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

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Old December 14 2011, 10:24 PM   #931
Harvey
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

190. Trumbo (B+)
191. Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides (C+)
192. The Muppet Movie (A)


Trumbo: This documentary offers a fascinating look at Dalton Trumbo, who was blacklisted as part of the Hollywood 10 until 1960, when he was hired to write Exodus and Spartacus under his own name. The film makes excellent use of Trumbo's own words, mostly in the form of letters read by a plethora of famous actors, although there is also some archival footage with the writer. Where the film is incomplete, I think, is that we never get a sense of Trumbo's political ideals. We get a good sense of his ideas about free speech, surely, but the rest of it is left unstated. There are obvious economic reasons for this (America seems as conservative as ever, even with a Democratic president), but it is something I would like to learn more about.

Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides: I enjoyed watching this while I wrapped Xmas presents, probably more so than if I had been watching it intently. For one thing, there isn't a single naval battle in the entire movie -- most of it is spent plodding through the jungle -- which makes it feel like half a pirates movie. It's also far too long at 136 minutes -- these movies should really be 90 minutes and done -- but to its credit it is far less bloated than the second or third movies in the series. It also wisely eliminates any major earnest characters from the cast (although there is a preacher, he's a minor character in the end), which makes the proceedings more fun. I'd watch another sequel, provided it had a bigger budget. This one grossed over a billion dollars, so I don't see why another one wouldn't be given more money to spend.

The Muppet Movie: The DVD transfer is mediocre, but the movie is still wonderful (the nostalgia helps, but I think much of it would work even if I were seeing it for the first time). I miss Jim Henson.
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Old December 15 2011, 06:13 PM   #932
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

Starbreaker wrote: View Post
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I saw the movie. It definitely presents George as important for winning public support for the war, which is nonsense. Inflating his role makes it a pro-monarchist polemic, which is good grounds for criticism.
You're like the TrekBBS version of Armond White.
I'm not quite certain who Armond White is, but this is surely malicious. That's curious, because Captain Canada not only insists that The King's Speech is historically accurate, but also insists that I could not criticize the move for falsifying history! That truly is an extreme and highly ideological position to take. Yet that is to go unnoticed? The rather sensible position that falsifying history is bad movie making is objectionable? I can't imagine any good reasons for such an attitude.

Attack on Leningrad, with Mira Sorvino, Gabriel Byrne and Armin Mueller-Stahl. There are German scenes with Hitler and a noble German who is so fed up with besieging a civilian population that he basically kills himself by flying at an antiaircraft cannon.

Happily for US viewers, there are no noble Soviet officials. A female cop is coprotagonist with Mira Sorvino's character, an antiSoviet one (complete with a rather odd backstory about that.)

There are technical stunts with violence. One quick scene with a screaming horse is stunning in its power. The eery artificiality of the night bombing scenes is also terribly impressive. None of this adds up to much because they are not integrated with the character-driven plot.

That plot is melodramatic in the extreme, partly mitigated by the genuine severity of the situation. Nonetheless, despite an occasional crowd scene, much of the movie is people despairing and/or drinking in rooms with a handful of people. The only thing about the historical siege the movie cares about is the hardships suffered by the leads.

I think the movie takes the position that the city should have surrendered, except that it's not quite honest enough to be explicit. The modern Russian people of course have abolished Leningrad and all that fighting Nazi stuff, in favor of honoring the Tsar, so I suppose that fits.

In some ways the movie is very well made. But like most character driven drama in the end it's just emo, and gets kind of boring.
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Old December 15 2011, 06:46 PM   #933
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011



105. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time - B. Pretty good anime which mixes some serious themes about the consequences of time travel with some fairly typical coming-of-age stuff. Has a couple of memorable plot twists.

106. Mimic - C-. Picked this up on a Black Friday sale (maybe the same one Harvey did) for really cheap. The best part of the movie is probably the opening credits sequences which is actually pretty cool. The movie suffers from not really having it's own identity, as many of the scenes are lifted straight from Alien or Aliens: there's a scene with a bunch of eggs in a power plant (maybe it's not a power plant but it's close enough); there's a scene where they're boxed into a rail car that mirrors the scene from aliens where they're boxed in the armored vehicle (complete with a "mimic" poking it's head in and getting several rounds to the face); there's scenes where they're crawling around through sewers that resemble the air duct scenes from Alien 1 or 3. The creature effects at times look pretty grainy, not future-proofed for high def I suppose. It's not a really bad movie, and as a B-movie monster film it's probably worth what I paid for it.
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Old December 15 2011, 07:16 PM   #934
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

stj wrote: View Post
That's curious, because Captain Canada not only insists that The King's Speech is historically accurate, but also insists that I could not criticize the move for falsifying history!
That wasn't what I said. I said that your criticisms about it falsifying history and many of your interpretations of the movie's message are nonsensical.
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Old December 15 2011, 10:35 PM   #935
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

stj wrote: View Post
Starbreaker wrote: View Post
stj wrote: View Post
I saw the movie. It definitely presents George as important for winning public support for the war, which is nonsense. Inflating his role makes it a pro-monarchist polemic, which is good grounds for criticism.
You're like the TrekBBS version of Armond White.
I'm not quite certain who Armond White is, but this is surely malicious.
He's a legendarily contrarian (though learned) movie critic. Wikipedia is your friend (in this case).

193. The Happening (F)

The Happening: I'm appalled that Roger Ebert gave this abortion of a movie three stars. The acting is horrible (Mark Whalberg is terribly miscast as a science teacher, although the rest of the cast is pretty bad, too), the direction is mediocre, the score is unmemorable, and the writing is more awful than words can describe. This doesn't even begin to approach the way the movie treats science and scientists, who constantly state in the movie that the universe is not explainable.
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Old December 16 2011, 02:41 AM   #936
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

Just watched "Team America". Pretty awesome
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Old December 16 2011, 04:40 PM   #937
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

stj wrote: View Post
I'm not quite certain who Armond White is, but this is surely malicious.
It means I don't understand anything you're saying even though you're using big words and descriptive passages to justify why you don't like a movie.
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Old December 16 2011, 06:38 PM   #938
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011



107. Scarface (rewatch) - B+. I confess, a great deal of my enjoyment of this film comes from Pacino's completely ridiculous cuban accent. I walk around the house saying "cock-a-roach" for days after watching this movie. Al Pacino is one of America's most-beloved cartoon characters. This movie is a lot of fun on a visceral kind of level.

108. X2 (rewatch) - B+. Not quite as good as I remembered it. I'm a little bothered by the unrealistic violence in these movies on my most recent watch, in particular how Wolverine is stabbing people left and right (in the gut, usually) but practically nobody ever DIES from it. Not that I'm saying he should be going around offing everybody, but he could like ... wing people, or something. I dunno. Then there's the other power he seems to have, as a universal lockpick ... jam your claw in it and it starts any machine or car ... wtf is that? Anyway, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan steal the show here with some really great performances. Nightcrawler and Mystique are written/used quite well. There are at least three really great scenes in this movie: the opening scene with Nightcrawler in the White House, Magneto's escape from his plastic prison (love this scene, could watch it over and over), and Jean Grey's sacrifice.
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Old December 17 2011, 04:32 PM   #939
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011


100. Scott Pilgrim vs The World: D+
101. American Ninja: D
102. Revenge of the Ninja: D
103. Lonesome Dove: A
104. Black Swan: B

What a trippy movie. So trippy I'm a bit surprised this is the movie that has so many excited at awards time. Yes, it was well acted, the performances were good. The sets and costumes were adequate, I mean an apartment, ballet stage, bar and a few subways. Not really elaborate. The music fit the movie but isn't a soundtrack I'd listen to over and over.
So Nina is actually undergoing some type of bipolar episode trying to become the seductive Black Swan. To make her mom, who did nothing in dance, proud. To prove to her boss she's got the seductive and elegant chops to be the Black Swan. And of course prove to the bitchy dance troupe she was picked cause she's good. Toss in some "rolling" drugs and you've got one LSD induced ending. Stabbing yourself to bring out what you believe will be your darker side is just...messed up. Again, this had the awards people all stirred up? It was a good movie glad it didn't win Best Picture.
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Old December 18 2011, 07:34 PM   #940
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011


180. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (A-)

Discussed in the movie's own thread, but, in brief, it's a lot of fun. The box office returns are disappointing, because I think blockbusters are rarely this well-done.

181. 50/50 (A-)

A man gets cancer, and hilarity ensues.

Obviously, cancer isn't funny; my father passed away from cancer earlier this year. But I'm a big believer that with the right approach virtually anything can be the subject of humour (The Onion has produced some genuinely hilarious jokes about genocide), and in this case, genuine cancer survivor Will Reiser writes a semi-autobiographical tale that is both emotionally compelling and funny. Joseph Gordon-Levitt turns in another strong lead performance (he feels like an actor perennially just short of a superstar-making role). Seth Rogen (playing a renamed version of himself, apparently) gets many of the best lines, and is the subject of probably the film's most touching moment. I think the script is a little too harsh on Bryce Dallas Howard's character. Anna Kendrick is charming (though verging on being typecast).
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Old December 19 2011, 12:05 AM   #941
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

Contagion (2011) ✭✭✭

A pretty excellent cast. It's seeminly very realistic, but falls a little short in the emotionally engaging department. Probably not very rewatchable either. On the bright side I did get to see Gwyneth Paltrow's scalp pulled over her face.

Moneyball (2011) ✭✭✭✭

I like baseball so I'm biased, but I really liked this movie. Brad Pitt is one of the few high profile actors I know that actually blends in with the movie. He was a great Billy Beane. Didn't expect a happy ending going in, but I was surprised at how well they ended the movie.
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Old December 19 2011, 12:40 AM   #942
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

194. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (B+)

I'd hesitate to call this the best in the series, since I have a soft spot for Brian DePalma's 1996 movie, but it's a terrific blockbuster, especially for being the fourth in an action franchise. Simon Pegg steals the show, but Cruise is very good. The rest of the cast doesn't leave much of an impression (including Jeremy Renner, who won't be taking over any time soon, I think, despite pre-release rumors) but they get the job done. There are three cameos by characters from previous movies, all of which brought a smile, and two of which totally surprised me. Brad Bird has transitioned well to live action, overall.

Only two scenes ring false: Renner's backstory explanation, and Ethan Hunt's over-the-top admiration for his team at the end. They did well, but the script has him lay it on a little thick.

The IMAX, by the way, is very well done. It's a shame the whole movie wasn't in the format. The Dubai skyscraper sequence in particular really benefits from the huge screen -- I haven't been legitimately on the edge of my seat like that in a while. Go see it in a real IMAX theatre, though.
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Old December 19 2011, 01:04 AM   #943
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

^^^
I agree about the Dubai sequence and I was seeing it in IMAX until I got a call from my neighbor that sparks were shooting out from behind my shrubs. She wasn't home and her 13yr old son was trying to find out how to unplug the lights sitting atop the shrubs. I live 5min away luckily.
Ergo, I left the movie as the whole satellite uplink sequence was wrapping, just in time to see the missile launch. How much time was left in the movie from there?
Once I see it fully I'll add it to my list.

Also, Simon Pegg was great.
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Old December 19 2011, 01:29 AM   #944
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I think you missed about 20-25 minutes, including a pretty surprising cameo/twist at the end, as well as a less surprising (but welcome) cameo.
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Old December 19 2011, 01:52 AM   #945
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

20 or so minutes? That's more than I thought. I was thinking there may have only been about 10. I for sure have to go back, but damn that IMAX ticket was $17!!!
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