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Old February 22 2010, 09:02 PM   #241
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 ]
Raiders of the Lost Ark [A]
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade [A]
Moon [A]
Fun with Dick and Jane [C]
Sunshine [C]
Stanley Kubrick's The Killing [B+]
Ernest Hemingway's The Killers (1964) [A-]
Ernest Hemingway's The Killers (1946) [B+]
Glengarry Glen Ross [B-]
Gattaca [A]
The Big Chill [ B]
The Producers [A]
Rent [C+]
Blade Runner [A]
My Cousin Vinny [B-]
Zombieland [ B]
Infernal Affairs [A]
The Walker [F]
Starship Troopers [A]
Mrs. Washington Goes to Smith [F]

The things I watch on television when the cable box goes out and I can only watch the local channels...and the girlfriend says, "let's watch this!"

Instead of talking about that, though, let me bring up Gone Baby Gone. I only saw the film in the theatre, but I didn't like it that much. What you find to be an interesting structure, CaptainCanada, I found to be annoying--the film is basically two parts conjoined by some awkward voice over. Not a bad outing for a first-time director, though. Perhaps I should give it another chance on DVD.
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Old February 22 2010, 10:25 PM   #242
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Films seen for the first time in 2010 -

Where The Wild Things Are - B+
Up in the Air - A
Avatar - C+
Precious - B
Invictus - C+
Inglourious Basterds - A
Twilight - C
Law Abiding Citizen - D+
Sherlock Holmes - B
An Education - C+
The Blind Side - D (How the hell did this get a Best Picture nomination?)
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Old February 23 2010, 03:37 AM   #243
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Location: Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Re: Movies Seen in 2010

DVD:

Adventureland [B+]
Samaritan Girl [C+]
3-Iron [A]
The Hurt Locker [A-]
Citizen Kane [A]
Planet Hulk [B+]
High Society [B-]
The Philadelphia Story [A-]
The Pianist [A-]
Murder By Decree [A-]
A Man For All Seasons [B+]
A Patch of Blue [B+]
Broadway Danny Rose [B+]
The Departed [A]
The Purple Rose of Cairo [B+]
Zelig [B ]
Radio Days [B ]
Hannah and Her Sisters [B+]
Gone Baby Gone [A+]

Theatre:

Avatar [ B]
Precious [A]
Invictus [ B]
A Single Man [B-]
Crazy Heart [A-]
A Serious Man [A-]
The Last Station [A-]

The movie that finally earned Christopher Plummer an Oscar nomination (as well as a fourth for Helen Mirren), centred on the final months of Count Leo Tolstoy, the great Russian novelist and philosopher. It's based on a novel that I read earlier this year, which was also pretty good, and got me to finally read War and Peace (I'm 800 pages in at the moment; though the movie also spoils the endiing of Anna Karenina). Anyway, it's a pretty good adaptation; they focus in more on James McAvoy's character as the viewpoint (the novel had an epistolary format with six or seven narrators chapter-by-chapter; the others are still here in the film, but they're just supporting characters), including putting him in a few places the historical Bulgakov wasn't. Mild stuff by biopic standards. Poor James McAvoy seems fated to always play the viewpoint character in period dramas as a gateway to other characters who get all the Oscar nominations (as in The Last King of Scotland). McAvoy's real-life wife is also in the movie, though, funnily enough, not as his love interest. The real fireworks are with the Tolstoys (you can see why they got those Oscar nominations). The movie's a bit more direct in taking sides in the battle between Sofya and Chertkov, and I think they rather sell him short; while the movie is willing to acknowledge the social justice issues at the heart of Tolstoy's movement, at the end of the day it's on Sofya's side, when Chertkov's big crime is to be more concerned with doing something about Russia's grotesque social problems than keeping Tolstoy's family in their ginormous mansion.
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Old February 23 2010, 06:32 AM   #244
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 ]
Raiders of the Lost Ark [A]
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade [A]
Moon [A]
Fun with Dick and Jane [C]
Sunshine [C]
Stanley Kubrick's The Killing [B+]
Ernest Hemingway's The Killers (1964) [A-]
Ernest Hemingway's The Killers (1946) [B+]
Glengarry Glen Ross [B-]
Gattaca [A]
The Big Chill [ B]
The Producers [A]
Rent [C+]
Blade Runner [A]
My Cousin Vinny [B-]
Zombieland [ B]
Infernal Affairs [A]
The Walker [F]
Starship Troopers [A]
Mrs. Washington Goes to Smith [F]
Altered States [A]

I wasn't even aware of this movie before seeing it on the shelf at the local library, but, wow. Certainly not for everyone, but if you're into trippy, sometimes technical science fiction, it's a hard movie to beat. It loses a little bit of its edge in the third act when William Hurt turns into an ape, but I still loved it. The ending was about as insane as the ending to 2001.
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Old February 24 2010, 06:21 PM   #245
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

District 9 - A
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - B+
The Wrestler - B
V for Vendetta - C+
Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone - C
Corpse Bride - C
Battlefield Earth - F
There Will Be Blood - A
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - B
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - B
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - A
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - B-
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - B
Faust (1994) - A
Night on Earth - B
Schizopolis - B-
The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes - B
Primer - B
Ryan (2005) - B
Lost Highway - C+
The Seventh Seal (1957) - A
Metropolis (1927) - A
Kagemusha - A
Following - B+

I feel a little silly watching a classic film like Kagemusha and gushing about how brilliant it is (of course it's brilliant), but really, it's brilliant. This films gets criticized in some circles for it's pacing, but I was never bored once. Compares favorably to Seven Samurai in my opinion, though it's a different kind of movie. Makes me want to watch more Kurosawa. A

Following - Taut little 70 minute low-budget thriller from early in Nolan's career. There were a couple of plot points that were implausible, but when I thought about it, they weren't really important to the story so in that respect they just kind of serve to add to the irony of the situation. Very good for what it is. B+
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Old February 24 2010, 08:50 PM   #246
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 ]
Raiders of the Lost Ark [A]
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade [A]
Moon [A]
Fun with Dick and Jane [C]
Sunshine [C]
Stanley Kubrick's The Killing [B+]
Ernest Hemingway's The Killers (1964) [A-]
Ernest Hemingway's The Killers (1946) [B+]
Glengarry Glen Ross [B-]
Gattaca [A]
The Big Chill [ B]
The Producers [A]
Rent [C+]
Blade Runner [A]
My Cousin Vinny [B-]
Zombieland [ B]
Infernal Affairs [A]
The Walker [F]
Starship Troopers [A]
Mrs. Washington Goes to Smith [F]
Altered States [A]
Devil in a Blue Dress [B]

A well-made adaptation of Mosley's book with the exception of Washington, who feels miscast as the lead (outside of the scene where he takes the hammer into the bar, Denzel Washington is just too nice of a guy to jive with Easy Rollins). Don Cheadle, on the other hand, is an absolute scene-stealer as his violent friend Mouse.
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Old February 24 2010, 09:05 PM   #247
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Updates:
Armored Trooper Votoms: Big Battle (7)
Armored Trooper Votoms: Roots of Ambition (8)
Armored Trooper Votoms: The Last Red Shoulder (8)
Boondock Saints (10)
The Book of Eli (8)
Cencoroll (8)
Les Chevaliers du Ciel (8)
District 9 (8)
The Edge of Darkness (9)
G-9 (6)
Inglorious Bastards (7)
Law Abiding Citizen (9)
Lupin the 3rd VS Detective Konan (7)
Oldboy (9)
Pandorum (7)
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Lagann-hen (8)
The Uninvited (7)
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Old February 25 2010, 12:06 AM   #248
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Harvey wrote: View Post
Instead of talking about that, though, let me bring up Gone Baby Gone. I only saw the film in the theatre, but I didn't like it that much. What you find to be an interesting structure, CaptainCanada, I found to be annoying--the film is basically two parts conjoined by some awkward voice over. Not a bad outing for a first-time director, though. Perhaps I should give it another chance on DVD.
I didn't think this was a bad film, but one of the most overrated of the year. You'd have to be an idiot to believe the kid was really dead in the middle of the movie.


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For something that is supposed to be culturally relevant and highly entertaining, I was not impressed with this film. The "suicide is painless" intro goes on for what seems like 15 minutes, followed by another 20 minutes of walking around and doing nothing, followed by a bunch of characters that I can't remember the names of talking and talking and talking. There's a handy interactive guide that shows the characters names on the screen. I probably should have used that. I lost track of the plot somewhere near the middle... or so I thought. Then I realized this movie didn't really have a plot.
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Old February 25 2010, 08:11 PM   #249
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 ]
Raiders of the Lost Ark [A]
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade [A]
Moon [A]
Fun with Dick and Jane [C]
Sunshine [C]
Stanley Kubrick's The Killing [B+]
Ernest Hemingway's The Killers (1964) [A-]
Ernest Hemingway's The Killers (1946) [B+]
Glengarry Glen Ross [B-]
Gattaca [A]
The Big Chill [ B]
The Producers [A]
Rent [C+]
Blade Runner [A]
My Cousin Vinny [B-]
Zombieland [ B]
Infernal Affairs [A]
The Walker [F]
Starship Troopers [A]
Mrs. Washington Goes to Smith [F]
Altered States [A]
Devil in a Blue Dress [ B]
Renaissance [ B]
District 9 [ B]

Rennaissance: This is a movie with an incomporable and very cool look. With the exception of one short sequence which uses bright colors, the entire film is animated in stark black and white. And I mean black and white--there are no shades of grey. I describe the look, because that's the main selling point. Once you get past it, and the very interesting depiction of Paris fifty years in the future, you're left with a story that isn't terribly exceptional, but it gets the job done.

District 9: This is the second time I've seen this film, after it's theatrical release, this time with the director's commentary. Blomkamp offers a number of interesting explanations for things in the film. Of course, the thing I was most hungry to have explained, the Nigerians, isn't answered to my satisfaction (and drops the film a letter grade). At first Blomkamp describes them as satirical characters, but he goes to such lengths lauding the film's realism almost everywhere else that I don't buy it. Then he makes the claim that they are practicing traditional medicine, called muhta. That may be something that goes on in South Africa, but Blomkamp's depiction of the practice (a witch doctor and a gang boss who starts to salivate and lick his fingers at the sight of Wikus) still ends up coming off as a racial caricature. It's a shame, because a more rational motivation is right there on screen, waiting to be used: The Nigerians collect alien weaponry, and like MNU, want to exploit Wikus to use them by any means. Instead, we're left to mull over witch doctors, and what could have been an important parallel isn't nearly as strong.

But that's an awful lot of complaining about a movie I mostly like. Well-edited (definitely worthy of its nomination there), well-photographed, and with a great deal of excellent sound design, it's a great technical work. Creatively, the documentary style is very effective and the Wikus character complex and fully formed. The film is a scathing critique of the corporation, and of private military forces (a critique that is more successful here than in Avatar, I think). I'll be seeing it again at some point, surely.
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Old February 26 2010, 01:34 AM   #250
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Starbreaker wrote: View Post
You'd have to be an idiot to believe the kid was really dead in the middle of the movie.
I don't see why; the mystery revolves around what else was going on, and the other explanation offered for what happened makes perfect sense (in some ways, more sense than the ultimate one).

Other reviews:

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths - the latest of the Bruce Timm-produced direct-to-DVD animated DC films, this is also unique in that it's a rewritten version of the long-delayed Justice League: Worlds Collide, which was meant to be a bridge film between the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited animated series. Outside that context, some parts of the film no longer seem to serve much purpose, lingering like vestigial limbs; the origin of Diana's invisible plane is fine, but the ending with the membership drive feels superfluous. Great action scenes, many fairly imaginative (Wonder Woman's fights incorporate Greek martial arts, for example); some characters likewise feel a bit superfluous (Flash and especially Green Lantern, and even Superman to an extent, are in the background). James Woods makes a fantastic Owlman. J'onn romancing AU-Ravager was creepy.

B+

Doctor Zhivago - the last film I see before turning my laptop computer in to FutureShop for a few days to get its Blu-Ray player fixed (it stumbles with Blu-Ray 2 disks for some reason), this is one of the cultural touchstones of 1960s cinema, David Lean's famously long adaptation of a semi-autobiographical Boris Pasternak novel. Some people really loved this (well, a lot; it's the eighth-highest grossing film of all-time), critics have been more divided. Overall, I liked it, but I didn't love it.

It looks great, to be sure (Lean knew his way around a camera), and gathers a respectable cast of actors who do good work. But there's not a huge amount of story (or rather, narrative thrust) for a film this long, and the parting of Zhivago and Lara depends entirely on him being a total idiot; combined with his later death being so melodramatic, I had a hard time feeling much sympathy for him. Seriously, dude, I love Canada, but if it ever degenerated into a hellhole where the government is out for my blood and my family was living safely elsewhere, I'm gone (particularly because he doesn't really seem to want to stay in Russia to do anything in particular).

The most relatable character turns out to be Komerovsky, who is a total bastard, but is the only person onscreen with much sense. Alec Guinness is good in his part, though his narration is so infrequent it's almost jarring whenever he starts doing it (though I really liked how a conversation between him and Zhivago was filmed as he was narrating; we never hear Guinness actually say anything in the 'past', just the narration saying things like "so I told him", followed by Zhivago's responses). Julie Christie makes Lara a really believable character.

B
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Old February 26 2010, 05:38 AM   #251
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

So far:

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Amreeka

So far this is the year of A-movies. Starting with the letter A, that is, though I like both of them.

I haven't seen anything indigenous to 2010 yet.
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Old February 26 2010, 07:32 AM   #252
Harvey
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

You should rent Adventureland and A Serious Man from last year, then. Unless you are moving on to B...
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Old February 26 2010, 06:21 PM   #253
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

District 9 - A
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - B+
The Wrestler - B
V for Vendetta - C+
Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone - C
Corpse Bride - C
Battlefield Earth - F
There Will Be Blood - A
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - B
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - B
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - A
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - B-
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - B
Faust (1994) - A
Night on Earth - B
Schizopolis - B-
The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes - B
Primer - B
Ryan (2005) - B
Lost Highway - C+
The Seventh Seal (1957) - A
Metropolis (1927) - A
Kagemusha - A
Following - B+
Masters of Russian Animation 1, 2 - A
The Old Man and the Sea (animated) - A
The Man Who Planted Trees - A

The actual animation in Masters of Russian Animation Vol. 1 was kind of weak at times, which is typical of the time period covered (1960s). However, as a window into the politics of the time, it was an eye-opener. "A Frame", which is a critique of the communist system, is the highlight here, and the satirical content "Passion of Spies" and "Film Film Film" is quite funny. Vol2 covering the 1970s was very strong, and "Contact", "Firing Range" and "Hedgehog in the Fog" were three of the most visually striking animations I've ever seen. If there's a better short-form anti-war parable than "Firing Range", I'm not aware of it. A

The Old Man and the Sea - 2000 animated short oscar winner uses oil painting on glass frames to create a stunning visual effect. A

The Man Who Planted Trees is a classic Canadian animation about the difference one person can make. Not quite the ecological message film I was expecting (though, it is that), the point is more about finding a vision and seeing it through in an effort to improve the world. A
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Old February 27 2010, 11:14 PM   #254
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 ]
Raiders of the Lost Ark [A]
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade [A]
Moon [A]
Fun with Dick and Jane [C]
Sunshine [C]
Stanley Kubrick's The Killing [B+]
Ernest Hemingway's The Killers (1964) [A-]
Ernest Hemingway's The Killers (1946) [B+]
Glengarry Glen Ross [B-]
Gattaca [A]
The Big Chill [ B]
The Producers [A]
Rent [C+]
Blade Runner [A]
My Cousin Vinny [B-]
Zombieland [ B]
Infernal Affairs [A]
The Walker [F]
Starship Troopers [A]
Mrs. Washington Goes to Smith [F]
Altered States [A]
Devil in a Blue Dress [ B]
Renaissance [ B]
District 9 [ B]
The Shawshank Redemption [B+]

I saw this film for the first time a few months ago, and was pretty harsh upon it. I thought it was highly sentimental and no better or worse than Darabont's other unrealistically uplifting period piece, The Majestic. And while I still think those charges are true, upon second viewing I can't help but admit that The Shawshank Redemption is a damn good movie. Yes, it's emotionally manipulative, the actors are completely ageless even though the film is supposed to take place over 19 years (and even further, counting the time it takes Red to be up for parole again), and the period details are more nostalgic trappings than a serious look at prison life of the period, but if you can accept all that, it's a very well-made film. It presents a world that can only exist as a motion picture, and for two hours and twenty-two minutes, it's a lot of fun escaping to that world.

An escapist movie set in a prison? I'm shocked Darabont was able to make that work so well. For that, he deserves praise.
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Old February 27 2010, 11:45 PM   #255
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Harvey wrote: View Post
An escapist movie set in a prison? I'm shocked Darabont was able to make that work so well. For that, he deserves praise.
And Morgan Freeman is very good. Granted, it's Morgan Freeman, but I still really like that scene where he's asked whether or not he's been rehabilitated. He sells that brilliantly, as indeed he does the whole movie.
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