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Last Movie You Watched 
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
You didn't find it achingly familiar? Or that the main character was really rather dislikable, or at the very least bland?


Normally "achingly familiar" for me would be a criticism, but in this case I love how it proceeds without the usually too unrealistic "coming-of-age movie" quirks or hijinks. Although I didn't like it as much as he did, as JB said, it's probably a matter of identification. And the lead is bland, yes, but again, not movie bland, but real-life bland and portrayed in such a way that I got invested in him (although I could do without the slightly contrived, awkward public situations). He also doesn't cross the "unlikeable" path for me. God knows I've been an ass a few times when forced on a trip I didn't want to go.

Which brings me to these two movies, which most here would probably reverse the score. Again, identification is the key (and is this a really solid year for coming-of-age and/or teen movie or what).

Mud (2013)

I like this less than most around here, but it's still a very solid film. I find the first hour a tad too slow and meandering. After setting up everything that I feel the film starts to accumulate momentum and energy. The acting and cinematography are all superb, as is the integration of "believing in idealistic love" theme. 7.5/10

The Kings of Summer (2013)

Some might argue how Mud is more well-made and assured all around. It's probably true, but I just connect with this one more. The leads' chemistry is apparent and comfortable (disagree with JB here), and the performances are very good, right down to the supporting players (in which anyone watching Parks and Recreation would probably get more out of). The exception might be the third friend who crosses the line from eccentric into annoying from time to time, but thankfully, he never become the main focus of the story. The camera captures the lush forest in a way that's almost Malick, but put on its own kinetic rhythm and quirks. There are no highly dramatic moments, just light touches of them here and there. The film is more concerned with capturing the feeling of a lazy summer (mis-)adventure with your best friend coming to an end, and for me it evokes the memory really well, and for that reason it will be high on my rewatch list. 8/10


Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:38 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
peng wrote:
Martin (1976)

I love George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead. It's one of my favorite films. I find Dawn of the Dead rich in ideas but flawed in execution. Now, his Martin takes what problems I have with Dawn and then multiplied by quite a degree. It has some very interesting ideas about the vampire genre, but it's undone by mostly shoddy camerawork (saved for a few memorable shots), generic to bad acting, and the rough flow of the narrative. 5/10


Oh, I actually liked this quite a bit and I disagree with your opinion on its technical merits (or lack thereof). I thought that the actor playing Martin did a very good job and that the flashbacks etc. were done rather well. But that's just me. Some time ago, a few people on this thread praised Romero's 'Day of the Dead' and I thought that it is easily the worst of the Dead movies (as far as I've seen them).

A Matter of Life and Death aka Stairway to Heaven(1946)

On his return from a bombing raid, English WWII airman Peter Carter (David Niven) contacts American radio operator June (Kim Hunter) and informs that she’ll be the last person who he will ever talk to, because his plane is burning, his crew is dead or has bailed out and he doesn’t have a functioning parachute. After saying his poetic farewells, he jumps out of the plane and, much to his own surprise, survives the fall and is washed up on English shores. This causes a lot of bureaucratic trouble in Afterlife, because Carter’s survival is the result of an angel (or rather “Conductor #71” as the movie is non-denominational) having missed Carter in the thick English fog. Further, when conductor #71 (Marius Goring) wants to make up on his mistake, Carter points out that he has fallen in love and appeals the decision to send him to Afterlife nevertheless.
This British classic is generally considered to be the best of the movies made by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger (aka “The Archers”) and there are a lot of things to appreciate about it, such as the transitions between the fantasy of Heaven (in black and white) and real life (in glorious technicolour), the special effects, which are inventive and technically very accomplished for a 1940ies movie and the eloquence of the dialogue. I particularly liked how it remains ambiguous whether Carter really has to endure a court hearing in Heaven or whether this is just an intense hallucination caused by a medical condition, for which Carter receives treatment in reality. I liked the character of Doctor Reeves (Roger Livesey) who tries to help Carter and ends up doing so in an unexpected manner. I also found it remarkable how ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ deals with war: In spite of having been made just after the Allies' victory in WWII, there is no celebration of war heroism and nothing approaching jingoism, quite the contrary.
However, ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ does make political statements and, in my opinion, suffers from it: At the heavenly court hearing, the prosecutor (played by Raymond Massey) is an Amercian victim of the Revolutionary War and, consequently, heavily biased against everything and everyone English. As a result, the whole hearing degenerates into an argument that the English aren’t really all that bad and how they should be able to get along with their American cousins just fine. From a modern perspective ("special relationship" and all), this whole issue is inexplicable and I was baffled by the argument, particularly as Britain and the U.S. had been close allies in both World Wars. I have since read that ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ was originally conceived as a propaganda movie and that it was meant to alleviate tensions between Britons and the large number of American troops stationed in Britain at the end of WWII, which sheds a light on the issue. However, the propagandistic message has little to do with the rest of the movie and was an unwelcome distraction, in my opinion. Overall, I still consider this to be a very good film, but not a masterpiece. Of all Powell/ Pressburger movies, which I have seen, I would prefer ‘The Red Shoes’. 8/10

The Great Gatsby (2013)
In 1922, Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) moves from th Midwest to a small house on Long Island in order to try his luck selling bonds on Wall Street. His neighbour, residing in a palatial home, is the enigmatic millionaire Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), who invites Carraway to one of his lavish society parties in order to ask him whether Carraway could arrange a tête-à-tête with his cousin Daisy (Carey Mulligan) who is married to the boorish but rich Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgeton).
I had the pleasure to read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel on which the movie is based relatively recently. It is quite short, to the point and very precise in its language and method of storytelling. Quite the opposite of Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation, really, which is less interested in interpreting the story than in visualising extravagant 1920ies Jazz Age parties as 20ies themed Gangsta Rap videos complete with a soundtrack by Golden Twenties’ hepcats Jay-Z and Kanye West. I should have known that this adaptation of ‘The Great Gatsby’ would be all surface when I noticed that it wasn’t only directed by Luhrmann but theatrically released in 3D. As for the contents, the major plot and characters are intact, but Luhrmann is only interested in presenting a tragic love story rather than making any comments about American society. That’s a shame, because I think that the themes of ‘The Great Gatsby’ are still relevant today, perhaps more so than at any times since its publication. DiCaprio is the correct choice to play Gatsby, but he overacts quite a bit, probably in order not to be dwarfed by the special effects and other directorial flourishes. By the way, the very fact that there are a lot of special effects in an adaptation of ‘The Great Gatsby’ tells you all that’s wrong with this movie. Maguire is awful, which sinks the movie on its own because he narrates much of it in voiceover (badly). But the main culprit for this mess is Baz Luhrmann, whose movies - based on having seen and immensly disliked ‘Moulin Rouge’ and ‘Australia’ - are the cinematic equivalent of tinsel: Garish, glittering and superfluous decoration for your Christmas tree, which you chuck in the bin after the festive days, because it serves no further purpose than being rubbish. 3/10

Nashville (1975)
Robert Altman’s much-lauded ‘Nashville’ defies any plot-based summary. It shows the lives of numerous people in Nashville, Tennessee, over the course of a few days. In one way or another, nearly all characters are involved in the Country music industry, naturally, and ‘Nashville’ features a lot of music and performances. A populist third party candidate plans a campaign event for a presidential primary and his aide is looking for performers, which provides the link for all characters’ stories.
‘Nashville’ could be considered as an early example of a “hyperlink movie” (as Roger Ebert has dubbed them), i.e. films featuring many characters and their stories, which intersect at times or are linked by one event (think “Magnolia”, “Crash” or Altman’s own ‘The Player’ and ‘Short Cuts’), but it manages not to appear contrived or even scripted and feels more like a “slice of life” depiction of events. There are many characters without one being a main protagonist, but nearly all of them are fully developed and three-dimensional. Likewise, there are many small stories in ‘Nashville’ without a central narrative, but I didn’t miss one. It is also difficult and perhaps impossible to identify a central theme of this film, which could be interpreted as a reflection on the state of the U.S. in the 1970ies or a at least section of American society, a satire of the entertainment industry or even a celebration of the country music scene. ‘Nashville’ is all of this and more and if there ever was a movie to prove that you don’t need a central theme, narrative or protagonist, this is it. Above all, it is tragic, funny, heart-breaking and intruiging and a pretty special achievement. 9/10

The Star Chamber (1983)
When Judge Hardin (Michael Douglas) has to acquit two criminals accused of having murdered a child on the basis of a technicality (fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine), he despairs of the judicial system. His colleague Judge Caulfield (Hal Holbrook) offers him an alternative: Join the secret “Star Chamber”, comprised of nine likeminded judges, who meet up to discuss cases such as his and, if they find the accused guilty, issue a death sentence to be executed by a contract killer, procedural rules be damned.
I thought that the premise of this movie is very interesting, perhaps because I am legally trained myself. This movie had the chance to discuss the difference between formal law and material justice, the validity and necessity of proper procedure, the role of lawyers and judges in the judicial system and the legitimacy of vigilantism. Unfortunately, the movie addresses these points only very superficially, if at all, and shows a regrettable lack of ambition. All it wants to be is a mediocre thriller and, although it is competent if very predictable on that level, that’s what it is. 5/10
P.S. I should note that I didn’t finish the movie, which set up its denouement so cleary that there wasn’t any point to watching how it would all play out.


Mon Oct 21, 2013 12:13 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
How can you review Star Chamber if you haven't actually finished it? Personally I reall dug the film, i'm a sucker for revenge films. Also like Robert Lustig's Vigilante and The Exterminator.


Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:06 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Unke wrote:


A Matter of Life and Death aka Stairway to Heaven(1946)

On his return from a bombing raid, English WWII airman Peter Carter (David Niven) contacts American radio operator June (Kim Hunter) and informs that she’ll be the last person who he will ever talk to, because his plane is burning, his crew is dead or has bailed out and he doesn’t have a functioning parachute. After saying his poetic farewells, he jumps out of the plane and, much to his own surprise, survives the fall and is washed up on English shores. This causes a lot of bureaucratic trouble in Afterlife, because Carter’s survival is the result of an angel (or rather “Conductor #71” as the movie is non-denominational) having missed Carter in the thick English fog. Further, when conductor #71 (Marius Goring) wants to make up on his mistake, Carter points out that he has fallen in love and appeals the decision to send him to Afterlife nevertheless.
This British classic is generally considered to be the best of the movies made by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger (aka “The Archers”) and there are a lot of things to appreciate about it, such as the transitions between the fantasy of Heaven (in black and white) and real life (in glorious technicolour), the special effects, which are inventive and technically very accomplished for a 1940ies movie and the eloquence of the dialogue. I particularly liked how it remains ambiguous whether Carter really has to endure a court hearing in Heaven or whether this is just an intense hallucination caused by a medical condition, for which Carter receives treatment in reality. I liked the character of Doctor Reeves (Roger Livesey) who tries to help Carter and ends up doing so in an unexpected manner. I also found it remarkable how ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ deals with war: In spite of having been made just after the Allies' victory in WWII, there is no celebration of war heroism and nothing approaching jingoism, quite the contrary.
However, ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ does make political statements and, in my opinion, suffers from it: At the heavenly court hearing, the prosecutor (played by Raymond Massey) is an Amercian victim of the Revolutionary War and, consequently, heavily biased against everything and everyone English. As a result, the whole hearing degenerates into an argument that the English aren’t really all that bad and how they should be able to get along with their American cousins just fine. From a modern perspective ("special relationship" and all), this whole issue is inexplicable and I was baffled by the argument, particularly as Britain and the U.S. had been close allies in both World Wars. I have since read that ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ was originally conceived as a propaganda movie and that it was meant to alleviate tensions between Britons and the large number of American troops stationed in Britain at the end of WWII, which sheds a light on the issue. However, the propagandistic message has little to do with the rest of the movie and was an unwelcome distraction, in my opinion. Overall, I still consider this to be a very good film, but not a masterpiece. Of all Powell/ Pressburger movies, which I have seen, I would prefer ‘The Red Shoes’. 8/10


Yeah if you read about what the relationship between the US and the UK was actually like, there was a great deal of friction. Obviously that seems dated and irrelevant now, but it wouldn't have at the time, particularly to Brits. I liked this one more than you did by the sound of it -- it's my favorite Powell/Pressburger

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Mon Oct 21, 2013 5:21 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Evocateur

Before Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck there was Morton Downey Jr., who like those who followed him, was an angry right-wing racist, sexist and homophobic blowhard who represented the worst elements of America. Much like his followers, he was a fraud who preyed on the emotions of weaker people. And like Limbaugh and Beck, he let his ego get the better of him and crashed and burned.

This documentary covers all of that, from Downey's meteoric rise on the trash TV circuit to his spectacular fall to his lung cancer diagnosis, anti-smoking activism and death. It's a decent doc, but not transcendent; if anything, it shows that things maybe haven't changed as much as we think they have. How great was Downey's influence? Well, we do have a Tea Party.

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Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:59 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
<b>Man of Steel (2013)</b>
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0770828/
I have to admit, I'm a fan of Zack Snyder's DIRECTION. That said, Man of Steel is not his best work, and the writing here is very sloppy (that's not all Snyder's fault of course). The story is filled with bullshit (e.g. some nonsense about a material made from nothing found on the periodic table is complete nonsense to any one who understands such things).
[Reveal] Spoiler:
Unless I'm missing something, the elephant in the room is the entire motivation of terraforming Earth to create a new Krypton, given that NOT terraforming Earth imbues Kryptonians with super powers - who WOULDN'T want super powers?! There was some mention about it taking "years to adapt" to Earth in its current state, but literally minutes later Zod contradicts that entirely and has apparently fully adapted (no longer needing a breathing apparatus) and indeed has said super powers (but that he DOESN'T want?).
Thankfully, Superman's ridiculous "Clark Kent disguise" was not a plot point until the end.

Overall, the mostly solid direction, acting (there is some very bad dialogue from Russell Crowe), characters, and mostly entertaining scenes, are marred by a rubbish story.
6.5/10.


Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:08 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
nitrium wrote:
<b>Man of Steel (2013)</b>
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0770828/
I have to admit, I'm a fan of Zack Snyder's DIRECTION. That said, Man of Steel is not his best work, and the writing here is very sloppy (that's not all Snyder's fault of course). The story is filled with bullshit (e.g. some nonsense about a material made from nothing found on the periodic table is complete nonsense to any one who understands such things).
[Reveal] Spoiler:
Unless I'm missing something, the elephant in the room is the entire motivation of terraforming Earth to create a new Krypton, given that NOT terraforming Earth imbues Kryptonians with super powers - who WOULDN'T want super powers?! There was some mention about it taking "years to adapt" to Earth in its current state, but literally minutes later Zod contradicts that entirely and has apparently fully adapted (no longer needing a breathing apparatus) and indeed has said super powers (but that he DOESN'T want?).
Thankfully, Superman's ridiculous "Clark Kent disguise" was not a plot point until the end.

Overall, the mostly solid direction, acting (there is some very bad dialogue from Russell Crowe), characters, and mostly entertaining scenes, are marred by a rubbish story.
6.5/10.



For his entire life, though, Zod was an all-powerful ruler. I could see where he'd be underwhelmed by the prospect of superpowers on a surrogate planet. Even leaving that aside, his own pride would eliminate that possibility. It's beneath him to compromise with the people of earth. That's one of the main points of the movie, so I don't have a problem with that. And the whole point of what Pa Kent was always trying to say is essentially, "Your abilities don't impress me Clark. Just because you have them doesn't make you above anything that applies to anyone else."

In other words, Zod and Pa Kent would have agreed on that one point. That superpowers in and of themselves are worthless.


Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:27 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
nitrium wrote:
<b>Man of Steel (2013)</b>
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0770828/
I have to admit, I'm a fan of Zack Snyder's DIRECTION. That said, Man of Steel is not his best work, and the writing here is very sloppy (that's not all Snyder's fault of course). The story is filled with bullshit (e.g. some nonsense about a material made from nothing found on the periodic table is complete nonsense to any one who understands such things).
[Reveal] Spoiler:
Unless I'm missing something, the elephant in the room is the entire motivation of terraforming Earth to create a new Krypton, given that NOT terraforming Earth imbues Kryptonians with super powers - who WOULDN'T want super powers?! There was some mention about it taking "years to adapt" to Earth in its current state, but literally minutes later Zod contradicts that entirely and has apparently fully adapted (no longer needing a breathing apparatus) and indeed has said super powers (but that he DOESN'T want?).
Thankfully, Superman's ridiculous "Clark Kent disguise" was not a plot point until the end.

Overall, the mostly solid direction, acting (there is some very bad dialogue from Russell Crowe), characters, and mostly entertaining scenes, are marred by a rubbish story.
6.5/10.


Man of Steel's dialogue can only be interpreted one way ... it's either ridiculous, or it isn't!

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Tue Oct 22, 2013 5:02 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Dialogue seems to be an ongoing failing of the Nolan/Goyer team, though I'm tempted to lay the majority of the responsibility on Nolan. His projects without Goyer have the same shortcoming.

That said, there are some lines in Man Of Steel, poached straight from the comics, that are pretty damned evocative. They even used one of my favorite monologues, although it was somewhat misplaced in the film:

[Reveal] Spoiler:
Image


I honestly wonder why big movie productions are so hesitant to hew to their source material. All-Star Superman, for example, is universally acknowledged as one of the finest Superman stories ever told. How could the Man Of Steel team possibly do better? Had they gone for a synthesis of the best source texts they could get their hands on, instead of the half-inspired, half-humdrum original story they cooked up, Man Of Steel might have been a masterpiece of the genre.

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Tue Oct 22, 2013 5:40 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
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I honestly wonder why big movie productions are so hesitant to hew to their source material. All-Star Superman, for example, is universally acknowledged as one of the finest Superman stories ever told. How could the Man Of Steel team possibly do better? Had they gone for a synthesis of the best source texts they could get their hands on, instead of the half-inspired, half-humdrum original story they cooked up, Man Of Steel might have been a masterpiece of the genre.


There will be more chances. I think Steel is the closest a superhero movie has come to greatness in this century anyway. Honestly, I don't think the writer and director should ever really be the same person. Nolan suffers from that problem, but so do a lot of others. The ones who do succeed as writer/directors know how to collaborate (Wes Anderson generally doesn't write scripts by himself). I think a writer collaborating with a director is essential to the fundamental magic of cinema. Or at least a writer/director collaborating with another writer. Autonomy in the cinema is boring. That said, the director still has to be an "auteur." Snyder has a distinctive enough signature that Man of Steel works as his movie. His images and style are sharp enough to the point where I can watch the movie and totally forget that it's anything except Snyder's vision of Superman. Auteurs have generally tended to make spiritual sequels to their own movies, and Steel is a pretty blunt extension of 300, Watchmen, and Guardians. Nolan's faults are kinda there, but for me they're pretty detached from what the movie really is.

Despite the greatness of some of the Superman comics (though I'm not overly familiar with them), the people who created them weren't film directors. You can't necessarily apply their work to the big screen in too literal a way.


Tue Oct 22, 2013 6:47 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
I'm not saying that they should be literal, necessarily. In fact, I've always been an opponent of just taking comics and treating them as storyboards. They're a language in and of themselves, quite separate from the language of movies.

But the original stories are rich in ideas, and that's something that seems to be anathema to productions as the size of the budget increases. You've got movies like The Incredible Hulk or The Avengers, which stick to the Hollywood action formula like glue, almost to the point where they're completely stifled of humanity, and you've got movies like Man Of Steel or the new Batman movies, which stretch out in some respects, but are completely mired in conventionality in others. If they were to get into touch with, say, Grant Morrison and treat him as a valued consultant, we'd be in for something really special. Not to say that it would be a guaranteed smash hit, but it would be a guaranteed daring piece of work whether it succeeded or failed at the box office.

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Tue Oct 22, 2013 6:56 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
The Shaolin Idiot (aka Look Out, Officer!; Chinese title Shi xiong zhuang gui). Early Stephen Chow vehicle directed by Sze Yu Lau. The ghost of Chang Piao, a police officer falsely accused of suicide is sent back to earth to clear his name and find his true killer. He has to find a savior to defeat his nemesis. Unfortunately, that savior is Hsing (Stephen Chow), the titular idiot.

The film is often funny in the first half, but is also incoherent, and the incoherence and idiocy ultimately ruin the film. We're reduced to fart and piss jokes, and an overlong final confrontation.

Chow is almost always best when he directs himself (an exception being King of Beggars). I understand Saint of Gamblers (aka All For the Winner) is good. The Shaolin Idiot pretty much deserves its obscurity.

For our article Nazi, the film is known both as Shaolin Idiot and The Shaolin Idiot. I'm going with the title on the CD. It has nothing to do with Shaolin. My guess is that it was retitled for fans of Shaolin Soccer.

The edition issued in the states has subtitles in both English and, I think, Mandarin, simultaneously throughout the movie. These subtitles are white, which causes a bit of a problem when Hsing has to face an army of thugs, all of whom, unfortunately, are dressed in white.

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Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:37 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
MGamesCook wrote:
Quote:
I honestly wonder why big movie productions are so hesitant to hew to their source material. All-Star Superman, for example, is universally acknowledged as one of the finest Superman stories ever told. How could the Man Of Steel team possibly do better? Had they gone for a synthesis of the best source texts they could get their hands on, instead of the half-inspired, half-humdrum original story they cooked up, Man Of Steel might have been a masterpiece of the genre.


There will be more chances. I think Steel is the closest a superhero movie has come to greatness in this century anyway. Honestly, I don't think the writer and director should ever really be the same person. Nolan suffers from that problem, but so do a lot of others. The ones who do succeed as writer/directors know how to collaborate (Wes Anderson generally doesn't write scripts by himself). I think a writer collaborating with a director is essential to the fundamental magic of cinema. Or at least a writer/director collaborating with another writer. Autonomy in the cinema is boring. That said, the director still has to be an "auteur." Snyder has a distinctive enough signature that Man of Steel works as his movie. His images and style are sharp enough to the point where I can watch the movie and totally forget that it's anything except Snyder's vision of Superman. Auteurs have generally tended to make spiritual sequels to their own movies, and Steel is a pretty blunt extension of 300, Watchmen, and Guardians. Nolan's faults are kinda there, but for me they're pretty detached from what the movie really is.

Despite the greatness of some of the Superman comics (though I'm not overly familiar with them), the people who created them weren't film directors. You can't necessarily apply their work to the big screen in too literal a way.


Isn't 300 a literal interpretation of the comic?

I can't imagine that stuff being the creation of film makers

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Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:13 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Vexer wrote:
How can you review Star Chamber if you haven't actually finished it? Personally I reall dug the film, i'm a sucker for revenge films. Also like Robert Lustig's Vigilante and The Exterminator.


I can review it because I have been able to form an opinion on the movie on the basis of what I've seen of it. 'The Star Chamber' is so formulaic and follows standard thriller tropes so closely that there is a point when you can safely predict how the movie will play out:

[Reveal] Spoiler:
You may remember that Michael Douglas's character finds out the address of the alleged but innocent child murderers in an abandoned warehouse from the police captain played by Yaphet Kotto. Before he drives there, he has a talk with the Hal Holbrook character who says that the Star Chamber won't allow Douglas to jeopardise the whole enterprise. My guess was that 1. Douglas would meet the child murderers in the abandoned warehouse and try to warn them, but they wouldn't take his warning seriously and try to kill him. 2. Just when they are about to kill Douglas, the contract kiler would show up and shoot the child murderers. 3. The contract killer would then turn his gun on Douglas, at this point, Kotto would show up and safe Douglas by shooting the contract killer. 4. Douglas assissts Kotto in obtaining evidence agaist the Star Chamber.


For what it's worth, I did check the wikipedia plot summary, which confirmed my prediction of the final denouement, so I didn't miss any surprising developments.


Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:55 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Re-Animator (1985)

I wish some characters were stronger or a little easier to root for, but, really, with a horny severed head swinging all over the place, who cares? Gory spectacle with a good story. Great fun. 8/10


Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:45 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Unke wrote:
Vexer wrote:
How can you review Star Chamber if you haven't actually finished it? Personally I reall dug the film, i'm a sucker for revenge films. Also like Robert Lustig's Vigilante and The Exterminator.


I can review it because I have been able to form an opinion on the movie on the basis of what I've seen of it. 'The Star Chamber' is so formulaic and follows standard thriller tropes so closely that there is a point when you can safely predict how the movie will play out:

[Reveal] Spoiler:
You may remember that Michael Douglas's character finds out the address of the alleged but innocent child murderers in an abandoned warehouse from the police captain played by Yaphet Kotto. Before he drives there, he has a talk with the Hal Holbrook character who says that the Star Chamber won't allow Douglas to jeopardise the whole enterprise. My guess was that 1. Douglas would meet the child murderers in the abandoned warehouse and try to warn them, but they wouldn't take his warning seriously and try to kill him. 2. Just when they are about to kill Douglas, the contract kiler would show up and shoot the child murderers. 3. The contract killer would then turn his gun on Douglas, at this point, Kotto would show up and safe Douglas by shooting the contract killer. 4. Douglas assissts Kotto in obtaining evidence agaist the Star Chamber.


For what it's worth, I did check the wikipedia plot summary, which confirmed my prediction of the final denouement, so I didn't miss any surprising developments.

The finale was easily the best part of the film for me, what surprises is that you gave up on this film yet you didn't give up on films that you have a lower rating to like say Bullet In The Head.


Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:46 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
NotHughGrant wrote:
Isn't 300 a literal interpretation of the comic?

I can't imagine that stuff being the creation of film makers

There are several passages that are basically shooting the comic panel for panel.

300's an odd case. It was illustrated in landscape orientation. The original issues were all done in two-page spreads, and the collected edition uses a special long page width. Miller's intention wasn't to mimic the movie screen, but the format he devised has nevertheless come to be referred to as "widescreen" within the industry.

peng wrote:
Re-Animator (1985)

I wish some characters were stronger or a little easier to root for, but, really, with a horny severed head swinging all over the place, who cares? Gory spectacle with a good story. Great fun. 8/10

The funny thing about Re-Animator is that the original story is ostensibly more serious, but Lovecraft basically dashed it off to make some money. When the editor who was serializing it requested that it get more ridiculous, Lovecraft eagerly complied. I don't think he was capable of writing something that wasn't dour and sinister, so the somber, gory Re-Animator is about as goofy as it gets for him. Maybe the filmmakers were aware of that and ran with it in their interpretation.

Still, it's arguably the first story in modern horror fiction that depicts what we now think of as zombies, even if they weren't named as such. One of several tropes popularized by Lovecraft's work far too late for him to enjoy the recognition.

There's an audio book of the original story with Jeffrey Combs doing the narration, if anybody's into that sort of thing.

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Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:11 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
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We Are What We Are (2013)

A remake of the 2010 Mexican horror of the same name (which I haven't seen), it is one of the better horrors I've seen this year and relies more on atmosphere and suggestion to get under the skin. Really good, and although it doesn't have any twist, you probably shouldn't read too much into it. Because once the main element is figured out, it becomes a little predictable, but still very compelling. Beautifully acted and filmed too, with a nicely deliberate pace. Two illogical slasher-movie instances of stupidity asides, I'm in love with the climax (although those two instances drag it down a bit). 8/10


The Place Beyond the Pines (2013)

(Each act being 9.5, 9, and 8 respectively)

Like most say, the third act, though still good, stumbles hard. But that is only the result of the two great acts before it and the ambition ultimately exceeding its grasp. The whole is still better than its individual parts, with the visual and thematic motifs (the sins of fathers, ice cream, shots following each main character from behind, camera staying on the same face but cutting to the next scene) recurring throughout each three sections. The acting is superb across the board, with the stumbles being the characters in the third act never as well fleshed out as the other two, making their motives seem not well defined. Still, I was never bored throughout the entire 140 minutes running time because of the extremely assure direction, a highly ambitious script concerning the circular nature of human, and all-around compelling performances. Really absorbing and definitely one of the best of the year. 9/10


Wed Oct 23, 2013 6:06 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Thief (1981)

I'm not a big fan of Manhunter, particularly because I feel the style is ill-suited to the material (the slow-motion climax complete with slow music is cringey to me), even though the direction and Peterson's performance are superb. Now, from the same decade comes Thief, a film every bit as stylishly distinctive and same as that one, right down to the use of slow-mo in climax, but it fits the material and cool-guy vibe perfectly. It's a very visual film, but the visual complements the characters and themes, all with a great sturdy central performance by James Caan. My second favorite film of his after Collateral. And now if I only find the time to get and watch Heat... 8.5/10


Wed Oct 23, 2013 9:33 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Take This Waltz

Seeing this not long after sitting through Tyler Perry's execrable Temptation, I find myself reflecting that this is a film of romantic crisis done right even if it does have it's flaws.

Unlike in most movies of this type, the characters played by Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen aren't going through the typical soap opera cliches. In fact, their marriage is going through the normal fits and spurts most go through. When she meets Luke Kirby's character she doesn't so much fall in love as become obsessed in a way. So she ends up with him in the end and discovers that the cliche about the grass not being greener elsewhere is definitely true. But where Perry sledge hammered that point home Sarah Polley is more subtle for the most part until the last couple scenes or so. The scene with Williams and Silverman towards the end is entertaining even though it drives the point home that there's no such thing as a complete life.

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Wed Oct 23, 2013 12:56 pm
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