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

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Old May 11 2010, 09:59 PM   #526
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

105. Cutter's Way [B-]
106. Nine Lives [A-]
107. Wings of Desire [A]
108. The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans [B-]
109. Exorcist II: The Heretic [F]

I have to be honest here. I'm not the biggest fan of the original The Exorcist. I'd say The French Connection is a much stronger film by Friedkin. But, boy, is the sequel terrible. Max Von Sydow is around for a series of pointless flashbacks. Richard Burton looks like he drank his way through the film so he would be cast in Equus. Linda Blair has the facial expression of a robot (might be the same as the original, which I haven't seen in a while). There's some sort of therapy machine with a flashing light, and killer grasshopper of some sort, but neither of these things elicit any reaction beyond laughter, and when you have James Earl Jones, Max Von Sydow, and Richard Burton all unable to lend the film with a sense of seriousness--that's when you have a serious problem.

Oh well. At least John Boorman was able to make a few decent films after this one (and he's still working!).
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Old May 12 2010, 10:52 PM   #527
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

105. Cutter's Way [B-]
106. Nine Lives [A-]
107. Wings of Desire [A]
108. The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans [B-]
109. Exorcist II: The Heretic [F]
110. Edmond [D]
111. Office Space [B+]

Edmond: I've never been a fan of David Mamet's dialogue. It has always felt stylized to the point of being stilted, and this, being an early work of the playwright, is as stilted as ever. Despite following the title character the whole way through, Mamet never lets us in. Instead, we're left to witness Edmond (William H. Macy) have a psychotic breakdown, with little explanation of interest. A tarot card reader convinces him to leave his wife. Before long, he's unleashing a wrath of racist violence, which the film practically justifies. And yet, Macy somehow keeps the film tenuously afloat, for even as a loser who is mostly a cypher he manages to keep the film from being relentlessly repellent. Mostly, though, I'll dole out a D instead of an F for a terrific long take (courtesy of director Stuart Gordon) between Macy and Julia Styles, though it's only terrific if you can put the implausibility of Macy's seduction out of your mind for the scene's duration.

Office Space: For some reason, I missed out on this film in 1999 and all the years since. Eleven years later, it's just about as hilarious as it has been built up to be. Ron Livingston is perfect in the lead role, and then serious actors Gary Cole and Stephen Root demonstrate terrific comedic chops. Buying Jennifer Aniston as a chain-restaurant waitress takes as much of a leap as buying the actress in most roles, and I must admit I'm unconvinced that a romantic subplot was even necessary--the film is at it's best when it is focused on the insanity of cubicle culture.
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Old May 12 2010, 11:54 PM   #528
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

and then serious actors Gary Cole and Stephen Root demonstrate terrific comedic chops.
It's funny you should identify them that way...it just goes to show how much the first roles you see people in can influence your perception of what kind of actor they are.

In contrast, I remember watching a "No Country for Old Men" with a friend of mine who said, "all I see is 'Kingpin' and 'Dodgeball'!" in the scene when Woody Harrelson and Stephen Root are talking.

If I ever see Stephen Root in a role, I immediately think of his character in "Office Space", so it would be hard for me to get used to him in a serious role. What movies were you thinking of them being serious in?
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Old May 13 2010, 01:23 AM   #529
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

^^
Refreshing my memory with IMDB, I'd point to a lot of Root's television work (including TNG!). Then again, he was on News Radio beginning in 1995, so it appears he was involved in comedy earlier than I had thought.

Another actor who is similarly weird going between serious and comedic rolls would be John C. Reilly.
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Old May 13 2010, 04:20 AM   #530
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Got two killer additions to the list! The Hurt Locker and Iron Man 2. Both great!
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Old May 13 2010, 04:52 AM   #531
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Kick-Ass [A+]

Had absolutely no expectations going into this film, and I absolutely loved it. It's one of the funniest films I've seen in a long time, and the action sequences are excellent.
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Old May 13 2010, 07:10 PM   #532
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

105. Cutter's Way [B-]
106. Nine Lives [A-]
107. Wings of Desire [A]
108. The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans [B-]
109. Exorcist II: The Heretic [F]
110. Edmond [D]
111. Office Space [B+]
112. Being There [B-]

Sellers is terrific in the role of Chance in his penultimate film (and the last to be released while he was alive). What happens around Chance is less interesting and believable than the character, but it's not a big deal. Sellers is the reason to watch this film, and he shows that he could be a terrific dramatic actor (although the film has moments of brilliant comedy, I wouldn't call it a comedy).
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Old May 15 2010, 09:40 PM   #533
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

An angst-ridden twofer! Precious and The Lovely Bones. The former isn't as good as the reviewers claimed; the latter isn't as bad.
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Old May 16 2010, 06:21 AM   #534
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

105. Cutter's Way [B-]
106. Nine Lives [A-]
107. Wings of Desire [A]
108. The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans [B-]
109. Exorcist II: The Heretic [F]
110. Edmond [D]
111. Office Space [B+]
112. Being There [B-]
113. The Trouble with Harry [B+]
114. The Final Sacrifice [F]
115. Freeway [B ]
116. Iron Man 2 [B+]

The Trouble with Harry: A wonderfully macabre film by Alfred Hitchcock concerning some New Englanders and what they decide to do about about the pesky body that has turned up near their small town. This same story could be told with a much darker hand, but Hitchcock goes for a much lighter touch, and the film is all the better for it. Some nice location work clashes with some less nice studio work, but it's a minor complaint.

The Final Sacrifice: IMDB has this as one of the bottom 100 movies (it's #11). That's probably due to the visibility MSTK-3000 gave it, but it's still an awful Z-grade horror/action picture made for what seems to be $5 (adjusted for inflation).

Freeway: A contemporary re-telling of Little Red Riding Hood (at least, in broad strokes), this film kept surprising me until the end. I expected the drama between Reese Witherspoon (who is terrific in this early role) and Kiefer Sutherland (who has been playing the hero for so long on television that itís a delight to be reminded he can be such a fantastic bad guy) that occurs in the car to play out for most of the movie. Instead, Witherspoon rather swiftly dispatches the bastard. Or, she shoots him enough times in enough places that he should.

Iron Man 2: The critical consensus seems to be that this sequel is not as good as its predecessor. I can understand some critical complaints, but I must say, I found this follow-up film to be superior to Iron Man. Yes, the final battle with Mickey Rourke is an anti-climax, but so was the final battle with Jeff Bridges in the first film. At least this installment has the sense to keep things mercifully short so it can get onto Tony Stark and interesting things. Gone are the terrorist villains with thin motivations and most of the pretentions towards having something thoughtful to say about the so-called War on Terror. Black Widow and Nick Fury make for welcome character additions, and manage to serve as more than a trailer for the inevitable SHIELD and Avengers spin-offs. About the only thing that this film doesnít improve upon is Rhodes. Marvel should have ponied up the extra cash to bring back Terrence HowardóDon Cheadle is too serious and uncomfortable in the role for it to be much fun. Luckily, the film also brings along Mickey Rourke (who does what he needs to) and Sam Rockwell (who is so terrific that Iíd wish he was Tony Stark if it were not for the fact that Robert Downey Jr. is so terrific in the role).
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Old May 16 2010, 04:46 PM   #535
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

My wife and I saw Date Night last night.

I LOL'd.

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Old May 17 2010, 11:18 PM   #536
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events [B-]
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Old May 21 2010, 12:57 AM   #537
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

105. Cutter's Way [B-]
106. Nine Lives [A-]
107. Wings of Desire [A]
108. The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans [B-]
109. Exorcist II: The Heretic [F]
110. Edmond [D]
111. Office Space [B+]
112. Being There [B-]
113. The Trouble with Harry [B+]
114. The Final Sacrifice [F]
115. Freeway [B ]
116. Iron Man 2 [B+]
117. Starship Troopers [A]
118. The Wedding Weekend [C-]
119. Fight Club [A]

Starship Troopers: Iím not exactly sure why I keep returning to this movie, but somehow excuses to watch it again keep presenting themselves. I still think itís a brilliant satire, and that people who donít like it tend to miss the part about it being satire.

The Wedding Weekend: Basically, a low-rent version of The Big Chill, except in this version the suicide (attempt) comes later, and the cast (mostly, television castoffs) frankly isnít good enough to support a dark turn. Yet the film isnít totally irredeemable. Thereís a dream sequence which is pretty funny and a scene in a jail where everyone breaks into song, which, though ridiculous, kind of works.

Fight Club: This is the kind of film where you notice something new each time. I think Iíve noticed every moment now where the film slyly gives up the game of the twist ending, but each time I see the film I seem to notice more instances of this happening. Ten years later, itís still Fincherís best work to date.
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Old May 21 2010, 03:18 AM   #538
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Nah... that's Zodiac. No arguments.
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Old May 22 2010, 12:54 AM   #539
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I'll admit, I liked Zodiac a lot. But it never captured my attention the way Fight Club does, and I'm not sure how I feel about the heavy use of green screen replacement throughout the movie. I understand the reason for not shooting on location, and the weariness of the characters is certainly apparent on screen, but the look doesn't always work for me.

So, uh, in conclusion...

105. Cutter's Way [B-]
106. Nine Lives [A-]
107. Wings of Desire [A]
108. The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans [B-]
109. Exorcist II: The Heretic [F]
110. Edmond [D]
111. Office Space [B+]
112. Being There [B-]
113. The Trouble with Harry [B+]
114. The Final Sacrifice [F]
115. Freeway [B ]
116. Iron Man 2 [B+]
117. Starship Troopers [A]
118. The Wedding Weekend [C-]
119. Fight Club [A]
120. The Informant! [A-]
121. It's Alive [F]
122. Grace [D+]

The Informant!: I saw this film theatrically last year, and rather liked it, but I enjoyed it to an even greater extent on video. It's not quite perfect--it stumbles a little bit in the end when transitioning from the Price Fixing Operation to the Self-Destruction of Mark Whitacre, but it's pretty close. The music, the cast (so many great comedic actors in bit partS), and the look just come together. Of course, the best part of the film is probably Matt Damon's unreliable and often irrelevant narration. He plays a man who is very intelligent, and yet, plagued with deep-seeded psychological problems. It's definitely worth a look if you haven't seen it.

It's Alive: Last night I somehow fell into a double feature of two movies about evil babies. Neither were particularly good, but this one was easily the worst. Rick Baker was behind the make-up effects, but the film was one of the first he's credited on, and it shows. Mostly, the evil baby the film centers around is kept out of sight, probably because it looks terrible. Bernard Herrmann composed the music, but it's not very good, either. Checking IMDB, it looks like the score came when the master was having a late-career slump. Finally, it features Michael Ansara, but who am I kidding? I only know his name because he was on Star Trek. Just terrible.

Grace: This film, while better than the previous one, still wasn't very good. It's too long, takes itself far too seriously, and isn't helped by production values that would be better suited to television. What it does do well, I suppose, is be creepy as hell. There are certain scenes, which I won't describe her or anywhere else, that had me turning away from the screen. And I've sat through Cannibal Holocaust...thrice!
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Old May 22 2010, 01:01 AM   #540
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Got some bigguns for ya!

Inglorious Basterds - Loved it! Might be my favorite Tarantino flick so far. Much less gory than I'd assumed. I recall a lot of howling about how bloody it was - frankly it's tame by his standards.

Avatar in 3D - Yes, I only just saw it. What can I say, it's been a busy winter/spring. The plot may be dippy librul Hollywood treehugger hand-wringing crossed with cringeworthy Whitey Saves the Noble Savages wish fulfillment, but the visuals redeem the hokey story.
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