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Old February 25 2012, 01:16 AM   #286
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Re: Movies Seen in 2012

^^
His casting does sort of play the movie's hand right away, undercutting any sense of ambiguity that one might have at the outset. Even if you've never seen a Jack Nicholson performance or even heard of the actor, it's hard not to read him as crazy almost as soon as he's introduced.


29. Walker (A)

Walker: Alex Cox's 1987 film, which is (tenuously) a bio-pic about US imperialist William Walker's time in Nicaragua during the 1850s, was the beginning of the end of his Hollywood career, but what a way to go out. In actuality, this film isn't much of a historical bio-pic at all. Instead, it's a rather idiosyncratic, at times hilarious, and often bizarre treatment of US Imperialism in Central American in the 1980s as seen through the lens of Walker's own intervention in Central America in the 1850s. It's deliberately filled with anachronisms, over-the-top performances, totally unreliable narration, slapstick humor -- essentially, nothing that you would expect from a film funded by a Hollywood studio (in this case, Universal). It's easy to see why critics savaged it so relentlessly upon release, and even easier to see why it's been re-evaluated as a classic 25 years later. Ed Harris' lead performance as Walker (who is quite definitely insane) is magnetic, and Peter Boyle delivers an excellent supporting role as Cornelius Vanderbilt in two memorable scenes.

Not an easy film to explain, but definitely worth seeing. And the print (shown for the films' 25th anniversary) I saw was beautiful, too!

Theatres: 12 +1
Home Video: 16
Computer: 1
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Old February 25 2012, 06:01 AM   #287
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Re: Movies Seen in 2012


8. Contraband: B+
9. Kick-Ass: B+
10. Hereafter: A-
11. Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance: B
12. Act of Valor: C+

I hadn't planned on seeing this. A friend I don't get together with often was free and gave me a ring so in the spirit of camaraderie I went so we could hang out basically. I cut the "acting" some slack as the leads are all soldiers. Men trained to cut off emotions for the most part. There are only a few real actors in the film.
The action was good, the plot was actually better than I had imagined really. One of the better character moments is when "Senior" questions a lead terrorist. That moment had some good one liners. Such as "My shit filter is full", that got a good response at my showing.
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Old February 25 2012, 09:46 AM   #288
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Re: Movies Seen in 2012

11. "Midnight in Paris" (2011) A + Directed and Written By: Woody Allen. Starring: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Michael Sheen, Kathy Bates, Adrian Brody, Tom Hiddleston, Allison Pill, Corey Stoll.

I should start by saying that I'm not a Woody Allen fan, nor am I a big Owen Wilson fan, but finally this little gem of a romantic comedy comes along and becomes something that I can embrace and be excited about. I thought Owen Wilson did one hell of a job as Gil Pender and channelled a young Woody Allen, but not in a parody type of way. I would go out of my way to cast Rachel McAdams in all my films if I could The entire cast just does a wonderful job. The writing and acting is top notch, Allen's directing is just beautiful as is the cinematography, and the score is delightful and witty as well. The film its self is charming, and quirky but not overtly so and deals heavily with nostalgia. It has jumped into second position on my top ten favourite films of 2011 pushing "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" into third. I will be getting this on DVD.
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Old February 25 2012, 04:14 PM   #289
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Re: Movies Seen in 2012

Harvey wrote: View Post
Ed Harris' lead performance as Walker (who is quite definitely insane) is magnetic, and Peter Boyle delivers an excellent supporting role as Cornelius Vanderbilt in two memorable scenes.
How did the movie treat Walker's restoration of slavery in Nicaragua?

One of the fundamental principles of conservative thinking about slavery and the Civil War and modern-day politics that slavery was a doomed institution, that there was no such thing as the Slave Power and that Lincoln et al. needlessly centralized power. There really isn't much reason I know of to think that Walker was insane but wasn't a reasonable example of the southern way of politics at work. His restoration of slavery so far as I know was a perfectly natural continuation of the domestic policy of using state power in defense of slave property. Turning Walker into a lone madman lets the slavers off the hook, doesn't it?
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Old February 25 2012, 04:21 PM   #290
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Re: Movies Seen in 2012

Admiral_Young wrote: View Post
I should start by saying that I'm not a Woody Allen fan, nor am I a big Owen Wilson fan, but finally this little gem of a romantic comedy comes along and becomes something that I can embrace and be excited about.
Hmmm, I was a bit reluctant to go see this movie, because I am not a Woody Allen fan either. But after reading your review, I may actually reconsider.
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Old February 25 2012, 10:12 PM   #291
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Re: Movies Seen in 2012

30. War Horse

It's a good Spielberg film, which makes it better than most other films, but I wouldn't consider it his best. It has great camera work - I especially loved the lighting in the final shots.
One nitpick: I really didn't like how they dealt with the different languages. E.g.: Germans speak German as long as they are in the background, but English with a German accent when they are when they are right in front of the camera. But they also speak English with a German accent when they are supposed to speak English. I admit that's just a small thing, but it really bothered me.


CaptainCanada wrote: View Post
nvek86 wrote: View Post
And casting Jack Nicholson as a crazy guy is of course never wrong.
Stephen King would disagree.
Yeah, I've read his criticism and I can see where he's coming from.
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Old February 26 2012, 12:42 AM   #292
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stj wrote: View Post
Turning Walker into a lone madman lets the slavers off the hook, doesn't it?
That's not what the movie does, really. Yes, Walker is shown to be mad, but the madness is pervasive and a matter of policy. (And the film does address his restoration of slavery in Nicaragua rather directly.)

Having said that, it can't be stated enough how far the movie is from being a bio-pic of Walker, a nuance that many reviewers didn't get. I know our tastes in movies and television are often widely divergent, but I think you'd enjoy Walker.


30. Lonely Are The Brave (A-)
31. Executive Action (C)


Lonely are the Brave: I was rather surprised by this quasi-Western, adapted from the Edward Abbey novel by once-Blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo and directed by the underrated David Miller. It's really quite good, featuring great performances by Kirk Douglas (he's called this his favorite movie), Walter Mathau, and Gena Rowlands. The dialogue is crisp, and the directing and editing keeps the proceedings tense (when they're not being played four laughs, which happens often, to my welcome surprise). Really, the only thing that doesn't quite work is the tragic ending. Carroll O'Connor plays a truck driver who we intermittently see throughout the movie. In the end, he runs in Kirk Douglas while he's on his horse. Douglas survives (probably) but the horse does not. I'm not sure why it doesn't quite work; I'd have to see the film again. Maybe it's a matter of tone. But, short of this, the movie is nearly a masterpiece.

It's also pretty hard to avoid reading a number of scenes (especially those set in jail) in light of Dalton Trumbo's imprisonment after refusing to testify to HUAC. The characters often speak both in bitter and righteous tones that are pure Trumbo.

Executive Action: This JFK-conspiracy thriller isn't that far afield from Oliver Stone's movie that would be made twenty years later, as far as its conspiracy theory goes, but in execution it often betrays its low production values and can be quite dull. The problem is that much of the movie relies on old men sitting around a table discussing their plans to assassinate the President rather clinically. It's not very dramatic, and having seen Stone's film first, not very interesting, either.

It is interesting to see historical footage from the period intermixed with footage of the actors (and you see a lot of it; archive footage probably constitutes at least 25% of the movie); it gives a real sense of how turbulent 1963 was politically. It also, unfortunately, overwhelms any sense of dramatic narrative. By the end, it's all archival footage, save for a few obligatory shots of the conspirators getting away. It also has an absolutely appalling performance by the actor playing Jack Ruby (luckily, he's only in a few scenes).

Like Lonely Are The Brave, the film is a collaboration between writer Dalton Trumbo and director David Miller. Neither's efforts, however, are as good as that earlier movie. It's worth seeing only if you're fascinated by media depictions of the JFK assassination, or find it necessary to view Trumbo or Miller's complete filmography.

Theatres: 14 +2
Home Video: 16
Computer: 1
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Old February 26 2012, 08:33 AM   #293
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Re: Movies Seen in 2012

Chronicle ✭✭✭ 1/2

Didn't really know what to expect other the basic plot when I went into the movie. I really enjoyed it. There were a lot of on the edge of your scene breathtaking scenes.

The Hangover Part II ✭✭✭

Not bad at all. It's derivative, of course... but it's well done for what it's supposed to be.
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Old February 26 2012, 11:48 AM   #294
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Re: Movies Seen in 2012


7. Star Wars - The Phantom Menace 3D
8. The Town (2011) - 4.25/5
9. The Green Hornet (2011) - 1.5/5

Around a hour into the film, I was thinking to I turn this crap off. Anyways, was impressed with Jay Chou and it was great seeing EJO again. And I liked the soundtrack too.
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Old February 26 2012, 11:53 AM   #295
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Re: Movies Seen in 2012

^ Jay Chou and the soundtrack were sadly among the few things that were any good about that film. Seth Rogen was over the top (even for him) and just was annoying. I've much preferred and enjoyed Kevin Smith's comics based on his abandoned script so far
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Old February 26 2012, 02:26 PM   #296
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Re: Movies Seen in 2012

^^^
They should do a Green Hornet sequel only for Jay Chou, maybe it can be a revenge piece. Rogan as Britt gets severely hurt and incapacitated leaving Kato to make things right.

I'm still reading Green Hornet, even though Smith left the quality has been maintained.
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Old February 26 2012, 05:18 PM   #297
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Re: Movies Seen in 2012

Cowboys & Aliens - DVD
Rise of the Planet of the Apes - DVD
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close - free screenin'
Limitless - Netflix Instant
The Next Three Days - Netflix Instant
Man on a Ledge - free screenin'
Red State - Netflix Instant
Mars Needs Moms - Netflix Instant
S.W.A.T.: Firefight - Netflix Instant
Red Tails - free screenin'
Resident Evil: Degeneration - Netflix Instant
The Last Exorcism - Netflix Instant
Frozen - Netflix Instant
The Perfect Host - Netflix Instant
Tucker & Dale vs Evil - Netflix Instant
Brooklyn's Finest - Netflix Instant
Stone - Netflix Instant
The Woman in Black - free screenin'
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen - free screenin'
Haywire - free admission
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) - free admission
The Artist - free admission
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - free admission
Ted & Eric's Billion Dollar Movie - tech screenin'
Hugo - free admission
Safe House - free screenin'
The Captains - Netflix Instant
Troll Hunter - Netflix Instant
The Evil Dead (1981) - Netflix Instant
Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace 3D - tech screenin'
Underworld Awakening 3D - free admission
We Need to Talk About Kevin - free admission
The Innkeepers - free admission
Big Miracle - free admission
Chronicle - free admission
Underworld: Unrated Extended Cut - DVD
The Grey - free admission
Contraband - free admission
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island 3D - free admission
One for the Money - free admission
The Ouija Experiment - free admission
Ghost Rider - Extended Cut - DVD
The Secret World of Arrietty - free admission
Bullhead - free admission
Underworld Evolution - DVD
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance - free admission
Castle in the Sky - free admission
Oscar-Nominated Short Films, Live Action: Pentacost, Raju, The Shore, Time Freak & Tuba Atlantic - free admission
This Means War - free admission
Alien Trespass - Netflix Instant
My Neighbor Totoro - free admission
Rampart - free admission
Dr Suess' The Lorax 3D - free screenin'
Comin' At Ya! 3D - free admission
Wanderlust - free admission
Act of Valor - free admission

Had passes for a free screenin' of The Lorax yesterday mornin', and was one of the only adults in the line without a child.

Seemed to me that the movie was tryin' too hard no subtleness at all, a couple of the musical numbers were WTF?!?-ish (one of 'em downright nightmare induced!), and the 3D got a little blurry a couple of times, though that may have been because of where I was sittin' (lousy seats...wound up three rows back from the screen).

No trailers, shorts or freebies, either.

Tried to get into Wanderlust yesterday afternoon, but it sold out, three shows in a row!

Settled for the Comin' at Ya! 3D showin', with the Q&A afterward. The movie was over the top cheesy, but in a funway, and though they went back and upgraded the 3D, they didn't remove the strings holdin' up the rubber bats!

As for the Q&A, I was one of only three folks who stayed for it, everyone else walked out & past the producer durin' the credit sequences! Felt bad for the guy, since I didn't really have any questions about how to restore/upgrade a thirty year old 3D movie. Though I did learn that when doin'that sort of work, the screen is called the "soft wall."

Got a free poster out of it, though, so there's that.

Think I may see Wanderlust today, and will be gettin' together with some friends to see Act of Valor this afternoon, for sure.

- edit, to add -

Well, I got into the first show of the day for Wanderlust, and it reminded me of why I don't be pay theater prices for comedies these days. So glad I got in for free...

Met up with a couple of friends this afternoon, and saw Act of Valor. My buddy, the ex-Marine, enjoyed it, so there's that. I was able to get him in for free, too, but his wife had to pay for a ticket. I thought it was just a pure propoganda piece, since the bad guys were really bad and the good guys were really good. No gray at all...
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Old February 26 2012, 05:27 PM   #298
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Re: Movies Seen in 2012


10. Blood Simple (A-)
11. The Big Lebowski (B+)
12. West Side Story (A-)
13. The Hours (A-)
14. Lady and the Tramp (B)
15. An Officer and a Gentleman (B)
16. All Quiet On The Western Front (A)
17. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (B-)
18. Spellbound (B+)
19. Seven Samurai (A+)

And with that I've finished up with the "samurai Kurosawa" period, and this is probably saving the best for last (though I'm also very partial to Ran and Throne of Blood). This is a very long movie (at the time, the longest film made since Gone With the Wind, apparently), but the pacing is exceptional, anchored by Takashi Shimura (a Kurosawa regular, but this is the first time I really noticed him). Also present, of course, is Toshiro Mifune, is a markedly less dignified performance than most of his others (he and the actress playing Shino supply most of the film's quotient of overacting, though I chalk that up to cultural differences). One does wonder why bandits out for plunder are so set on this one village after it's killed two-thirds of their members, but overall it's a superb film about life in medieval Japan.

Cinema: 5
Home Video: 12
Computer: 2
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Old February 26 2012, 05:29 PM   #299
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Re: Movies Seen in 2012

Miss Lemon wrote: View Post
Admiral_Young wrote: View Post
I should start by saying that I'm not a Woody Allen fan, nor am I a big Owen Wilson fan, but finally this little gem of a romantic comedy comes along and becomes something that I can embrace and be excited about.
Hmmm, I was a bit reluctant to go see this movie, because I am not a Woody Allen fan either. But after reading your review, I may actually reconsider.
As someone who likes oddball films and going for walks at night, I can't wait to see Midnight in Paris.

ElimParra wrote: View Post

7. Star Wars - The Phantom Menace 3D
8. The Town (2011) - 4.25/5
9. The Green Hornet (2011) - 1.5/5

Around a hour into the film, I was thinking to I turn this crap off. Anyways, was impressed with Jay Chou and it was great seeing EJO again. And I liked the soundtrack too.
Admiral_Young wrote: View Post
^ Jay Chou and the soundtrack were sadly among the few things that were any good about that film. Seth Rogen was over the top (even for him) and just was annoying. I've much preferred and enjoyed Kevin Smith's comics based on his abandoned script so far
I liked The Green Hornet. It was a fun and interesting take on the character and I thought that Seth Rogen's usual shtick was toned down.
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Old February 26 2012, 05:34 PM   #300
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Re: Movies Seen in 2012

^

The Green Hornet was a fun movie! I didn't care for the stuff with Cameron Diaz, but other than that, I enjoyed it. And when I saw it at a free screenin' last year, they were throwin' free stuff at us...so, yeah, my affection for a movie can be bought with temporary tattoos & posters!!!
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