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Last Movie You Watched 
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Ride Lonesome (1959)
Bounty hunter Ben Brigade (Randolph Scott) captures wanted murderer Billy and wants to take him to Santa Cruz. Billy boasts that his outlaw brother Frank (Lee van Cleef) will free him before Brigade will reach the town. On the trip, Brigade is reluctantly joined by a woman (Karen Steele), who he rescues from an Indian attack, and two reformed gunslingers (Pernell Roberts, James Coburn), who want to bring Billy to justice in order to obtain an amnesty.
'Ride Lonesome' appears to be the critically best regarded Westerns made by the team of producer/ director Budd Boetticher, writer Burt Kennedy, executive producer Harry Brown and starring Randolph Scott. The most remarkable aspect of this movie is the barren landscape, which makes some of the images appear almost abstract. It is a good-looking Western with a reasonably interesting story about unvoluntary travel companions with hidden motives, but it is too talky and doesn't manage to build up the tension very well. The action scenes are average at best and the acting isn't very good either. Overall, a mediocre Western. 5/10

Pacific Rim (2013)
Gigantic monsters called "Kaijus" have started appearing through a dimensional rift in the Pacific Ocean. To defend coastal cities from getting stomped Godzilla-style, an army of piloted giant robots called "Jaegers" has been built. The plot kicks in when the United Nations decommission the "Jaeger" program in favour of building a giant wall. The program's commander (Idris Elba) recruits veteran Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam), who lost his brother and co-pilot some years earlier, to help him use the remaining four Mechas to close the dimensional portal with a bomb.
Guillermo del Toro has made an homage to Japanese giant monster movies and giant robot animes. While the result is nice to look at and the battle scenes are done rather well - better than in any of the 'Transformers' movies, in my opinion - the story is really dumb and not very interesting. Neither are the characters and the comic relief is terrible. Nevertheless, giant monsters stomping cities and mechas fighting back - what's not to like. For me, the movie was entertaining enough, although I wouldn't call it exactly a good movie. 6/10


Fri Nov 22, 2013 8:54 am
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Camille Claudel 1915 (2013)

Honestly, between the glacial pacing and the vaguely queasy use of real mentally ill patients to contrast with the protagonist's suffering, the movie almost doesn't amount to much more than a slightly mediocre but realistic slice of life in institution. However, as the famous sculptress, Juliette Binoche gives an incredibly nuanced, towering performance that may be the best so far this year. She single-handedly elevates the whole movie, and her anguish (coupled with her own illness) at being confined is wrenching. Even when her face sits still, she's able to convey the inner emotional conflicts by her stares alone. Worth watching just to see a great actress at work. 7.5/10


Fri Nov 22, 2013 12:12 pm
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A Hijacking (2013)

The story of a Danish cargo ship hijacked by Somali pirates is deliberately slow, and manages to mine a certain amount of high suspense from the tedium of being held hostages and negotiated for months on end. The docu-drama style only adds to the realism, but also unfortunately helps to highlight some plot elements that clearly signal it as a fictional story. Still, solid film (and I will be curious to compare it with Captain Phillips, which opens here in the next week or two), and the ending is so bitterly, yet logically, appropriate and ironic. 8/10


Sat Nov 23, 2013 7:56 am
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Confession

A teenager at a Catholic prep school commits a murder and confesses it to his priest. The priest is bound by church doctrine not to reveal the contents of the confession, even as it leads to the wrong person being singled out as a suspect. This is a slow-burning, low-key drama that is very compelling, even though it stumbles slightly toward the end. It also is the rare film that contains an ultimately positive portrayal of the priesthood, and shows the men who serve in it to be complex and very human individuals. Confession is a small film but a solid one.

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Sat Nov 23, 2013 5:57 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Wadjda (2013)

As you guys said, a crowd-pleaser that is both thought-provoking, funny, and doesn't get cloying or preachy. Its background is interesting enough on its own to warrant a watch (the first movie filmed entirely in Saudi Arabia, where women are suppressed, by a woman). That it ends up being very good and an even-handed window into another culture is a bonus. Seek this out. 8/10

Love the scene near the end where

[Reveal] Spoiler:
the boy asked her if she knew that they would be married one day, and she just smiled like "eh, not my priority" and then walked away. Works all as a character moment, social commentary, and just being bad-ass in general.


I also read that the director had to film all of the movie's outdoor scenes through the headphones from insides a car as to not offend strangers that might see her giving order to men (the mostly German crew). Crazy.


Blue Caprice (2013)

A chilling, plausible exploration of the events leading to and surrounding the 2002 Beltway sniper attacks. It functions more as a mood piece mixed with character study than a narrative, but it's very good at being both. The feeling of dread and fatalism never left the screen, and the movie deftly deals with how a dependent relationship of father/son can twist and nurture the son figure to do anything, including murders. The screenplay stumbles at times (with random lines like "I've created a monster"), but two controlled, compelling performances at the center of the film helps get it through any rough spot. 8/10


Sat Nov 23, 2013 10:12 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
The Innocents 1961

Really excellent movie. First-class spookiness. Direction by Jack Clayton is extremely fluid, and never really misses a beat. He does a great job of visually communicating the true nature of the story (as he interprets it)

[Reveal] Spoiler:
My interpretation is that Deborah Kerr is a paranoid schizophrenic who causes all the trouble herself. The kids are creepy and overly shrewd, but early exposure to explicit sex and unpleasantness will do that; not necessarily ghosts. Many scenes of the film feature Deborah Kerr jumping to random conclusions to the sheer bafflement of the uneducated housekeeper. There's never any official reveal, but it's clear long before the ending that Kerr is the one who's nuts. So instead of the clunky, awkward, silly, long revelation at the end of Shutter Island, Clayton is content to render the truth in visual terms. But even if the place is really haunted, Kerr is still the one responsible for the boy's death.


Sun Nov 24, 2013 2:16 am
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Dallas Buyers Club (2013) **1/2

Color me a bit disappointed in this one. The performances are good as advertised, but the movie is fairly shapeless and when it does follow some sort of storyline or arc, it's normally a fairly predictable one. All things considered, I'm a bit surprised by the love that this film is getting. It won't sniff my 2013 Top 10

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Sun Nov 24, 2013 9:53 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Like Crazy (2011)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1758692/
Surprisingly good indy romantic drama in vein of Before Sunrise, Once or Blue Valentine about an English student (Felicity Jones) who falls in love with an American (Anton Yelchin). Complications arise when she decides to overstay her student Visa, after which she is no longer able to enter the US. During the prolonged periods apart their mutual affection slowly wanes, despite considerable efforts to keep the fire alive. Superb performances throughout, including THE Jennifer Lawrence in a minor supporting role (clearly pre-fame, as the other woman). I'm now more convinced than ever that romantic dramas are generally superior to romantic comedies - indeed I've yet to see a romantic comedy as good as any of the films listed above, including this one.
8/10.


Sun Nov 24, 2013 3:36 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Trying to finish a religion studies research paper so I'm keeping all of these short :(

Do the Right Thing (1989) 3.5/4

Insightful look at race relations and suppressed feelings that seem to boil over when continuous friction occurs. Do the Right Thing is one of those films that is so admirable in its focus; it doesn't shy away from making the viewer feel and reflect. Some characters seem to be bent and skewed in order to make pure statements regarding racial tension and it becomes difficult to look past these issues. However, Lee's film has an extremely likable, old Hollywood quality that is hard to ignore, and in turn easy to forgive. This truly feels like passionate filmmaking, and I have to say I am completely on board.

Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013) 3.5/4

Coming of age drama coupled with some of the best performances in film this year. Certain, ahem, scenes arguably go on a bit past their welcome and a lack of overall taste in the filming of said scenes doesn't really amend this matter. But for me the aforementioned issues pale in comparison to the emotion and confusion conveyed on screen. I wish I had a little more time to dig into my thoughts because there is quite a bit to explore here; themes ranging from conventional expectations of the "traditional" relationship and domestication across gender lines. In such a great year of film, its hard to guarantee anything a spot in The Top 10..but Blue, I'll be looking at you, kid.

All Is Lost (2013) 3.5/4

After seeing Gravity and 12 Years A Slave I wasn't so sure that I was ready to handle yet another tale of an individual bent on survival. But within minutes I found myself transfixed by the overall silence and subtly.While I may still be slightly on the fence about Redford's performance , the direction in All Is Lost is nothing short of brilliant. And man-o-man that ending; well thats worth the whole ride in my opinion.

The Lady Eve (1941) 4/4

I loved this film (as you can tell by the 4/4). One would't expect a 40's screwball comedy to work so well, but it does in heaping strides. Humor is pretty fantastic as well as each individual characterization. Generally speaking comedy is not known for presenting audiences with a rich narrative that is worth following. Usually the basis for the genre is in its jokes, narrative comes second, yet this is not the case here.The Lady Eve uses humor as an inherent part of its storyline. The uses of humor are seemless; nothing seems out of place or false for that matter. In short, if there is one thing that can be learned from The Lady Eve, its that great comedy can be created without the trappings of the typical arc associated with buddy/relationship comedies.

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Sun Nov 24, 2013 4:55 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
nitrium wrote:
Like Crazy (2011)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1758692/
Surprisingly good indy romantic drama in vein of Before Sunrise, Once or Blue Valentine about an English student (Felicity Jones) who falls in love with an American (Anton Yelchin). Complications arise when she decides to overstay her student Visa, after which she is no longer able to enter the US. During the prolonged periods apart their mutual affection slowly wanes, despite considerable efforts to keep the fire alive. Superb performances throughout, including THE Jennifer Lawrence in a minor supporting role (clearly pre-fame, as the other woman). I'm now more convinced than ever that romantic dramas are generally superior to romantic comedies - indeed I've yet to see a romantic comedy as good as any of the films listed above, including this one.
8/10.


This one bothered me. The falling in love scenes, typically the best part of a romance, are rendered here as a fucking montage. So I never bought their love. Particularly when Anton Yelchin never sells us on their love: he could just MOVE TO FUCKING ENGLAND. It doesn't help that he has way better chemistry with Jennifer Lawrence.

To me, this one is nowhere near the three other movies you mentioned

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JackBurns wrote:

The Lady Eve (1941) 4/4

I loved this film (as you can tell by the 4/4). One would't expect a 40's screwball comedy to work so well, but it does in heaping strides. Humor is pretty fantastic as well as each individual characterization. Generally speaking comedy is not known for presenting audiences with a rich narrative that is worth following. Usually the basis for the genre is in its jokes, narrative comes second, yet this is not the case here.The Lady Eve uses humor as an inherent part of its storyline. The uses of humor are seemless; nothing seems out of place or false for that matter. In short, if there is one thing that can be learned from The Lady Eve, its that great comedy can be created without the trappings of the typical arc associated with buddy/relationship comedies.


Yes! I had such a crush on Barbara Stanwyck after this. She and Henry Fonda are so utterly lovable that I *wanted* them to end up together. And it made me laugh! How many pre-1950 movies have done that? Such a completely delightful film.

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Sun Nov 24, 2013 5:05 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) ***1/2

Well everybody get out your "movie sequels that surpass the original" list -- we've got an addition. Though I prefer the first book to the second, there's no question this is the better film. When there's a movie adaptation of a book you like and your only complaint is that her arrows never seem to run out, then things are good indeed.

Seriously though, this is a terrific film. Fully embraces the difficult questions that the original kinda smoothed over. Much better direction and special effects. Really excited to see how they do Mockingjay.

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Sun Nov 24, 2013 5:08 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
JackBurns wrote:

The Lady Eve (1941) 4/4

I loved this film (as you can tell by the 4/4). One would't expect a 40's screwball comedy to work so well, but it does in heaping strides. Humor is pretty fantastic as well as each individual characterization. Generally speaking comedy is not known for presenting audiences with a rich narrative that is worth following. Usually the basis for the genre is in its jokes, narrative comes second, yet this is not the case here.The Lady Eve uses humor as an inherent part of its storyline. The uses of humor are seemless; nothing seems out of place or false for that matter. In short, if there is one thing that can be learned from The Lady Eve, its that great comedy can be created without the trappings of the typical arc associated with buddy/relationship comedies.


Yes! I had such a crush on Barbara Stanwyck after this. She and Henry Fonda are so utterly lovable that I *wanted* them to end up together. And it made me laugh! How many pre-1950 movies have done that? Such a completely delightful film.


I know, right? Just great, great humor.

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Sun Nov 24, 2013 5:09 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
I Walked with a Zombie (1943)
A young nurse is hired to take care of the wife of a plantation owner on the fictious Caribbean island of St. Sebastian. On her arrival, she learns about the dark history of the plantation owner and his wife, who was about to elope with his half-brother when she fell ill to a tropical disease and lost her mind as the result of high fever. The nurse also finds out that the local workers, descendants of slaves, still worship the Voodoo religion and that they have a completely different idea about the plantation owner's wife's health status.
This is the second collaboration between horror producer Val Lewton and director Jacques Tourneur after 'Cat People', which I thought was merely okay. 'I walked with a Zombie' is much better, in my opinion, with eerie set pieces enhanced by well-done black and white cinematography. The story is a strange and interesting with echoes of Charlotte Bronte's 'Jane Eyre', and, most importantly it isn't stretched too much in a movie which is only a bit over an hour long. It's a good Zombie movie and completely different from the modern movies about the living dead- 7/10

Near Dark (1987)
A young ranch hand in the Southwestern U.S. chats up a girl and makes her kiss him, which is a bad idea because she turns out to be a vampire, who bites him and turns him into one of the undead. When he is about to burn up in sunlight, he is rescued by the travelling coven of vampires, to whom she belongs, but the young man manages to escape and get a blood transfusion. The vampires (led by Lance Henriksen) won't let him go that easily though.
Kathryn Bigelow's debut feature enjoys an excellent reputation, although I fail to see why. (I have a similar reaction to her movies 'Point Break', 'Strange Days' and 'The Hurt Locker'). For a drama, it isn't developed enough. For a romance, there is too little chemistry between the leads. And for a horror movie, there are precious few scares. 'Near Dark' is quite clever in using vampirism as a symbol for drug addiction and successfully transfers the story of vampires into a modern Western setting. In this respect, it is influential because movies like 'John Carpenter's Vampires' and its sequels or 'From Dusk till Dawn' use a similar setting as well. But other than that, it is an undistinguished and mediocre vampire story. 5/10

The Last Boy Scout (1991)
Joe Hellenbeck (Bruce Willis) used to be a presidential bodyguard and is now a cynical, down-and-out private detective. The kind who wakes up in his car in a bad place of town in the morning, drives to the office, gets a can of beer out of the fridge and answers the phone with a cigarette dangling from his mouth. He is hired by the girlfriend (Halle Berry) of a disgraced professional football player (Damon Wayans) and teams up with him to solve a conspiracy concerning gambling, football and politics. In this case, "solving a case" involves a lot of shoot outs, fistfights and car chases - and tagging Hellenbeck's foul-mouthed 13 year old daughter along.
'The Last Boy Scout's purpose is to provide a star vehicle for Bruce Willis in a mismatched biracial buddy action comedy à la '48 Hrs.' or 'Lethal Weapon'. I'm not a fan of this genre and didn't find much to enjoy in this movie. It is solidly directed by the late Tony Scott, who reigns his tendency to over-direct scenes and make them flashy. Writer-producer Shane Black ('Lethal Weapon' series, 'Last Action Hero', 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang', 'Iron Man 3') has done much better work in other films, though. The plot never gets interesting and the characters are distinguished by various levels of nastiness and unlikeability. The action scenes are staged perfunctorily and the comedy is irritating. The ventriloquy scene with Bruce Willis and a hand puppet might be one of the worst individual scenes I've seen this year. Overall, I think it is a bad movie. 3/10


Sun Nov 24, 2013 5:20 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Unke wrote:
Near Dark (1987)
A young ranch hand in the Southwestern U.S. chats up a girl and makes her kiss him, which is a bad idea because she turns out to be a vampire, who bites him and turns him into one of the undead. When he is about to burn up in sunlight, he is rescued by the travelling coven of vampires, to whom she belongs, but the young man manages to escape and get a blood transfusion. The vampires (led by Lance Henriksen) won't let him go that easily though.
Kathryn Bigelow's debut feature enjoys an excellent reputation, although I fail to see why. (I have a similar reaction to her movies 'Point Break', 'Strange Days' and 'The Hurt Locker'). For a drama, it isn't developed enough. For a romance, there is too little chemistry between the leads. And for a horror movie, there are precious few scares. 'Near Dark' is quite clever in using vampirism as a symbol for drug addiction and successfully transfers the story of vampires into a modern Western setting. In this respect, it is influential because movies like 'John Carpenter's Vampires' and its sequels or 'From Dusk till Dawn' use a similar setting as well. But other than that, it is an undistinguished and mediocre vampire story. 5/10


I've always really liked Near Dark. To me, it's a love story; a film about the need to connect with another. Granted, it's a strange way to make a love story, but that is what draws me to it. I can understand why it would be an acquired taste.

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Sun Nov 24, 2013 5:57 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
Unke wrote:
Near Dark (1987)
A young ranch hand in the Southwestern U.S. chats up a girl and makes her kiss him, which is a bad idea because she turns out to be a vampire, who bites him and turns him into one of the undead. When he is about to burn up in sunlight, he is rescued by the travelling coven of vampires, to whom she belongs, but the young man manages to escape and get a blood transfusion. The vampires (led by Lance Henriksen) won't let him go that easily though.
Kathryn Bigelow's debut feature enjoys an excellent reputation, although I fail to see why. (I have a similar reaction to her movies 'Point Break', 'Strange Days' and 'The Hurt Locker'). For a drama, it isn't developed enough. For a romance, there is too little chemistry between the leads. And for a horror movie, there are precious few scares. 'Near Dark' is quite clever in using vampirism as a symbol for drug addiction and successfully transfers the story of vampires into a modern Western setting. In this respect, it is influential because movies like 'John Carpenter's Vampires' and its sequels or 'From Dusk till Dawn' use a similar setting as well. But other than that, it is an undistinguished and mediocre vampire story. 5/10


I've always really liked Near Dark. To me, it's a love story; a film about the need to connect with another. Granted, it's a strange way to make a love story, but that is what draws me to it. I can understand why it would be an acquired taste.

For once i'm going to have to agree with Unke, I heard everyone praise Near Dark to the high heavens and it ended up being a letdown for me, usually i'm a sucker for love stories, but this one just didn't work for me, there was a major lack fo chemistry so I found it difficult to care, on top of that the acting ranged from average to mediocre to flat-out horrible. Plus there's one particular bit of stupidity that bugged me
[Reveal] Spoiler:
Why the hell wouldn't the vampires think to cover their car windows to protect themselves from sunlight? Considering they've been around for hundreds of years it made no sense.


Have to strongly disagree on Last Boy Scout though, I found that fiilm hilarious and entertaining.


Sun Nov 24, 2013 6:44 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
The Red and the White is a Hungarian film about Hungarian troops fighting on the side of the Red Army during the Russian Civil War, sometimes to the bemusement of the Russians. Prisoners are executed, cavalry charges from both sides, and it becomes difficult to tell one side from another. At one point nurses from a neutral hospital are taken out into the woods and forced to waltz to a White military band.

The White army has a tendency to strip prisoners of their shirts and give them fifteen minutes to escape. If the prisoners don't get away, or get caught again, they get shot. One apparent avenue of escape is blocked by a ten-foot tall wooden fence. A lot of prisoners get shot there. I thought the shirtless thing had something to do with a shortage of fabrics, but then I decided the armies were playing Shirts and Skins. It's a good thing, too, because it helps distinguish one side from the other.

It all goes to show what people can achieve in film if they ignore such frivolous things as plot and characterization. 5.5 of 10 at best despite some very good scenes.

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King of the Hill (1993) ***1/2

There's a certain type of movie that just primally (which apparently isn't a word, but should be) appeals to me when done right, and that type is survival stories about children. Empire of the Sun, Hope and Glory...I love watching children grow up in trying circumstances. And this early Soderbergh (on Instant! Go watch!) film is terrific. About a boy trying to survive in St. Louis in the Depression, it was just utterly delightful. I highly recommend it. Very glad I watched it.

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Today I continued my journey through Hitchcock's early silent filmography and ventured into what I think was his first (and only?) comedy: Champagne. The film follows Betty, the daughter of a wealthy businessman who wants to elope with her boyfriend, much to the ire of her father. However, he devises a scheme to get back at her and teach her a lesson. Off the bat, I can say that the film was a bit of a chore to get through. None of the characters was interesting or engaging and most of the film felt poorly executed. Like with other early films of his, there were some directing flairs from Hitchcock, which probably signaled who he would become later. But other than that, meh... the film was an uninteresting mess that wasn't even very funny. As far as I've read, think even Hitchcock wasn't very happy with the end result either. Grade: C- if I'm generous.

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Thief12 wrote:
Today I continued my journey through Hitchcock's early silent filmography and ventured into what I think was his first (and only?) comedy:


Don't forget The Trouble with Harry

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