers you know that the foods come to life. The writers had fun naming the food creatures, no doubt. Overall it was lightweight family fare enhanced by the fun of a packed drive-in. You know the days are getting shorter when the first film finishes by 9:20pm. In June, that would be a start time. Parked behind my mini-van was a late 50's Plymouth Belvidere. I tried SO hard to frame a photo with that car and the movie screen, but the lot was just too full of cars like mine.

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Mon Sep 30, 2013 4:17 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
The Evil Dead (1981)

Open October with a well-regarded horror I haven't seen. Really like it, and love many individual moments. I also love that the directorial work feels like a great classic horror one for such modern-day gory, slightly campy content. Wish Raimi's today efforts are more like this. 8/10


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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
peng wrote:
The Evil Dead (1981)

Open October with a well-regarded horror I haven't seen. Really like it, and love many individual moments. I also love that the directorial work feels like a great classic horror one for such modern-day gory, slightly campy content. Wish Raimi's today efforts are more like this. 8/10

Will you be proceeding onto the next two films after this?

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