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Old February 18 2013, 02:31 AM   #106
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Re: Movies Seen In 2013


15. Barbara (B+)

Germany's submission to the Oscars this year, which didn't get nominated, but consequently made many "should have been nominated" lists. Sort of a companion piece to The Lives of Others, it follows an Eastern German physician exiled to the boonies for requesting permission to leave for West Berlin. The film does a great job of conjuring up the atmosphere of pervasive distrust in a surveilance state, while the doctors try to go about doing their jobs as best they can. The lead actress, Nina Hoss, is superb. The plot, at a certain point, becomes quite predictable, but it's well-executed.

16. Side Effects (B+)

Steven Soderbergh's allegedly final theatrical release, after his progressive disengagement from cinema since the failure of his two-part Che Guevara biopic caused him to start complaining about how cinema is dead, blah blah blah.

In any event, this thriller makes a good case for why he should stick around. While he's spent the last few years largely fiddling with genre films rather than aiming big, he's good even at that, and the story has earned a lot of comparisons to Hitchcock in reviews, which I think is probably on target. One of the biggest pleasures of the film is simply that it allows its protagonist to be quite smart in dealing with the bad guys once what's going on becomes apparent.

Catherine Zeta-Jones (showing up in a Soderbergh film for the first time since Traffic, I believe) is a bit of a miscast, though (or else, she and Soderbergh take the wrong tack with her scenes); she too obviously has "villain" stamped on her forehead. Rooney Mara and Jude Law are both in top form, though.

Cinema: 6 (+2)
Home Video: 9
Computer: 1
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Old February 19 2013, 06:18 AM   #107
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Re: Movies Seen In 2013

1. Reservoir Dogs (1992) - A
2. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011) - D
3. Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012) - C+
4. Zero Dark Thirty (2012) - A
5. The Amazing Spiderman (2012) - B
6. Life of Pi (2012) - A
7) The Perks of being a Wallflower (2012) - B+

I've heard good things about this film and decided to rent it on Itunes. It was a pretty good film, and a nice coming of age story. I kind of wish the revelations at the end were deeper than they were but I really liked the cast, and I didn't see Hormine in Emma's Watson's performance. That's got to be a good thing. I was a little surprised this film wasn't recognized for oscars, considering it is a small film and the Oscars have liked that in the past. Still, good film.

Theater: 2
Blu-Ray/DVD/TV: 3
Itunes: 2 (+1)
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Old February 19 2013, 06:59 AM   #108
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17. Tom Jones (B+)

We're only a few days away from the Academy Awards bestowing their top distinction for the 85th time, so I took the opportunity to take a look at one of the odder of the 84 previous honourees. Tony Richardson's freewheeling adaptation of a picaresque 18th century novel by Henry Fielding is not a great movie, in my opinion; but it's an interesting one, and having seen a decent number of old-style period pieces I can imagine this being quite a dramatic change for audiences in 1963. It's loose, funny, and fairly bawdy, as well as employing various stylistic and metafictional quirks that you wouldn't expect to find in a period novel adaptation (though it suits the novel; as with many writers in the 18th-19th century, Fielding's narrator wasn't shy about commenting on the story itself). It's sort of a warmer cousin to Kubrick's Barry Lyndon. Albert Finney earned his first Oscar nomination as the title character, and he delivers a fine performance, though there's really not much to the part beyond acting charming. The recently departed Susannah York is his love interest, while David Warner makes his film debut as, fittingly enough, the bad guy (the first of many).

Cinema: 6
Home Video: 10 (+1)
Computer: 1
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Old February 19 2013, 02:28 PM   #109
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Re: Movies Seen In 2013


Warm Bodies - free admission
P.S. I Love You - DVD
The Lake House - DVD
Alonzo Bodden: Who's Paying Attention? - Netflix Instant
Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007 - Netflix Instant
Side by Side - free admission
Pennies from Heaven - free admission
Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid- DVD
The Lonely Guy - DVD
Batman: The Dark Knigth Returns, Part Two - DVD
Jesse Stone: Benefit of the Doubt - DVD
Side Effects - free admission
Funny Girl - free admission
Christopher Titus: Neverlution - YouTube
Ralphie May: Just Correct - YouTube
Top Gun 3D - IMAX
Fourplay: Tales of Sexual Intimacy - free admission
'Salem's Lot (2004) - DVD
Body of Lies - DVD
2013 Oscar-Nominated Shorts, Animated - free admission
2013 Oscar-Nominated Shorts, Live Action - free admission
A Good Day to Die Hard - free admission
Last Chance Harvey - DVD
Paul Williams Still Alive - free admission
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre - DVD
Invasion of the Blood Farmers - free admission

Took me a couple of days to watch 'Salem's Lot, which makes sense since it originally aired as a two-part miniseries.

I think three hours was too long of a run time, and I didn't need the recap in the middle.

I may look for the original '70s version later, just to see if its any different. Haven't read the Stephen King book, either, but that shouldn't be too hard to find.

Watched Body of Lies, 'cause I'm finally startin' to come around to likin' Russell Crowe, and it was in the bargain bin at Wal-Mart. Not a great movie, but it had a good cast, especially Crowe & Mark Strong.

Spent a day before work in the movies, takin' in the animated & live action shorts, and the new Die Hard.

The animated shorts - Paperman, The Longest Daycare, Fresh Guacamole, Adam and Dog, Head Over Heel - also included three "honorable mentions" - Abiogenesis, Dripped and The Gruffalo's Child.

The live action shorts - Henry, Asad, Death of a Shadow, Curfew and Buzkhashi Boys - did not include any "honorable mentions." And Curfew was the only one that wasn't subtitled...

The new Die Hard wasn't that great, but since it has an R ratin', John McClane gets to say "motherfucker", and it didn't have Justin Long as an annoyin' sidekick or Kevin Smith, it was way better than the last Die Hard.

No movies at all on Saturday, since I only had twelve hours off between shifts.

Watched Last Chance Harvey on DVD Sunday. Didn't much care for it, to be honest, since it seemed like the characters go out of their way to alienate Dustin Hoffman's Harvey and then expect him to be nice about it. And Emma Thompson's character really should have been more assertive & honest - she was with Harvey, but not anyone else.

And finally, I got to the Ritz last night for the documentary Paul Williams Still Alive, which has a filmmaker discoverin' that his favorite '70s celebrity isn't dead, and still tours, and decides to follow him around and show the world how awesome he is....

...meh...

...at least it was free.

I'll either be at a free screenin' of Snitch or use my employee discount to see Beautiful Creatures tonight. Haven't decided for sure yet.

- edit, to add -

Well, I started to watch The Treasure of the Sierra Madre on DVD this mornin', wound up dozin' off for a few hours, instead, though...

Woke up in time to get over to the Ritz for Terror Tuesday. This week, they were showin' a low budget horror movie from the early '70s called Invasion of the Blood Farmers. It was about a group of Druids in upstate New York that attacked the locals, harvestin' their blood in an attempt to reawaken their queen.

First time at a Terror Tuesday...this was one of the few times the event didn't sell out, so I was able to get a free ticket.

Now, I'm back to watchin' TTotSM on DVD.
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Old February 19 2013, 05:24 PM   #110
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27. Dorian Gray (✩✩✩) - DVD - An adaption of The Picture of Dorian Gray. Stars Ben Barnes, Colin Firth and Rebecca Hall. I was wondering why this one slipped under the radar, but then I saw why. It lacks energy or whatever a good movie has that keeps you engaged. It's a good story though, one that keeps you thinking about a lot of its ideas. It does come off as too judgemental of hedonism and wanting to remain youthful though.

Theatre: 5
Blu-ray: 2
DVD: 7
Live TV: 9
Netflix: 0
Download: 4
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Old February 20 2013, 07:31 AM   #111
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18. Les Miserables: Part 1: Tempest in a Skull (A-)

In 1934, the French director Raymond Bernard produced what remains probably the most comprehensive adaptation of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables for a visual medium (at least, without really straying from the source material; I think there's a Japanese anime that runs to like a full season). It runs to almost five hours, necessitating it being cut into three films and released in theatres separately (so I guess it didn't start with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, after all). Tempest in a Skull (I'm not really clear what that means) runs to a little under 2 hours, covering roughly Part 1 ("Fantine") of the novel's five parts (about the first 250 pages, out of 1300 or so).

Obviously, this allows for a lot more detail than you get in most other versions (and apparently there are a few scenes missing, since this version was only really released in the 1970s, having had a very choppy production history; in Part 1, it stands out that there's no initial reaction of Valjean to Javert when he's living and M. Madeleine, though I don't know if that's one of the missing scenes). You get a glimpse of Fantine prior to her working at the factory, the backstory of Champmathieu, more detail on how Valjean made his money, and, perhaps most crucially, the robbery of the boy plays out like it did in the novel.

Harry Baur is a very different Valjean than one is used to seeing. He's imposing, but of noticeable girth, rather than the tall, skinny look of people like Liam Neeson or Hugh Jackman. He's also a lot more stoic, though he has a few very emotional scenes (the director doesn't make much use of closeup emotional reactions, in contrast to Tom Hooper, though they do share a bit of an affinity for slanted camera angles). Charles Vanel, as Javert, is not an especially compelling presence yet, though it's rather early in the story for him. Florelle, the actress playing Fantine, is pretty good, though she has a somewhat distractingly obvious 1930s style to her, particularly the hair (they've also commendably attempted to depict Fantine's loss of her front teeth, but they've done this by painting them black, which works surprisingly well from certain angles, but at other times it's exceedingly obvious).

Cinema: 6
Home Video: 11 (+1)
Computer: 1
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Old February 21 2013, 06:18 AM   #112
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19. Les Miserables: Part 2: The Thenardiers (A-)

The middle piece of the trilogy covers all of Parts 2 and 3 of the novel, dipping slightly in 4 as well, perhaps. If you were looking to avoid actually reading the book, this'd be a pretty decent exam cheat sheet.

The film is built around basically two setpieces: Valjean's retrieval of the young Cosette from the Thenardiers, and the Thenardiers' attempted robbery of Valjean eight years later. The latter has been omitted from all the other versions of this that I've seen (the musical does a revised, much quicker version of the same basic idea). And, as with last time, the film has more time for characters like M. Gillenormand (who was briefly reintegrated into the film version of the stage show, which leaves him out). Though my favourite moment in the novel doesn't make it in, even with four and a half hours of space. Sigh.

Harry Baur gets to show more consistent emotional range in this one, mainly in his interactions with Cosette, and the big fight with Thenardiers' gang contains a surprisingly badass moment for a 30s film. Charles Vanel gets a bit more to do as Javert. The actors playing the Thenardiers are quite good, and certainly played much straighter than the musical. There's a good Marius, and the actress playing Cosette (in addition to actually being a teenager, unusually for older film casting, especially) is very engaging.

Cinema: 6
Home Video: 12 (+1)
Computer: 1
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Old February 21 2013, 02:48 PM   #113
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Re: Movies Seen In 2013


1) This Is 40 - C+
2) Easy A - A-
3) The Bounty Hunter - B+
4) Crazy, Stupid, Love. - B-

5) What To Expect When You're Expecting - B+
6) Contagion - C

7) Identity Thief - A
8) We Bought A Zoo - A-

This is another one of those cute stories about preserving about all odds with the wacky characters, but it does very well.

Matt Damon plays the everyman father lightyears better than he did in Contagion and this is my first time seeing Scarlett Johansson, who also gives a stellar performance. I also loved Angus McFayden (first time I've seen him since Braveheart) as the drunken McCready, who had some of the best lines of the movie.

Don't look for anything new here, but it is a great date movie.

9) The Ides of March - B+

Ryan Gosling is the next great actor and putting him in a movie with heavyweights like Clooney (who actually plays a convincing villain) and Hoffman showed how he will be that bankable star for years to come. Props also go to Paul Giamatti, who pulls off a great performance here.

The story gets muddled and as much as they try make politics all cut throat, I got lost.
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Old February 21 2013, 04:55 PM   #114
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16. The Mist: B+
17. A Good Day to Die Hard: B-
18. Fired Up: C+
19. Fling: C
20. Ask the Dust: D+


Fired Up: As far as these type of sexualized comedies go it was just about passable. I was entertained and the emerging genuine love that was developing makes it nice but the absurdity of some of the other characters keeps it's grade down.

Fling: was having a discussion elsewhere about Man of Steel and this movie came up regarding Brandon Routh in a leading role. The plot is about his ex-girlfriend who is now in an open relationship and they hook up at a mutual friends wedding. It goes from there. Other than the movie reinforcing the absurdity of an open relationship, which Routh's character mentions, it's a mediocore film. Routh really is pretty good in it. The ex-girlfriend I recognized from S2 or 3 of True Blood.

Ask the Dust: Colin Farrell and Salma Hayek star in this inter racial drama set during the Great Depression in Los Angeles. I didn't find the over use of the voice over narration very engaging. I don't know anything of the book, I'm guessing that was perhaps a shortcut to get some exposition out vs acting it out. I'm sure this type relationship had it's problems just as was true of black/white relationships. Both were unfortunate side affects of humanity. Farrell's character is very much an asshole to her and she knows he's nearly broke. So her desire to rise above isn't going to happen by being around/with him. It does seem that love finally happens but the set up to get there doesn't work for me. A below average film for me.
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Old February 21 2013, 05:13 PM   #115
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Danny99 wrote: View Post
Ryan Gosling is the next great actor and putting him in a movie with heavyweights like Clooney (who actually plays a convincing villain) and Hoffman showed how he will be that bankable star for years to come.
He's been around for a while now and he's always touted as the hot guy or the next big thing, but he hasn't really taken off in a big way.

Captain Craig wrote: View Post
Fling: was having a discussion elsewhere about Man of Steel and this movie came up regarding Brandon Routh in a leading role. The plot is about his ex-girlfriend who is now in an open relationship and they hook up at a mutual friends wedding. It goes from there. Other than the movie reinforcing the absurdity of an open relationship, which Routh's character mentions, it's a mediocore film. Routh really is pretty good in it. The ex-girlfriend I recognized from S2 or 3 of True Blood.
She was played by Courtney Ford. They're married in real life.
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Old February 21 2013, 10:45 PM   #116
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^^
Interesting tid bit of trivia. Thanks. Season 4 of True Blood, she also did a Big Bang Theory it looks like. Now that I read that it makes me want to go rewatch that episode.
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Old February 22 2013, 06:13 AM   #117
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20. Les Miserables: Part 3: Liberty, Sweet Liberty (A)

The trilogy concludes. The book has a tendency to lose Jean Valjean for long periods in the second half, and that's true of this part of the trilogy too; there's a good half hour at the beginning that he's basically not in. But Harry Baur gets some of his best scenes in the whole project toward the end. This a very strong conclusion, only limited by what I suspect was a concession to censors: Javert's suicide isn't shown, which loses a pretty significant moment. Charles Vanel's Javert remains too aloof throughout to really sell the moments leading up to it, either, though given the prevailing acting styles at the time that might have been way too over the top if they had tried, so who knows?

The production values for his hit their peak here, with an astonishingly good depiction of the June Rebellion, involving convincing city sets, huge crowds, and large numbers of soldiers and rebels. It still looks great today, and must have been even more remarkable at the time, compared to so many battle scenes. The film cuts down the post-battle conclusion in a way that works quite well, and avoids some of the more convoluted details.

Cinema: 6
Home Video: 13 (+1)
Computer: 1
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Old February 22 2013, 09:07 AM   #118
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Re: Movies Seen In 2013


Warm Bodies - free admission
P.S. I Love You - DVD
The Lake House - DVD
Alonzo Bodden: Who's Paying Attention? - Netflix Instant
Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007 - Netflix Instant
Side by Side - free admission
Pennies from Heaven - free admission
Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid- DVD
The Lonely Guy - DVD
Batman: The Dark Knigth Returns, Part Two - DVD
Jesse Stone: Benefit of the Doubt - DVD
Side Effects - free admission
Funny Girl - free admission
Christopher Titus: Neverlution - YouTube
Ralphie May: Just Correct - YouTube
Top Gun 3D - IMAX
Fourplay: Tales of Sexual Intimacy - free admission
'Salem's Lot(2004) - DVD
Body of Lies - DVD
2013 Oscar-Nominated Shorts, Animated - free admission
2013 Oscar-Nominated Shorts, Live Action - free admission
A Good Day to Die Hard - free admission
Last Chance Harvey - DVD
Paul Williams Still Alive - free admission
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre - DVD
Invasion of the Blood Farmers - free admission
Safety Not Guaranteed - Netflix Instant
One Life - free admission
Identity Thief - free admission
The Switch - Netflix Instant

When I got in from work the other night, my roommates were asleep, and actually in their room instead of on the livin' room couches.

So, I was able to watch SNG on Netflix. I saw the trailer a lot last spring, but the Alamo Drafthouse didn't get it, even though the trailer played before every damn thing. Watchin' the movie, I liked it quite a bit.

It was a fun story that may or may not have involved time travel.

Went out to the movies tonight for a double feature.

First up, One Life, a nature documentary from the BBC that's narrated by Daniel Craig. I enjoyed it, even if it wasn't anything that hasn't been shown in classrooms for forever.

Followed that up with Identity Thief, which I thought was pretty funny. Though I did think it was a bit distractin' for the same song to be used for Melissah McCarthy's character in the movie as was used in the trailer for her next movie with Sandra Bullock. Probably wouldn't be that big a deal, but the red band trailer played right before the movie!

Back at the house now, watchin' The Switch via Netflix Instant, since the roommates weren't on the couch for the second night in a row!
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Old February 23 2013, 04:05 AM   #119
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21. Rust and Bone (B)

For a change of pace, a subtitled French movie about an amazingly strong quasi-felon and the humanizing bonds he forms with a young child and a deeply dispirited woman...hey, wait a minute.

Jacques Audiard's followup to A Prophet (which I haven't seen, but got a lot of acclaim) is a romantic drama of sorts (I had fun in the theatre imagining the same premise repurposed as a more standard romantic comedy) got a lot of awards buzz for Marion Cotillard, who probably came in sixth with the Academy this time. It's a good performance, though, without having seen Naomi Watts, I can understand why it didn't demand a nomination in the way other performances may have.

She's still quite good, mind you, and it's a rare movie about dealing with disability that ends with the character finding satisfaction in watching her new hookup beat the crap out of other guys in bloodsport. Said hookup is Matthias Schoenaerts, who's also very good. The story is a mix of two different short stories, and the somewhat episodic structure seems to evince that, though a couple of seemingly random plot elements do turn out to have a point after all.

Cinema: 7 (+1)
Home Video: 13
Computer: 1
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Old February 24 2013, 09:08 AM   #120
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Re: Movies Seen In 2013

1. Reservoir Dogs (1992) - A
2. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011) - D
3. Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012) - C+
4. Zero Dark Thirty (2012) - A
5. The Amazing Spiderman (2012) - B
6. Life of Pi (2012) - A
7) The Perks of being a Wallflower (2012) - B+
8) Looper (2012) - B+

I'm glad to see the Sci fi genre make a come back in movies this year, and I think maybe it was Looper who got the ball rolling. Yeah you have your superhero films, Marvel, DC, stuff like that, but what about films like the original Total Recall or 12 Monkeys which I have seen people compare this film to. I'm not sure the comparison is apt other than having Willis in both films but then again I haven't seen 12 Monkeys in a long time.

As for Looper, I liked it, even though I was almost taken out of the film when Willis finally came in and we saw the circle loop twice. I didn't really understand that entire segment, but things finally got better when we got to the Farm and saw the kid. That kid was creepy too, and it was a really great performance. Willis and Gordon-Levett were good too, but that kid might have been the best part of the film.

Theater: 2
Blu-Ray/DVD/TV: 4 (+1)
Itunes: 2
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