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

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Old December 5 2010, 05:05 AM   #826
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

271. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters [B+]
272. Get Him to the Greek [C]

THE KING OF KONG: This is a brilliant documentary, which wrings more conflict and drama out of something as incidental as the world record in Donkey Kong could possibly be. The director has obvious biases, but based on what I've read outside of the film, it's difficult not to share them. My only complaint would be that, at times, I'm left wondering (along with some characters in the film, like Steve Wiebe's wife) why so much hoopla is being made over something so unimportant. But that only happened at times.

GET HIM TO THE GREEK: An occasionally funny, but surprisingly meandering comedy that is a loose follow-up to the far superior FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL. The problem is that there just isn't enough story, even for 90 minutes. Sean Combs is hilarious, and Paul Krugman has an amusing cameo, but it's not enough to propel a feature film along. It also doesn't help that the pairing of Jonah Hill and Elisabeth Moss isn't believable for a second (even if their chemistry is okay), and half the phone calls Hill makes to her in the film are just plain offensive. I don't buy her talking to him after those, let alone their staying together. Colm Meany also turns up, which is odd, but it's always nice to see him. Eh...not bad, not good. Just a middle of the road comedy.
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Old December 5 2010, 05:51 AM   #827
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Taken [A]

Definitely one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. Liam Neeson, already an excellent actor, pulls out all the stops for this one. He does the role of a grim, determined man perfectly and the action scenes are without fail. One of the best movies of the decade.

Harry Brown [A+]

Yet another tale of vengeance, this time starring Michael Caine. An ultra-realistic, completely immersive tale of a really old dude blowing away a bunch of gangsters. Caine is really a likeable character, especially for my favorite line: "You've forgotten the six P's: Perfect planning prevents piss-poor performance".

Avatar [F-]

I know, I'm going to be stoned to death for this one. I appear to be in the minority of people who saw past the graphics that admittedly put my own amateur efforts to shame. All I got from the plot was a bland "(insert White European substitute here) vs. (insert Native American substitute here)" story, with environmentalism thrown in too. No originality required.

Toy Story 3 [A+]

Definitely the best children's flick I've seen. There's some good comedy as you'd expect from a Toy Story movie, but there are some really heartfelt moments in there. It actually brought a tear to my eye, but you're going to have to watch to see what it is.
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Old December 5 2010, 06:55 AM   #828
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

The last week I've seen:
Everyone Else- a German subtitled film. I did not like it.
The Dark Ages- a NatGeo documentary
The Batman vs Dracula
Independence Day
Robin Hood(2010-Crowe)
Taken
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Old December 5 2010, 07:33 AM   #829
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

What did you think of ROBIN HOOD? I haven't seen it yet, due to the mixed reviews.

273. Winnebago Man [A]
274. Chicano Love is Forever [F]

WINNEBAGO MAN: In a word (okay, two): positively brilliant. This is a documentary about Jack Rebney, the Winnebago Man, who is a VHS tape turned Youtube phenomenon. I don't think I've laughed harder at a film this year, be it fiction or nonfiction. Debney has such a way with (four letter) words, and yet, at times, the film was very serious and moving. If you see a documentary film this year, make it this one.

CHICANO LOVE IS FOREVER: The first independent Chicano feature, this is a production disaster from beginning to end. I can understand the circumstances the filmmakers faced, but it really is no excuse for the technically atrocious camera work, awful lighting, and abysmal editing (there must be ten musical montages to a few very similar songs). It didn't help, to be sure, that half the film was in Spanish (and without subtitles), a language I only partially speak, but I imagine the dialogue was on par with the English portions of the film (read: terrible). A historically notable film, but, alas, not a watchable one.
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Old December 5 2010, 10:24 PM   #830
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Harvey wrote: View Post
What did you think of ROBIN HOOD? I haven't seen it yet, due to the mixed reviews.
I think it's better on a second viewing and I'll tell you why.
When I first went in I expected/assumed the story would be in line with the traditional Robin Hood story. Therefore, my first reaction was displeasure. I think I gave it a C+/B- in the grading thread at the time.

The movie ends with what I'd call a setup and entrace into the traditional Robin Hood lore. So, knowing how the movie unfolds ahead of time I was able to enjoy it as the movie it was without strictly comparing it to other RH stories, largely cause its not trying to compete with those renderings.

It ends where other RH tales begin and gives it's own possible interpretation of how the legend came to be. Keep that in mind going in, which I didn't know, and you may just like it. So my opinion on it now is more of a B+ type movie grade.
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Old December 5 2010, 10:42 PM   #831
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Good to know. I think I'll see it when I have the chance.

275. White Dog [B+]
276. Ladies’ Night in a Turkish Bath [C]

WHITE DOG: Often cited as an unheralded masterpiece by director Sam Fuller, I don't think the film quite manages to reach that level, but it is pretty close. WHITE DOG features a number of strong performances, including an excellent turn by Paul Winfield (STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN, THE TERMINATOR), as well as what is probably the best performance by an animal (okay, technically, there were four dogs who played the role) that’s ever been on-screen. Unjustly attacked by the NAACP on charges of racism when it made (and barely released), the film is actually virulently anti-racist (to the point where I’m just dumbfounded by the NAACP’s ruling, which probably was a result of Fuller not allowing them on set rather than a legitimate response to the film itself).

The film is about an actress who hits a dog while she is out driving one night. She rushes the dog to the vet and, when nobody calls to claim it, takes it as her own. Unfortunately, as she tragically discovers, the dog has been trained as a “white dog,” or a dog trained to attack people with dark skin. She takes the dog to an animal trainer (Paul Winfield) who becomes obsessed with reconditioning the dog. In the end, however, he fails. The dog escapes once and kills a man (or in the theatrical version, injures him, which doesn’t make any sense) and the reconditioning doesn’t take. It makes for a tragic, but inevitable conclusion. My main problem with the film stems from the look—certain scenes are so pink that you would think the print had started to fade, but, no, that’s just the 1980s look that Fuller was going for. That dates the film a little, though it is otherwise pretty timeless.

LADIES’ NIGHT AT A TURKISH BATH: An unremarkable (if rare) silent film, I don’t have much to say about this one. It was fun (as always) to see silent cinema with live accompaniment, though. If you’ve never had that experience, take advantage of it if the opportunity presents itself.
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Old December 6 2010, 05:35 PM   #832
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

I saw the 1979 "Dracula" starring Frank Langella. The reason I rented this is one of the more unique reasons I've had for renting a movie - one line in a TV episode. On "Angel", the title character reveals to this woman that he's a vampire, and when she mentions Bela Lugosi and Gary Oldman, he says, "the only performance I believed was Frank Langella". I guess some writer threw in that line to express his personal preference for the movie. Since I'd been digging this show and respecting what the writers on it were doing, I decided to take his word that the movie was solid.

The gamble paid off. This is my favourite adaptation of the Dracula story I've seen so far, after previously viewing "Nosferatu" (1922), "Dracula" (1931), and "Bram Stoker's Dracula" (1992). While I appreciated the acting, direction, and atmosphere in the first two, I thought they were a bit outdated in terms of storytelling (especially the 1931 movie), and the Lugosi one also had a really disappointing climax due to the limits of what could be shown on screen at the time. The Francis Ford Coppola movie had amazing production design, but I couldn't get into the writing or any of the performances. It felt too fake and overdone.

The 1979 "Dracula" is another Dracula movie that's really impressive visually. I love the design of Dracula's castle and the Victorian insane asylum, and the whole movie has this washed out, grayish look, so the cinematography gives it a very effective creepy Gothic atmosphere. I also appreciated that Langella played Dracula so straight, as just a very suave, eloquent high class aristocrat. He wasn't all monstrous in a goofy way like Oldman's take and easier to take seriously than Lugosi, who was entertaining, but not as intimidating.

I could see how the movie influenced Whedon a lot with its use of crosses, the 'music video smoke' that accompanies Dracula when he goes into a lady's room at night, and the way Dracula at one point kills someone by snapping their neck in one swift notion. I was, however, disappointed that I didn't get to see any vampires turn to dust or burn up in flames. I guess it wasn't easy to do those things in movies at the time.

Overall, I'd sum it up by saying it's a familiar story, but told very well due to some tremendous style and a really fascinating lead performance that makes Dracula classier and more plausible than I've ever seen him. It's definitely one of my favourite Dracula performances, but I can't decide which one I like more between it and Rudolph Martin's on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". I still need to see Christopher Lee's take on the character. He doesn't deliver the line as memorably as Lugosi did with that wonderful Hungarian accent (and to be fair, who could?), but I was really delighted to hear Langella utter a variation on that immortal line, "Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make!"
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Old December 9 2010, 04:31 AM   #833
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

The Town [A]

Ben Affleck, Titus Welliver, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Chris Cooper, and the beautiful Rebecca Hall? You just can't beat that casting. And... I didn't know Blake Lively could actually act. Props to her.

The best shootout I have EVER seen.
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Old December 11 2010, 12:15 PM   #834
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

I seen many movies in 2010 like :

1) Resident evil
2) The rings
3) Avatar
4) Virtual strome
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Old December 11 2010, 04:40 PM   #835
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

I saw an older RDJ movie from early 90's: Only You
A RomCom set in Italy with Marisa Tomei who looks stunning in every outfit she wears, and braless at times to boot!
Trying to refresh myself on RDJ been awhile since I've seen his early work.

Re-watched Fantastic Four:Rise of the Silver Surfer - got it for $2 on Black Friday. It really is a shame they went borderline satire with those movies. I get the FF are the Huxetables of the MU but still they could've been done so much better. If you take out a few lines of corny dialogue the movie tightens up a bit.
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Old December 11 2010, 05:35 PM   #836
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

I saw "Irreversible". It's sort of like "Memento", but the first 40 minutes were completely unwatchable, which is a shame, because since the movie is backwards, they're supposed to be the pay-off or climax. I just had no idea what was going on for most of the first act and I quickly stopped caring, because the camera kept spinning 360 degrees while some insanely irritating melody played over and over again. Then there was the famous rape scene, which was well-shot, but went on WAY too long.

The last (first) scene of the couple being all intimate in the bedroom was the best one, and the only one with good directing, writing, and acting all at the same time. It just sucks that you have to get through a lot of scenes of boring chatter, infuriating dizzy spell-inducing camera spinning, and the endless headache-inducing rape to get to it.

I see what the director was trying to do, but he really went overboard with the shoddy camera work and dragged out that rape to unnecessary lengths. If he'd kept the excesses in check, it would have been a lot more admirable. It has respectable intentions mostly ruined by bad directing choices.
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Old December 12 2010, 08:58 PM   #837
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

"Coming to America" - I think I've now seen all of the movies from the 'comedic renaissance' period of Eddie Murphy's career. This one was charming and it got big laughs from me. The only thing I didn't like was the romantic comedy cliche of the pretty girl that the nice main character likes being involved with a guy who is an asshole.

I loved the cameo from the "Trading Spaces" old men and was SHOCKED to find out that Eddie Murphy played the old Jewish man (I could recognize his other barber shop character). This movie should have won the best make-up Oscar just for Eddie in his Jewish man make-up. Incredible job. Beetlejuice Schmeetlejuice.

"Ran" - I'm just about ready to give up on Akira Kurosawa. I am now 0 and 3 with his movies. I've watched "The Seven Samurai", "Ikiru", and now this, and have not enjoyed a single one from start to finish. The first two had a few nice moments and this one had some good battle scenes, but for the most part, I was bored.

All I see in this guy's movies is melodramatic people screaming, people crying, and battle scenes (except in "Ikiru", where there are no battle scenes). I don't think they're bad movies, I guess they just aren't for me. I have liked many foreign movies and older movies, but this guy's movies always leave me cold. I think I'll give "Rashomon" a shot, and if I don't like that, I give up. Four is plenty of tries.
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Old December 13 2010, 04:02 PM   #838
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Momma Mia! - This was a cute movie but not really something I'd think about revisiting. I see kinda of why it was a success, the cast was having fun with it but I felt like it was a karaoke night where a script reading broke out.
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Old December 15 2010, 01:20 AM   #839
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

277. Trancers 2 [F]
278. Funny Farm [C-]

TRANCERS 2: Six years later after ripping off The Terminator, somebody decided they wanted to rip off Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and rather than do it from scratch they returned to the well of the Trancers franchise. It's still as hilariously bad as ever, and Helen Hunt's career was still early enough that she'd agree to star in such garbage. Terrible, but in an amusing way. It's not hard to see why Altman & Burnett made fun of Full Moon studios in their film, Free Enterprise. Judging from the two Trancers films, they're a low-rent version of the Asylum!

FUNNY FARM: Another C-grade comedy from Chevy Chase, the unforunate king of C-grade comedies. Neither great nor horrible, this one is strictly middle of the road. A sports writer from New York city moves to the country in order to find the peace and quiet to write a novel and begin raising a family. Of course, he doesn't find any peace and quiet in a town full of weird characters. Unfortunately, these characters are so thinly drawn that they're each reduced to being one-note comedic caricatures (if that), and hardly any of them could be called memorable. The only moment of inspired comedy? When Chase bribes the town to act like the people depicted in the paintings of Norman Rockwell, in order to sell the house for as much as possible. It's not much of a spoiler to reveal that he decides he loves the town after all in the end, and decides against selling and moving away, since almost every turn of the film is apparent from the get-go. An early screenplay by the late Jeffrey Boam, who would write nominally better screenplays before (The Dead Zone) and after (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) this film, and a late film by the also deceased director George Roy Hill (unfortunately, it is his last film, and it has none of the style or charm of the far superior The Sting or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), this film is about what you would expect from Netflix's watch instantly service.
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Old December 15 2010, 03:37 AM   #840
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

High Plains Drifter - Clint Eastwood
Grade= C

First time to see this movie. Clint is once again playing a character who is never named. He basically strolls into town for a drink & a shave but the local hired thugs take to picking on him. Its ends badly for them.

The local mining company had hired them as muscle against a trio of murderous thieves that they managed to turn over to the law. They are getting out of jail in a week and now the town needs a champion. They hire Clint's character.

I was taken to not liking this particular nameless character of Clints. He didn't fit the scondrel with a heart that some of his other characters had. For starters he rapes a woman, which, despite she seemed to want something from him still doesn't make it right. That aside this character just wasn't as much fun as his others imo.
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