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Old January 22 2010, 07:33 PM   #136
Kegg
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

The Road

It's not bad.

The post-apocalyptic scenario doesn't bear much scrutiny (I scratched my head for a moment at the idea that something could kill all plant and animal life and yet leave humanity miraculously intact, but then opted to roll with it) and it doesn't seem to want to treat cannibalism as anything other than an eerie, unacceptable evil.

I don't know, given that nothing is alive any more and the only food supply is a finite amount of canned goods, it'd seem to me that cannibalism is something that would have to become a norm for the species to survive. Any functioning society would need some sort of system in deciding who to eat and why, and ration the supplies. Maybe different groups of humans would go to war to increase their food supply. When Viggo tells his boy that under no means will they eat human flesh, the back of my mind was thinking: Well, what if he's already dead, for one thing? They take supplies from people who are already dead, it's just a minor variation.

But no, in this film those who have resorted to cannibalism are those who have basically surrendered their humanity. Now I'm not actually complaining about that, that makes sense, and in a sense the society I suggested above would also lose its humanity - I guess maybe the inevitability of this is the film's fear, although the mythic way the Earth is dying implies that humanity may be slowly dying too.



I wasn't too happy with the treatment of the mother, but I guess that reflected the film's need to be poetic rather than rational


And the ending was, well.


But look, The Road isn't about cannibalistic society or the logic of how the world ended or any of that stuff. It's about a man and his boy travelling through the ruined world, struggling with the loneliness and the bitterness and the lack of proper food and the fear of being eaten. his son keeps him alive and is his justification for everything he does, to keep the fire and so on. In this the film basically excells and is a watchable and very nicely shot film, with an excellent soundtrack and some pretty good writing (I'm guessing Mortensen's V.O. is verbatim from the novel as that has some of the best lines.)

I think whether one likes or dislikes the film probably rests on what they think of Viggo Mortensen's performance, which I liked but I could understand others disliking. The boy is also good.
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Old January 23 2010, 07:49 PM   #137
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

DVD Review: The Hurt Locker [A-]

Finally saw this, since it's one of the Academy frontrunners this year. It's been tough slogging for people to make a good Iraq movie, both critically and commercially; not surprising, from an historical perspective. I mean, what great World War II movies were made during World War II? (you could make a case for Casablanca, I suppose, but that's not really a war movie, it's a more set during a war, and there is a difference) Same with Vietnam; heck, other conflicts and literature too. Generally, some passage of time is necessary for perspective for both the filmmakers and the audience. Bigelow pulls off a critically-successful one here (audience success was a lot more limited, though it'll be interesting to watch how it does on DVD). Strong performances from the cast and it avoids a lot of war movie cliches. I'd probably vote for Up in the Air over this, but it's a worthier winner than Avatar (a movie I liked but didn't love).
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Old January 24 2010, 12:18 AM   #138
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

CaptainCanada wrote: View Post
I mean, what great World War II movies were made during World War II?
I liked Hangmen Also Die!

I mean, Brecht plus Lang, how bad can it be?

I'd like to say 'give me time and I'll think of a great WW2 movie', but surely the best should just roll off the tongue. Harumph. There are good movies about WW2 that aren't really, though, that's a plus!

Strong performances from the cast and it avoids a lot of war movie cliches. I'd probably vote for Up in the Air over this, but it's a worthier winner than Avatar (a movie I liked but didn't love).
I do occasionally like to rain on Hurt Locker's parade a little, but I'd honestly put it ahead of Up in the Air, no questions from this quarter. An altogether more solid film, I felt, and one that did make more of a lasting impression than Reitman's affable, well timed, but somewhat tepid dramedy.

I'd be fine if it or Hurt Locker or Avatar won (I'd prefer Inlgourious Basterds over all three, mind you) but am annoyed that A Serious Man isn't turning heads at all. I get why Moon is overlooked, but when the Coen brothers craft a nice little masterpiece and leave it by the shelf shouldn't it provoke some concern? Some days that vies with Moon as my favourite movie of last year, in truth, and it may just succeed there.
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Old January 24 2010, 06:44 AM   #139
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Sherlock Holmes [B-]
Men in Black [A]
Up in the Air [A]
Star Trek: The Motion Picture [D+]
I'm Not There [A]
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (2009) [D-]
American Violet [B ]
Inglourious Basterds [A]
Death at a Funeral [B ]
A Serious Man [A]
The Hurt Locker [A-]
Mad Max 2 (AKA The Road Warrior) [C]
The Book of Eli [C-]
Elegy [B+]
Close Encounters of the Third Kind [A]
The Invention of Lying [B-]
Gamer [C]

This movie was much better than I thought it would be, but it still wasn't very good. Michael C. Hall chews the scenery as well as he can, but that doesn't stop the aggresive editing (which worked for the directors in Crank, but is too much here) from overloading the senses. Worth a rental, if you don't see anything else of note.
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Old January 24 2010, 04:37 PM   #140
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Drag Me to Hell.

I was expecting better from Raimi. Yeah, I get his jokey-horror style, but for some reason, it didn't work in this film. I could see the ending coming a mile away. Worth a rental and perhaps a second viewing. Some of the shadowy demon scenes were effective and I liked the psychic. I didn't find myself sympathizing with the heroine.
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Old January 24 2010, 11:51 PM   #141
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Sherlock Holmes [B-]
Men in Black [A]
Up in the Air [A]
Star Trek: The Motion Picture [D+]
I'm Not There [A]
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (2009) [D-]
American Violet [B ]
Inglourious Basterds [A]
Death at a Funeral [B ]
A Serious Man [A]
The Hurt Locker [A-]
Mad Max 2 (AKA The Road Warrior) [C]
The Book of Eli [C-]
Elegy [B+]
Close Encounters of the Third Kind [A]
The Invention of Lying [B-]
Gamer [C]
Timecrimes [A]

I've heard a few positive things about this film and some negative on this board, but I'm glad I finally took the time to rent it. A dark and twisted take on the time travel thriller. Not as technical as Primer, but just as effective. I'll have to add it to my collection at some point.
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Old January 24 2010, 11:57 PM   #142
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Saw Toy Story 2 3D tonight. Great seeing it on the big screen, missed it the first time around and it's been long enough since I last saw it for it to seem like a new experience... especially with it being redone in 3D.
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Old January 25 2010, 03:06 AM   #143
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets (2007) [B]

It's fun, yet silly... filled with great actors doing mediocre work. On the other hand, I have a new mancrush on Bruce Greenwood.
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Old January 25 2010, 05:58 AM   #144
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Watched The House Bunny last night, the girlfriend picked it when we went to Blockbuster the other night.

It was predictably cute, and she was glad it was just a rental & not a purchase.
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Old January 25 2010, 06:53 AM   #145
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Saw Legion on Sunday. It was all right. Mediocre, at best. It works better in the first act when it's more satirical... when it starts taking itself seriously, it devolves into a generic action film.
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Old January 25 2010, 06:54 AM   #146
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

And now, two very different movies:

DVD Review: Citizen Kane [A]

Alright "greatest movie of all time", let's see whatcha got.

Separating this from the weight of expectations, which really can't be met, it's a very solid film. While it can never be as revolutionary as it was at the time, I've seen enough movies or clips of movies from that era to get a sense of what your average filmed looked like, and this felt pleasingly modern, for the most part (some of the scene transitions and musical cues are kind of jarring). Welles is great as the lead, and the supporting cast is also good (I gradually identified The Third Man's Joseph Cotten as Jeb, where he was the lead and Welles supporting); the actress playing Susan was kind of annoying at times (mainly the voice, but that was part of the character, I think), but she has a great final scene with him. One thing I really noticed was the age makeup, which is surprisingly good for this era, though the black-and-white doubtless helps with that.

Saw-it-in-advance Review: Planet Hulk [B+]

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Old January 25 2010, 11:00 PM   #147
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Updates:
Boondock Saints (10)
The Book of Eli (8)
Cencoroll (8)
District 9 (8)
G-9 (6)
Inglorious Bastards (7)
Oldboy (9)
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Old January 26 2010, 02:38 AM   #148
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

What I've seen so far in January:

Avatar - Went to see it in IMAX 3-D, and it did not disappoint in that format. Visually, the film is astonishing, and the created world of Pandora is completely immersive. Yes, the story is somewhat clichéd and predictable, but Cameron tells it with skill. Very good, if not quite excellent.

Sherlock Holmes - A fun movie, but kind of lightweight, and not terribly distinguished among other action films. Downey and Law do good work together, but Rachel McAdams, who I normally like, just seemed a little out of place here; her character just didn't seem to add as much as the filmmakers were clearly hoping she would. Still, I enjoyed RDJ's take on the famous detective, and the film as a whole is generally solid.

Daybreakers - An interesting riff on the concept of vampires; I liked the scientific perspective (although I find it a little odd that vampires still have no reflection in this movie, despite the notable absence of fantasy/magic elements... eh, whatever). It's too bad that, so soon after the release of New Moon, audiences have probably had their fill of vampires for a while, leaving this film largely (and unfairly) ignored. No, it won't revolutionize the vampire genre, and it has it's flaws, but it's worth checking out, especially if you're looking for an antidote to the lameness of Twilight.

That's pretty much it for new films, but I have seen a few others lately:

Transsiberian (2008) - I rented this a couple weeks ago on a whim, and I'm glad I did. It's a taut, well-crafted thriller. I enjoyed the slow build-up of suspense, the Russian winter setting, and the performances, particularly Emily Mortimer's. Ben Kingsley, of course, is always watchable as well, although Thomas Kretschmann was a tad wasted in his role. A small-scale film, but highly recommended.

The Thing From Another World (1951) - I was kind of disappointed in this one. I think there were a few too many characters, for one thing, and the romantic sub-plot was half-assed and unnecessary. I also didn't really care for the negative portrayal of the scientist who wants to learn from the alien, to try diplomacy rather than violence. I could sympathize with his admirable intentions, but of course, the film turns him into an obsessed nut whose actions get two people killed. The movie had a few decent tense moments, but overall, I didn't find it very effective -- I much prefer John Carpenter's 1982 version.

Bridge to Terabithia (2007) - Not being at all familiar with the book on which it was based, I went in expecting it to be a children's fantasy film, similar to The Chronicles of Narnia or The Spiderwick Chronicles. I wouldn't have minded that, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was more of a coming-of-age story, with the fantasy aspects (which occur entirely in the imaginations of the two young protagonists) almost secondary. I enjoyed the sweet friendship that developed between Leslie and Jess, though I wasn't quite sure how captivated I was... until the final act. I won't spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it, but damn. I was almost in tears, and it's rare that a movie does that to me. A very effective film, owing in no small way to the talents of the filmmakers and the young leads (Josh Hutcherson and AnnaSophia Robb). I was a little sidetracked with some stuff during the first half of the movie, regrettably, so I missed a few things... I'll have to watch this again sometime, without any distractions.
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Old January 26 2010, 12:08 PM   #149
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Saw Avatar for the second time last night.
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Old January 28 2010, 08:14 PM   #150
Harvey
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Sherlock Holmes [B-]
Men in Black [A]
Up in the Air [A]
Star Trek: The Motion Picture [D+]
I'm Not There [A]
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (2009) [D-]
American Violet [B ]
Inglourious Basterds [A]
Death at a Funeral [B ]
A Serious Man [A]
The Hurt Locker [A-]
Mad Max 2 (AKA The Road Warrior) [C]
The Book of Eli [C-]
Elegy [B+]
Close Encounters of the Third Kind [A]
The Invention of Lying [B-]
Gamer [C]
Timecrimes [A]
Metropolis [A]
Pandorum [B ]

Metropolis: How do you grade the most influential science fiction film of all time? Especially when over a third of the film is missing, replaced by awkward titles or at times, just black frames (the audio commentary is helpful in filling in the gaps). Still, very enjoyable, with some truly iconic sequences.

Pandorum: This one was badly reviewed when it came out, and I'm not sure why. The ending could be a *tad* more coherent, though I suppose the intent is to inflict upon the audience the same disorientation inflicted upon the characters, and I might peg one fight scene as gratuitous, but other than that, I thought it was a very efffective sci-fi thriller. Well-acted by Quaid, Foster, and the supporting cast. Well-photographed. Great production design. Great make-up. Worth seeing.
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