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Last Movie You Watched 
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Night of the Living Dead (1990)

I love the original and have it in my top 50 movies, so I approach this remake uncertain of what to expect, since it's Tom Savini directing from Romero's script himself. Overall, it's a fun and very respectable remake. The heroine's personality change is a positive modern retelling, even though I don't mind the original's. Ben (the black guy) also fared well. Unfortunately, Romero should have updated all other characters for the modern time too. Mr. Cooper is almost unbearably annoying in this version, even though it's basically the same character. The thing is, that character works well within that time period and the original film's atheistic, but he stands out jarringly in the remake, especially alongside new Barbara. Same goes with the other girl's banshee screaming for minutes.

However, I'm kind of taken with the ending. I've been hearing about how it doesn't compare favorably to the original's. It's true that it lacks the pitch-black starkness and power of that one, but I think this is also clever in its own right, without abandoning some darkness and irony that marks the original. A very good example of how to deviate without downgrade, imo. I've been mentally scoring it 7 until that ending came, and now it's 7.5/10 for me.

An American Werewolf in London (1981)

It has a vague feeling of story being built around a single idea, but the execution is filled with charm, humor, and surprisingly tender romance that it is still hugely entertaining and sufficiently horrific when it needs to be. 8/10 (the transformation scene is 10 though)


Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:41 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
peng wrote:
Night of the Living Dead (1990)

I love the original and have it in my top 50 movies, so I approach this remake uncertain of what to expect, since it's Tom Savini directing from Romero's script himself. Overall, it's a fun and very respectable remake. The heroine's personality change is a positive modern retelling, even though I don't mind the original's. Ben (the black guy) also fared well. Unfortunately, Romero should have updated all other characters for the modern time too. Mr. Cooper is almost unbearably annoying in this version, even though it's basically the same character. The thing is, that character works well within that time period and the original film's atheistic, but he stands out jarringly in the remake, especially alongside new Barbara. Same goes with the other girl's banshee screaming for minutes.

However, I'm kind of taken with the ending. I've been hearing about how it doesn't compare favorably to the original's. It's true that it lacks the pitch-black starkness and power of that one, but I think this is also clever in its own right, without abandoning some darkness and irony that marks the original. A very good example of how to deviate without downgrade, imo. I've been mentally scoring it 7 until that ending came, and now it's 7.5/10 for me.



The acting in this one bothered me a great deal, as did the whole "Why does this story need to be told" question that almost all remakes fail to answer

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Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:43 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
peng wrote:
Night of the Living Dead (1990)

I love the original and have it in my top 50 movies, so I approach this remake uncertain of what to expect, since it's Tom Savini directing from Romero's script himself. Overall, it's a fun and very respectable remake. The heroine's personality change is a positive modern retelling, even though I don't mind the original's. Ben (the black guy) also fared well. Unfortunately, Romero should have updated all other characters for the modern time too. Mr. Cooper is almost unbearably annoying in this version, even though it's basically the same character. The thing is, that character works well within that time period and the original film's atheistic, but he stands out jarringly in the remake, especially alongside new Barbara. Same goes with the other girl's banshee screaming for minutes.

However, I'm kind of taken with the ending. I've been hearing about how it doesn't compare favorably to the original's. It's true that it lacks the pitch-black starkness and power of that one, but I think this is also clever in its own right, without abandoning some darkness and irony that marks the original. A very good example of how to deviate without downgrade, imo. I've been mentally scoring it 7 until that ending came, and now it's 7.5/10 for me.



The acting in this one bothered me a great deal, as did the whole "Why does this story need to be told" question that almost all remakes fail to answer

The acting in the original bothered me, especially the main girl, she was absolutely atrocious and I couldn't wait for her to get killed, by contrast the final girl in the remake is much more likeable overall, all the characters in general I felt were improved upon and I thought acting was good all around. I don't really care about whether a story "needs" to be told or not as long as the film itself is watchable, though for it's worth I think the film does a good enough case for the story needing be told.

Though from what i've heard, the main reason NOTLD was remade was because the original film was not properly copyrighted, so the remake was done mostly to fix said copyright issues.


Thu Oct 24, 2013 7:57 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Vexer wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
peng wrote:
Night of the Living Dead (1990)

I love the original and have it in my top 50 movies, so I approach this remake uncertain of what to expect, since it's Tom Savini directing from Romero's script himself. Overall, it's a fun and very respectable remake. The heroine's personality change is a positive modern retelling, even though I don't mind the original's. Ben (the black guy) also fared well. Unfortunately, Romero should have updated all other characters for the modern time too. Mr. Cooper is almost unbearably annoying in this version, even though it's basically the same character. The thing is, that character works well within that time period and the original film's atheistic, but he stands out jarringly in the remake, especially alongside new Barbara. Same goes with the other girl's banshee screaming for minutes.

However, I'm kind of taken with the ending. I've been hearing about how it doesn't compare favorably to the original's. It's true that it lacks the pitch-black starkness and power of that one, but I think this is also clever in its own right, without abandoning some darkness and irony that marks the original. A very good example of how to deviate without downgrade, imo. I've been mentally scoring it 7 until that ending came, and now it's 7.5/10 for me.



The acting in this one bothered me a great deal, as did the whole "Why does this story need to be told" question that almost all remakes fail to answer

The acting in the original bothered me, especially the main girl, she was absolutely atrocious and I couldn't wait for her to get killed, by contrast the final girl in the remake is much more likeable overall, all the characters in general I felt were improved upon and I thought acting was good all around. I don't really care about whether a story "needs" to be told or not as long as the film itself is watchable, though for it's worth I think the film does a good enough case for the story needing be told.

Though from what i've heard, the main reason NOTLD was remade was because the original film was not properly copyrighted, so the remake was done mostly to fix said copyright issues.


All stories need a reason to be told. Urgency is fundamental to storytelling

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Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:13 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Vexer wrote:

Though from what i've heard, the main reason NOTLD was remade was because the original film was not properly copyrighted, so the remake was done mostly to fix said copyright issues.


Yes and no. Yes, the original got put in the public domain through a missing notice and the remake was made so Romero and co. could make something out of it but making the remake doesn't magically put a copyright on the original.


And the remake is better than it has any right to be.


Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:26 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
The acting in this one bothered me a great deal, as did the whole "Why does this story need to be told" question that almost all remakes fail to answer


Yeah lifting most of the personalities wholesale from the original doesn't mesh well with the modern feeling and technique of the film. And apart from the playful opening with the brother, the heroine, and the ending, it doesn't change its sensibility much when moved to the modern time (I think Dawn of the Dead is a good example of a good kind of remake).


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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
The Iron Giant (1999)

I had forgotten just how many rich themes this traditionally animated film contains. It says a lot about the American culture of fear, and how we react to "the other." Brilliant stuff. Three and a half stars

Amistad (1997)

My wife had never seen this one and I found that to be a travesty! It's been rectified. :) This is easily one of Spielberg's best. Anthony Hopkins owned his role, but the movie belongs to Djimon Hounsou. Spielberg's Lincoln feels like a companion piece. Four stars.


Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:59 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Mute Witness (1995)

Intense and scary. It's a story about a mute girl working in a horror movie set in Russia being hunted after witnessing a murder. The villains going after her is some of the most nail-biting stuff I've seen in quite a while. The director is quite skilled and really borrowed from the best (the tongue-in-cheek opening alone echoes Halloween). The actress is also very good; you really feel her isolation, frustration, and fear. The third act, when the "space" of the movie is more open, is problematic, but not enough to derail the movie for me. 8/10

It's also on youtube. Recommended, especially during this time of the year.

Return of the Living Dead (1985)

Well that was a blast. Not really scary, except for a few jumps and some chasing, but great comedy. What I really like about it is that although the material is (kind of) not serious, the craft totally is, and that made film to highly watchable and didn't diminish the camp, characters or story. The moment I knew I'm going to love this: when a "split dog" turned living and they tried hitting it repeatedly. 8.5/10


Sat Oct 26, 2013 8:47 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Pain and Gain (2013)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1980209/
A true story about three fitness addicts who turn to crime to get what they think they deserve. I found this film to be both pretentious and boring. Yes, it is better than Bay's previous three films, but only barely.
4/10.


Sat Oct 26, 2013 3:56 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Human Desire (1954, Fritz Lang) is a film version of Zola's La Bête Humaine, which was also filmed in 1938 by Jean Renoir. I saw Renoir's version a year ago tomorrow, and remember it pretty well, which makes it hard to review Lang's version with a fresh eye. It doesn't help that the opening shots, if I remember correctly, are virtually identical.

This one suffers by having Glenn Ford in the lead role, which immediately causes a problem, because the protagonist of La Bête Humaine suffers from a hereditary taint that, in his case, causes him to have fits of homicidal mania (and, in one case, attempting rape). You couldn't very well have Ford going around serially murdering and raping people in fits of madness because of the code and also because Ford doesn't have the range. This means changing the plot drastically toward the end. (Renoir had Jean Gabin, who was a much better actor, and Renoir was faithful to the novel, which makes for a more coherent film.)

Anyway, a railway supervisor Carl Buckley (Broderick Crawford) loses his job, and browbeats his much young wife Vicki (Gloria Grahame) into convincing her former mentor to influence the railroad to give him his job back. However, she spends too long with the mentor, which makes him realize that that the two had a sexual relationship. So he beats her into writing a note arranging a tryst on a train, and when the two meet, Buckley kills the former mentor while she watches, and confiscates the note to blackmail Vicki into being faithful to him.

However, engineer Jeff Warren (Ford) is taking a smoke in the entrance to the next railcar, and it's necessary for Vicki to lure him off so Buckley can dispose of his bloody clothes. Vicki is a bit too successful, getting Jeff's interest, and when the inquest comes, Jeff gives Vicki, and, by extension, Carl, an alibi. This gets Vicki's interest and we are now headed firmly into Double Indemnity mode.

Of the two versions, Renoir's is easily the better, although Lang's is pretty good. Renoir had Jean Gabin and Simone Simon, who are better than Ford and Grahame. However, Broderick Crawford is very good as a brute who will eventually screw up at about anything, including marriage. He's got a pathetic streak for a murderous wife-beater. Both films are well-directed as you might expect from the names of the directors. (A high 6.5 for Human Desire.)

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Sat Oct 26, 2013 9:20 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Tokyo! - This portmanteau film from 2008, set in the eponymous Japanese city, features contributions from directors Michel Gondry, Leos Carax, and Bong Joon-ho, each focusing on themes of transformation, anarchy, and rebirth, respectively. Gondry’s segment opens with a young avant-garde filmmaker and his directionless girlfriend arriving in Tokyo. The filmmaker quickly assimilates himself into city life, but the girlfriend has a harder time, to the exasperation of all the people around her. It’s only in the segment’s final minutes that she finds her true place in life, with a little help from the director’s trademark whimsy. Carax’s segment follows the wild endeavors of a sewer-dwelling, flower-eating hermit (a character that would later resurface in Holy Motors). After discovering a cache of grenades in the sewers of Tokyo, the hermit goes on a horrifically violent rampage above ground, leading to his pursuit by the authorities and eventual incarceration. A trial is held, but because the hermit speaks his own unique language of grunts and hand gestures, a translator has to be flown in from France. Bong’s segment focuses on a hikikomori, a man who has willingly sealed himself off from the rest of humanity for over a decade. After an awkward encounter with a pizza delivery girl, the man decides to finally leave his home and venture out from his sheltered life, only to discover a world that has drastically changed since the last time he set foot outside.

Just once I’d like to see a portmanteau film where it felt like everyone involved put their best foot forward. But with Tokyo!, you don’t even get a standout segment that rises high above the others (although Bong’s contribution is definitely the best of the lot). You get the feeling the stories told in this collection were just half-formed ideas the directors had toyed around with briefly before setting aside to move on to better things. That feeling remains constant throughout because, even with the shorter time constraints, each segment feels padded out with extraneous material. Carax’s film in particular is tough to take after awhile; a character that worked brilliantly in a 10-minute appearance in Holy Motors has difficulty commanding attention for 45. But what struck me as more unfortunate about this whole experiment is the absence of Tokyo in any kind of significant role. With the exception of the Japanese-specific concept of the hikikomori, the characters and situations could have been found anywhere in the world. More than anything else, that refusal to fully take advantage of the central setting makes Tokyo! feel like a missed opportunity. 5/10.

Charro! - “On his neck he wore the brand of a killer. On his hip he wore vengeance.” I’m not traditionally one who puts much stock in film taglines, but this Elvis Presley vehicle from 1969 sure has a great one. Now for the important question: does the actual film live up to the promise of that tagline? Elvis plays a drifting outlaw who has abandoned his old gang in an attempt to go straight. But the past has a funny way of coming back into a person’s life, and before long Elvis has his neck branded by the gang and then left without a horse to wander the desert alone. When he does eventually make his way back to civilization, he finds himself enlisted as a temporary deputy to the local sheriff, who has been seriously wounded by the wild brother of the gang leader. At this point, the film settles down into a retelling of Rio Bravo, with the outlaw-turned-deputy taking a stand to defend the small town and bring his outlaw associates to justice.

Once you get past that great tagline, it’s tough to really work up much enthusiasm for Charro!. In the end, it’s a fairly workmanlike western with little distinguishing characteristics (Support Your Local Sheriff! has a similar narrative and came out in the same year, but that film distinguishes itself through its cheeky sense of humor). Still, there are a couple interesting points still worth mentioning. Most of the film was shot in and around the famous Old Tucson Studios, the home base for many classic westerns from the middle period of the last century, and there are some wonderful shots of the distinctly Arizonan landscape. There is also an appeal in watching Elvis attempt to branch out from the types of roles that had defined his film career. It’s the only film of his where he doesn’t sing in front of the camera (although he does sing the theme song that plays over the opening credits), and that absence puts more focus on his acting skills. Even though the persona of the stoic, bearded outlaw doesn’t exactly align perfectly with his strengths, Elvis still has a star charisma that trumps his limitations. Too bad his presence isn’t enough to elevate Charro! into a western worth remembering. 5/10.

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Sat Oct 26, 2013 11:23 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Smashed (2012) ***

A nice little independent drama made by the director of The Spectacular Now (still unseen by me), Smashed looks at a couple whose major bond is that they both drink to excess, and what happens when one of them decides to sober up. It's nothing spectacular but it's always effective and I like movies that go down roads I haven't been down before. Plus it's like 75 minutes so if you need a quickie, go for it.

Catfish (2010) **1/2

I think there's very little question that there wasn't some manipulation done here, but I really don't know why that matters. People are so obsessed with "truth" that I think they forget how rare it is for any movie, documentary or otherwise, to show an unvarnished version. With that said, I still didn't think the movie was quite good enough to jump over the great 2.5/3 star divide. I felt it was fairly padded, and while there was enough substance for an hour-long TVshow (with 18 minutes of commercials), it didn't entirely work as a film for me.

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Rosemary's Baby

Put me in the, "I don't get why this movie is so well regarded" category. There are some clever twists and creepy moments to be sure, but having your female protagonist running around like an idiot the whole last act. I mean, I can see why Rosemary takes awhile to figure out anything really bad is going on, after all who would suspect anything on the level of what is taking place right away? It's too over the top to be taken seriously by any sane person without a boatload of evidence.

However, one she does figure it out:
[Reveal] Spoiler:
She takes way too long to suspect that her gynecologist might be one of those involved. Given that he was the one subscribing the drink/pills that she suspected were part of the witch's plan, plus friends with the older couple who she also knew was in on it, he should have been suspect number 1 long before the nurse talked about him smelling of tannis root. Furthermore, it would have made a whole lot more sense for her to not have told the other doctor she goes to what she actually thought was going on. Wouldn't a simple, "help my husband is acting weird and threatening and making me fear for my life so I need to deliver this baby where he can't find me" have sufficed? There is also a couple of other smaller moments, like when she thinks the little chain on the door will be enough to keep them out, and rather than running immediately for a fire escape, she makes a phone call. She does the same thing earlier when she makes a call on what looks to be the same block as the gynecologist.


Maybe my sensibilities are too modern, but I really could have done without the whole "helpless damsel in distress who can't fend for herself on any level" seemed really old fashioned to me. Also, the fact that Guy claimed to have raped her (so she wouldn't figure out what really happened) is glossed over. And maybe that's what disturbs me so much, that "who the daddy really is" is treated as the shocking event, when no matter how you slice it, Rosemary was violated against her will. Rape is rape, no matter who the rapist is.
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Bad Grandpa

I was in the mood for a laugh, and this movie is funny. Johnny Knoxville doesn't fit in with today's comics. His style owes more to guys like Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd and the Three Stooges. So far as I'm concerned, that's perfectly fine. This is a little more than just a Jackass movie with a plot; granted, Knokville does spend a lot of time messing with people, but the pranks serve the plot rather than the other way around. Bad Grandpa is surprisingly worth it if you want an hour and a half to laugh.

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Summer Wars - Mamoru Hosoda’s 2009 follow-up to The Girl Who Leapt Through Time opens with an extended walkthrough of OZ, a social media network that has taken on an increasingly large role in the daily operations of the world. Kenji, a shy but good-natured high school student who is a wiz at math and working with computers, enjoys a low-level, part-time position managing operations in OZ. But his routine is shaken up with an offer from Natsuki, the most popular girl at school, for him to accompany her to the country for her grandmother’s birthday. Eager to spend some time in the company of Natsuki, Kenji agrees to tag along, but he soon discovers she expects him to pose as her boyfriend. Easier said than done, as the many members of Natsuki’s extended family are an extremely inquisitive bunch. So far, so relatively ordinary, but then Kenji receives a mysterious text in the middle of the night which sets in motion a chain of events that sees the virtual world of OZ taken over by a rogue entity, with the fate of the entire world at stake. It’s up to Kenji, with help from Natsuki and the various members of her family, to fight back and reclaim OZ for the people of the world.

Hosoda’s film certainly doesn’t lack for ambition, and in less skilled hands the disparate elements of the narrative could have come together in disastrous fashion. But here, against all odds, a nice balance is struck between the almost Ozu-esque dynamics of the family and the world-threatening cyber-thriller plotline. There is something quite appealing in the film’s combination of old-world and new-world ideas, of this great technological battle playing out on an estate that almost seems to exist out of time. Even though the main battle is being waged through a laptop, there is still the need for everyone to come together in the real world to gain the upper hand. Amidst all the craziness, Summer Wars has time to muse on the dangers that can arise when a society becomes too reliant on technology, while also recognizing the many virtues that can come from a connected world. It may be true that the film never quite hits the same emotional highs as The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, but it makes up for that absence through its infectious, energetic spirit. 8/10.

Charulata - There was a time when the only knowledge I had of the work of acclaimed Indian director Satyajit Ray was from the music selections in Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited. A shameful fact I admit, and one that was in due need of correcting. This 1964 film is the second of Ray’s films I’ve seen now, and the first of his that has struck me as truly great. Set in 1870s India, the film opens by establishing the basics of a marriage between the beautiful but lonely Charulata (Madhabi Mukherjee), and her husband Bhupati (Shailen Mukherjee), who spends most of his time running an independent political newspaper. Their marriage is not an unhappy one, but there seems to be a recognition between the two of them that their interests don’t align all too well. He concerns himself mostly with politics, she is drawn to poetry and more artistic subjects. Charulata’s routine-consumed life is given a jolt with the arrival of Bhupati’s cousin Amal (Soumitra Chatterjee), who she senses to be a kindred artistic spirit. Their relationship proves to be beneficial to their more creative impulses, with each of them spurring the other on to put their ideas down on paper, and eventually they come to recognize that a clear romantic connection has developed between them.

Ray considered Charulata (aka The Lonely Wife) to be his personal favorite of all the films he made, and it is indeed tremendous, a romantic drama about one woman’s artistic awakening that refuses easy labels and answers. A good example of this is the character of Bhupati, who in a more conventional film would be the villain of the piece, the type of man so clearly wrong for the heroine that the viewer would find themselves actively rooting against him. While Bhupati is clearly not perfectly compatible with his wife, he’s never presented as a bad man. In fact, one of the unanticipated results of Amal and Charulata’s relationship is Bhupati’s recognition of his wife’s talent for artistic expression. Along with this multi-dimensionality to people that could have simply been thin sketches, the film is also remarkable because of its camera movements and flourishes, which complements the action by expressing the blossoming life and energy of the characters (a shot that follows Charulata moving back and forth on a swing manages to be both dizzying and entrancing in a dreamy way). For anyone interested in an introduction to Satyajit Ray, Charulata would be a wonderful first choice; now that I’ve seen and loved the film, I feel much more compelled to explore the rest of his work. 10/10.

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Blonde Almond wrote:
Charulata - There was a time when the only knowledge I had of the work of acclaimed Indian director Satyajit Ray was from the music selections in Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited. A shameful fact I admit, and one that was in due need of correcting. This 1964 film is the second of Ray’s films I’ve seen now, and the first of his that has struck me as truly great. Set in 1870s India, the film opens by establishing the basics of a marriage between the beautiful but lonely Charulata (Madhabi Mukherjee), and her husband Bhupati (Shailen Mukherjee), who spends most of his time running an independent political newspaper. Their marriage is not an unhappy one, but there seems to be a recognition between the two of them that their interests don’t align all too well. He concerns himself mostly with politics, she is drawn to poetry and more artistic subjects. Charulata’s routine-consumed life is given a jolt with the arrival of Bhupati’s cousin Amal (Soumitra Chatterjee), who she senses to be a kindred artistic spirit. Their relationship proves to be beneficial to their more creative impulses, with each of them spurring the other on to put their ideas down on paper, and eventually they come to recognize that a clear romantic connection has developed between them.

Ray considered Charulata (aka The Lonely Wife) to be his personal favorite of all the films he made, and it is indeed tremendous, a romantic drama about one woman’s artistic awakening that refuses easy labels and answers. A good example of this is the character of Bhupati, who in a more conventional film would be the villain of the piece, the type of man so clearly wrong for the heroine that the viewer would find themselves actively rooting against him. While Bhupati is clearly not perfectly compatible with his wife, he’s never presented as a bad man. In fact, one of the unanticipated results of Amal and Charulata’s relationship is Bhupati’s recognition of his wife’s talent for artistic expression. Along with this multi-dimensionality to people that could have simply been thin sketches, the film is also remarkable because of its camera movements and flourishes, which complements the action by expressing the blossoming life and energy of the characters (a shot that follows Charulata moving back and forth on a swing manages to be both dizzying and entrancing in a dreamy way). For anyone interested in an introduction to Satyajit Ray, Charulata would be a wonderful first choice; now that I’ve seen and loved the film, I feel much more compelled to explore the rest of his work. 10/10.


This sounds great. Didn't Criterion just recently release this on Blu-Ray?

JamesKunz wrote:
Smashed (2012) ***

A nice little independent drama made by the director of The Spectacular Now (still unseen by me), Smashed looks at a couple whose major bond is that they both drink to excess, and what happens when one of them decides to sober up. It's nothing spectacular but it's always effective and I like movies that go down roads I haven't been down before. Plus it's like 75 minutes so if you need a quickie, go for it.


I liked this as well. Pretty solid, emotional performances all around.

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
All That Heaven Allows (1955) ***

Watched upon recommendation (Blondie? I think it was you) from someone here, ATHA is my third Douglas Sirk film and I've enjoyed all three. I don't think they're quite as good as some of his champions would have you believe, but there's no question he knew how to serve up the suds while simultaneously managing to be a wee bit subversive, and for that I salute him.

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JackBurns wrote:
Blonde Almond wrote:
Charulata - There was a time when the only knowledge I had of the work of acclaimed Indian director Satyajit Ray was from the music selections in Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited. A shameful fact I admit, and one that was in due need of correcting. This 1964 film is the second of Ray’s films I’ve seen now, and the first of his that has struck me as truly great. Set in 1870s India, the film opens by establishing the basics of a marriage between the beautiful but lonely Charulata (Madhabi Mukherjee), and her husband Bhupati (Shailen Mukherjee), who spends most of his time running an independent political newspaper. Their marriage is not an unhappy one, but there seems to be a recognition between the two of them that their interests don’t align all too well. He concerns himself mostly with politics, she is drawn to poetry and more artistic subjects. Charulata’s routine-consumed life is given a jolt with the arrival of Bhupati’s cousin Amal (Soumitra Chatterjee), who she senses to be a kindred artistic spirit. Their relationship proves to be beneficial to their more creative impulses, with each of them spurring the other on to put their ideas down on paper, and eventually they come to recognize that a clear romantic connection has developed between them.

Ray considered Charulata (aka The Lonely Wife) to be his personal favorite of all the films he made, and it is indeed tremendous, a romantic drama about one woman’s artistic awakening that refuses easy labels and answers. A good example of this is the character of Bhupati, who in a more conventional film would be the villain of the piece, the type of man so clearly wrong for the heroine that the viewer would find themselves actively rooting against him. While Bhupati is clearly not perfectly compatible with his wife, he’s never presented as a bad man. In fact, one of the unanticipated results of Amal and Charulata’s relationship is Bhupati’s recognition of his wife’s talent for artistic expression. Along with this multi-dimensionality to people that could have simply been thin sketches, the film is also remarkable because of its camera movements and flourishes, which complements the action by expressing the blossoming life and energy of the characters (a shot that follows Charulata moving back and forth on a swing manages to be both dizzying and entrancing in a dreamy way). For anyone interested in an introduction to Satyajit Ray, Charulata would be a wonderful first choice; now that I’ve seen and loved the film, I feel much more compelled to explore the rest of his work. 10/10.


This sounds great. Didn't Criterion just recently release this on Blu-Ray?


Yep, this and The Big City, which I'm waiting for my library to get so I can rent it. That's what I did with Charulata, but I'll be picking up the Criterion Bluray when the next sale comes around. My first Ray film was The Music Room, which I admired for a good number of reasons but I was never fully invested in it. That wasn't a problem with Charulata.

JamesKunz wrote:
All That Heaven Allows (1955) ***

Watched upon recommendation (Blondie? I think it was you) from someone here, ATHA is my third Douglas Sirk film and I've enjoyed all three. I don't think they're quite as good as some of his champions would have you believe, but there's no question he knew how to serve up the suds while simultaneously managing to be a wee bit subversive, and for that I salute him.


Yeah, I gave this a 7/10 rating, which I consider the same as three stars. I definitely agree with the sentiment of that last sentence, at least in relation to the one Sirk film I've seen so far.

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
I had a pleasant afternoon watching Children of the Damned and Them!. Now I know it was Village of the Damned I saw as a child. Children isn't a sequel to Village but a counterpoint, in which the children are disturbing more than scary, and good in a superhuman sense, although they are quite capable of doing terrible things. Besides, we're going to need a consortium of glowing-eyed supergenius mind-controlling children to deal with the giant ants when they re-appear. I liked this movie, including its moralizing, and especially the two scientists who are investigating the children, and Barbara Ferris as the kids' surrogate mom. I, for one, welcome our glowing-eyed supergenius mind-controlling child masters. Well, these, not the ones in Village. (7 of 10)

Them!, of course, is the classic of the mutated giant insect movies, and even on the nth viewing is still thoroughly absorbing. I like that the beautiful woman scientist is exactly that and not someone who needs to be rescued all the time. Well, there is the first time we meet a giant ant, which I think is the only time she gets to scream. But the guys do a lot of screaming, too, which is my reaction every time I encounter fifteen-foot long carnivorous insects. Overall she's smart and brave. (8 of 10)

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Sun Oct 27, 2013 10:20 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Got a free Imax coupon and there's literally nothing else new right now (well, except The Protector 2, but I can wait on that), so I decide to have a second go at Gravity in Imax 3D. Still held up very well for me, especially now that I can let go completely free of subtitle (the first time my eyes are still drawn to it from time to time) and absorb the spectacle wholely. Some of my hesitation about the amount of dialogue is mostly confirmed as fairly believable in being coping mechanism and soothing technique, although a gripe can be made at the "Aningaaq" scene. In the scene, the dialogue may overflow just slightly, despite how emotionally charged the situation is (although Bullock's performance goes a long way into lessening the negative). The slightly WTF scene also played better the second time around now that I know what it really represents. And my favorite part, the ending stretch, still hits hard as ever. Still my second favorite of the year after Before Midnight.


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