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Last Movie You Watched 
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
MGamesCook wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
M (1931) ****

And the Fritz Lang appreciation train keeps on chugging along. I started watching this once about five years ago but was too tired to watch a movie so I gave up 20 minutes in. I have no idea why it took me so long to come back to it but I'm sure glad I did. Directed with skill and panache that I definitely do not associate with the transitional period that was the early 1930s, with an interesting angle to take on what is (now, though it wasn't at the time) a familiar storyline and with social commentary to boot, this is a very good film.


Fritz Lang is such a fascinating paradox of a director. Gritty, grimey, noirish, sometimes night-marish, but simultaneously prone to mawkishness as much as Frank Borzage. M is a classic and You Only Live Once is a pretty good one. Woman in the Window is good, though the ending is stupid. But I don't like Scarlet Street or The Big Heat; too much cornball.


Hmmmmm I liked Scarlet Street more than The Woman in the Window, due to the ending of the latter that you allude to. And I loooooooooove Fury.

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Wed Nov 13, 2013 9:48 pm
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This is probably more of an analysis than a straight review, so definitely a spoiler warning for those who haven't seen it yet:

12 Years A Slave - I think at this point it’s fair to say a general consensus has already formed concerning the third feature from Hunger and Shame director Steve McQueen, that if it isn’t the best film about slavery ever made, it surely is one of the more accomplished ones. While there is much to admire in the film’s unflinching depiction of this sensitive topic, what really impresses me about 12 Years A Slave is its more nuanced character depictions, specifically its criticism of people who have chosen to disregard conscience in favor of security. To emphasize this focus, John Ridley builds his screenplay around a series of contrasts, with important characters given mirror representations and specific scenes later given emotional reprisals. For instance, the compassionate Bible readings of one plantation owner (Benedict Cumberbatch) are given a bleak reversal with the menacing scripture interpretations of another (Michael Fassbender). Despite the more empathetic nature of Cumberbatch’s character, he still mostly turns a blind eye to the injustices of the times. The two men are really not that different from each other; even their cold-hearted wives seem completely interchangeable. Elsewhere, a character played by Alfre Woodard becomes the mistress to a plantation owner in an effort to distance herself from the realities of her life as a slave. Her actions are contrasted with the continually battered slave Patsey (Lupita Nyong’o), who would rather die than continue suffering from the violent advances of Fassbender’s plantation owner. Woodard’s character has seemingly found an escape from her suffering, but she distances herself from the suffering of those around her. These contrasts don’t just apply to these two supporting characters, but to Solomon Northup as well. The big difference between them though is that Northup learns and grows as a person through his first-hand experiences, while the others remain content to live on with their delusions.

In the early scenes, Northup isn’t presented as a crusader fighting for emancipation/abolition, but rather as a free black man enjoying a life of relative prosperity in New York, with a loving family and a strong reputation for his skills as a violinist, and with little to no social awareness. The twelve years Northup is bound in slavery forces him to come to terms with the reality of the times, and to realize his own future part to play in fighting back against that reality. This character change is depicted both through the structure of Ridley’s screenplay and the specific rhythms of McQueen’s direction. The nature of the role requires Chiwetel Ejiofor to exist mostly as an observer for a good portion of the film, but 12 Years A Slave is told from his perspective and consequently he still remains the main focus of almost every scene (off the top of my head, I can only think of one brief scene where he is not present). Although the film is still very stylish, McQueen dials back some of the artier flourishes of his earlier work, and when he does employ more elaborate tactics, it’s for a purpose. The best example of this is in the film’s two lengthy one-take sequences, which contrast with each other to show the evolution of Northup’s character. In the first sequence, he is kept offscreen as a slave trader (Paul Giamatti) haggles with plantation owners and callously tears families apart; only at the end of the scene do we see that Northup has been present. Nearer to the end of the film, the other one-shot sequence occurs, a brutal whipping sequence where Northup is forced to become significantly more than a mere witness and swing the whip himself. The payoff of Northup’s journey is not just the final scene where he is reunited with his family, but the realization (through summarizing pre-credits text) that he would eventually go on to be a noted abolitionist. Northup’s evolution reinforces the idea that 12 Years A Slave isn’t just a film about the horrors of slavery, that it’s just as valuable as a complex character study and an advocation for socially conscious action, no matter what the time period. 9/10.

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Wed Nov 13, 2013 10:33 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Toy Story (1995) - 8.5/10

On the Waterfront (1954)

There is some great acting, especially Marlon Brando whose subtle performance (uncommon of the time) really stood out from others, and the cinematography is strong. However, I feel the story veers into overwrought melodrama at times, with the blaring music dictating emotions. The pacing also feels a bit off. Still, it's entertaining enough, with a tender love story, and the story of a man fighting against the system still resonates. 8/10


Thu Nov 14, 2013 4:22 am
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Ender's Game - While watching this long-awaited film adaptation of the famous Orson Scott Card novel from 1985, I couldn’t help but think back to just a short while ago, when there was quite a bit of inflammatory rhetoric coming out of North Korea. I remember reading articles about the kind of jingoism being preached to the country’s inhabitants, and the incredible influence that has in shaping public opinion, especially within a society that does whatever it can to remove any influence from the outside world. If a person exists in a sealed-off environment, it becomes easy to manipulate their ideas and attitudes. Now, I haven’t read the source material, so the fact that this film conjured up those thoughts was a pleasant surprise, as indeed was the presence of some truly dark thematic content, including the gross manipulation of children by seemingly benevolent authority figures and the mass genocide of an entire species. This is heavy material for a film, but I’m not convinced Ender’s Game gives its dark subject matter the weight it deserves. More often, the film seems to exist in a strange sort of young adult limbo, with the tricky material taking a backseat in favor of a lighter approach geared to attract a wider range of ages.

Discussing the many details of the plot would probably take up too much space. What I’ll say is that there is a disconnect between the focus of most of the film and the major revelations that come in the final scenes. Those revelations take the film in a daring direction, but by the time they come around, the film is already wrapping up. For most of the running length, the film instead places its focus in an area that seems strangely inconsequential by the time the end, and all the revelations that come with it, rolls around. To tie this in with another ill-fated franchise hopeful from the last decade, the film adaptation of Philip Pullman’s first entry in the His Dark Materials trilogy The Golden Compass, there is the feeling throughout Ender’s Game that you’re only really getting a Cliff Notes version, and that the filmmakers have chosen to emphasize the least confrontational element of a much more subversive story to gain the widest audience. And just like with The Golden Compass, there is a good chance audiences won’t be seeing subsequent stories in this universe. This all gives Ender’s Game the feel of an moderately-fulfilling appetizer for a main course that will likely never come. 6/10.

La Notte - Try as I might, I can’t seem to recognize the supposed greatness in the films of Michelangelo Antonioni. With the lone exception of Blow-Up, Antonioni films have always caught my attention through their pure technical craft, but have otherwise left me cool to their virtues, and this 1961 film is no different. The middle film in Antonioni's "alienation trilogy," which also includes 1960's L'Avventura and 1962's L'Eclisse, La Notte revolves around a day in the lives of an unhappy married couple, played by Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau. Their day begins with them visiting a dying friend in the hospital, which provokes them to question the value of their own existence. Mastroianni is an author who has just had his latest work published, but he isn’t satisfied with his marriage, and he finds himself frequently drawn to other women. Moreau is also dissatisfied, but instead of directly confronting her husband about his straying eye, she chooses to just wander aimlessly around the city of Milan. As day turns into night, the couple heads to a lavish party, where Mastroianni becomes enraptured by another party guest, a lively Monica Vitti. Moreau, in the meantime, continues to mope around.

Here is what I have to say about La Notte: it’s an emotionally empty film populated by emotionally empty characters, who lead fairly privileged lives but find no satisfaction in their privileges. It could be though that that’s the entire point, and with that said, if what you’re looking for is a film about the emptiness of humanity’s existence, you might as well be watching an Antonioni film, because he knew how to do that sort of thing better than anyone else. And if you’re going to spend a nearly two-hour stretch of time in the company of empty people, you might as well be spending it in the company of Jeanne Moreau, Marcello Mastroianni, and Monica Vitti. Because the film is directed by Antonioni, it’s at the very least a technically impressive presentation, and the pointed direction and cinematography takes full advantage of cold Milan architecture to further emphasize the malaise of the main characters. But so much of the film is made up of Moreau and Mastroianni just walking around, sporting their best solemn faces, and I will admit to just getting fed up with it after a certain length of time. Certain moments register as just a little too on-the-nose as well, nowhere more glaring than the scene when Moreau wanders upon a broken clock, a metaphor for her stalled-out life that’s either perfect or perfectly-obvious, depending on how you choose to look at it. Maybe down the road I’ll give this and Antonioni’s other “classic” films another chance and a light will suddenly switch on and I’ll suddenly understand their appeal, but for now I’m ironically left completely alienated by his tales of alienation. 5/10.

Night On Earth - Jim Jarmusch established himself long ago as an important name in American independent cinema, and while he still continues to put out interesting, relevant work, his films have never been quite as remarkable as they were near the beginning of his career. His 1980s triple threat of Stranger Than Paradise, Down By Law, and Mystery Train all showcase a very specific, very "Tom Waitsian" view of America, one that doesn't shy away from walking down the country's dark, seedy alleyways. 1991's Night On Earth came on the tail end of Jarmusch's great early run, and it feels like a final statement of sorts. The film consists of five separate stories, each focusing on the interactions between a cab driver and their passenger(s). Each story features a different set of characters and a different location, beginning in the U.S. (specifically Los Angeles and New York) before moving across the Atlantic to Europe (specifically Paris, Rome, and Helsinki). As with any portmanteau film, you inevitably end up comparing the quality of each segment, and with Night On Earth there’s certainly some inconsistency present. It’s safe to say though that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

The film starts off with its two weakest segments: the Los Angeles tale is brought down by a miscast Winona Ryder playing the least believable cab driver in the history of the movies, while the New York tale is a comedic clash of cultures that is serviceable but ordinary, boosted up by a very funny and warm performance from the normally quite serious Armin Mueller-Stahl. Things really pick up from the third sequence onwards, beginning in Paris with a tale of a short-tempered cab driver and his blind passenger that has a very “Waitsian” feel. The Paris tale is headlined by a manic Roberto Benigni, who finds himself in the unfortunate predicament of having his passenger die on him (between Down By Law and this film, Jarmusch somehow found a way to get the best out of Benigni). The best segment is the final tale, set in Helsinki, with melancholy cab driver and passengers exchanging heartfelt tales of woe. While it’s the most sober tale of the five, it achieves something not normally associated with Jarmusch: a genuine since of heartbreak and pathos. It also serves as the perfect closing signature, shutting the book on both this film of nighttime travels and lost souls, and Jarmusch’s most successful run as a filmmaker. 7/10.

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
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La Notte - Try as I might, I can’t seem to recognize the supposed greatness in the films of Michelangelo Antonioni. With the lone exception of Blow-Up, Antonioni films have always caught my attention through their pure technical craft, but have otherwise left me cool to their virtues, and this 1961 film is no different. The middle film in Antonioni's "alienation trilogy," which also includes 1960's L'Avventura and 1962's L'Eclisse, La Notte revolves around a day in the lives of an unhappy married couple, played by Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau. Their day begins with them visiting a dying friend in the hospital, which provokes them to question the value of their own existence. Mastroianni is an author who has just had his latest work published, but he isn’t satisfied with his marriage, and he finds himself frequently drawn to other women. Moreau is also dissatisfied, but instead of directly confronting her husband about his straying eye, she chooses to just wander aimlessly around the city of Milan. As day turns into night, the couple heads to a lavish party, where Mastroianni becomes enraptured by another party guest, a lively Monica Vitti. Moreau, in the meantime, continues to mope around.

Here is what I have to say about La Notte: it’s an emotionally empty film populated by emotionally empty characters, who lead fairly privileged lives but find no satisfaction in their privileges. It could be though that that’s the entire point, and with that said, if what you’re looking for is a film about the emptiness of humanity’s existence, you might as well be watching an Antonioni film, because he knew how to do that sort of thing better than anyone else. And if you’re going to spend a nearly two-hour stretch of time in the company of empty people, you might as well be spending it in the company of Jeanne Moreau, Marcello Mastroianni, and Monica Vitti. Because the film is directed by Antonioni, it’s at the very least a technically impressive presentation, and the pointed direction and cinematography takes full advantage of cold Milan architecture to further emphasize the malaise of the main characters. But so much of the film is made up of Moreau and Mastroianni just walking around, sporting their best solemn faces, and I will admit to just getting fed up with it after a certain length of time. Certain moments register as just a little too on-the-nose as well, nowhere more glaring than the scene when Moreau wanders upon a broken clock, a metaphor for her stalled-out life that’s either perfect or perfectly-obvious, depending on how you choose to look at it. Maybe down the road I’ll give this and Antonioni’s other “classic” films another chance and a light will suddenly switch on and I’ll suddenly understand their appeal, but for now I’m ironically left completely alienated by his tales of alienation. 5/10.


Blow Up is awesome. I like L'Avventura as well, but can't really get into his other stuff. He definitely had a uniquely intimate style. I love how he seems to represent a fusion of Italian neo-realism with the cold austerity of Dreyer and Bresson with maybe a little bit of Ozu. He's very much a derivation of those older directors.

Whatever else, L'Avventura probably did bring a higher level of aesthetic cognizance to a larger audience than had been privy to such things before. You can see the connection to Breathless the same year. An empty, dry movie about empty, dry people vs. an ebullient, rebellious movie about ebullient, rebellious people. Just about the most holistic a movie can be.


Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:23 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Ain't Them Bodies Saints (2013)

Style over substance, but it's mostly a very pleasing style, in a western Malick way (although I think they overdid the "handclap" soundtrack a bit). Soft music combined with magic-hour cinematography create quite a visually poetic effect. With such a minimalist plot and overt style, it falls to the actors to get emotional engagement from the audience, and Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, and Ben Foster all give great performances that suit the film's aesthetic perfectly, especially Mara. 8/10

Prisoners (2013)

Often, the best "mystery" films will ignore the mystery, aiming for the dramatic or moral implications instead. So it's refreshing to find one that succeeds supremely at being both. It's a dark, disturbing subject matter, directed and lensed impeccably, with great performances (especially from the volcanic Jackman) all around. The best thing about the movie is how it constantly evolves and complicates itself in all aspects: mystery, themes, and characters, until the audience feel like they have lived in and experienced the anguish and moral dilemma with the events themselves. One of the year's best. 9/10

(The film is a bit hard for me. When I was a kid, about 8-9 years old, one of my friends was kidnapped for about three to four days. It ultimately is not as serious as this, really, as it's just a disgruntled driver of his house having a temper, and we (the friend and others) often joked about this event afterwards. Seeing this, though, unexpectedly brought back some of the anxiety from those days, and I was getting too emotional not even one hour in)


Fri Nov 15, 2013 5:55 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
peng wrote:

Prisoners (2013)

Often, the best "mystery" films will ignore the mystery, aiming for the dramatic or moral implications instead. So it's refreshing to find one that succeeds supremely at being both. It's a dark, disturbing subject matter, directed and lensed impeccably, with great performances (especially from the volcanic Jackman) all around. The best thing about the movie is how it constantly evolves and complicates itself in all aspects: mystery, themes, and characters, until the audience feel like they have lived in and experienced the anguish and moral dilemma with the events themselves. One of the year's best. 9/10

(The film is a bit hard for me. When I was a kid, about 8-9 years old, one of my friends was kidnapped for about three to four days. It ultimately is not as serious as this, really, as it's just a disgruntled driver of his house having a temper, and we (the friend and others) often joked about this event afterwards. Seeing this, though, unexpectedly brought back some of the anxiety from those days, and I was getting too emotional not even one hour in)


I loved it too. Took hold in my mind and hasn't let go.

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Fri Nov 15, 2013 7:27 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Only God Forgives - ** out of ****

I felt that Refn's style got in the way of his last movie, Drive. But this time, his style actually comes close to saving this movie. Probably because it's pretty much the only worthwhile element of the movie. Certainly the characters aren't worthwhile. There's nobody to root for. Nobody is interesting. Pretty much every character is vile and loathsome. Even Gosling's character is pretty unlikable. And Kristin Scott Thomas, a normally good actress, is awful in this. And the ending has got to be one of the most singularly unsatisfying endings I have ever seen. Although I wasn't THAT pissed off about it namely because I wasn't invested in the movie. I just didn't care. But Refn's visual style is pretty interesting, if a bit pretentious. It held my attention, although, as I said, it's the ONLY thing about the movie that held my attention.


Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:59 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
ilovemovies wrote:
Only God Forgives - ** out of ****

I felt that Refn's style got in the way of his last movie, Drive. But this time, his style actually comes close to saving this movie. Probably because it's pretty much the only worthwhile element of the movie. Certainly the characters aren't worthwhile. There's nobody to root for. Nobody is interesting. Pretty much every character is vile and loathsome. Even Gosling's character is pretty unlikable. And Kristin Scott Thomas, a normally good actress, is awful in this. And the ending has got to be one of the most singularly unsatisfying endings I have ever seen. Although I wasn't THAT pissed off about it namely because I wasn't invested in the movie. I just didn't care. But Refn's visual style is pretty interesting, if a bit pretentious. It held my attention, although, as I said, it's the ONLY thing about the movie that held my attention.

I thought this film was actually better then Drive and I thought the acting was mostly pretty good, I can see why some found the characters unlikeable, though I personally found them interesting.


Fri Nov 15, 2013 1:55 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
MGamesCook wrote:
Blow Up is awesome. I like L'Avventura as well, but can't really get into his other stuff. He definitely had a uniquely intimate style. I love how he seems to represent a fusion of Italian neo-realism with the cold austerity of Dreyer and Bresson with maybe a little bit of Ozu. He's very much a derivation of those older directors.

Whatever else, L'Avventura probably did bring a higher level of aesthetic cognizance to a larger audience than had been privy to such things before. You can see the connection to Breathless the same year. An empty, dry movie about empty, dry people vs. an ebullient, rebellious movie about ebullient, rebellious people. Just about the most holistic a movie can be.


I think that intimate style is what keeps me coming back to his films. Even though as I said I struggle to really connect with them, they're always watchable on a purely aesthetic level. I've yet to see L'Avventura; for reasons unknown to me, I seem to be going through the "alienation trilogy" backwards.

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
I've let my thoughts on recent watches slip...

Eyes Without a Face (1960) 3.5/4

A truly beautiful horror film. Those words don't typically go together, but there is little other way to describe the poetic charm and earnest humanity of Eyes Without a Face. Not only does Eyes Without a Face function as superb early body horror, it also examines aspects of the human condition, mainly identity and societies fixture on beauty. Although these aspects of Eyes Without a Face elevate its material, the examination of the causation of "evil" is captivating. Generally speaking, villains portrayed in cinema may not have the best reasons for their evil acts, however this is not the case here. Characters have deep rooted reasoning for their actions, and the films exploration of evil is way ahead of its time. Eyes Without a Face is one of those films that begs to be given the 4 star stamp, but some questionable police work towards the end of the third act brings up a circumstance that is questionable and problematic. Ultimately, Eyes Without a Face is a pretty terrific film and it comes highly, highly recommended.

Last Year at Mariendbad (1961) 3/4

Arguably one of the most polarizing films in the history of cinema, Director Alain Resnais' Last Year at Marienbad has been called everything from intelligent and though provoking to the world's most dependable sleep aid. Theres no denying the trance-inducing quality of Marienbad--the whole film has a dream like aesthetic that can be extremely dreary. However if you concentrate and focus, theres quite a bit to admire about the film as a whole. Again I can understand the hate and disdain associated with this film, but I can't overlook the films rich themes of temptation and memory, as well as the technical value of the film itself. While the structure of Marienbad may be off-putting, its (possible) examination of a woman contemplating the act of leaving her husband is kinda fascinating. With that said, its hard to pinpoint what Marienbad is actually about. Resnais claimed that the film has no hidden meaning, and perhaps that true. Perhaps the Last Year at Mariendbad functions as piece of Rorschach-like cinema, projecting the viewers own readings and meanings on screen. Such a film may fall short from fascinating, but it still remains very interesting.

Slacker (1991) 3/4

With the birth of independent filmmaking, Richard Linklater delivers an experimental drama focusing on the bums and chums of a typical college town. Even with his first debut, Linklater is able to create characters that are intimate and relatable, even if the viewer only remains with them for a short period of time. Dialogue is very reminiscent of the Before films, and viewers familiar with Linklater's work will certainly see his writing and overall style shine through. Yet there are parts of Slacker that simply don't work all that well. The constant flow of the narrative, or lack thereof, never hunkers down to give viewers consistent connection. As aforementioned, characters are relatable, but we never get know any of them outside of the broad strokes of mere characterization. Atmosphere and environment tend to mitigate some of these flaws with characterization; it seems that Linklater simply wants to observe the shenanigans of a college town while briefly commenting on the outlooks and livelihoods of those that inhabit it. If that is the case, Linklater succeeds in a refreshing first effort.

The Life of Oharu (1952) 3.5/4

Kenji Mizoguchi's Sansho the Bailiff may be on of the most devastating films that I've ever watched, and while I consider Sansho the better work out the two (Oharu), The Life of Oharu gives viewers yet another detrimental story that shows the mastery of Mizoguchi's direction and craft. The Life of Oharu is epic in nature, and follows the downward spiral of a young girl whose live has been essentially ruined by the notions of true love and desire. Mizoguchi's uses these themes to create a proverbial shackle on our main protagonist. True love is not attainable for Oharu, and "learned love" is usually taken away at a moments notice. Mizoguchi's film is relentless, but nonetheless powerful in its depiction of sorrow. Overall I feel like the faults of Oharu, consisting of a underdeveloped-unconvincing love connection and a narrative that is slightly too episodic, can be somewhat forgiven considering its scale and concentration. Definitely seek this one out.

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Fri Nov 15, 2013 6:25 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Rubber

A tire becomes self-aware and uses its psychokinetic powers to blow up rabbits, birds, and people's heads. I'm serious...that is the plot of this movie. Rubber is a strange, strange, strange film. It's too arty to be suspenseful or horrific, too serious to qualify as B-movie fun, but too odd to totally dismiss. I have a feeling most viewers won't care much for this movie, and I only thought it was okay, but I can honestly say I've never seen anything quite like it.

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Fri Nov 15, 2013 10:29 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JackBurns wrote:
I've let my thoughts on recent watches slip...

Eyes Without a Face (1960) 3.5/4

A truly beautiful horror film. Those words don't typically go together, but there is little other way to describe the poetic charm and earnest humanity of Eyes Without a Face. Not only does Eyes Without a Face function as superb early body horror, it also examines aspects of the human condition, mainly identity and societies fixture on beauty. Although these aspects of Eyes Without a Face elevate its material, the examination of the causation of "evil" is captivating. Generally speaking, villains portrayed in cinema may not have the best reasons for their evil acts, however this is not the case here. Characters have deep rooted reasoning for their actions, and the films exploration of evil is way ahead of its time. Eyes Without a Face is one of those films that begs to be given the 4 star stamp, but some questionable police work towards the end of the third act brings up a circumstance that is questionable and problematic. Ultimately, Eyes Without a Face is a pretty terrific film and it comes highly, highly recommended.


One of my favorites ever. There's some pretty unexpected (but little) gore for a film of its age, and it's a truly lyrical film; the way the girl moved seems like she's floating.


Fri Nov 15, 2013 10:49 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
A Bug's Life (1998) - 7/10

Crystal Fairy (2013) - 6/10

Europa Report (2013)

This found-footage thriller is of the "hard sci-fi" variety, meaning that it follows the science closely and achieve a feeling of engaging verisimilitude that is unwavering throughout the entire film. It's intentionally and realistically low-key, but still manages moment of dread, pathos, and occasional beauty quite adeptly, helped by many stellar performances. 8/10

James and the Giant Peach (1996)

Released three years after The Nightmare Before Christmas, this movie (also directed by Henry Selick) feels more dated by the clunky mix of live action and stop motion, and the unfortunate insistence on many unmemorable songs. The lead in human form is also pretty stiff and uninspired. Luckily, after the first act he is transformed into a more pleasant and sympathetic version of himself. The fantastic stop-motion that has a macabre sense of visual and many colorful supporting characters (bugs) are what hold the movie together. 7/10


Sat Nov 16, 2013 12:18 am
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Europa Report (2013)
This found-footage thriller is of the "hard sci-fi" variety, meaning that it follows the science closely and achieve a feeling of engaging verisimilitude that is unwavering throughout the entire film. It's intentionally and realistically low-key, but still manages moment of dread, pathos, and occasional beauty quite adeptly, helped by many stellar performances. 8/10

I'll go one step further, and say it's the best thing I've seen this year (for the record I've seen ~140 films this year so far). But I am a total sucker for this type of thing.


Sat Nov 16, 2013 12:58 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
Rubber

A tire becomes self-aware and uses its psychokinetic powers to blow up rabbits, birds, and people's heads. I'm serious...that is the plot of this movie. Rubber is a strange, strange, strange film. It's too arty to be suspenseful or horrific, too serious to qualify as B-movie fun, but too odd to totally dismiss. I have a feeling most viewers won't care much for this movie, and I only thought it was okay, but I can honestly say I've never seen anything quite like it.


I loved it, but I'm a twisted individual.


Sat Nov 16, 2013 10:14 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Sleepers

No not the cult classic from Woody Allen. I re-watched Barry Levinson's 1996 adaptation of Lorenzo Carcaterra's book. I'd originally watched it in 1997 (the day before I graduated from HS ironically) and remembered liking it. Then I got to thinking about it again recently after watching Mystic River (partly because of the similar themes, partly because of the presence of Kevin Bacon in both). So I decided to give it a re-watch.

It's not a forgotten classic by any means. But it is still good overall. As a director, Levinson has too many misfires (Toys, Sphere, Envy) to qualify as an all-time great. But he's at his best either with personal material (the Baltimore films) or taking commercial material and elevating it (Good Morning Vietnam, Wag The Dog). Sleepers falls into the latter category.

Kevin Bacon plays a truly vile and evil character. The first time I watched the aforementioned Mystic River I flashed back to him in this. Robert De Niro also does quite well in his relatively small but important role. Considering that this movie came out a few years before he started taking paycheck roles that were way beneath his talent, this isn;t surprising.

The bulk of the acting here is pretty good and the story is harrowingly effective for most of the run time. However, there are times when it seems to be pulling its punches. I sense if Scorsese or Eastwood had helmed this, it might not have felt that way.

As far as the controversy over how much of the story was true, I was able to accept it as the fiction it obviously is.

Sleepers isn't a classic by any means. But it's definitely worth one's time.

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Sat Nov 16, 2013 1:57 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
^Haven't seen it in a long, long time, but it's a a very involving, if not great, drama. I remember thinking that the story could have easily turned exploitative, but mainly through the sheer forces of acting it came out fine in the end.


Sat Nov 16, 2013 2:05 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
I like Sleepers. As a matter of fact, I remember loving it back when I was a teen, but it hasn't aged that well for me. To me, the first act is significantly better than the second. I don't think Brad Pitt and Jason Patric carried that act that well, or at least not as well as Bacon, DeNiro, and the kids carried the first one. Patric has little charisma, and Pitt looked bored by the role. Dustin Hoffman was the best thing in that second act, since DeNiro is not in it as much as he was on the first. I also remember the directing and pacing to be a bit uneven. Like you all said, good film, but not a masterpiece.

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Sat Nov 16, 2013 3:18 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Eyes without a Face (1960) ***1/2

This was some wicked shit. The movie ended and I said aloud, "Damn, French Cinema!" in appreciation. I'm not sure I find it quite as beautiful as Jack does. What I liked about it was how much it unnerved me, and the sense of palpable relief I felt after the surgery scene was over. That's something that doesn't happened to this jaded filmgoer ever day.

Also, this was clearly the movie that The Human Centipede wanted to be

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Sat Nov 16, 2013 3:44 pm
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