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Old July 9 2012, 12:51 PM   #796
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Re: Movies Seen in 2012

Unicron wrote: View Post
Just got back from Moonrise Kingdom. It was good, in a quirky sort of way.
Dang it, not you also?
I was going to be completely happy waiting till DVD for this but I just saw two peoples FB page who also really liked it. One even said that after TASM it felt good to see a good movie again.
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Old July 9 2012, 08:13 PM   #797
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Re: Movies Seen in 2012


96. Stargate (B)
97. Ben-Hur (B+)
98. Bringing up Baby (A)


Stargate -- I know fans of the television series tend to dismiss the movie (heck, even the television series tends to dismiss the movie), but I think it's a rather fun sf action flick. Sure, the whole Children of the Gods premise is totally implausible (with a tinge of racism, since Africans couldn't have possibly built the pyramids -- it must have been aliens!), but without it, you don't have much of a movie. Jaye Davidson makes for inspired casting as the villain -- the television series would opt for casting heavies, mustache twirlers, or occasionally scantily clad women as Goa'uld. Kurt Russel is serviceable in the lead, although this is really James Spader's movie, and he makes it work, alternating as the protagonist and comic relief. When it became a franchise, the "mythology" became needlessly complicated, but here it's refreshingly straight-forward. David Arnold's score is terrific.

Ben-Hur: This is probably the best biblical epic I've seen, no doubt aided by the fact that it's relationship to biblical history is mostly tangential -- this is really a movie about the character of Judah Ben-Hur, not "A Tale of the Christ" as the subtitle claims. And when it's about Ben-Hur, played well by Charlton Heston, a man who is wronged by a childhood friend turned Roman soldier, it makes for an excellent drama. When it's the kind of movie that Monty Python's Life of Brian so deftly dismantled, it's not nearly as successful. Still, outside of the last 30 minutes, that's not really much of it. And in terms of spectacle -- the Chariot race, the naval battle, the Roman parade, etc. -- no CGI blockbuster will ever come close to the sheer size this film manages to pull off. That's the real appeal here, and it's unparalleled (if less well served on a television than it is on a massive screen). Of course, the television helps minimize other sins, especially Hugh Griffith's absurd and offensive blackface make-up, which is rather unfriendly around the character's white horses!

Bringing Up Baby: Negatives: Cary Grant makes for a rather unbelievable zoologist (paleontologist?). Positives: everything else. Still an incredibly funny screwball comedy. Hepburn and Grant are as terrific today as thy were 70 years ago, and they're never better than here, under Howard Hawks' smart direction.

Theatres: 40
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Old July 9 2012, 10:14 PM   #798
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Re: Movies Seen in 2012

^

I <3 the Stargate movie. Its still one of my favorite scifi movies.
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Old July 9 2012, 10:24 PM   #799
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Re: Movies Seen in 2012

od0_ital wrote: View Post
^

I <3 the Stargate movie. Its still one of my favorite scifi movies.
Same here. I watch it 2-3 times a year.
I've yet to see SG-1 though but it's going to happen.
I'm watching MacGyver now(7seasons) I'm on S2 and then I'm watching SG-1. That will be 17 seasons worth of Richard Dean Anderson!!! I'll be sick of RDA by the time I'm done.
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Old July 9 2012, 11:31 PM   #800
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Re: Movies Seen in 2012

Harvey wrote: View Post
(with a tinge of racism, since Africans couldn't have possibly built the pyramids -- it must have been aliens!)
The "aliens did it" explanation has been deployed for practically every famous piece of ancient architecture at one point or another.
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Old July 10 2012, 12:36 AM   #801
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Re: Movies Seen in 2012

CaptainCanada wrote: View Post
Harvey wrote: View Post
(with a tinge of racism, since Africans couldn't have possibly built the pyramids -- it must have been aliens!)
The "aliens did it" explanation has been deployed for practically every famous piece of ancient architecture at one point or another.
Upon further investigation, it seems those criticisms of Chariots of the Gods (I wrote the wrong name above) are off the mark, since Erich von Däniken also appears to claim that Stonehenge and a variety of other ancient human achievements were the result of alien interference as well. His claims about the Pyramids are the ones that have stuck in the popular consciousness, though. I was pretty young when Stargate first came out, so I'm unsure if the movie popularized this particular notion, or was utilizing something that was already in the popular consciousness.

Really, though, the most concerning thing is that so many people have lapped up Chariots of the Gods as anything other than fantasy -- when it was first published and today.
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Old July 10 2012, 04:27 AM   #802
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Re: Movies Seen in 2012


79. There Will Be Blood (A)

My introduction to Paul Thomas Anderson back in 2007, though it took me until this year to start in on the rest of his filmography. After watching his two late-90s hits a while ago, I decided to revisit this. This has a much smaller cast (it borders on being a one-man show for Daniel Day-Lewis, with Paul Dano showing up periodically; Ciaran Hinds is kind of wasted as Plainview's #2). Both the movie and Day-Lewis' performance skirt right up to the edge of being histrionic, but somehow it all keeps together (though I can appreciate why some people might think it doesn't).

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Old July 10 2012, 08:52 AM   #803
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99. The Trip (B+)

The Trip -- A follow-up of sorts to Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story (both films star Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as fictionalized versions of themselves; both were directed by Michael Winterbottom), this is an amusing road movie that is as frequently hilarious as it is melancholy. It would be hard to duplicate the manic creativity of Tristram Shandy, but luckily, The Trip doesn't try. Instead, it sets its ambitions much narrower -- the pair take a week long trip through Northern England's restaurants and hotels -- and is far the richer for it. Coogan and Brydon play brilliantly off one another, spending much of the movie exchanging great and awful impressions; hopefully, it won't take another five years for a third pairing of the two.

Theatres: 40
Home Video: 51 +3
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Old July 10 2012, 01:13 PM   #804
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Re: Movies Seen in 2012

nvek86 wrote: View Post
83. Roman Holiday

A delightful old comedy with an ending I did not expect, but I'm glad they chose it.
I love that ending. It's one of the most memorable I've ever seen. Great twist/fakeout.
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Old July 10 2012, 08:59 PM   #805
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Agent Richard07 wrote: View Post
nvek86 wrote: View Post
83. Roman Holiday

A delightful old comedy with an ending I did not expect, but I'm glad they chose it.
I love that ending. It's one of the most memorable I've ever seen. Great twist/fakeout.
According to wiki, there were plans to do a sequel to this, but thankfully they never did. It would have lessened the ending of this film.
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Old July 11 2012, 03:44 PM   #806
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80. Memento (A)

The five-pack of Christopher Nolan Blu-rays that was just released was a particularly good deal for me; I had two of them on DVD (the Batman movies) and was planning a Blu-ray upgrade at some point (I was going to wait for the inevitable trilogy pack), and wanted to see the others -- the set even omits The Prestige, which I already have on Blu-ray. And $32.99 is a great price, when the same store recently had Memento solo for $19.99.

Anyway, this was Nolan's second film, but real debut to cinema audiences. Given Nolan's penchant for reusing actors, it's interesting how none of the principals here have popped up in subsequent films. I was tempted to watch this movie a second time before reviewing it, but decided not to. On first impression, it's a pretty impressive piece of plotting, which has been one of Nolan's stocks in trade. It's a bit cool, perhaps, but the protagonist can't sustain emotional reactions for long and the story is backwards, anyway.

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Old July 11 2012, 06:07 PM   #807
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Re: Movies Seen in 2012

^^
I just bought that five pack, too. Definitely a good deal. What really impresses me about Memento -- and you should re-watch it to see if you agree -- is that it's a puzzle film that holds up, even after you've figured out the puzzle.


100. Observe and Report (D-)

Observe and Report -- At one point a character in the movie says, "I thought this was going to be funny, but actually, it's kind of sad," which is a rather good summation of my reaction. Seth Rogen's main character is irredeemable from beginning to end; I've heard him compared to Travis Bickle, but this film displays none of the intelligence of Taxi Driver, which at first engenders sympathy for Travis, only to slowly roll out how absolutely crazy he is. This wouldn't sink the movie if there were any consequences, but besides briefly losing his job after (a) assaulting mall employees, (b) rather brutally assaulting minors in the mall parking lot, (c) failing to prevent his best friend and co-worker from repeatedly stealing, (d) doing hard drugs on mall property, (e) deliberately damaging mall property, and (f) breaking into the mall property after he's been asked to leave and assaulting dozens of police officers resisting arrest -- it's only the last thing that seems to get him fired -- the movie has no consequences.

Theatres: 40
Home Video: 52 +1
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Old July 11 2012, 06:33 PM   #808
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Re: Movies Seen in 2012

^^^Comedy is about conflict. What exactly is your point? If it was supposed to be about what Rogen's character's choices meant, then it would have been a drama. It could have been a tragicomedy but tragedy (aka hero loses) is not a popular genre. It sounds like Observe and Report is a fairly normal character-driven piece: "We" get to vicariously identify with the hero as he acts out the conflicts we would (on one level) like to, then he is redeemed by suffering (briefly loses his job,) the happy end.

Not identifying with Seth Rogen seems natural and proper. Indeed, what's a little disturbing is the number of people who do seem to identify with Rogen. Would the movie have been better if Rogen had been killed by the cops?
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Old July 11 2012, 07:05 PM   #809
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The movie would have been acceptable if it had engendered more than a handful of laughs. From your determination that it is "a fairly normal character-driven piece," I presume you haven't seen it?

Honestly, the character's irredeemable nature wouldn't be an issue if the film didn't continuously ask us to sympathize with him. When he loudly and publicly calls a girl in the mall (who he date-raped, among other supposedly comedic offenses) a slut for sleeping with someone else, I get the impression that we're supposed to cheer. When he nearly murders a flasher with little if any provocation, we're definitely supposed to cheer, as the crowd in the movie literally does. Better yet, his old boss throws him the keys to his go-cart, and he rides up to the police station triumphantly with his wounded victim. What do these police officers (which he previously assaulted for no reason) do when he deposits a bleeding man (this being a supposed comedy, blood can gush everywhere without effect) who he proudly announces he shot? Why, they cheer for him, of course. Understatement not being in this film's vocabulary, the final scene before the credits let's us know that he's being hailed as a hero on the local news, which has led to his re-hiring at the mall.

A good review that expends more energy than I'm willing to invest in this garbage: http://www.reverseshot.com/article/observe_and_report
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Old July 11 2012, 07:26 PM   #810
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If the crowd in the movie cheered when Rogen's character shot a flasher, then it seems to me that it was entertaining the larger part of the audience. Comedy=happy ending. For what it's worth, I don't think I would have been entertained either.

The words "redeemable" and "consequences" are confusing me. Comedy is about conflict and the resolution of the comedy is about the happy ending to the conflict. If the mall cop was irredeemable then there should have been no happy ending. And killing the mall cop would have still have allowed the audience to enjoy all the shenanigans up til the formal concession that the protagonist was a prick.

It is possible for a comedy's happy ending to be a just reconciliation of the parties, with redemption for all. In farces, the conflict is free from serious consequences; in tragicomedies, the conflicts end with realistic consequences. In other comedies, the plot carefully contrives to limit the consequences to the conflict, and devises a plausible reconciliation (including redemption as needed) if possible. Many comedies just end in a welter of absurdities and sentimentalities of course. It sounds to me that Observe and Report is just another comedy where we're supposed to identify with the lead doing the things "we" are supposed to want to do (on some level, not in cold blooded reality, of course.) It all hinges on whether we identify with the Rogen character. It seems unlikely I would.
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