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TV & Media Non-Trek television, movies, books, music, etc.

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Old November 25 2010, 07:13 AM   #811
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

264. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World [A]
265. Star Wars [A]
266. Contempt [B+]
267. The Night of the Hunter [A]

I'll skip THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER and SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD, since I recently saw both.

STAR WARS: As much fun to see now as it was when I first saw it as a child (sometime in the early 90s, which is approaching two decades past). This time, however, I caught the (in?)famous fan-edit by Adywan. I'm of two minds about it. On one hand, the subtle changes he makes are brilliant: color-correcting all kinds of mistakes on the DVDs, fixing mixing issues from the DVDs, using digital effects to iron out production mistakes and gaffes, etc. Some of these changes work better than others (some color correcting of the escape pod in the beginning looks fake, and the 1977 audio for Aunt Beru makes her performance inferior to that in the dubbed version), but mostly, they work really well. They remind me of the slight alterations that are all over BLADE RUNNER - THE FINAL CUT.

On the other hand, Adywan makes some big chances that don't work nearly as well. Adding the imperial march to a few scenes seems excessive, and the new Obi-Wan/Darth Vader duel, with much quicker edits and "The Battle of the Heroes" from REVENGE OF THE SITH added, is an awful change. It tries to turn a slow duel into something it's not, and when we cut away to Han, Luke, and the others and the music is still playing it totally ruins the scene. Add to that the final battle (which has so many digital changes and additions that the original is barely left over) and this version still goes a little far.

Still, it says a lot about the (lack of) quality control at Lucasfilm that this is still probably the best release of STAR WARS, technically, and it's not even official!

CONTEMPT: About a third of this film is a brilliant movie about the deterioration of a couple (illustrated by the long, but essential 30-minute apartment sequence). About a third of this film is a brilliant deconstruction of the world of filmmaking, particularly international co-production (with Fritz Lang as himself, and Jack Palance as an absurdly over-the-top producer). About a third really mixes the two, and is less successful. Still, it's in gorgeous cinemascope, and is far from boring, despite what some of my classmates seemed to think.
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Old November 25 2010, 09:11 AM   #812
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

I saw Twilight Saga: Eclipse. It's awful. They pretty much gave up on the plot to have the actors angstily stare at each other for an hour and a half.

[F]
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Old November 26 2010, 02:08 AM   #813
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Dr.Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog

Cheeky fun!!!
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Old November 26 2010, 05:26 AM   #814
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Before and After (1996) Meryl Streep, Liam Neeson, Alfred Molina [C]

Some kid kills a girl and his parents try to help him cope with the upcoming trial. It was excruciatingly sappy. My mom picks horrible movies.
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Old November 26 2010, 11:20 PM   #815
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Before heading out for some Black Friday bargains I watched:
Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed with Ben Stein.
Very interesting.
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Old November 27 2010, 06:49 PM   #816
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

80. The Corpse Bride (B)
81. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (B+)
82. Beauty and the Beast (A+)
83. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (B)
84. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (B)
85. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (A+)
86. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (A-)
87. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (A+)
88. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (A-)
89. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 (A)
90. Tangled (A-)

Posted over in the review thread, but in brief, a great animated film that effectively incorporates a bit of modern-era zippiness while still retaining a traditional feel. Only the merely-serviceable music holds it back from the highest rung of Disney's ladder.

In some respects, it's too bad that they didn't hold this until next year, because I suspect it would have easily beat Cars 2 for Best Animated Feature.
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Old November 27 2010, 07:19 PM   #817
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

I doubt it. These days, Pixar is an unstoppable juggernaut that cannot possibly be beaten for best animated feature. The only two that were beaten in recent years were "Cars" (generally considered the weakest Pixar flick) and "Monsters Inc." (my heart weeps ) just because "Shrek" was such a huge hit and considered so original at the time of its release. I don't see those circumstances happening very often.
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Old November 27 2010, 08:06 PM   #818
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Too Much Fun wrote: View Post
I doubt it. These days, Pixar is an unstoppable juggernaut that cannot possibly be beaten for best animated feature. The only two that were beaten in recent years were "Cars" (generally considered the weakest Pixar flick) and "Monsters Inc." (my heart weeps ) just because "Shrek" was such a huge hit and considered so original at the time of its release. I don't see those circumstances happening very often.
Er, yes, but Pixar's film next year is Cars 2, a sequel to one of the two films not to win.
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Old November 28 2010, 01:27 AM   #819
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

I watched Zombie Strippers.
Kinda watched, I surfed online Black Friday ads as well.
It's the kind of movie that doesn't need your full attention.
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Old November 28 2010, 08:55 AM   #820
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

I watched "True Grit". Finally, finally, FINALLY a western I can get behind, after being disappointed by so-called classics "The Searchers", "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly",, "Unforgiven", and "The Wild Bunch". I loved John Wayne in this movie, but I understand this is more of a culmination of his performances rather than one of his 'vintage' performances, so I'm keen to see some of his earlier work now. I'm not sure which to go for, though. I didn't like "The Searchers" and Jimmy Stewart irritates me, so I'm not sure about "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance".

I have mixed feelings about the "True Grit" remake now. If nothing else, I'm glad it exists because it compelled me to watch this movie (I admire the Coens, so I had to see what inspired them to adapt it), but I don't know if I want to see another version of the same story. I think it was almost perfect the way it was done in '69 and the role of Cogburn was so beautifully played by John Wayne, I'm not sure I want to see someone else play it (even someone as rad as Jeff Bridges). The scenery and action in "True Grit" was amazing. I'm not sure if I'm up for a darker, more bleak interpretation. I loved the brightness and beauty of nature in the movie, which fit surprisingly well in a flick about a quest for revenge. It was also fun to see Dennis Hopper in a small, but early role as a wild-eyed, panic-y, easily intimidated thug.

On the other hand, some of the actors and characters in the movie were inconsistent and a bit underdeveloped. The girl was annoying at times, but mostly good. I'm sure Matt Damon and Josh Brolin will be huge improvements in their respective roles, and based on the trailer, it looks like the girl playing Mattie will probably bring some welcome additional toughness to her character.

If there's anyone else here who loves the original, how do you feel about the remake? I can see where some characters might be better fleshed out and played more solidly in a modern re-telling, but Wayne was so brilliant and iconic in his role and the direction, cinematography, and smoothness in the writing of the original make me ambivalent about "True Grit" 2010.
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Old November 28 2010, 08:30 PM   #821
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

I to am looking forward to the True Grit remake but don't feel let down by the other classics you mentioned that let you down. I will say that if you don't see A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More then TGTB&U might come off as a bit odd.
Unforgiven though is just a a good movie but really I like Pale Rider more, but I digress. I just got a new Eastwood 3-pack on Black Friday that I'm eager to watch. I should rewatch True Grit before I see the remake as its been an easy 10 years since I've seen it last.

So, what did I last watch? I've been watching some low brow movies of late if you've been following along. Watched MAMMOTH with Summer Gleau and Tom Skerrit. I think it may have been a sci-fi monster movie of the week? Maybe Summer was killing time till she got The Cape gig but this is bad, cheesy bad. She plays a weak female stereotype which something unusual to her other roles. Maybe it's why she took it?
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Old November 29 2010, 12:12 AM   #822
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

268. Outland [B-]
269. Taxi Driver [A]
270. Cinderella Man [B-]

OUTLAND: Having brought up this film enough times in conversation elsewhere on this board, it was about time that I actually watched it. Commonly described as a remake of HIGH NOON (but in space!), I was surprised by how little the two films resemble each other. Outside of the last act in very general terms (the town lawman faces off against a band of killers who come into town at twelve noon) it’s much less related to the Fred Zinnemann-directed film than to the western genre itself. To list just a few differences: Sean Connery’s wife is not a pacifist, nor is he retiring from his post (in fact, he has just arrived), and the killers who arrive at the end of the film were not previously jailed by him, but are hired thugs by the company he works for. Western tropes less specific to HIGN NOON are more prevalent: Connery plays a town marshal who has just come into town, with a wife and son, who is too good and honest to ignore the town’s obvious corruption. Connery’s tin badge and weapon of choice (a shotgun) further drive home the parallels.

But enough about that—the question is this—is the film any good? Well, like director Peter Hyams two other SF features (2010: THE YEAR WE MAKE CONTACT and CAPRICORN ONE) it’s sufficiently entertaining, but never great. Most of the visual effects work well (though some are a bit clunky), and the production design (which is heavily inspired by ALIEN—OUTLAND also imports that film’s main title sequence and its composer, Jerry Goldsmith) has that wonderful dirty, industrial feel of 80s science fiction. However, much of the camerawork is pretty meat and potatoes, and the science is iffy at best. A particular annoyance: the vacuum of space apparently makes people blow up like balloons and then explode, and the film doesn’t have TOTAL RECALL’s excuse of being Quaid’s fantasy. Still, the film’s supporting cast is quite good (including Peter Boyle and Clarke Peters). I’d say it’s a prime candidate for a remake (and, considering the influence it’s had on Duncan Jones in MOON, I’d nominate him to direct it).

TAXI DRIVER: This may be Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece, but it is assuredly one of his best films. I’m especially impressed by how effortlessly the film invites you to identify with Travis Bickle and his vigilantism, only to slowly reveal that you’ve been identifying with a man who is positively insane. The ending, as it has always been, remains an open question. Does it reflect a reality where Travis’ bloody rampage receives societal validation, and Travis himself makes a full recovery from his extensive wounds, or is it the insane fantasy of a dying man? I lean to the fantasy answer, but I’m happy that the film lacks a conclusive answer. Hopefully the rumored sequel that was discussed earlier this year never happens, because it would have to answer those questions to go forward.

CINDERELLA MAN: Ron Howard can be an exceptional filmmaker (APOLLO 13 is a film I take great pleasure in returning to), but he often falls into the trap of simplistic and sentimental storytelling. This is by no means a bad film (it is hardly the bore of a blockbuster that was THE DAVINCI CODE, nor the sentimentally-revisionist mess of A BEAUTIFUL MIND), but it isn’t a complex one. Jim Braddock is a straight-forward all-American hero, one who doesn’t steal (even when he and his family are starving) and pays back the ERA Office as soon as he has the cash. In case you missed his and his wife motivations, flashbacks are included to remind us that he’s just boxing to support his family. There’s a minor subplot involving a friend of Braddock’s who tries to organize dock workers (communism is implied, but never explicit), but the character is quickly killed (he dies off-screen), but it is entirely incidental to Braddock’s triumphant affirmation of capitalism. Craig Bierko plays Braddock’s boxing antagonist, and is made into such an absolutely evil figure (which apparently pissed off his relatives) that there are no shades of grey in the end.
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Old December 2 2010, 12:20 AM   #823
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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+
Paul Blart: Mall Cop ~ D-
Sherlock Holmes ~ B-
An Education ~ C+
The Blind Side ~ D-
A Serious Man ~ C
Crazy Heart ~ B+
Julie & Julia ~ B-
The Princess and the Frog ~ B-
Step Brothers ~ C
The Prophecy ~ F
Green Zone ~ C+
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus ~ C
Kick Ass ~ A
Iron Man 2 ~ C-
Alice in Wonderland ~ C-
The Losers ~ C
My Sister's Keeper ~ C
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo ~ B
Robin Hood ~ C
Whatever Works ~ D-
The A-Team ~ C
Toy Story 3 ~ A+
Inception ~ A
The Expendables ~ C-
Scott Pilgrim vs The World ~ A
Dinner for Schmucks ~ E
Winter's Bone ~ B+
The Social Network ~ A
Red ~ C
The Kids are Alright ~ C-
Machete ~ D-
Unstoppable ~ B
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow, part 1 ~ B+
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Old December 2 2010, 02:14 AM   #824
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

I have seen the A team movie.which i thought was very good.
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Old December 5 2010, 04:48 AM   #825
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Last night I saw Black Swan. It's a wonderfully dark and engrossing psychological drama, and quite unnerving at times. Natalie Portman is excellent in her role as ballerina Nina Sayers, whose quest for perfection in her craft begins taking a serious toll on her mental state (it's definitely one of those movies that leaves the viewer wondering what events are really happening and what's just in her head). Anyone who's ever struggled to be the best at something will likely empathize with Nina's situation.

Watching Nina's life spiral out of control makes for a fascinating character study. Portman is definitely the focus here, but the supporting players do solid work as well. Vincent Cassel is effective as the ballet troupe's director, a man who is sleazy, demanding, but in his own unique way, kind of brilliant. Barbara Hershey, as Nina's mother, takes what could have been a clichéd, one-dimensional character and makes it her own -- while her Erica is undeniably a controlling "stage mother", there are hints of a genuine love and concern for her daughter behind her often unsettling behaviour. Winona Ryder plays the company's former star ballerina; although her role is quite brief, she manages to be memorable and creepy.

Mila Kunis rounds out the main cast as Lily, the troupe's newest dancer. While her role isn't the most complex in the film (she's basically a carefree "wild child", the counterpoint to the uptight Nina), she's reasonably interesting to watch. And as for a certain scene between her and Portman (which I'm sure you've all heard about) -- yowza.

The ending is actually somewhat easy to predict, although I'm sure people will have their own interpretations as to what the film is trying to say (if anything). I found it interesting, in that


If you get the chance, I heartily encourage you to check out Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan -- it's a gem of a film.
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